torsdag 25 december 2014

The Quiet Season


Hereby some unstructured ravings and rants.




"Screaming at the window"... thus the song "Diary of a Madman" by Ozzy Osbourne. So why this quote? Am I, Svensson, screaming at the window these days? Not exactly. I just like the tone of that line: "Screaming at the window"... Ozzy knew what he spoke about in writing a song by a madman. He had mental illness in his family and he also wrote "Am I Going Insane", with Black Sabbath. "Diary" was an Ozzy solo song.

Madness rides the starwinds... Lovecraft said. OK. At my house this season there's no tangible madness, it's rather ice cold winds and snow en masse, at least outside. But never mind that. I'll stay inside for some days now.

The picture was taken last autumn. I like it because it's a selfie of the "not posing" kind. Enjoy.

- - -

What's up next on the blog? I dunno. This and that, chit-chat, dissertations, fiction and fact or whatever. As for my current reading habits I now read the venerable Robert Heinlein (American, 1907-1988), mostly his 40's and 50's stuff. Bare-bones operational and scientific narratives by a both knowing and arrogant as well as intriguing and thought-provoking author. You could quote his circa 40 books and both get examples of nihilist reductionism and spiritually affirmative views. But what I nowadays like with the man are the operational, military-style organized adventures such as "Sixth Column", "The Puppet Masters" and "Starship Troopers". As an ex-Navy Lieutenant Heinlein knew a lot about conducting operations, both intelligence-wise and more hands-on. He knew the routines of an operational organization, he knew about managing people, he knew about hierarchies and why they are needed. Keyword: responsibility.

The narratives of his novels are credible; with the speculative, Sci Fi-element added they are deathless yarns, even though the narrative style is a bit bare-bones and devoid of atmosphere. But this is compensated by a catching dialogue, succinct summaries of this-and-that scientific background, some wise-cracking and the en passant-dropping of wisdom.

In short: from, say, 1950 and well into the 1980's Heinlein along with Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke was considered as SF:s "Big Three". Bless the other two but the one in the trio selling the most today is Heinlein and there's a reason for this: readability, relatability, a narrative tone that's personal and yet efficient. Then it's no downside that the man also, in many respects, was a rightwinger: duty, honour country; only by taking responsibility you become free and "there aint no such thing as a free lunch". This was his lasting creed, as I see it.




Related (in Swedish)
Heinleins författarskap: några anteckningar
George S. Patton, Jr
D-dagen 1944
Slaget om Caen, del 1
"Camouflage", en krigsroman jag skrivit

tisdag 9 december 2014

Svenssons novellsamling



Summary in English: this is about a short story collection written by Lennart Svensson, a book available only in Swedish.




1. Info

Härmed info om en bok skriven av mig. Här finns pdf:en tillgänglig. I fortsättningen av detta inlägg kommer jag att omtala mig själv i tredje person. Ske alltså. Boken det gäller är denna:

Titel: Eld och rörelse
Författare: Lennart Svensson
Utgivningsår: 2007
Förlag: Etherion

Boken är på 146 sidor. Den innehåller 13 noveller plus en kortroman, själva "Eld och rörelse". Bland novellerna kan nämnas "Riddaren, djävulen och döden" (gillad av dramatikern Perceval), "Mordet på Olof Palme betraktat som recension av fiktiv kriminalroman (gillad av Amelia Andersdotter) och "Norrlandsproblematiken" (gillad av Björn Lindström).

Boken gavs ut i pappersform 2007. Sedan ett bra tag är den slutsåld. Här ges info om hur pdf:en kan laddas ner gratis.




2. En recension

Nyss nämndes vad några ansåg om samlingen. Härmed en mer utförlig recension.

Recensionen är skriven av Fredrik F. G. Granlund. Han har gett ut diktsamlingen "Annorlunda men ensam". Liksom ett flertal noveller, nu senast i Catahyas antologi 2014.

I december 2008 recenserade Granlund "Eld och rörelse" på bloggen Marmeladkungen. Han siktar där in sig på bokens titelberättelse, kortromanen "Eld och rörelse". Så här säger han bland annat:
Den avslutande kortromanen ”Eld och rörelse” är kafkaesque. Stilistiskt lik många av Franz Kafkas verk – huvudpersonen tituleras till och med F. Jag erinrar mig att författaren läst ”Processen” flertalet gånger – samt förstått dess innebörd. För den här texten nyttjar i och med att läsaren dras med i en krigssituation någonstans, i någon tid, Kafkas styrka i berättandet, då man som läsare inte vet vem som krigar mot vem, vart det utspelas och om huvudpersonen F. är ond eller god. Slutet är dessutom allt annat än man tänkt sig, vilket är en STOR styrka! Men under tiden är det vemodigt, ödesdigert, synnerligen medryckande och gripande (även när man inte förstår militärjargongen).





