Where It Rains in Color by Denise Crittendon
Book Review by Kristine Madera
Everything is now…this idea is at the heart of this imaginative story. Contemporary Earth and the mythology of the (real) Dogon tribe of Mali seed the world of Swazembi, where the distant descendants of the Dogon live. Lileala, a “Rare Indigo” beauty connects with this history and even interacts with it in a way that heals the many wounds of the past and creates a better, more compassionate, wise, and inclusive alliance once Lileala has faced adversity to bring her true gifts and beauty to her world.
Many describe this book as dystopian. I completely disagree. One of the reasons I was attracted to this book is that the story isn’t the usual epic sci-fi good versus evil with its flashy weapons and tech, and entrenched social or technical problems that the heroes need to correct.
Crittendon creates an extraordinary world of sensation and beauty and vibrational (color, light, sound) technology that interconnects a Coalition that mostly works well and is peaceful and functional. The critical problem (that comes back to bite them) is that they have excluded the Kclab, who would like to join it. The Kclab bargain for entry by offering a cure for the keloids that suddenly mark Lileala as well as others in the Coalition, and require that those they treat come to a stark asteroid for several weeks where life is challenging but not a horror show.
On this asteroid, Lileala faces both the inner and outer adversity that marks the classic dark night of the soul, where she connects with her distant ancestry, confronts her own shortcomings, and cultivates the wisdom and compassion that she herself needs to live her true beauty, and that she can then help the world she comes from to adopt in order to step into a better version of itself.
To me, this is a new flavor of story that I want to see more of (and write myself) called protopian, which, though coined by Wired’s Kevin Kelly in 2009 is new enough that it is consistently autocorrected to protozoan. The essence of protopian stories is that they imagine a better but evolving and imperfect future, rather than the dystopian or occasionally utopian stories that most sci-fi and spec-fi focus on.
One challenge with protopain stories that I hope will improve over time is that they can read like intricate parables with less-dimensional characters than gritty stories with gritty characters. This falls into that category, though I still highly recommend this book for the new style of story-telling and the extraordinary imagination of bridging the Dogon and their connection to a star that has only been known to science for a few decades, with the deep-seated problems of our contemporary and recent (300-400 years) history and a world of beauty, grace, confederation, and community in a way that demonstrates that everything really is now.
Kristine Madera is a #1 bestselling Amazon author, novelist, hypnotherapist, and pro-topian with a passion for helping people better themselves and the world. Informed by global travel, teaching abroad, and a stint as a Peace Corps Volunteer, Kristine believes that everyone plays a part in imagining and creating our collective future.
Volunteering at Mother Teresa’s Home for the Dying in Calcutta inspired her novel, God in Drag. She birthed her upcoming novel, The Snakeman’s Wife, as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Papua New Guinea.
Read the first chapter of God in Drag HERE