Tag Archives: Science fiction

Omnium Gatherum: June 4th, 2014

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for June 4th, 2014

Justin Ng digitally composed star trail photography
Stunning Digitally Composited Star Trail Photos [by Justin Ng] of the Night Sky over Singapore” — EDW Lynch, Laughing Squid

 

  • Transtheism or Numinalism” — April D DeConick, Forbidden Gospels Blog

    “I am continuing to think about this word that we don’t yet have to describe a religious point of view that sees all conventional religions as inadequate human constructions, that have not been able to communicate the experience of an ultimate reality that transcends us. […] I am thinking now about these possibilities: 1. Transtheism […] 2. Numinalism”

  • Free” — Michael Gilleland, Laudator Temporis Acti

    “Be not of any Faction: A wise Man is always free.”

  • ‘Muslim Gospel’ Revealing the ‘Christian Truth’ Excites the Da Vinci Code Set: Jesus Christ on a Cross: Not.” — Annette Yoshiko Reed, Religion Dispatches

    “For [John] Toland, this was not just another apocryphon. From this ‘Turkish Gospel being fathr’d upon Barnabas,’ he claimed to have been led to recover “the original plan of Christianity” as centered on Jewish-Christian beliefs that ‘Jesus did not take away or cancel the Jewish Law in any sense whatsoever.’

    This, Toland argued, was the very oldest form of Christianity, only it was lost to history when ‘converts from the Gentiles… did almost wholly subvert’ it. On the basis of the Gospel of Barnabas, Toland characterized the most ancient Christianity as harmonious with Islam as well: its account of Jesus, after all, was perfectly conformable to the traditions of the Mahometans [i.e., Muslims], who maintain that another was crucified in his stead; and that Jesus, slipping thro’ the hands of Jews, preach’d afterwards to his disciples, then was taken to heaven.”

    “At least from the evidence now at hand, there’s little to support the theory that the GBarn is authentically ancient. The question, rather, is why this possibility continues to arise again and again despite the paucity of evidence. Why is the idea of this gospel—and speculation about its possible suppression—so compelling to modern readers? How has on-line speculation about a Syriac manuscript of an obscure apocryphon risen to the status of e-Rumor, spreading widely through social media and persisting for years?”

  • Virginia County Board: Followers Of ‘Pre-Christian Deities’ Forbidden To Deliver Opening Prayers” — Matt Staggs, disinformation

    “… I’m assuming deities contemporaneous with Christianity are just fine, so grab your Pope cards and take the next flight to Chesterfield, Subgenii: These folks clearly need ‘Bob’ and his redeeming message of Slack.”

  • Leonardo Ulian’s Technological Mandalas Signify Worship of Technology” — Sara Barnes, Beautiful/Decay

    “Artist Leonardo Ulian offers another interpretation of the mandala with his assemblages of electronic components, copper wire, and more. The intricate, finely detailed works radiate the innards of what makes technology tick. Ulian crafts smaller geometric patterns within a larger, more general shape that become more impressive once you see close up shots of his handiwork.”

    Leonard Ulian's Technological Mandalas

     

  • Inside the Church of Scientology’s New $14 Million Compound” — Nelson Groom, VICE

    “The outside of the building melds surprisingly well with its surroundings. However, this all changes when you walk inside. As soon as you step through the entrance, the vibrant lighting and futuristic decor make you feel like you’re on the set of the latest terrible sci-fi dystopian flick. It’s prompt validation that this is not your average church.”

  • ‘Be Here Nowish’ is a Queer, Spiritual Comedy from the Creators of ‘Every Woman’” — Liz Armstrong, VICE

    “Be Here Nowish had a soft launch last month and now emerges in its entirety, picking up where the main characters, fuck-ups in their own right, left off, finding themselves in Los Angeles among a group of freaky devotees of a guru played by Kyp Malone from TV on the Radio.

    Adam, are you personally involved in any of the kooky spiritual stuff that’s going on in Los Angeles?

    Adam [Carpenter]: Does Pilates count?

    No. Sorry.

  • How to achieve altered states of consciousness” — Jarred Triskelion, Spiral Nature

    “Entering altered states of consciousness has a dramatic effect upon a ritual. Everything becomes more profound, from the smell of the incense, to the colour of the candlelight, to the feel of your wand in your hand.”