3. I närkamp med texten

Sedan går Granlund i närkamp med texten:
Svensson utnyttjar samtidigt extrema berättargrepp som jag inte är säker på om han själv reflekterade över vid skrivandes stund. Det är välskrivet men skiftar kraftigt (!) i tempus. Här följer ett exempel där jag skriver ut tempusskiftningarna i versaler:

"Han HEJDAR sig där vägen LÖPER in i skogen; trädkronorna STRÄCKER sig mot varandra och BILDAR en tunnel – långt därborta ÖPPNAR sig terrängen igen, därifrån och bortom Bortom kan han i andanom se träkors utan tal, rad efter rad av kopplade gevär, demolerad fiendemateriel, fångkolonner, nedslagsbrisader, framryckande låglinjer, retirerande soldater, ambulanser i skytteltrafik, ksp-soldater med ammoband i kors över bröstet, pansarspetsar, attackflyg, söndersprängda kroppar, trotylsvarta himlar, vita vajande fanor.

Plötsligt STANNADE motorcykeln med ett hostande. F. VAKNADE upp ur sin dagdröm och KICKADE igång maskinen, DROG upp halsduken över nästippen och STYRDE tillbaka till förläggningen. Han SER tysta trädridåer fladdra förbi, han KÄNNER en bitande vind, han HÖR ventilernas sång. Maskinen HAR tydliga växellägen, distinkta bromsar och lågt lufttryck i däcken." (sid 126; recensentens egna versaler)

Saken är den att detta ovan påpekande av hur det skiftar i tempus faktiskt fungerar. Men det borde inte göra det. Hade jag inte recenserat den här boken hade jag förstås ändock observerat det. Men då främst i kapiteluppdelningen, för vartannat kapitel berättas i presens, vartannat i imperfekt. Efter några kapitel blandas dock detta mitt i kapitlen. Kanske sådant en van läsare, kanske rentav en kritiker, märker, tänker du nu. Men så är inte fallet. Här skiftar och varierar Svensson mellan presens och imperfekt lite hur som helst genom denna berättelse.




4. FG gillade boken

Fler än aktuell recensent gillade boken. FG säger detta:
Göran Lundstedt, kritiker på SydSv, har noterat ”en genomgående känsla av ödslighet i Svenssons noveller, en hård värld där drömmen flytt”. Titelstoryn jämförde han med Ernst Jüngers ”Sturm”. Och undertecknad kan bara hålla med. Kortromanen Eld och rörelse ska publiceras igen!
Detta säger Granlund om opuset. Och han säger än mer:
... skillnaden gentemot andra novellsamlingar (av debutanter) är att vi här har en titelnovell som är såpass bra att med lite redaktörskap, en typograf, och annan kunnig förlagspersonal skulle kunna bli en klassiker. Ändå finns här ingen charm. Bara ödslighet. Hade författaren ifråga publicerat denna kortroman alléna i bokform hade jag imponerats mer än jag gör av novellsamlingen per se. Därmed inget illa sagt om novellsamlingen i sig; det är bara det att jag vill ge närmast all kudos till titelnovellen, för just så bra är den.
Detta ansåg alltså Granlund om "Eld och rörelse".

Boken är som sagt på 146 sidor. Pdf:en innehåller bara text, men pappersutgåvan hade för sin del ett omslag i svartvitt av Anatol Boström, föreställande sökarljus mot en nattlig himmel (se nedan). Innehållet består av 14 noveller, med titlar som "Synkrongeneratorn", "Ett svenskt Roswell", "Latonia", "Kvartsklippan" och "Åsiktskonstnär", förutom titelstoryn och lite annat.

Granlunds hela recension läser ni här. Och hans egen diktsamling finns recenserad på denna blogg, här.





5. Om författaren till "Eld och rörelse"

"Eld och rörelses" författare heter Lennart Svensson. Svensson föddes 1965 i Åsele. 1985-2010 bodde han i Uppsala, där han bland annat skaffade sig en fil kand i indologi. Våren 2010 flyttade han till Härnösand. År 2007 utgav han på eget förlag novellsamlingen "Eld och rörelse".

2009 kom romanen ”Antropolis”. Nova SF beskrev den som ”lättläst och personligt språk, massor med tankar och resonemang, sympatiskt innehåll” (Mats Linder i nr 20). 2014 utgav så Svensson "Ernst Jünger -- A Portrait" på Manticore Press. Svensson har även publicerat artiklar i tidningar som Flygrevyn, Magasin Provins och Nya Tider.




