Score: 90/100 (9.0 out of 10)
Journeys to Other Planets is an interesting mind-bending book that documents many of Mary's psychic dream visions (called “journey dreams”) that she started having after a near-death experience.
Shockingly, this is one of many similarly-themed books that we've read this year, along with books like My Imaginary Friend by Thomas Wermuth, Unbearable Burden by Krista Isaacson, and A Voice from Heaven by Alexander & Cynthia Girman.
This shouldn't be too surprising since the afterlife and what happens when we die has fascinated (and continues to fascinate) humanity since the dawn of time. Other questions that fascinate humanity and that are explored in this book are:
We also get glimpses into the realm of the angels. Now, something that immediately jumped out to us is that—despite God being viewed as powerful and gentle—and despite the multiple examples of Judeo-Christian-like imagery, this book is far from a Judeo-Christian-like book, something that really sets it apart from other books about the afterlife.
This book isn't for the prudish or for the faint at heart either.
There's a lot of violence and A LOT of sex. In fact, sex and sexuality are constant factors in almost every journey dream. Even the alien bug is presented as having sex almost immediately! Characters or figures in these journey dreams are constantly either hooking up to have sex, being taken away to have sex, or involved in orgies (of some sort).
Many of the earlier journey dreams involve some sort of sexual exploitation, which can be triggering to some. In one example, Mary is in the body of a man who has the ability to intervene and to stop his followers from sexually assaulting a girl, but he turns the other way. The author feels sympathy and regret, but is unable to control or alter the course of events. A similar thing occurs when Mary finds herself in the body of the mother of a German officer who is tied to a gate and forcefully drowned in France. She wishes she had the ability to protect him, but she can't.
We can't help but shake the feeling that some of these journey dreams are Freudian-Lacanian sexual fantasies. So many of them involve the narrator either being a sexually-desirable high-born girl or a sexually-desirable rural peasant who catches the eye of a wealthy and/or powerful person. In very few of these journey dreams is the narrator not sexually-desirable, except for maybe being the mother of the German officer. It just seems really hopeful and idealistic, perhaps overly so. The line between fiction/fantasy and non-fiction/reality is very blurred. Even as an alien bug, the narrator is sexually-desirable!
However, you can tell that the narrator is wrestling with some of those questions herself. She tries to “reflect” or make sense of these weird dreams, and it's clear that she isn't 100% sure about her conclusions. For example, she concludes that the “Desert King” in her dreams is, in fact, the devil—El Diablo himself. We're not sure if that's what we concluded, but Mary seems to have an instinct to sense these things.
Not all of this book involves the dream journeys. Some of it involves the narrator's ability to sense the spirits of the dead via ESP. In particular, Mary is often stalked by red-haired spirit and an “accomplice.” Mary regains contact with her late mother, something which becomes relevant throughout the book as her mother becomes a kind of guide, alongside Mary's guardian angel.
This book is probably better written than My Imaginary Friend by Thomas Wermuth (a comparable book), although narratively it is a bit more disjointed. The writing, grammar, and formatting are mostly solid. However, there are a few errors here and there. For example, “I felt such a failure” should be “I felt like such a failure.” However, these things are minor.
This could be a fascinating read for those into ESP, psychic phenomenon, ghosts, the afterlife, and other worlds.
Check it out on Amazon!