Fantasy and Mystery in a Sea of Self- Discovery

Fantasy and Mystery in a Sea of Self- Discovery

The Anastasia Project
by Loren John Presley is a science fiction fantasy that is both heartwarming and heart wrenching. The author takes us on a fantastic journey told through the eyes of a dolphin named Anastasia. The reader is introduced to Anastasia as a lost, lonely, and confused dolphin who awakens from a strange sleep. She can’t retrieve her memories or recall her name and doesn’t recognize her surroundings.

On the surface the story is presented as a dolphin’s mysterious adventure but there is a deeper meaning to be found in this dolphin’s tale. The author is also giving the reader a glimpse into his struggles with Clinical Depression. The dolphin travels deep into the ocean in search of her home, which is a metaphor for the author’s experience dealing with depression that sent him descending into the depths of despair “…all the way down to the dimly lit ocean floor.” Anastasia and Presley draw upon their strengths and courage to persevere and navigate through their strange new worlds. Both the dolphin and the author are on personal quests. As Anastasia searches for her lost memories and the safety of home, Presley is on his own mission of self-discovery and on his way to self-acceptance.

Presley portrays Anastasia feelings of hopelessness with her futile exploration of the ocean, “She almost would have liked to give up, not thinking of what she would do with herself if she did, but she felt inside she had to keep going. She must see herself through. Her innate determination would not let her give in so easily.”

Presley’s rare insights can be attributed to his unique personal perspective living on the autism spectrum with the diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome. The author describes a common autistic trait through the dolphin’s experience with auditory sensitivities, “The shrill ring pierced her sound-sensitive brain and throbbed sorely in her head.”

The author expresses Anastasia’s loneliness and her desire for a sense of belonging, “Although a sense of serenity and beauty suffused the water and the reef, a disquieting sense of fear began to rise in her core; she found that she was alone.”

The Anastasia Project is written for young readers but I would recommend it to any adult who feels young at heart. The book is well written and eloquently descriptive. A delightful attention to detail can be seen with the bonus of wonderful illustrations sketched by the talented artists, Loren John Presley and Robyn Olague.

If you have an appreciation for science fiction or you have a particular affinity for dolphins then this read will keep you riveted. If you are interested to learn from the author’s mixture of creative interpretation and personal experience dealing with Asperger’s Syndrome and Clinical Depression then this book is a definite must read. Loren John Presley is a unique author and artist with a brilliant mind, a creative spirit, an artistic flair, and so many insights to share! Fans of Presley’s writing will be looking forward to more stories from him in the near future.

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