Relaterat
Mer om Eld och rörelse plus länk till pdf
Mina lumparminnen
Herbert: Dune (1965)
Mårtensson i Nova SF



fredag 5 december 2014

The Golden Boy (poem)



Hereby a poem by me, Svensson. It's called "The Golden Boy". First there's an introduction, then the poem proper begins.




There's a lot of talk about GOLD these days. Investors and bankers are debating the value of buying gold. Despite gold being unproductive and sterile in modern economic terms, people still want to own it and be charmed by its shiny yellow allure.

Gold is romantic, gold is for poets and dreamers. In olden days poets and soldiers (and whores they say) accepted nothing but payment in gold. Paper money would have been an insult. So hereby a tribute to that everlasting metal.




There’s gold in the blood,
gold in the sunshine,
gold on the weathercock
and gold on the bookspine.

There’s gold everywhere:
gold on the street
and gold within me,
small particles of gold
pumping around
in the bloodstream.

I’m Elvis in gold lamé,
the sprinter with the golden shoes,
Salomo in Jersualem where
silver was worthless.
I’m a hockey champion with golden helmet,
I’m the Nordic Frode with the Golden Age.

I’m a golden king and a golden boy,
literally I am:
through the gold in my blood I am gold,
a walking-talking, one-man Fort Knox.




Related
Antropolitan -- The Only Way to Fly
Secular Hymns
Caza: The Ark
Details (flash fiction)
Coleridge's The Rime

lördag 29 november 2014

Media Coverage of the Jünger Book


The buzz around "Ernst Jünger -- A Portrait" continues.




Swedish weekly Nya Tider has payed attention to my Jünger book. No 48/2014 runs an item about it. It's only a short piece, however, all the facts are there. So I've taken the liberty to translate a few lines from it, for your information and reading pleasure.

For example it says:
Nya Tider has a writer named Lennart Svensson. He has contributed to the magazine since 2013, mostly by way of cultural items. Now he has broadened his record by writing a biography of the author Ernst Jünger. The book is called Ernst Jünger -- A Portrait and is published by Manticore Press.

On 290 pages Svensson tells about Jünger's life and his central books such as Heliopolis, the war diaries, Storm of Steel, On the Marble Cliffs and Eumeswil. Jünger's role as an outsider is also discussed as well as his spiritual sides. And his ideas about art, literature and history.
There's more but this is the gist of it.

As for Nya Tider, it's a rather promising independent newspaper, publishing stories and presenting views that MSM tends to be silent about. As concerns items like immigration, multiculturalism, the seedier side of foreign affairs, the corruption of MSM and established politicians. Nya Tider also covers books and films beside the mainstream and presents interviews with counter-culture figures like Jared Taylor. Also, there's sometimes articles on foreign policy by Manuel Ochsenreiter of the German monthly Zuerst!

Nya Tider began circulation by the late fall of 2012. Editor-in-chief is Vavra Suk.




Related
More on the Book
Everyday Songs With Religious Feeling
The Swedenborg Machine (short story)
The Middle Zone (short story)
The New Improved Sun (poem)

lördag 22 november 2014

Today: Seven Year Anniversary For This Blog



By this time every year there's a glorious non-event occuring: the anniversary of this blog. I started it in the fall of 2007, on this very day: November 22.




It was fun to get going blogging. I had planned it for some time, not having had access to the internet until that autumn, the autumn of 2007. And when I finally managed to log into Blogger and "got the blog", got access to the editing page, well, I kinda blogged rather heavliy. Short entries, inspired entries, experimental language entries. Sometimes more than one per day, imagine that...!

This went on for the rest of 2007 and some time into 2008. Successively I started to write more prepared, edited stuff, however still retaining "that blog feeling". Like being able to push the envelope and say things that aren't allowed in MSM.

But this was all in Swedish. Since about August this year, 2014, I mostly blog in English. Now, I have an inkling that most of my readers still are Swedish. But I have some English language readers too and now the default mode of the blog is English entries. And educated Swedes all know English so thus it will be, thus Svenssongalaxen will remain, I guess: a blog in English.

- - -

So then, what shall I celebrate the anniversary with? As for older Swedish entries they are "powered by Google"; they find their readership by way of people googling their way to them. Then as for English entries, what have I got to say? -- Well, I could give you this guide, presenting some links to the blog.

A fine entry discussing modern media (on the theme of "MSM going down, new media triumphs") is this one, summarizing an article by "The Dollar Vigilante" Jeff Berwick. Very succinct.

