Tag Archives | Literature

I Understand Philip K. Dick

While reading bits of The Exegesis of Philip K Dick, I realized just how tapped in PKD’s mind was with the coincidental ether, and how this relates with other topics posted recently on this site. Namely Opti and I, by Opticuswrangler, and my article Plant/human symbiosis and the fall of humanity – A talk with Tony Wright, which places a biochemical basis for our disconnected and left-brained state of consciousness, psychedelics, and diet into an evolutionary context.

Phil had extracted gems for years out of the mercurial mists of the minds imagination, and shared them with us all in his novels; some of which have made their way onto the big screen. Something much less known, but just as stacked with gems of insight, was his Exegesis: a document of some 8,000 pages in which he attempted to turn his mind inside out onto paper every night for almost a decade, in an effort to come to grips with the mysteries of existence.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Interview With ‘Psychopomp’ Author Amanda Sledz

In her series Psychopomp, author Amanda Sledz takes a literary approach to writing about urban shamanism, magical thinking, tarot, telepathy and other themes usually reserved for the fantasy genre. The series follows four characters: Meena, a woman who has experienced a break with reality; her parents, Frank and Esther; and Lola, a teenager who is becoming a shaman whether she wants to or not.

The first book in the series, Psychopomp Volume One: Cracked Plate, explores mental illness, empathy, our differing experiences of place, immigration and cultural identity, and the way our experience of family shapes our identity — without resorting to the cliches of genre fiction or descending into boring academic prose.

An excerpt from the first installment is here. I recently caught-up with her to talk about Psychopomp, self-publishing and more. Via Technoccult:

Klint Finley: I understand you wrote a first draft of the first book in college — can you walk us through how the book evolved?

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Internet and Counterculture (A Retrospective)

As all the chatter about the “2012 end of the world” dissolves back into the white noise from whence it came, we are still presented a unique vantage point. We can look at once backward and forward on cultural trends, cresting and falling so quickly that in mere decades we can see patterns emerging that may have taken hundreds of years to arise before the advent of digital communication.

Of course, there’s no way a thorough investigation of any trend is going to happen here in the length of an introduction, within the time it takes me to sip my way through a mocha. But that is telling of these times as well. As Palahniuk observed through the mouthpiece of Tyler Durden in his seminal book Fight Club, we are all “single serving size friends, here.” (And is it also a sign of counter cultural mentality that a reference to a book and movie just a decade out of the gates might be considered hackneyed or out of date?) Our observations must also be single serving size, crammed into a 140 character tweet, or a 350 word blog post.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

‘Fifty Shades’ Mommy Porn Leads To Divorce

Somehow one suspected there would be unforeseen consequences of making porn for housewives mainstream: the ubiquitous Fifty Shades of Grey has been cited in an English divorce action.  Via the Daily Mail:

It’s had a major impact on the publishing world – and in quite a few bedrooms. But now Fifty Shades Of Grey is at the centre of an unusual court case.

A man is being divorced by his wife after he refused to spice up their love life by reliving scenes from the erotic bestseller.

The wife, a 41-year-old banker earning more than £400,000 a year, claims her husband’s ‘boring attitude’ to sex is evidence of ‘unreasonable behaviour’.

In her grounds for divorce, filed at the High Court, she refers to the novel, which tells of the sadomasochistic affair between billionaire Christian Grey and naive student Anastasia Steele. The woman in the court case bought the raunchy book almost as soon as it was published last year and hoped it would encourage her husband to be more adventurous in bed.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Mitt Romney’s Favorite Novel Is L. Ron Hubbard’s Battlefield Earth

Just when America thought it couldn’t be any more confused by Mormonism, Romney went and said this. To be fair, he added that his favorite book overall (nonfiction included) is the bible, an answer which all Republican presidential candidates must give from now to eternity. A nugget from the New York Times five years ago:

“What’s your favorite novel?” is a perennial campaign question, the answer to which presumably gives insight into leadership. A “Moby-Dick” lover may understand the perils of obsessively chasing of a goal. A fan of “To Kill a Mockingbird” may well focus on racial justice.

