Monday, 6 August 2012

Blog Tour: Crashing Eden by Michael Sussman

Title: Crashing Eden
Author: Michael Sussman
Author Info: Website|Twitter|Facebook
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Novel Publicity
Format: eBook
Publication Date: May 11th 2012

Tell Me About It
For one boy and his friends, the path to Paradise comes at a cost—one they may not be prepared to pay.

When a biking accident leaves 17-year-old Joss Kazdan with the ability to hear things others can't, reality as he knows it begins to unravel.

A world of legends exists beyond the ordinary life he's always known, and he is transported to the same Paradise he's studying in World Mythology. But the strange gets even stranger when his new friends build a device that delivers people through the gates of the Garden of Eden.

Now Samael, the Creator God, is furious. As Samael rains down his apocalyptic devastation on the ecstasy-seeking teens, Joss and his companions must find a way to appease Samael—or the world will be destroyed forever.

My Thoughts
When I began reading Crashing Eden I instantly loved the protagonist Joss.  He may not have been the most perfect child to his parents, but he is spunky and is capable of being good.  I like how he is cheerful for his sister and looks out for her.  His whole attitude reminds me so much of my brother when he was younger.
Soon Joss experiences a life changing event, he gets knocked into by car and end up falling head over handlebars of his bike.  He is rushed into hospital unconscious, and upon awakening hears a noise, the more he focuses on this noise the more he changes, he is calmer, giddier and everything is a whole lot nicer, including food.  Soon his ability to hear this noise is lost, but Joss finds a way to hear the noise again, but also how to make sure everyone can hear it.  What starts out as a simple thing to get people to change their ways, ends up being a worldwide catastrophic event.

When I was approached to review this book and join the tour I jumped at the chance, not only did the book sound like a great read, it has one of the most amazing covers to go with it.  The more I read of Crashing Eden, the more I like the idea behind the story, and when more people start to hear the noise abilities are revealed,  that eventually aid Joss and his friends in saving the world. I liked how each person had a different ability that fit in well with their personality.

The world Michael has created and it's characters were easy to like and fall in love with.  The protagonist, Joss, my not be likeable by everyone, but he is believable and when you find out the reason for his attitude you can't blame him for acting this way.  There are things he does that really do show the person within, he just needs a chance to prove what he is really like.

Crashing Eden was a quick read for me, although I did find myself struggling on a few parts, overall I enjoyed it and had to find out what would happen next.  Would the world end, or would Joss and his friends find some way to save it?  I'm not going to answer these questions, you will have to read it to find out.

What is Visionary Fiction?

When I first heard the term visionary fiction, what came to mind were such literary giants of the past as Dante, Milton, Goethe, Blake, and Whitman. Each of these authors bends toward the future, envisioning a human race struggling to evolve toward a higher spiritual plane.

Two of my favorite twentieth century writers, Nikos Kazantzakis (Zorba the Greek, Saint Francis, The Last Temptation of Christ) and Hermann Hesse (Siddhartha, Narcissus and Goldmund, Steppenwolf, The Glass Bead Game) were firmly in this tradition. Their novels portray protagonists who are striving to reach a more enlightened state of being.

Only recently have I discovered that visionary fiction is resurfacing as a “new” literary genre. In collaboration with ten other authors, we’ve formed the Visionary Fiction Alliance, and invite other novelists to become involved.

So what exactly is visionary fiction?

Perhaps the most cogent answer I’ve come across is from author Michael Gurian, who defines the genre as “fiction in which the expansion of the human mind drives the plot.”

According to Gurian, what moves the story along in visionary novels are such things as visions, hallucinations, mystical experiences, paranormal abilities, channeling, precognitive dreams, eerie coincidences, profound insights, and a feeling of being “utterly at one with the world.”

Visionary fiction overlaps with several better established genres, such as science fiction, fantasy, magical realism, and new age fiction. What seems to be unique about visionary fiction is its focus on the expansion and evolution of the human mind, imagining new frontiers for the human spirit.

Although I didn’t set out to write visionary fiction, my first novel—Crashing Eden—seems to meet all of the relevant criteria. Still, the story ultimately defies categorization in that it can also be read as a tongue-in-cheek send-up of both organized religion and new age mysticism.

The last word goes to that quirky comedian and philosopher, Steven Wright, who said: “I was a peripheral visionary. I could see the future, but only way off to the side.”

Michael Sussman is the author of Crashing Eden, a YA fantasy/paranormal novel, and Otto Grows Down, a children’s picture book featuring illustrations by Scott Magoon.
Dr. Sussman is a clinical psychologist and has also published two books for mental health professionals. He’s the author of A Curious Calling: Unconscious Motivations for Practicing Psychotherapy and the editor of A Perilous Calling: The Hazards of Psychotherapy Practice.
He resides in the Boston area with his son, Ollie.

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