Tag Archives | Books

HP Lovecraft’s ‘The Colour Out of Space’

H. P. Lovecraft, June 1934.jpg

H. P. Lovecraft, June 1934

[Excerpted from Reclaiming Art in the Age of Artifice: A Treatise, Critique, and Call to Action (Manifesto) by JF Martel]

Published in 1927, H. P. Lovecraft’s story “The Colour Out of Space can be read as a prophecy of this new spectral age that isolates the properly aesthetic component of the social order that would rise in the postwar era. An unnamed narrator attempts to uncover the truth behind a “blasted heath” shunned by the people of a rural New England county. From a possibly insane old man, he learns that a meteorite fell at that spot several decades ago, bringing with it a diabolical entity from outer space. Interestingly the creature does not take the form of the usual space invader but of a mass of unearthly color. As the story unfolds we learn how this malignant color warped and withered the surrounding vegetation, mutated wildlife and livestock, and caused the madness or death of the unfortunate souls who lived closest to its lair.… Read the rest

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Aleister Crowley’s Books Keep Disappearing From a New Zealand Library — And Other Frequently Stolen Books

hotbooks

Librarians at Hamilton City Libraries have noticed an interesting trend. Books by occultist Aleister Crowley keep disappearing from their shelves.

Nancy El-Gamel writes at the Waikato Times,

Whether it’s due to theft or something more sinister, Hamilton libraries cannot keep Sex Magick or Dramatic Ritual on their shelves.

Works by a long-dead British occultist keep vanishing, not quite in smoke. Aleister Crowley, clearly, refuses to die. Or, at least, his fans do.

And people just keep asking for the books, despite their publication in the far reaches of the previous century, Hamilton City Libraries Director Su Scott said.

Among other popular disappearing titles at Hamilton Libaries are cookbooks, Children DVDs, and books about tattoos and crafts.

After I did some digging, I found out that books about the occult are often hot items at libraries. Library book thieves also like titles about UFOs and astrology.

However, bookstores appear to attract a different type of book thief.… Read the rest

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Transcendence: RU Sirius & Jay Cornell on Transhumanism

TranscendenceR.U. Sirius and Jay Cornell are the authors of Transcendence: The Disinformation Encyclopedia of Transhumanism and the Singularity. Transhumanism has been a hot but divisive topic on disinformation, so we felt there was a need to foster greater understanding of just what transhumanism is, and is not, hence the format of the book is an A-Z encyclopedia.

We asked Jay and R.U. to answer a few questions about the book and the topic in general:

RU, you have long been associated with the transhumanism movement; can you tell us how you got hooked and what your personal interest in transhumanism is?

RU: In a sense, I go way back to the 1970s, although I wasn’t familiar with the term transhumanism then. I think the only person using it at that time was a guy named F.M. Esfandiary. I was, if you will, turned on and tuned in by Timothy Leary and his cohort in conscious evolution Robert Anton Wilson.… Read the rest

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Michel Houellebecq New Book Foresees Possible Muslim President For France

Michel Houllebecq, France’s famously controversial novelist, has a new book (Soumission) – published this week in extraordinary timing – depicting a possible future for France with a Muslim president. Both the book and the interview below in the Paris Review were carried out before the Charlie Hebdo massacre, but it’s clear that Houellebecq has zeroed in on the religious versus secularist tension in France.

After the attack, The French prime minister, Manuel Valls, stated: “France is not Houellebecq. It’s not intolerance, hatred and fear.” Houellebecq is apparently in hiding and his publisher’s office is under police protection. Regarding the book itself, he tells interviewer Sylvain Bourmeau:

Is this a satirical novel?

No. Maybe a small part of the book satirizes political journalists—politicians a little bit, too, to be honest. But the main characters are not satirical.

2008.06.09. Michel Houellebecq Fot Mariusz Kubik 16.JPG

Michel Houellebecq. Photo by Mariusz Kubik (CC)

 

Where did you get the idea for a presidential election, in 2022, that came down to Marine Le Pen and the leader of a Muslim party?