  • An interactive Enochian resource from Keep Silence: Spirits of the Great Table

    Keep Silence Spirits of the Great Table

     

  • Abolish the Week! It’s unnatural. It’s unnecessary. Why the seven-day week has got to go.” — Ben Schreckinger, Slate Culturebox

    “But whence the week? Throughout history, human societies have found it useful to divide time into groups of days shorter than a lunar month. One of the most common uses of this cycle has been to establish a regular market day, though just how regular varies. At one point, the Basques evidently employed a three-day week. For centuries, China, Japan, and Korea employed a 10-day week. Other societies have employed four-, five-, six-, eight-, and nine-day weeks.”

  • Vampires, Ghosts, and the Legacy of Antiquity” — Sarah Veale, Invocatio

    “So were vampires ghosts? Were ghosts vampires? These days most of us can easily distinguish between a vampire and a ghost and would consider them two very different phenomena. Examples from antiquity, however, suggest a blurring of these distinctions which lasted until the modern era. This overlap in the supernatural has caused much consternation among scholars who study the undead, complicating what would otherwise be neat categories.”

  • Ayn Rand’s Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone” — Mallory Ortberg, The Toast [HT Rob Bricken]

    “‘This is really more of a question for the Economics of Potion-Making, I guess. What time are econ lessons here?’

    ‘We have no economics lessons in this school, you ridiculous boy.’

    Harry Potter stood up bravely. ‘We do now. Come with me if you want to learn about market forces!’

    The students poured into the hallway after him. They had a leader at last.”

  • Restoring the Lost Sense: May 29, 2014” — Craig Conley, Abecedarian

    “How consciousness bends the body: an illustration from The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception by Max Heindel, 1911.”

    Craig Conley Restoring the Lost Sense May 29 2014

     

  • Taliesin Gilkes-Bower quoted at “Lighting a 7-Day Candle for Saint Google” — Max Pearl, Cluster Magazine; see also “St. Google Prayer Candles

    “You know, Saint Isidore of Seville was declared the patron saint of the Internet and computers by the vatican. You can imagine confession as the ultimate data-mining and blackmail tool. The church had to coerce people with the idea of infinite hell to get them to confess, and they could still lie if they wanted to! Now we just give away access to every single piece of ourselves for free. So the need for protection from Saint Google is very real.”

    Taliesin Gilkes-Bower St Google prayer candles

     

  • A footnote about the publishing industry” — Charlie Stross, Charlie’s Diary

    “But the trouble with disruption is that it’s dangerously close to detonation. You can end up destroying what you sought to shake up and take over.”

  • Burning the MRA Playbook (Or, #YesAllMRAs)” — Chuck Wendig, terribleminds

    “We get flicked in the nuts by a badminton birdie we’ll double over for 20 minutes, moaning and rocking back and forth. Our balls are like little yarn-bundles contained in a thin, wifty sack of outlying flesh. They unspool like bobbins of delicate thread when damaged. Women on the other hand push entire people out of their lady-realms like divine fucking beings.”

  • Post-Culture Review, via tweet

 

If you’d like to participate in the next Omnium Gatherum, head on over to the Gatherum discussions at the Hrmtc Underground BBS.

Vril

Vril, the Power of the Coming Race by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1986 second printing from Spiritual Fiction Publication / Gerber Communications, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Edward Bulwer-Lytton Vril from Spiritual Fiction Publication / Gerber Communications

VRIL, mankind’s occult power of the future, and the kind of life and society created by its use in the interior of the earth, is the vivid picture presented in this book. Written 100 years ago by Lord Bulwer-Lytton, famous English Rosicrucian, statesman and author (see: Zanoni, a Rosicrucian Tale another Steiner-book), VRIL, his last book, stands as stern warning and reliable witness to his profound concern for the future welfare of mankind.

VRIL made today’s science-fiction books possible and interesting, but VRIL itself was a serious and prophetic testament that man today must pay heed to, if he is to survive, and become MAN.” — back cover


The Devil in a Forest

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Devil in a Forest by Gene Wolfe.

