“Come on then, there are other worlds than these.” -Stephen King, ‘The Gunslinger’ (1982).
What is it in the supernatural world that attracts us? Maybe it’s the idea that life can be different from what it seems. Not necessarily as a rejection of this isbut rather a desire or a nostalgia for something Following.
Most of us have a personal story of an unusual experience that we cannot explain. Perhaps you have dreamed that a loved one comes to visit you after his death? Have you ever observed a dog or a cat looking around the room, following something invisible, its body vibrating and alert? Or how about when the little kids are playing; they fully interact with the environment, talk to…to…themselves?
Before, I was one of those people who said: “You have to see it to believe it”.
In school, we are taught that the process of quantifying data is confirming something after it has been cut out, measured and observed. It makes sense that our minds cling to this visceral confirmation process as we try to move from speculation to fact.
Then quantum physics came along and kicked the ass of Newtonian physics.
It turns out that only one percent of matter is something we can see, taste, smell, hear or feel. Most of reality exists beyond our very limited five senses.
Do you find that hard to believe?
Consider that the air between you and this screen is not really empty. If you are reading this on your cell phone, it is receiving cellular transmissions. Wi-Fi is radio waves that bring information to your PC via frequencies that transmit information between your device and a router. These waves are right in front of your face right now, and yet we cannot see them.
In terms of full light spectrum, humans are about as blind as bats. Animals have much better senses than humans. Birds, like hawks, have much sharper vision. Some insects can detect ultraviolet light, which we cannot see at all. When it comes to smells, dogs have 300 million smell sensors, compared to 6 million for us. In fact, I’m taking it back, with a jaw-dropping echo location, even bats beat us in the vision department.
So if the use of our senses to gauge reality is so limited, and yet humans successfully navigate a world we can barely perceive, that leads me to believe that we are not as blind as we seem. In fact, like bats, we may have developed other skills perceive the world around us; seen and unseen.
Perhaps those novels that present immensely detailed worlds, like the Lord of the Rings trilogy, actually testify to the authors’ gift for transposing their imaginations and sharing paradigms that truly exist just beyond what we can sense. .
Supernatural and science fiction books can evoke strong feelings of confirmation in us; we read a fiction book, and yet it has a deep resonance of truth with us.
After all, the world is not quite what we think it is; the universe is mysterious and ineffable.
“The supernatural world has always been more real to me than the real world.”- A. Rice
Today’s list of book recommendations focuses on stories that feature alternate magical realities; those who are a bit out of step with everyday life. These books play on the idea that there is an exciting world of otherness just around the corner.
Many of us are very avid readers and fans of this fascinating genre. In future articles, I hope to go deeper and explore more titles; known and unknown. Please consider sharing your favorite picks in the comments below.
Odd Thomas, a 21-year-old grill cook, is an adorable boy with the power to see the dead. He uses his abilities and close ties to local police chief Wyatt Porter to help solve various random murders, mysteries, and mayhem. It helps that many victims of these crimes choose to hang around to point Odd in the right direction.
“The dead don’t talk. I do not know why.
Odd’s many adventures are vast, unusual and often end unexpectedly. In later novels, Koontz asks his protagonist to leave his beloved town of Pico Mundo to hit the road in service to the universe. From Las Vegas to monasteries; Odd goes where he is called, in search of sinners and saints alike.
Synchronicity is a theme of this series. There is always the feeling that something bigger is happening; fate and karma are very much at stake.
This is especially evident when our hero meets different people who come to help him in his current mission. All the characters of Odd Thomas the series are intriguing and quirky. And yet, with all their eccentricities, Koontz manages to present them in a way that makes them relatable, and somehow, a bit understated. There’s 400-pound detective novelist P. Oswald Boone (Little Ozzie), Odd’s landlady Rosalia Sanchez, who fears becoming invisible, and of course, Bronwen’s girlfriend, soulmate and destiny. “Stormy” Llewelly Odd.
Like Dante’s Virgil guiding lost souls through purgatory, Koontz is more of a director for this series than a narrator. You get the hand-sense of a master puppeteer just out of sight, expertly laying the groundwork to put all the pieces in place, then sitting down to allow the story to unfold. The reader doesn’t get everything, and it’s easy to overthink the background stories and want more information about how all the crazy, random events happen in one way or another. And yet, you feel like every scene is satisfactorily filled out. There is even a movie adaptation for Odd Thomas (2013).
“Throughout the morning, under the expectant sky, low, soft waves washed up on the shore. The Pacific was gray and awash with inky shadows, as if twisting, fantastically shaped sea beasts were swimming just below the surface. During the night I had woken twice from a dream where the tide was flowing red and the sea was throbbing with terrible light. When it comes to nightmares, I’m sure you’ve had worse. The problem is that some of my dreams have come true and people have died. -Strange Hours
This paranormal fantasy series tells the story of Evangeline Hollis, cursed by God and hunted by demons, she is forced to be a celestial bounty hunter. To complicate matters, Eve finds herself entangled in a love triangle with none other than the original brothers; Cain and Abel. Uncontrollable bloodlust, sexy desires and biblical disasters; this series has it all.
“Now reunited, Eve and Cain work to turn their insatiable longing into a tentative new relationship even as she struggles to become a mark in her own right – one of thousands of sinners forced to cast out demons as penance. When her training class goes on a field trip to an abandoned military base, things take a dark turn: there’s a demon lurking among them, killing Eve’s classmates one by one.” – Eve of Destruction
American Gods is a fantasy novel that blends notions of Americana with various aspects of ancient and modern mythology. Just days before his release from prison, the mysterious and reluctant protagonist Shadow Moon, loses his wife Laura in an unusual car accident with rather unseemly circumstances. Shocked, Shadow takes a flight home and comes to terms with his shattered life, only to come across a mystifying man sitting next to him on the plane. Mr. Wednesday is a flamboyant character who claims to be a refugee from a distant war, an ancient god, and the King of America.
Together, they embark on a deeply unusual road trip across America, during which supernatural troubles of epic proportions tend to explode all around them. Captivating, disturbing and surprising, american gods takes a long, hard look at the soul of America, freedom of choice, and the idea that the old gods still live among us.
american gods was adapted into a TV series with 3 seasons.
american gods and Anansi Boys take place in the same universe, but are stand-alone books.
Olivia Taylor Jones thought she understood her life. Her world crumbles when she learns that not only is she adopted and not the daughter of Chicago socialites, but her real parents are notorious serial killers. Fleeing the onslaught of the media, Olivia retreats to a small town called Cainsville. Instead of finding refuge, Olivia falls into an even stranger life. Her deliberate pursuit of the truth puts her in the crosshairs of powerful old forces with their own agenda, who like to keep their secrets tight.
“I will tell you everything. About dogs. The hunters. My association with them. Your parents’ association with them. An anxious smile as I reacted. “That one intrigues you, doesn’t it?” I can answer all your questions, for the small price of “abducting” a man who, as you will discover, richly deserves it. – Deception
There are five books in the main series, four standalone books, Cainsville Stories, as well as a later released prequel The cries of the dragons.
An avid book reader, Angela Waterfield is new to the world of e-readers. She has a background in education, emergency response, physical fitness and enjoys being outdoors. She has contributed writing to The London Free Press, The Gazette, The Londoner, Lifeliner and Citymedia.ca.