While the presentation of this heartfelt and deeply philosophical science fiction novel is flawed, its message – touting the healing power of love and kindness – is undeniably powerful.
Ogos is a sentient tree rooted in Manhattan. He is an alien with mystical abilities who was sent to Earth on an “exploratory scientific mission of mercy” to help humankind save itself by combating misery with love and compassion. Covertly healing those humans who visit him in the park, Ogos – along with his two robotic assistants Diling and Dilong – becomes emotionally connected to some of those unfortunates that he helps: Cham, a homeless man whose brain was damaged from shock treatment experiments; Vic, a vigilante who stole millions from a local gang lord, etc.
When Ogos receives a communication that his mission is completed and that he should return home, he is devastated. He returns to his home world and is lauded for his work, but all he can think about are his friends back on Earth and his desire to be with them again.
The overarching theme of this novel is crystal clear: “For every good deed, there is one less evil act… people alone have the power to control the balance between good and malevolence.” Additionally, the character of Ogos is endearing and edifying. Unfortunately, the science fiction elements are weak. For example, the mode of transportation through space (the Transporter Quorum) and the method in which Ogos becomes human (the Transubstantiation Super Modern Technique ) are poorly explained and come across as gibberish. Also, there are niggling blunders in the narrative, such as how $5 million in cash can fit into one bank bag.
Ultimately these are minor flaws. In this genre dominated by tales of the apocalypse and visions of dystopia, this novel’s message about the redemptive power of love is like a shining light in all the darkness.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.