We’re so excited to bring you this exclusive excerpt of Songs of Thalassa by Brian Tissot, out may 20th!
About Songs of Thalassa:
In a future where sporting competitions take place on distant planets, a Hawaiian surfer seeks to reclaim her fame and followers while defeating her nemesis once and for all.
After a surfing accident claims her career and nearly takes her life, surfer Sage Thompson is at a crossroads. Still mourning her astronaut father’s death on a mission to ocean planet Thalassa, a tragedy she might be able to put behind her with the help of her fans—if they still believed in her—she’s not sure what to do, where to go, or how to move on. But when Milo challenges her to a contest on the ocean planet Thalassa, the asteroid- and tsunami-ravaged world that stole her father, she’ll discover that she not only still has what it takes to win, but once she hears the songs of Thalassa, winning might not be the most important thing.
Sage’s fear evaporated as she accelerated through the air and realized her fate was out of her control. Her feet hit the surface with a tremendous force, and she plummeted deep into the cold, dark-blue water. Pain shot through her feet and legs and her ears popped as she descended far below the surface. Looking up, she saw sunlight streaming toward her. I survived the fall! Surfacing on the turbulent sea, she took a deep breath as a strong current pushed her across the narrow channel toward the towering clifs of the mainland. Swimming to avoid the clif, she recalled her dream of an all-powerful, dark, stormy sea. This time she relaxed, stopped swimming, and accepted the current for what it was: her path forward. Wherever it led, she would go.
The ocean blasted her directly toward the hard, steep wall, and she braced for a collision. But as she neared the rocky clif, a sinking current pulled her beneath the surface. Pitch black and cold, her heart pounding in her chest, she began to struggle for air but felt only rock above her. There’s no way out! As she recalled her free diving training, she relaxed, calmed her heart, and let the current carry her along. She had learned that the science was simple: if she didn’t silence her fear and slow her heart, she would suck up too much oxygen and die. Drifting along in the darkness, she awaited her fate.
Seconds later, she emerged in an air pocket and took a deep breath in a small dark cave. Her respite was brief as the current propelled her through a low, narrow passage. She thrust her hands above her head and felt the cave roof dropping lower, eventually forcing her to submerge into the darkness. As she plummeted deep underwater once again, her ears popped and she tumbled helplessly deep into the blackness. She relaxed and cleared her mind. On the edge of fear, she accepted her path. She could feel the long repeated submergences altering her perception as she teetered on the edge of blacking out. I’m in Thalassa’s womb, she thought. The feeling was primal—die or be reborn—and she surrendered to the power of the sea.
A light caught her eye in the darkness as she saw a narrow vertical shaft filled with brilliant beams above. She swam toward it and noticed countless creatures floating peacefully in the narrow space: dime-sized versions of the green amoeba-plankton, copious jellies, and innumerable tiny transparent pika, and larval mantis squid bristling with appendages pulsing through the water, and a whole array of small creatures she’d never seen before. As she ascended toward the light, the living soup of creatures gently brushed against her. Surfacing inside a massive cavern, she took a huge breath. After her long submergences, it was a breath of life, and she felt resurrected into a new awareness.
Looking up, she saw rays beaming down from a skylight in the roof of the cave. Replenished and curious, she dove underwater and floated among the myriad current-fung creatures gently swirling around her; mixed in a sea of fine bubbles, their touch was an intensely personal experience. Here, in this moment, she was one creature among many and felt fully connected to the Thalassian sea and its life. All were one, just like the lichens, and they were aware of her. They’ve accepted me! Her hands moved gracefully through the crystal-clear water as animals spun softly around them. Her hair entangled with sea life, and her feet created eddies, with small creatures circling in the whorls. It was her harmonious dance with life.
Surfacing again, she felt the primacy of a deep, life-giving breath and her connection to the ‘āina of Thalassa. The sun warmed her face amid the cool mist of the cave; the warm fragrance of the land floated down, mixing with the cold, sharp scent of the sea. The whistle of the wind blowing outside blended with the water lapping against the walls of the cave and the distant sound of waves crashing against clifs. Tasting her salty fngers, she remembered foreseeing this moment when touching the holoscreen: spiny creatures pulsing through crystal-clear water. It was a primal moment—it felt electric—as the energy of the sun, the wind, and the waves, all washed through her and the creatures touching her. She felt their living sparks, their spirits, as she had with the love and music of the Nesoi. Each creature had its own soul; each unique but connected by a web of energy, a galactic fabric of consciousness.