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The True Practice of Binding Books in Human Skin

book fleshEarlier posts have verified that Harvard University’s library contains books bound in human skin, but in case you missed it Rob Velella has summarized what you need to know about the somewhat bizarre practice, at Atlas Obscura:

There are a few urban legends that poke up here and there that certain libraries — usually dusty, private, or academic ones which are not easily accessible by the public — hold books bound in human skin. Few of these stories turn out to be true: the “human” skin is often proven to be lamb, sheep, or deer. But Harvard University’s Houghton Library was recently surprised — and somewhat taken aback — to find one of its books was absolutely an example of the practice known as anthropodermic bibliopegy.

The book in question (pictured here courtesy Houghton Library, Harvard University), a French volume titled Des destinées de l’ameby Arsène Houssaye, is also relatively recent, dating only to the 1880s.

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How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll

811+aY5djDLPeter Bebergal, disinformation friend and contributor, has a fascinating new book out called Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll. We recently caught up with Peter and asked him some questions in this exclusive interview:

Disinformation: You seem to struggle somewhat to define “occult.” Is it a loaded term?

Bebergal: For a word with such a simple definition, the “occult” has lost almost all meaning, as when you say a word over and over again until it sounds made-up. When I told people I was working on this book, the responses were wildly different, and extremely prejudicial. Some folks assumed I was writing only about the devil and rock music, others—believing the occult to be nothing more than base superstitions—thought the project had no merit, and then there were those that assumed, and hoped, I was going to be making metaphysical claims. I’m sure there were others who worried about my soul.… Read the rest

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Frank Schaeffer on Religion, Skepticism, Community, and Connecting as People

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From the Indie Bohemians Morning Show: One of the few independent morning shows left on the airwaves, IBMS is a morning show for people who hate morning shows.

From his website: Frank Schaeffer is a New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen books. Frank is a survivor of both polio and an evangelical/fundamentalist childhood, an acclaimed writer who overcame severe dyslexia, a home-schooled and self-taught documentary movie director, a feature film director of four low budget Hollywood features Frank has described as “pretty terrible.” He is also an acclaimed author of both fiction and nonfiction and an artist with a loyal following of international collectors who own many of his oil paintings. Frank has been a frequent guest on the Rachel Maddow Show on NBC, has appeared on Oprah, been interviewed by Terri Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air and appeared on the Today Show, BBC News and many other media outlets.Read the rest

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There Are No Muggles. We Are All Wizards Now.

harry-potter-books

via Techpinions:

I read the first three Harry Potter novels to my son. It’s a fond memory strengthened by the fact the books were quite good. In each, the young Harry Potter straddles two very distinct worlds, the magical world of wizards and the familiar world of non-magical folk, Muggles. Us. Except, this is not true, not anymore.

There are no Muggles. We are all wizards.

I realized this while texting my son baseball playoff updates — as I was flying across the country, 30,000 feet above the ground.

Think of it. Nearly 2 billion of us carry wands. We call them smartphones. These semi-magical devices enable us to connect with nearly anyone at any time from any place. We can instantly access the world’s knowledge. Always in hand, always at the ready, we use these “wands” for work, for play, to protect us, to make our lives better.

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The Physicality of Reality

Maria Elena (CC BY 2.0)

Maria Elena (CC BY 2.0)

via The Bismarck Tribune:

There’s an interesting article in the current issue of New Scientist about the impact of digital technology on the way we read and write in the 21st century (http://bit.ly/10FgQJ0).

In essence, the article suggests we’re not comprehending much of what we read or write, in part because we have too many visual distractions offered by digital devices in their efforts to help enhance and extend what we’re reading and writing.

In other words, the digital world today is more about reach and less about substance.

It’s more about volumes of data and less about nuggets of knowledge.

It’s more about aggregating and less about synthesizing.

It’s about the triumph of quantity over quality.

This ties in with something I’ve written about often in this column.

I love the digital revolution. I like the fact that the Internet has given me access to multimedia materials that, even a decade ago, were beyond my reach.

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