“Tales from the Other Side” by Paul Corson was designed as a companion piece to his “Regaining Paradise: Forming a New Worldview, Knowing God, and Journeying into Eternity”. While, the books are strong enough to stand as independent reads, when taken together, their message is elevated to the next level.
But first off, a few words about “Regaining Paradise”. This daring book goes beyond the curtain of materiality to tackle some of the biggest existential questions relying on personal experience, science, and rationality/logic, sprinkled with a little bit of imagination. Although the spark for this intellectual and spiritual quest lies in the three lived transcendental experiences of the author, he heavily relies on science to argue his perspective.
In “Tales from the Other Side”, Paul Corson delves deeper into his personal life, revealing instances of when the “Other Side” seeped into this side. These confessions and stories will enable the reader to have a more holistic view of the thought-process of his spiritual journey. The book is segmented into seven magical parts, of which five are autobiographical, the next part is a rather out of the ordinary conversation (between space travelers and stargazers) and the last part consists of fiction stories that form allegories.
The autobiographical parts present an apparently disjointed series of events subtracted from different periods of Paul Corson’s life. But these puzzle pieces fit the general pattern of a greater plan. These simple, every-day stories, with all too familiar “characters”, often defy expectations and explanations. Some events will give you the shivers, others might be amusing… but taken as a whole, they achieve two essential things: 1) elicit questions and curiosity and 2) draw attention to small good deeds. In my view, this is the greatest accomplishment of the book, to make the reader reflect on spiritual matters, but also encourage by example to do any and all good deeds, no matter how trivial they might seem.
The seventh part is also of particular interest, as the two mystical allegories are strikingly different from the previous parts of the book. The first story follows the re-start of civilization and its potential downfall. It is a telling narrative about human nature and its dual potential for good and evil. The second story is a science fiction tale, which revolves around a sentient planet, space travel, and telepathic communication. Paul Corson presents to us probably the two most important events in this lonely planet’s life, a first visit by space travelers, which opens up a new bright chapter for her; and a second visit from a more familiar planet, which might threaten to close that chapter.
All in all, “Tales from the Other Side” is a quick and easy read that (hopefully) leaves a lasting mark. The author does not attempt to mesmerize the reader with fancy linguistic or aesthetical feats, but rather he addresses the message in a direct and frank manner. Perhaps that is why it hits harder.