Book Excerpt Edge of Civilization

9 Apr


Book Excerpt

Stars radiated brilliantly against the night sky, extending to the horizon. Only the whites of a man’s eyes were visible. Some cultures studied the stars to find inspiration for man’s morality, casting many of these stars into gods. Other people created stories that foretold of mankind’s future; warned of pending doom. To many, it was a wish for love. For the man who now gazed upon these stars, it was an occupation for an otherwise meaningless existence.

The stars in the sky reflected in his dilated pupils. “Andromeda, you are shining brightly in Pegasus tonight. If only I can find you, my lady,” he said, and meditated quietly about the day he might find a woman to love.

Turning his gaze once again to the sky, he witnessed a shooting star. Using an antique, monocular telescope, he studied the sky and imagined deeper into the solar system—meteors showered down upon Mars, Venus rotated around a thickening atmosphere, and Mercury spun quickly to avoid the damaging solar flares.

He conceived deeper into the universe. Seas of indigo appeared dotted with distant stars and pale colored planets—distant galaxies with lives of their own. Spiraling cones extended deep into black holes. Matrix of white lights created webs, signifying everything was connected.

Focusing harder with forced intent, the bulging eyeballs concentrated on one particular galaxy as if studying an amoeba in a Petri dish. Bright colors emerged—flashes of pink, orange and green. The beautiful sight pulled the man, even closer to finding whizzing objects and spinning orbs, proof life existed elsewhere.

The light of a flashlight shone on the yellowing pages of a weathered journal. Long, wrinkled fingers flipped through the pages to an empty page. On a blank page, he wrote,

Spinning seas of pink and gold

Tell the fortunes of young and old

Fates sealed before our birth

With destined outcomes here on Earth.


Suddenly a blinding white light bore down, exposing the man whose age was difficult to determine. In the light, lines of deep wrinkles appeared on the man’s face, His hazel eyes now shone steel gray, and his hair was white. He appeared no different than a ghost.

The man shielded himself under the light that hovered above. Gawping upward, he saw the light flash in spiraling circles and emitting a deep, thumping sound. He reached his arms upward toward the light. “Take me with you! I’m here! I’ve been waiting for so long! Please, take me with you!”

Above he saw a shape that appeared human in form, but the head was stretched width wise, bug eyes and long pointed chin. When the searchlights left him to scour the landscape, he slumped to his heels. “I’m here. Can’t you see me? I’m here!”

The bright, pulsating object hovered over the desert floor. What was once absorbed by the peaceful darkness was now exposed under the light. An abandoned silver mine was illuminated. The flickering light brought the mine to life. Rusted iron conveyors traveled independently into the darkness of a fabricated cavern. The wheel of the windmill turned with an eerie whine.

Tumbleweeds waved in the strong wind generated by the aircraft. Jackrabbits and mice took refuge in high grass while snakes and scorpions slithered under rocks. The man watched his habitat in chaos—earthly creatures running for their lives and inanimate man-made objects coming into a life of their own.

Dejection filled the man’s chest. He sat slumped in complete darkness. All was black again, except for the whites of his eyes that showed pain and suffering. Moments ago, he was one with the universe, now he belonged nowhere. How quickly the feeling of belonging comes and goes. He sulked, questioning his reality and his sanity.

Edge of Civilization

Edge_of_Civilization_amazonTitle: Edge of Civilization

Author: Jennifer Ott

Genre: Literary Fiction

Earl Hollsopple lived on the edge of civilization in a deserted shack for nearly forty years. His life was one beautiful night of stargazing after another, until a helicopter flies overhead, and exposed his meager world. It is a sign; it is time for him to return to civilization.

Unknowingly, Earl’s journey parallels another he had deeply repressed, and that is his return from the Vietnam War. The lone survivor of a plane crash, Earl waits for rescue that never comes. He is left to find his way home alone.

 On his quests, old Earl and young Earl learn lessons of survival, overcoming isolation and handling conflicts; his travels teach him not just about himself, but humankind. Reaching pivotal points in both journeys, Earl meets fateful loves, leading to destinies that are ultimately intertwined.

Everything in life circles until we are able to answer the riddles that plaque man and humanity. Only until we take the journey, solve the problems of our own existence, do we find our way home.


Author Bio

Bio PicsmInspiration comes from watching way too much Monty Python. The abstract and the absurd way of looking at normal life, not only offers humor, but questions many problems in society in a light-hearted manner. If we can laugh at ourselves, if we can laugh at life, problems do not seem quite so difficult to tackle.  In fact, problems are not as complicated as they seem; everything is very simple. If you can laugh at it, write about it and read about it, most likely one would think about it.

Author Jennifer Ott has written several satire fiction, Wild Horses, The Tourist and two non-fiction books Love and Handicapping and Ooh Baby Compound Me! She recently published, Serenidipidus and Edge of Civilization. She also is the host of the SuperJenius Internet Radio show on Artist First radio Network.

Jennifer Ott lives in Long Beach, California, enjoys the sun, the sand, the surf and lots of Mexican food.




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