When asked his favorite novel in an interview shown yesterday on the Fox News Channel, Mitt Romney pointed to “Battlefield Earth,” a novel by L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. That book was turned into a film by John Travolta, a Scientologist. A spokesman said later it was one of Mr.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Occult Inspirations

Bulwer Lytton

Trust Mark Frauenfelder of BoingBoing to persuade erudite author Joscelyn Godwin to choose his favorite novels inspired by the occult. Here Godwin and writing partner Guido Mina di Sospiro pick five in addition to their own The Forbidden Book:

Zanoni, by Bulwer Lytton, is the premier occult novel of the nineteenth century. Lytton was a novelist and playwright, a dandy, a politician, and eventually a Baron. He is supposed to have been initiated into a German Rosicrucian order, and to have been in the Orphic Circle, a London group that used child clairvoyants. Dickens and Disraeli were his friends, but they didn’t follow his arcane interests. For instance, they weren’t with him when French occult author and ceremonial magus Eliphas Levi, in Lytton’s presence, evoked the spirit of the Greek Neopythagorean philosopher Apollonius of Tyana on a London rooftop. Zanoni is a description of initiations by one who has evidently passed through them.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Dante’s Inferno In ‘The Graphic Canon’

Graphic Canon Panel[Disinfo ed.’s note: This week I had the distinct pleasure of meeting up with Russ Kick for the launch of his epic series of classic literature anthologized in graphic form, The Graphic Canon. Although it’s not published by disinformation, I’d encourage all disinfonauts to check it out; the quality is self-evident through and through. Russ and his publisher, Dan Simon, kindly agreed to let us give you another taste (also check out The Book of Revelation if you missed it previously).]

The Inferno is far and away the most well known, influential part of The Divine Comedy. No one can resist the inventiveness and appropriateness of the punishments suffered by sinners. Hypocrites wear outwardly beautiful cloaks that are lined with lead. Fortune-tellers have their heads on backward. Gluttons lie in putrid mud like pigs. Those who were violent against others boil in a river of blood. Flatterers, meanwhile, spend eternity submerged in shit.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Richard Dawkins: Why I Want All Our Children to Read the King James Bible

King James BibleRichard Dawkins writes in the Guardian:

A native speaker of English who has never read a word of the King James Bible is verging on the barbarian. In the week after the 2011 census, my UK Foundation commissioned Ipsos MORI to poll those who had ticked the Christian box. Among other things, we asked them to identify the first book of the New Testament from a choice of Matthew, Genesis, Acts of the Apostles, Psalms, “Don’t know” and “Prefer not to say”. Only 35% chose Matthew and 39% chose “Don’t know” (and 1%, mysteriously, chose “Prefer not to say”). These figures, to repeat, don’t refer to British people at large but only to those who self-identified, in the census, as Christians.

European history, too, is incomprehensible without an understanding of the warring factions of Christianity and the book over whose subtleties of interpretation they were so ready to slaughter and torture each other.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Politics of Steampunk

Steampunk Mask

Photo: Jim (CC)

I thought it would be interesting to continue the discussion from my previous post on “Steampunk and Anarchism” (found here). This next article by Magpie Killjoy explores the intersection of radical politics and steampunk fiction and aesthetic Via TOR.com:

I first consciously got into steampunk back in 2004. It was the perfect aesthetic lens for my interests: history, mad science, genre fiction, the underclasses, and radical politics. It was steampunk, really, that helped me realize how awesome it is to be classy yet poor, that we can celebrate individual and communal ingenuity without babbling on about how great this or that nation or empire might be.

Now, seven years later, I’m constantly amazed by how many people, including some of the most die-hard steampunk adherents, seem to believe that steampunk has nothing to offer but designer clothes. There are people (a minority, I would argue, just a loud one) who act like steampunk is simply a brassy veneer with which to coat the mainstream.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Anarchism and Steampunk

Aerial HouseExploring the radical roots of a popular science fiction genre. Via Airships, Anarchists, & Anachronisms:

Steampunk began as a radical satirical form of fiction, but today it encompasses much more. What precisely is steampunk? As the editors of Steampunk Magazine explain, steampunk is “a vibrant culture of DIY crafters, writers, artists, and other creative types, each with their own slightly different answer to that question.” By its diverse nature, steampunk resists definition. Furthermore, in the ever evolving nature of steampunk, “as each new iteration of the idea be­comes more ambitious, the mutations are delightfully limitless and unpredictable.”

This definition seems in line with Rachel A. Bowser and Brian Croxall’s statement that, “Steampunk is more about instability than any other single characteristic. It resists fixedness by unsettling the categories from which it cribs.” Yet, the authors do provide a definition for those looking for the quintessential steampunk. They write:

That being said, one common element arguably shared by all steampunk texts, objects, or performances is the one on which this journal is predicated: the invocation of Victorianism.

Read the rest
Continue Reading