Foreword Reviews

Permanent Waves

Volume I: Indriya

2016 INDIES Finalist
Finalist, Fantasy (Adult Fiction)

This daring work of science fiction takes notions of eternal recurrence in fantastical new directions.

Sankara Saranam’s Permanent Waves is an intricate cosmological adventure in which the origins and future of universal life are bound up in one personality, who is charged with the incomprehensible task of eternal preservation.

As a powerful priestess, Evenshar, gazes into the water, her lover plunges a knife into her back, initiating a bloody end to a matriarchal temple culture. Yet this event is more significant than its momentary and horrific violence. As her murderer discovers, Evenshar’s death is destined to reverberate across eons, connecting humanity’s beginnings to its possibly universally significant ends.

Indriya does not know why he is condemned to carry his memories from life to life, encountering incarnations of his murdered beloved across millennia. At first, that attachment is a burden; he is overwhelmed by guilt toward each version of the priestess, who recurs as his lover, his daughter, and his wife.

On a scale of thousands of years, matriarchal and patriarchal power oscillate, all within Indriya’s sight. But respite comes once he recognizes that there’s more at play in his reincarnation than just the tragic story of one couple. A yogi, his Fegg guide across centuries, helps Indriya unlock the truth underlying it all.

Humanity advances, and Evenshar’s incarnations lead to Petra, a gifted retooler who pushes humanity back toward Mars. There, the Dragon Event, an event horizon tied into the fabric of all, lies dormant. Awakened, it could result in a Dewah, a being as enlightened and powerful as a god. Or, Indriya worries, it could unmake everything.

Permanent Waves is a narrative etiology, a work that develops its own metaphysical vision and then nourishes it, through rich details, toward magnificent fruition. As the novel moves from ancient Egypt to Martian expeditions, the roots of humanity come into relief, as do the abilities of attuned individuals to affect them.

A complex and awe-inspiring picture emerges, in which infinitesimal moments carry universal magnitude. The novel marches human beings toward both enlightenment and their possible undoing, jumping across the universe and through time with alacrity and confidence.

The first sections are given to Indriya’s development on Earth and on Mars, and they set a firm and provocative foundation for the great leaps that follow. Later portions of the book are devoted to setting the stage for a cosmological showdown with beings from a universe beyond our own.

These final segments are dialogue-heavy and boundary-pushing, with visions so complex they must be mulled over rather than absorbed. Language is heavily theoretical, and leaps in the story occur quickly, but all challenges yield narrative and philosophical rewards.

Permanent Waves is a daring work of science fiction that takes notions of eternal recurrence in fantastical new directions while testing the boundaries of human imagination with continual surprises.

Reviewed by Michelle Anne Schingler

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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