Mirror To The Sky

Mirror To The Sky, by Mark S. Geston, is another book that I read years ago and couldn't remember much about. At one level, it's the story of mankind's first encounter with aliens; the disruptions caused by the appearance of a highly advanced race and how both man and alien are changed. At another level, it's about how vision drives a people. The aliens, known only as "the Gods", are driven through space by a vision in a tryptich. Painted by their artist named "Blake", the work evokes a dark terror in most of the Gods who view it, as well as some humans. A terror of an "invincible threat" that they want to meet "as far away from home as possible" drives them farther and farther out into space. Every mother ship that leaves their world carries a copy of the tryptich to remind them of the reason for their journey.

Earth, unlike the aliens, has no comprehensive vision of their destiny. There is nothing to strive for, other than one's daily needs; nothing to drive a people to something greater than themselves. Until the alien artist "Rane" paints an even more powerful work than Blake's masterpiece.

Geston explores several interesting ideas. First, that art can be a source of truth. An idea that is increasingly seen as archaic in a scientific, technological, naturalistic age. Whether art reveals existing truth, or provides the impetus to create the truth, is left open. Second, are the various reactions to truth. Some are immediately struck by it. Others cannot see it at all. Some embrace it wholeheartedly and want to spread the word. Others are afraid and want to hide it.

The book leaves us with the notion that, in the end, the truth is inevitable. And the alien artist Blake was right. It is terrifying.

A conclusion that only solidified in my mind while writing this review. Some of us are slow to grasp the truth. But better late than never.

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