Humanity’s Way Forward, The Edge of the Known – Book Three ISBN: 9781503166462, an e-book by Seth Mullins.
Plot: Brandon Chane from the small town of Sadenport, Oregon, suddenly explodes to superstar status in the tumultuous world of modern music. His rise is unexpectedly sudden and dependent upon a fine blending of serendipity, a shrewd manager and his remarkable ability both as a musician and to write beautifully descriptive poetry/lyrics. These latter are more especially the compelling factors in the band’s ascension because he can express thoughts of hope and despair that reach and vibrate in the minds of the young audiences now searching for the “underground music for listeners tired of being offered nothing but those from big business.” Journalisms’ coverage describes his ability as similar to a Shaman – “…put forth a dream that others can share in, so they become like a kind of tribe with a sense of unity”. Brandon is somewhat adverse to their description but admits that “Throughout our time in the studio, Tommy, Carlos and I transformed into mythic versions of ourselves; personalities that, though still grounded in the world of “facts”, nevertheless felt, at our backs, the will and creative outcry of a reality that was too deep, wide and unfathomable to be contained within any realm of fact.” His negativity toward being labeled a Shaman unfortunately is just one of many of the problems suffered by this very mentally disturbed individual who apparently had suffered greatly from a lack of familial closeness. He believed his mother had just ‘given up’ and died leaving him alone with an abusive father – a belief credibly understandable in an individual prone to the greater emotional sensitivity frequently attributed to persons of poetic and and/or musical abilities. The tale continues through much introspective activity by Brandon as the tours progress, introduces a number of interesting supportive characters and ends with an understandable conclusion. Additionally, although this is the third volume in the series, it stands well by itself.
Discussion: The author has provided perhaps the most comprehensible description/explanation for and of the seemingly mass hysteria that often accompanies performances of today’s performers of so-called underground or alternative music and of the performers themselves. They and their followers are of the generation(s) that never have acquired a firm basis upon which to build a life. For the abused the reaction is most easily understood. However what of the large numbers of these persons who are not from this group – those from the middle and upper strata of society? Perhaps a simple answer suffices. They never found the necessity of building a firm base because they have been provided with most of the amenities for teen-age life with seldom a denial. Thus, when they are faced with the uncertainties and turmoil rampant in today’s simple act of living – economic uncertainty, political unrest, angst, loss, conflict – they are lost and looking desperately for an answer, ANY answer and will “… accept an answer not so much because it is true but rather because it saves them from the discomfort of living an uncertainty.” “That’s pop culture for you and I’m speaking as one who was beloved by it.” Success came as a modern age witch doctor and “Songs addressed the crucial questions of what life and death were all about.”
Summary: An engaging tale of modern music, its performance and of a performer hungry to be heard, but strangely adverse to the attendant fame.
5* Fascinating examination of pop culture in a fictional offering.