I belong, and I’m connected. This feeling is what I’ve missed. This feeling is what I’ve yearned for deep in my heart. I lost this from my Hawaii ‘ohana. But here I am at home. Here I feel complete, whole, and vibrant. We are all connected; these are my ‘ohana. We are from the same source, all born in the same universe. And here on Thalassa, I am part of that, just like on Earth. The web of life is much bigger than any human could have imagined.
Looking down on the water’s calm surface, she saw her refection and her old self. As she opened her heart to the power of her new awareness, she saw the shadows of her past for what they were. But now I’ve said my good-byes and made peace with my regrets. Now it’s time to move on.
Treading water, her breaths deepened as she grasped the reality of her new path. I have to let the negative feelings go and live in love, and embrace the passion, the aloha, bottled up inside me for so long.My god, how I’ve missed these feelings, this love for everything. My heart was empty, but now it’s full of light, of love, of hope, of connection. I’m full of joy for this planet. I want to give my aloha; I want to give everything I have to the Nesoi, to these creatures, and this world. I belong here. This is my path. Thalassa is my home. I embrace that.
Everything was singing in this cavern of light. This sanctuary for life was a cathedral that honored the sacred consciousness of Thalassa. Sage felt that the veil between the physical and spiritual realms was thin here. Here I almost see the pulsing fabric of the universe; I feel it flowing through the water, the rocks, the wind, the web of life, and through me. Despite all the hardships she had to endure to get here, she felt like the luckiest soul in the galaxy. And she wouldn’t have made it if not for the Nesoi. Wow, through their songs and spirit they symbolize the glory of the planet and its place in the universe. And I’m part of their ‘ohana, and I feel their aloha. All these creatures are special, and Thalassa is extraordinary.
She began spinning joyously in the water as the creatures swirled around her like a cloud of life. My path led me here. This is my home, and I embrace the planet and its life. Then she stopped. Looking up at the warm, brilliant light she refected on the signifcance of her decision. But I may never see Earth again. She felt her heart breaking as she thought of her
beautiful home island, her mother, and her ‘ohana. I’m sorry, Tutu; I can’t protect the ‘āina of my home world. I can’t pass on the old wisdom and save Hawaii. My destiny is my own, and it’s here. I will live among these creatures in joy and love, and I will protect them. Yes, by nurturing and caring for them, through mālama ‘āina, I will stay and guard them with my life. There is no one else!
Accepting her life’s path, she screamed in joy, “I am Thalassian!”
As her voice echoed through the cavern, suddenly, as if to answer her call to the planet, a sound emanated from the water, and she felt it move through her body. Its source was far away and faint, an eerie sound, deep, mournful cries pierced by the high-pitched wails. It was like the Nesoi but richer, deeper, stronger. The sounds were so powerful it overwhelmed her as she floated in the tranquil cavern among the sea of creatures. She held her head underwater, afraid to move lest the sounds stopped. As the song grew in intensity, she became dazed by its beauty as a wave of bliss swept through her body. Although she didn’t understand the words, she felt its meaning. It was the sound of love, if such a sound could exist, and yearning for lost love. To her, it was the sound of her dreams—pure aloha.
For a minute she just foated, quietly grabbing a breath then slipping underwater, intensely focused on the song, fascinated by its depth and complexity as it grew in volume. A few notes sounded familiar, and an idea began to crystallize in her mind about their meaning, but when she surfaced, she heard something exhale loudly behind her in the large cavern. Turning around, she was awestruck by the sight before her: a large whale, dark on top with a white underbelly.
About the Author:
Dr. Tissot is a marine ecologist and professor living in a small coastal town in the far Northern California. As a scientist and surfer, he has dedicated his life to exploring the world’s waves and oceans and leading research on coral reefs and the deep sea.