Whitley Strieber is either the most imaginative writer alive or he’s a visionary. Or maybe he just does heavy drugs. Whichever it is, in 2012: The War for Souls
, he created a sweeping thriller filled with twists and turns not only in plot, but in science and religion as well.
As indicated by the title, this book centers on the belief that the ancient Mayans believed the world would end – either figuratively or literally – on December 21, 2012 because a sophisticated calendar created by them ended on that date. But this is no simple doomsday story, like a certain movie with a similar title. Strieber uses the 2012 deadline (no pun intended) to lay bare multiple layers of the human experience. What is the soul? What is reality? What if there was more than one reality? Can a writer be consumed by the world he or she creates in fiction?
Strieber’s plot centers on the concept of multiple universes – or a multi-verse – which many physicists now believe is possible. In our universe, writer Wylie Dale works on a new novel that seems to come to life for him. In a parallel world (this one with two moons) archaeologist Martin Winters fights to save his family and mankind from an invasion of reptilian humanoids from yet a third parallel earth. The reptilians not only intend to take over the two-moon earth, they also intend to extract and imprison the souls of all its humans, which they will sell to the soul-less inhabitants of their own world.
Author Dale is an obvious and often hilarious alter ego of Strieber himself. Like Strieber, Dale has written a book on his experiences as an alien abductee. Dale becomes submerged in his latest work, going into trance-like states in which he writes for hours about the ordeals of Martin and his family. Soon Dale comes to realize that his fictional hero is not a work of fiction, but an actual person living in a parallel version of his own world, and that the Dale and Winters families are somehow connected across the expanses of universes.
Though centered around the Mayan doomsday myth – which obviously did not come about – 2012: The War for Souls, Strieber’s exploration of issues is still valid today. Most of the reptilian world, for instance, is ruled by an oligarchical corporatocracy that has polluted its world and impoverished its inhabitants, a fate that threatens this world where worshiping corporate profits have replaced the worship of Biblical prophets. 2012: The War for Souls
is an enjoyable and thoughtful read.