Firstly, I'd like to apologise if this review sounds like total gibberish. I've just finished this book and had to take the time to review it. This work has affected me on a much deeper level than anything I've read in a long time. Wow! Just wow!
Wow. Wow. Wow.
At first, I thought this book was a crazy, trippy sci-fi adventure. And while it is that, it's so, so much more.
We start this story with our main character, John DiFool, coming into possession of the White Incal. It appears that everyone wants it because of the power it has. The next few chapters have him running from those who seek to possess the Incal.
The white Incal has an opposite - the black Incal, and when the two come together, they create an almighty, omnipotent entity that guides the main characters through the story. They create God, Allah (insert deity here). The unification of the black and white Incal is everything. Together they are the highest consciousness.
During the story, a darkness is spreading and the main characters are driven to fight it. There are seven main characters in total, but the POV character is the everyman John DiFool.
As the darkness spreads, it turns out that the only way to survive is for humanity to come together as one. To evolve into a collective consciousness. The way humanity can do this is to fall into a meditative state called the Theta Dream. With only 22 days to make it happen, John DiFool tries to escape and sate his base human desires for sex and intoxication, but his destiny is greater than that. Humanity's destiny is greater than that.
It's John who's tasked with going to a planet of 87 billion humans, that he spawned, to convince them to enter the Theta Dream. He's met with the scepticism of those detached from their own spirituality, possibly a representation of society as it is now. But he eventually persuades them.
Once the humans enter this meditative state, we see the seven main characters move to a higher spiritual plain that takes them into the darkness. Behind it is light. All of the characters, other than John, embrace the light and become one with it. Letting go of their temporary physical forms and giving themselves over to the eternal. They understand that their physical manifestation is not who they are. They see how interconnected everything is. John is the only one that resists. I see John as a representation of humanity, holding onto the physicality of his being through fear of losing his individuality, while the others see that loss of individuality as freedom. As evolution.
John meets with God and we see God reborn and returned as a baby. The representation of a new universe born out of the destruction of an old one. John is then sent back to earth with the order to remember his meeting with God. His higher purpose. To remember what humanity is capable of and where we will inevitably go.
I once heard the story of Adam and Eve described as humanity falling from their higher spiritual purpose. As Eve's eating of the forbidden fruit representing humanity succumbing to material and base desires rather than higher spiritual ones. Reading The Incal made me think of this interpretation. John DiFool is humanity out of touch with spirituality. John DiFool is Adam. The story in the Incal is one of human evolution. Of our inevitable evolution. Our inevitable awakening.
This book blew my mind. My only criticism is that it will make so many other works feel empty by comparison.