Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Doukhobors and Tolstoy Inspire Novel

Prattis  book.jpeg
Book review of a "futuristic novel"
New Planet, New World
by Ian Prattis, 2016. 288 pages.

How can we build a sustainable community from scratch on a new planet? Dr. Prattis shows 'the demise of modern civilization' via climate change, violence, inequality, and wars on earth, and attempts to provide an innovative architecture for its resurrection on another planet.

This is Prattis’ third book of a trilogy titled:
Chronicles of Awakening
  • Book One: Redemption
  • Book Two: Trailing Sky Six Feathers
  • Book Three: New Planet, New World
Ian Prattis is a friend and retired Professor of Anthropology and Religion from Carleton University in Ottawa, Buddhist teacher, and author. His fictional novel New Planet New World was partially inspired with my help by the teachings of Lev N. Tolstoy and the Doukhobors. It offers hopeful solutions for our addiction to fossil fuels.

We got to know each other working on the annual Ottawa Peace Festivals for 10 years. Prattis, through his organization Friends of Peace hosted the largest gathering of musical performances at City Hall. I am glad he asked me about the Doukhobor Movement and Tolstoy and integrated the wisdom into his book.

In the book, the teachings of Doukhobors and Tolstoy relate to the central value of love, the willingness to cooperate and share, as well as compassion for humanity — values of gentleness, nonkilling and respect which provide hope for the creation of a society without wars.

In short, Earth is destroyed and rebuilt from scratch by '... protagonists ... from different centuries and cultures.' The hero Sian the Celtic seer works with Catriona, blood sisters, Four Hopi Sacred Keepers, Doukhobors, Tolstoy, and others. The survivors conquer the problems of individualism and greed that destroyed Earth, connect as human beings, reject self-centeredness and self-absorption, and take care of Nature.

After two stages of space flight, Prime 3 on Jupiter One Station had a change of crew of Americans replaced by a Chinese and Russian co-pilot from their respective Space Agencies. The Russian co-pilot was Nikolai Chutskov, with wife Elena and son Igor. In the attempted landing on a new planet there was an explosion and the parents were separated from their children, and some pioneers were killed. Two children Andrew and George who lost their parents were adopted by the Chutskovs.

At a meeting of the new settlement, Elk Village, Nikolai addressed the pioneers including Igor and his adopted children, saying they were descendants of the Russian Doukhobors who 'followed a path of peace' (pages 215-216):
The Doukhobors created a movement for peace ethics and community in nineteenth century Russia. They rejected both state militarism and the clergy. In 1895 they sent a strong message of protest by burning three piles of government-issued guns and swords to emphasize their ethics of non-killing and community. This immediately brought state persecution and exile. An initial migration of seven thousand five hundred Doukhobors to Canada soon followed with the help of Tolstoy....
Elena picked up the story. 'Tolstoy was an incredible philosopher and is regarded to this day as the conscience of humanity. He articulated the beliefs of the Doukhobor Movement in his prolific writings, referring to them as "people of the twenty fifth century," which is quite a statement about how they were ahead of their times. They had ethics, values, education and community-living bound up in a new paradigm that re-visits us today with the establishment of Oasis and the the two new settlements to be created at Crossroads and Black Elk Village. We are just hearing about them....'
Elena continued. 'Our ancestors did not migrate to Canada. They settled with other communities in Georgia and at the same time stayed true to their Doukhobor beliefs. This was passed down from generation to generation and came to rest with Nikolai and me. We chose to make a career as astronauts [cosmoauts] with the Russian Space Program rather than serve in the military....The Wisdom of the Elders fits the creed we were born into love, caring, ecology, community and peace....'
Prattis explained his inclusion of Tolstoy:
Ethical settlements grow as a mirror for Tolstoy's vision of 'people of the 25th century' – ahead of their time. ...The inclusiveness of science combines with Tolstoy's vision, ... The underlying message is from Tolstoy, the 'Conscience of Humanity.' He described humanity's bottom line as the cultivation of love, the mainspring for authentic and responsible living. I do not present this as idealism, rather as down to earth wisdom.
The narration is well-crafted, technologically knowledgeable, fast-paced, with twists and turns suitable for a movie. The characters are historically international. The problems to be solved are real — poverty, rape, jihadists, PTSD, hate, revenge, youth involvement, and more.

Mysticism combines with hi-tech. The power of extra sensory perception, dreams and creative breathing are explained. The previous 2 books provide Guidelines for organization, work, ceremony for people to mature, protocols for justice and relations with other people and all creatures and the land are discussed by Rising Moon, mother of Trailing Sky and others.

This is a book for our times which addresses Climate Change, violence, and mass murder wars; and is really about love.

Get it as a gift for your children whose future will depend upon how we handle our problems wisely in the spirit of knowledgeable and friendly humanity. Order from Amazon for Hardcover, Paperback or Kindle E-book editions. Soft cover $25 Canadian, plus S&H. If you order directly from Prattis you will receive a FREE copy of Redemption and Trailing Sky Six Feathers with your purchase!

Thank you Ian Prattis for writing your muse. I was glad to share my knowledge of Doukhobors and Tolstoy with you. My ancestors are honoured you heeded their wisdom.


  1. Fabulous review Koozma - thank you

  2. Hello Koozma
    A sustainable peaceful community can only be realized
    by obeying Gods laws.
    A.buy adhering to the ten commandments.
    B.Accepting Jesus Christ and his teachings on the
    sermon on the mount.
    all other ideas are are speculative they will not
    lead to a peaceful world.
    Peaceful regards
    Bill Kanigan Saskatoon