Gene Wolfe The Devil in a Forest

This novel is a pretty quick read. The “science fiction” imprint and the “fantasy” label are both misleading; there’s nothing supernatural or counterfactual in the setting or the plot. It’s just a straightforward adventure story set in a medieval village and its environs. The protagonist is a savvy but ignorant fifteen-year-old weaver’s apprentice.

The interaction between Catholicism and the vestiges of indigenous European religion is a major subtext of the story, and it’s no Wiccanish glamorization of the latter. Wolfe’s own Catholicism often informs his fiction, and it may do so here, but in any case, the result is a more realistic treatment of the material than one usually encounters in a novel with this sort of historical setting.

There’s a significant plot-twist that seemed a little obvious to me, but the whole thing was so lucidly written and well-paced that I didn’t mind a bit. [via]


Marvel Boy

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews Marvel Boy by Grant Morrison and J G Jones, from Marvel.

Grant Morrison J G Jones Marvel Boy

The turn-of-the-millennium short series collected in this volume is pretty standard Invisibles-type fare from Morrison: alienated, paranoid, psychedelic science fiction, with sex-fetishist costuming. It’s put together in a neat package here, and tucked into a convenient corner of the “Marvel Universe.” The shipwrecked starfaring (Kree) protagonist Noh-Varr has for his chief nemesis Doctor Midas, a sort of evil Gold Man who is basically a socio-moral inversion of Tony Stark (paternal rather than filial, covert rather than celebrity). I especially appreciated the clever insertion of the Mindless Ones of the Dark Dimension (of Doctor Strange lore) as a connection to the Marvel story continuity.

Morrison’s professed objective in this book was to distill an adolescent power fantasy, and he seems to have realized it well enough. J.G. Jones provides excellent, highly cinematic artwork that does full justice to the story. Appended to this collection of issues 1-6, the book also includes alternate cover art, design sketches, and a Marvel superhero dossier page for Noh-Varr. [via]

 

The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.

Drawing Down the Moon

Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America by Margot Adler, the 1986 paperback from Beacon Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Margot Adler Drawing Down the Moon from Beacon Press

“Margot Adler—granddaughter of the renowned psychiatrist Alfred Adler and a reporter for National Public Radio—takes a fascinating and honest look at the religious experiences, beliefs, and lifestyles of the people who call themselves neopagans. Adler interviewed a colorful gallery of diverse people across the United States who believe that each person has a different path to divinity and that monotheism is a form of religious imperialism. She attended many of their ritual gatherings and discovered, contrary to stereotypical images, that most neopagans have no gurus or masters, that their beliefs are nonauthoritarian in spirit, and that they find inspiration in ancient deities, nature, myth, even science fiction. Still the only detailed history and comprehensive report on this little-known and largely misunderstood movement, Drawing Down the Moon has been revised and expanded to include new information on men’s spirituality, Druids, Norse Paganism, and a complete resource guide of newsletters, journals, books, groups, and festivals.”

 

The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.

The High Couch of Silistra

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews High Couch of Silistra by Janet E Morris, with a mass market paperback cover by Boris Vallejo.

Janet E Morris Boris Vallejo High Couch of Silistra

This sword-and-planet yarn was the author’s first novel, and given that its entire sub-genre tends to fall (at its best) into the “guilty pleasure” category, I think it’s all right. I certainly liked it better than the Dray Prescott book (Warrior of Scorpio) which was my last reading in that field.

The sexual content is more explicit than Burroughs or Akers would deliver, and about comparable with Norman, although without the Gorean sadistic moralizing. In any case, it doesn’t really rise to the level of erotica despite the protagonist’s status as her homeworld’s most celebrated courtesan-madame-sexual athelete.

The metaphysical positioning of the book seems to break with the Burroughs-Norman tradition of fraudulent cults fronting for alien gods. The main plot of Returning Creation—evidently the author’s title, restored in a later edition—is the quest undertaken by a semi-divine woman (the “creation” in question) to find her alien father on his homeworld. Most in her society are skeptical about the “seed-sower” legendary that identifies the god race to which her father seems to belong, but her experiences eventually vindicate the lore, and the story ends inconclusively with her accession to her heritage among her father’s super-powerful people. Seeing that I have the sequels already in my possession, I expect to indulge my curiosity about where the author might take the narrative from that point. [via]

 

The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.