Faint gibbering heard from somewhere near the restricted stacks
Tag Archives: conspiracies
Even though so many past and present conspiracy theories are exercises in paranoia rather than history, there have been real conspiracies down through the years; it’s worth remembering that even the Bavarian Illuminati did actually exist at one point, and attempted (however clumsily) a program of political subversion in late eighteenth-century Germany. Distasteful as it may be to modern scholarship, the material is there, and needs to be dealt with.
This 2014 novel is the most recent Ken MacLeod book I’ve read, and it has some near-future optimism that has become dismayingly dated in the last seven years of climate catastrophe and global pandemic. But it’s not set in any particular year, and I guess the sort of sanguine pivot away from Neoliberal hell that it depicts is still imaginable.
The story is set firmly in MacLeod’s own Scotland throughout, and its central plotline involves a sort of phildickian epistemological struggle with ufology. It is recounted by the protagonist Ryan Sinclair, who begins (after telling of a recurrent dream) with his teenage close encounter. The book also involves a troubled love triangle of the sort that MacLeod has treated before in The Stone Canal, although this one is squared off more neatly.
The Orbit first edition hardcover I read made it seem like a much bigger book than it actually is, with heavy page stock and a generously-sized typeface. It’s a fast read, and entertaining throughout.
This trade paper volume collects all twelve issues of the third and final Invisibles series. New characters are introduced, and the boundaries between the various conspiracies motivating the action become ever more porous as the eschaton is immanentized.
The closing series of the comic—especially its last issues—suffers from a surfeit of artists. It gets to the point where a single illustrator rarely has contributed more than two or three pages in sequence. In some cases, a shift of artistic style seems to be deliberately communicating a shift of perspective, but these seem to be the minority, and the visual idiolects are so divergent that the reader must struggle to identify characters and settings in panel after panel.
Once in a while, I would pause and try to bring “beginner’s mind” to bear on the dialogue of the book (especially the pronouncements of “expert” protagonists like King Mob and Helga), and I found that it was mostly sesquipedalian gibberish. For better or for worse, though, it’s the sort of gibberish that my conditioned mind understands and enjoys.
These comic books were originally issued in 1999 and 2000, and they are very much a product of their time. No one could or would write this sort of thing today. Even though the essential fears expressed here remain in force, our political context has rather dampened and shifted the corresponding hopes. Another book from the same period that has dated similarly is Hakim Bey’s Millennium. I would contrast Morrsion’s more concentrated and coherent effort in The Filth, which addresses many similar themes. [via]
“The show begins, like all great shows, talking about how divine the number 12 is (“it’s both the beginning and the end of time!” crows the narrator, indicating belief in a clock-based theology far weirder than Deism). We then open into a secret clock-making room inside a 1938 Berlin church, where a priest demands 12 clockmakers hurry their clockmaking. The priest and another guy have a quick conversation about the world ending and the dead rising, and then visit a hospital where they visit an Evil Nazi Baby (“born of no womb!”) with all-white eyes.
Let me stop there for a second, to point out that this is the first two minutes of Zero Hour.
Cut to: A meeting of the Rosicrucians! They’re worried about the Nazis getting ahold of the hilariously unnamed “thing” beneath the cathedral (and its clockmaking center), which will of course mean the end of mankind. So some of the Rosicrucians drag a large wooden “thing” of a water of a tunnel below the church – it appears to be the size of a coffin for two, although I have no idea if that’s what it is – and flee, while the Nazis break into the church, kill everyone they see, and start shooting all the pictures and statues of Jesus and Mary. The priest manages to mutter “Not even God can help now; it’s up to the Twelve!” before expiring.”
“I fully admit I’m not a Rosicrucian, and I have little to no experience in vast, religious apocalyptic conspiracies. But I’d like to think that if some random kids knocked on my door, I would manage to keep my mouth shut about said giant vast, religious apocalyptic conspiracy to a bunch of complete strangers. I probably wouldn’t give them the job of saving the world, either. Norbert might as well have gone to a Bavarian 7-11 and chosen a couple of customers at random.” [via]