Hello! I am Dr. A.S. Ziner, an applied sociologist, college professor and futurist. In April 2009 I published Evergreen: A Space-Time Odyssey (or EG) - a bold supernatural/sci-fi thriller for the entire family (368 pages plus a sonnet titled "Dominion") inspired by true events, past and present, and a few still to come. In an updated, humanistic passion play that cleverly blends religious overtones with cultural disharmonies at the time of a rare cosmic event, this first novel in my EG trilogy is conceived as Avatar meets Ben-Hur with the added charm of Geppetto's workshop in Pinocchio and give-and-take of Dorothy's loyal friends in The Wizard of Oz.
World of Evergreen
What is Evergreen: A Space-Time Odyssey about?
The story is based on a half-century-old bond between a young boy and his grandmother. When Niles Jaden III was a child, his Nanna revealed an incredible family-guarded secret about a colossal stone wall that awakens deep in the forbidden caves one month before Kaleija ("Kah-lie-ja") - a cosmic, millennial event that occurs when Evergreen's two suns and crystalline moon align to produce gripping gravitational and kaleidoscopic effects throughout the land, sea and sky. Fifty years later, Kaleija nears and our story begins with Niles rowing into the mouth of the dark underworld, ill-prepared for the monstrous, soul-stirring encounter, two ancestral tribes that date back to the prehistory of his modern city of Jaden, and a gift of hope in the form of an enchanted chrysalis named Gaia ("Guy-ah") bestowed upon the world by a great planetary force called the Golem ("Go-lum").
"So, the Golem sends a butterfly named Gaia to save the world?" you may wonder.
Gaia has never been savior of anything, let alone life on an ill-fated planet. She knows nothing of her extraordinary powers and why they are triggered, has never incinerated scores of deadly enemy legions in a brilliant flash, and has never transformed from her current state as an immense chrysalis into a herculean multiform compelled to deliver the lands' animates from untold pain and horror. Naively, all she knows is the goodness of code imparted to her at birth by the Golem deep in the forbidden caves and the Golem's prophecy: "Only when three worlds combine into one will balance be restored across the land." But all that is about to change as prophecy and legend are on a collision course with Kaleija - and, in Gaia's principled and impassioned sets of eyes, "Incivility will always be painful." No, she's no ordinary caterpillar pupa. In fact, she's no butterfly at all.
An engaging secondary plot unfolds that draws us into the third world of the Golem's prophecy. This subplot centers on an intelligent and heroic struggle, led by Dr. Terre Bristol-Lane, to thwart the evil plans of her sinister boss, uber-capitalist Thorstein Darkminster Forge (or Thor). To save the city of Jaden from perilous Project AiCORN technology that Terre designed and tested, she must destroy her science lab, evade imprisonment in the horrid penal mines, and secretly join forces to bring to life a successful AI prototype called AiTOM ("Adam"). Under Gaia's veiled influence, Project AiTOM lays the foundation for a multi-dimensional SkyRails vision about an unearthly network of enchanted and personified AI-based monorails that combat dangerous and unstable AiCORN technology that Thor knowingly integrated into his citywide rail system and serve the needs of Jaden's citizens in revolutionary ways. As the city rests on an ancient, ten-mile-wide stump, her massive remains and extensive, cavernous roots throughout the land make subterranean travel for SkyRails as exhilarating as it will be unpredictable.
In short, EG ignites a fury of genuine chills, penetrating suspense and awe-inspiring battles about prophecy and its fulfillment, about the collision between science, civility and nature, and about all the universal forces that govern a planet's environment (really). At the core of the story's refreshingly principled optimism, witty and fun-loving characters, and dark, intense imagery is an evolving supernatural and science fiction foundation where moral development and technological innovation, cultural conflict and cosmic upheaval, and full-scale inter-species war have profound implications for the world of Evergreen - and, perhaps, your own.
Are you interested in reading the first chapter? Click here to download it for free from the World of Evergreen website.
Book Review of Evergreen: A Space-Time Odyssey (Teaching Sociology, July 2010)
For the complete book review written by Dr. Arthur Shostak for the journal Teaching Sociology, please go to this link:
Evergreen: A Space-Time Odyssey (2009)
"Evergreen is about prophecy and its fulfillment. Much of the story centers around a character called "Gaia", whose adventures take her through a metamorphosis from a small and meek creature into a multiform to be reckoned with, accompanied by her loyal friends along the way. (I am reminded somewhat of "The Wizard of Oz"). The main thrust of the story is about the lack of civility between species and that their interactions, wars and abuses are signaling the advent of a natural event called "Kaleija", a cosmic change in the universe similar to our Global Warming. Life out of balance threatens to hasten its arrival, and all are affected. Gaia is recognized as a powerful symbol of both change and stability in a world overrun by inter-species tensions.
The illustrations are both fanciful and evocative of the work of Shaun Tan but in black and white; pencils with very well-placed elements and a modern twist. Trees are fairly uniform and so are the mountains, something like fractal geometry but without the obvious repetition. I am especially taken with a picture of a laboratory and scientists working as seen from the interior of an aquarium, with a fish seemingly suspended in mid air and an octopus watching the men with singular focus. Across the aisle we see a rat doing the same thing from behind cage bars. It is all an illustration of the interaction between humans and non-humans; and a warning that our arrogance as the "dominant" species is judged as contradictory among our fellow beings. From my own experience I learned long ago that each animal has its own distinct personality and way of interacting with its environment, and that our incivility to them stems from ignorance and cultural habit.
I would recommend that you read this book, not only for its engaging fantasy elements but for its importance as a work of allegory and thought-provoking cultural science."
- Theresa M. Moore, Founder and President, Antellus Books
Book Review: Evergreen: A Space-Time Odyssey (Humanity & Society, 2009)
"Evergreen takes a serious problem, domination of the weak by the powerful, and places it in a context that makes it understandable for the entire family. In it, A.S. Ziner spins a rich, hopeful and imaginative tale that highlights the importance of civility, belief, caring, perseverance and imagination in ameliorating social problems. I have no doubt that Evergreen will become an instant classic ..."
- Dr. Kathleen Tiemann, Exec. Editor, Humanity & Society
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