Published in 1995, Gene Brewer’s K-PAX in not easy to understand by every reader. It is a science fiction novel, first of its series of four books; elements of the unknown, the mysterious, and features of a fictional world beyond ours are being combined with what is common for us, the earthlings – feelings, emotion, and society.
The author introduces an occult character – “prot”. He is a “traveler from another world”, or that is what he claims to be. He is placed in a mental institution for he is thought to be – simply put in human terms – crazy, and he becomes a patient of one Dr. Gene Brewer. With every session between the two of them, more and more of the puzzle is being revealed. The book is written in first person, presented through the eyes and experiences of the psychiatrist, named after the author himself. He presents a lot of details and actual places and people, which all contributes to the realistic nature of the story.
However, it is far from being ordinary. With each all one-on-one conversation, the “alien” reveals more about himself and where he comes from. The psychiatrist’s thought greatly add up to the doubt and suspicion, left in the reader’s mind. The patient reveals that he is from the planet K-PAX and that his name is prot… simply prot – no capitalization, no first/last name differentiation. It also becomes clear that human customs, like social interaction, family, marriage, and all that we have grown fond of are not present in his civilization. Dr. Brewer’s interest in his patient becomes stronger and he plays along, satisfying the curious nature of both of them.
Their quest of finding out the truth is captivating and intriguing, holding on the reader’s attention, leading on to new views on the world humans live in. K-PAX makes the reader think, makes him realize the important things in life. The author presents those alternatives and observations on what we take for granted with the sole purpose of showing the essence itself of who and what we are – the people of one world.
In 2001 a movie after Gene Brewer’s novel of the same name was released and it allowed for a fairly good visualization of this fantastic story. Having in mind that the movie was greatly appreciated by its audience, this means only one thing for the book it came from – a complete marvel. The whole series is a must-read sequence that fully develops prot’s mysterious origin, life, and even future, as well as the human relations with the outer world.