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A New Visitor From The Constellation Lyra

Gene Brewer
Xlibris paperback £21.99

review by Mike Philbin

"Hurry, hurry, hurry, only one more week!"

Do you remember the film K-PAX (2001) starring Kevin Spacey in the role of prot, and Jeff Bridges as the staff psychiatrist? Well, K-PAX the film was based on the first book of the K-PAX trilogy, where the reader was presented with an in-depth psycho-analytical examination of this allegedly-off-world visitor, prot.

Manhattan Psychiatric Institute's staff psychiatrist Dr Gene Brewer, the lead character in his own books, did a good job of dealing with 'Dremer' prot's periodic comings and goings on his so-called 'beam of light' but he never fully resolved his assertion that prot was really just a clever manifestation of his multiple-personality patient, Robert Porter.

The prot personality was a solar-light-sensitive voraciously-fruit-chomping sexual-abstainer from the binary system planet of K-PAX, an enlightened world where "you don't need commerce" ... "everybody knows the difference between right and wrong", and "everybody learns from everybody else". Prot's been back to Earth three times in the last decade to answer Robert Porter's cries for help but he won't be coming back again.

In K-PAX IV (A New Visitor From The Constellation Lyra), prot sends his friend 'fled' to 'keep Dr Brewer company' - I'm being sarcastic!

Fled is a totally different creature from prot, she's hairy as an ape, she's outspoken and she really enjoys having sex; that's how it is with 'Trod's.

From the get-go, I felt very comfortable with K-PAX IV, Gene Brewer's writing style has lost none of its panache and intelligence. Most notable in this Xlibris edition is Brewer's increased sense of humour, it's like the liberation from a mainstream publisher, while denting his exposure, has allowed him to 'write as he wants'. This feels like a far less restricted book than the previous three - anything is possible, in terms of prose, laughs, and pathos. I particularly like the clandestinely comical (if truly sinister) CIA double act, Dartmouth and Wang.

Fled has a mission to save 100,000 people from a coming apocalypse. She puts out the word through the global media and has a website offering EARTHLINGS, FREE TRIP TO K-PAX. It's all very corporate and seedy, because that's all a dumbed-down mainstream-media-poisoned humanity understands, the leering carrot dangle approach to truth. Soon after her arrival fled falls pregnant. Soon she's the star of magazine and TV news but will fled get herself in front of the UN to deliver "prot's nine suggestions" speech to the six billion people of planet Earth?

You may be reading this review with the misconception that K-PAX IV's a mishmash of the Charlotte Rampling film Max, Mon Amour (1986), or the Charlie Kaufman film Human Nature (2001), or the Peter Jackson film King Kong (2005). But let's try to get our heads around the simple fact that the central figure who's been sent here to save 100,000 people from a cursed earth is a fully expressive and seductive female chimpanzee called 'fled'.

K-PAX IV turns out to be a very emotional read, especially when fled starts to undergo hypnotherapy and has a special helper to decode her alter-egos. I challenge any reader to not shed a tear on page 98, as Brewer's imagined world seems so real, yet surreal.

Admittedly, many of the fictional meanderings of prot - and now fled - reflect my recent thoughts about a Free Planet stripped of arbitrary corporate rule-sets and ambitious despots keen to control every single asset on this slave-raped planet.

It's time to de-mothball the film project K-PAX (after prot) as the hype surrounding Tron: Legacy proves that recent Oscar-winner Jeff Bridges is - a) still a hot Hollywood property and - b) could expertly play this 'coming out of retirement' role. It's time to tell the world how close we are to real disaster on this planet. And don't worry about a convincing performance from a digital sex monkey, Avatar's 'Netyri' has already proven that rendered can be as sexy as real. The voice-actor for 'fled' needs to be something like a young Kathleen Turner - knowledgeable, vivacious, assured.

Ironically, as it deals with alternative identities, this series of K-PAX books is Gene Brewer's own perfectly rendered delusion; it's so believable, though, you just keep turning the pages wondering how planet Earth will resolve itself.

K-PAX IV is a totally absorbing, adult read for all denominations to enjoy and learn from.


copyright © 2001 - Pigasus Press