Tag Archives: novels

The Secret Undertown Ministry

Once upon a time, although since as a dimension, time is a relatively unstable paradigm and cannot often be trusted to remain in the tense that one would expect, in a land far, far away [and distance too would seem but an illusion that our physical bodies must endure, but that our minds can easily dissolve with a modicum of effort], there was a very small planet that circled its medium density star – one tiny speck of dust in a mighty dustbowl of a universe.

It was a planet of contradictions. A planet of unusual propensities. A planet that called itself a world sometimes, but at other times felt like a planet.

The inhabitants of this strange planet who had an interest in such things at one point unanimously named it. Those who did not require a name for it seldom acknowledged such activities, regardless of how much circumstance their participants conferred upon them. They may have been thinking, “What’s in a name?”, but they also might not have even noticed. In the seventh-most widely spoken language of the inhabitants who populated (either by chance birth or through destiny motivated relocation) the most diverse range of climates, the planet was known as Arthel – well, the name was not actually a word in that language, but in a language that was used by a majority of the dominant inhabitants, a language no longer actively spoken on the planet, but revered as a way to escape the need to define things to the non-dominant inhabitants. You may already have begun to guess at some of the unusual propensities to which this planet was inclined.

The inhabitants of this planet, Arthel, were fortunate enough to have been able to develop, propagate and thereby populate it, thanks to a remarkable compatibility between their requirements for survival and the resources available from the environment in which they did these things. The significance of this fact cannot be overlooked – there were many other planets that would not have nurtured these inhabitants in such a successful manner. Many of these inhabitants marked this significance by embracing a sense of their own uniqueness, their innate skills; many others did not. Some of those who chose not to mark such things?were among those who had no “name” for their home – at least not one that was widely circulated or shared.

As one might typically expect on a planet that embraced contradiction and an air of “mystery”, the species of inhabitant that was most abundant on Arthel did not “control” Arthel. It may be that they did not wish to control it, or it may be that they simply had no conceptualization of control with which to apply that construct. In either case, the primary inhabitants of the planet were not the most vociferous planetary residents. There was far too much planet, it can be assumed, to cause much of a reason for worry about which inhabitants got which resources. Think locally, you can almost hear them saying. Work with what you’ve got at hand. Of course, many of the majority inhabitants did not have “hands” – hands were an evolutionary development that concerned only a small number of Arthelans. Most Arthelans enjoyed other physical traits that more than compensated for opposable thumbs.

But it is the Arthelans with opposable thumbs that concern us in this story. This is their history, more than the history of Arthel, although the two are intertwined so closely that few can see light between the threads.


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The Great American Novel

Ah, how many times I have seen those words in print … so and so wished to write the “Great American Novel”…Mr. X has effectively given us the “Great American Novel”. And yet, how many times have I wondered exactly what that meant. Perhaps the GAN represents capturing the essence of American life, providing a Petri dish full of Americanisms (whatever those may truly be) or placing under the microscope some fragment of nostalgia on the one hand, or a slice of dystopia on the other. It seems to me that the GAN often is used to refer to something that captures the essence of what America has been, or is now. But just like so many modern rock bands, that notion while eloquently describing what is wrong and bewailing the negative, fractioning aspects of “American” society does so very little to suggest any kind of solution. America, they say, is a dream. America is fucked up. The American dream? What does that mean? Ask a Choctaw-Kiowa-Apache, or a practitioner of Vodoun. They will not have the same answer as the descendent of a Puritan — at least, not likely.

America, it seems to me, is a victim of its own conceit — much like so many of the monotheistic religions of the world. Both would do their damnedest to deny the theory of evolution. But a species, a culture, a nation MUST evolve in order to survive. And evolution implies CHANGE. Radical change. So by extension it appears to me that a truly American novel must address what America SHOULD be, what it COULD be. And of course, that’s not just a novel. It’s a revolution. As George Bernard Shaw once said, democracy is the only form of government where revolution is against the law — simply because the constituents of a democracy are in theory the government itself, making revolution a kind of self-abasement or self-immolation. But it is very easy to point out, particularly considering the rapidly decaying civil liberties of this country, the increasingly important role played by big money in the control and destiny of politicians, the absence of any kind of radical left, the dumbing down of educative systems so as to eliminate the role of intelligent dissent, the jingoistic emphasis on “our way or the highway”, the Hitleresque masquerade of national security threat prevention and monstrous incorporation of the philosophy of Christian Fascism into the micro-management of personal lives in service to the greater Church-State, that any nation whose president is determined by the Supreme Court in opposition to the popular vote is NOT strictly speaking a democracy. In that case, or to paraphrase slightly, when in that course of human events, it becomes necessary to stage at least some kind of revolt. Revolution, in that instance, becomes not only a right, a necessity, but also a kind of “sacred” duty.

And of course, the solution is not, as many neo-pagan organizations might lead you to believe, to establish a church of your own in every city in America. Nor is it to find some kind of “perfect” candidate who can somehow single-handedly reverse the tide of bullshit that fills the streets of Washington DC, the foxholes in Afghanistan or the trenches in Iraq. The answer, I’m ashamed to admit, can succintly be found in the Hollywood adaptation of the Gospel. That one line where Jesus screams out (and perhaps you like Ted Neeley in Norman Jewison’s film adaption, but nothing compares to Ian Gillan when it comes to screaming out) — “Heal yourselves!”

That, however, is unlikely to sell ANY copies whatsoever as a NY Times Bestseller. Because Americans are not, and probably truly have never been, that kind of people as a whole. The masses, to coin a phrase, are asses. And America never has really been about individual freedom. It’s been about conformity. Sure, the Pilgrims shuffled off to Massachusetts Bay to ensure that they could practice religion as they saw fit, without the deterrents of thumbscrews, stake burnings and other establishment cures. But they turned around and did the same to those who disagreed with them. And so on and so forth. The problem with America is that whether you call it a melting pot, or a salad bowl, people like their own fondue, their particular style of Waldorf, and think that anyone else is wrong. Which is not so bad, except that they want to picket any restaurant that serves non-standard meals, despite the fact that EVERY culture that has come to this country has been persecuted to some degree once they arrived. And then turned around and picked on someone who arrived a day later. The sad part is that this culture is about five minutes ago and the history thereof. So learning from history is fortunately an easy A.

What’s that boil down to in the long run? Who knows? But the human beings that think they run this show ought to stop and think about this: IF evolution is more than a theory, if it is the way it is, then where are we going, as a people, species, planet, etc.? IF evolution is FALSE, and the self-determination of the planet simply STOPPED when homo erectus erectus appeared on the scene, then why did we learn to swim? To play tennis? To sell junk bonds? To deal smack?

Bah. Enough ranting.

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Random Thought Again

Today’s random thought — making modification to the title of an existing work of literature and using that as the basis for writing my own novel.

For example, the novel Incense and Insensibility could be the Fictional account of how a group of hippies attempted to change the world, but wound up with second mortgages, stock in Microsoft and SUVs. The heroine would be of course named Emma or something like that.

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