And if you're into literary entries on this blog, take a look at "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" or "The Not-So-Good of Philip K. Dick"

Lastly, here's an ultra-short story of mine, "Details".

And so on and so forth. To sum it up, blogging is a fine pastime, a great means of communication and, sometimes, something of an art form. Nobody knows what a blog is, you're defining it as you go along. And often blogging can be a team effort by writer and readers combined, more so than in the traditional relationship between an author and his readership. By way of commenting the readers contribute to the text and change it, receiving it in this and that way. Because the reception of a work is eminently a part of the work.




Related
The New Improved Sun (poem)
The Swedenborg Machine
Secular Hymns -- Ordinary Songs With Religious Feel
Who Are the Ascended Masters?
Is Obama the Mahdi?

tisdag 18 november 2014

I Wanna Be Seen Green (poem)



It's November and it's alright. I only want to be here now. I don't long for Christmas. Pure existence in the Here and Now will do.




Hereby another poem, another work of my own. It's about the colour green, of verdure; I have a green period now, as it were. The poem is something of a borderline piece, bordering on the parodic as well as the fantastic. You choose where the emphasis lies.
I hit the sack in my four-poster bed
with a four-leaf clover under my head.

Then I trail off into lands unseen
with a clarkashtonesque, jewelry sheen...

There I dance with a heavenly sprite
on a flowery meadow lush, green and bright.

Starry-eyed I sail over ground
to a secret pool where I can’t be found.

I dive in the water, I’m finding a stone,
a crystalline object, an emerald throne.

I sit on the throne like a submarine king
and I’m falling asleep as the fish start to sing.

The next thing I know, I’m awake in my bed
with an emerald gem lying under my head.

The four-leaf clover has somehow been changed
into a precious stone – am I deranged...?

Or maybe it’s so, that what we see in our dreams
is more than meets the eye, more than it seems?




Related
The Poetry and Purple Prose of Clark Ashton Smith
Ascended Masters: Some Info
Swedish Mystique
Caza: The Ark
More Poems on This Blog
Pic Åke Ehrenberg

torsdag 13 november 2014

Rave Review of My Jünger Book


In Australia there's a magazine called Living Traditions. They write about spirituality, history and culture. Now they've reviewed "Ernst Jünger -- A Portrait".




On the whole the unsigned review is positive towards my book. In fact, Living Traditions (= LT) seems to have nothing negative to say about it.

For instance LT says this, about the life-story of Jünger you find at the beginning of the book:
Svensson’s biography (...) is precise and matter of fact, it avoids all the undue speculation and interpretation found in so many other biographies and offers a clear and accurate picture of Junger’s truly amazing life. He offers a detailed look at Junger’s role in WWI and WWII and his literary output.
LT summarizes various chapters of the book, LT in the process making these apt reflections:
The next chapters examines his [= Jünger's] other books such as his WWI volumes, here Junger has much in common with Julius Evola he does not just discuss war but the mindset required to be a devoted warrior. At the same time Junger produces more adventurous literature which is hard to place in a single genre, his books in this vein are enigmatic and thought provoking. On the Marble Cliffs is an example of this new style which can be read on multiple levels and needs reflection to be fully appreciated for the work of literature it is.
LT has more praise to give my book. Like this:
In chapters 20 and 21 Svensson goes way beyond a traditional biography and offers a substantial examination of German figures that influenced Junger and then offers an exceptional comparison of Junger with Yukio Mishima, Carlos Castenada and Julius Evola. In Chapter 26 after examining the role of religion in Junger’s work as well as reoccurring key esoteric themes Svensson looks at Junger the fantasy writer and compares him to others such as Tolkein. Svensson also considers other characteristics of Junger such as his surprising optimism, sense of play and poetic side.
And lastly the pay-off. LT seems to like "Ernst Jünger -- A Portrait", stating:
Svensson offers us a superb biography (...) Rather than get caught up in all the fruitless debate about Jünger in the 20’s he offers an honest yet nuanced approach which in my mind stands up rather well compared to academic biographies which spend their time in politically correct disputation. (...) Svensson has produced an amazing work which is not only approachable but perceptive. His analysis of obtuse aspects of Jünger’s work not found in other biographies makes this a must read by themselves. When you add the sheer comprehensiveness of the work this really is a biography of the very highest calibre.
That was that. Whole review here. You find it by clicking on "feature reviews" in the left margin.




Related
Info About the Book
The Adventurous Heart
Jünger the Pious
On the Marble Cliffs
Jünger and the Craft of Science Fiction
Thomas Cole: "The Return"

måndag 10 november 2014

Sword and Staff (poem)



Now for a poem of my hand. Everything on this blog is by me, and who "me" is you should have found out by this time.




It's time for a poem, a gnomic piece, a scholarly text in poetic form. If you're in for mysticism and metaphysical poetry, this might be for you.

An old wisdom tells us:
we need both the Sword of Reason
and the Wand of Intuition,
both The Pentacle of Valour
and The Cup of Sympathy.

Bring ’em all on your journey,
forgetting one and you’re lost.

Without the sword you’ll go mad.
Without the wand you can’t find the way.
Without the pentacle you’ll dare nothing
and without the cup you’ll lose your heart.

Thus a golden wisdom.
So sing this for memory:

”Sword and staff, cup and pentacle,
emerald, sapphire, topaze and ruby –
reason, intuition, courage, sympathy –
eeny, meeny, miny, mo”...




Related
Swedish Mystique
Caza: The Ark
Details (flash fiction)
Coleridge's The Rime
PKD Stories I'm Critical Of
Painting by Luigi Russolo

måndag 3 november 2014

Book News: Ernst Jünger -- A Portrait (Svensson 2014)


My latest book is a biography about Ernst Jünger. The title is "Ernst Jünger -- A Portrait". The imprint is Manticore Press. You can buy the book on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk. -- Edit 24/11 2014: here's a review of the book, a summary of a text in Living Traditions Magazine. Among other things the review says this about my book: "[A] biography of the very highest calibre."




For about 30 years I've read the books of Ernst Jünger. He was a German author living 1895-1998, a true legend having participated in both world wars as well as being a nationalist, a collector of beetles and butterflies, a world traveller and an informal teacher on esotericism.

Suddenly, having read most of Jünger's books and some bios, I realized that I could write a bio of my own. My goal was to create a Jünger bio without Politically Correct bias, a hands-on, affirmative and inspirational portrait of the greatest German author since Goethe.

My book goes into it all: Jüngers eventful life per se, his books on war, the controversial politics, the philosophical and life-affirming sides and then some. The number of pages is 288 and the book layout is smashing. See for yourself in the pictures of this entry.

An example of the style is this, from the chapter about the novel "On the Marble Cliffs" (1939):
”On the Marble Cliffs” displays a rich collection of characters. We have [for example] prince Sunmyra, pale and frail yet strong and belligerent, a romantic dreamer aroused from his sleep and ready to act against darkness, mirroring in a way the statue of the Bamberg Horseman (der Bamberger Reiter) in Bamberg cathedral: a heroic medieval knight, seemingly distraught but essentially a true rock of resistance. Mythologically he is in my book juxtaposed by the knight depicted by Dürer in his 16th century engraving ”The Knight, Death and the Devil”, a no-nonsense fighter with a literal devil-may-care attitude, a man of a hard mindset and yet no mere barbarian. And this character could be said to be represented by another ”Marble Cliff” figure: Biedenhorn, the commander of the mercenaries. The brothers at the centre of action get some help from him at the end, and before that he is lovingly depicted as the timeless solider, without higher ideals but reliable when it comes to battle and a jovial friend to his brothers in arms.
The book is already selling and I've received praise for it from readers. Buy it on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.





Related
Book Review of "Ernst Jünger -- A Portrait"
The Adventurous Heart
Jünger the Pious
On the Marble Cliffs
Jünger and the Craft of Science Fiction

lördag 1 november 2014

Nordic Sphinx (poem)


Here's a poem by me, Svensson. It's about "northernness", a term coined by C. S. Lewis. And about "archeofuturism", a term coined by Guillaume Faye.




I’m a Nordic Sphinx,
looking out over the boundless hills,
seeing a bright future

for all and sundry – a future perfect,
an archaic future, a future in
purple and gold, silver and green.

The pine is ever green,
the sun casting its gold
on the mountain side,

the moon etching its silver runes
and the purple twilight –
the colours of a new era.

- - -

I’m the king of comedy,
a metal guru and an
implicit whiteness.

I’m a prophet, a poet,
a preacher, a piper,
a guru, a sphinx,

an attic fanatic and a forest creature,
an aristocrat of the soul
in a time of decay.

- - -

I’m a poet and a piper,
a prophet of Northernness
singing for the trees,

singing for the people,
singing for fun in an age
where no one seems to

be laughing any more, no one
smiles, no one feels the joy of anything.
There I come with my flute

throwing green melodies over
everyone, saying ”life can be
fun too, you know”.

- - -

The prophet has spoken,
the guru is gone, the
Northern Spinx has left

the building, left us for
the boundless hills, the
thousand-mile forest,

the moors and the swamps,
the grey-green expanses of
coniferous woods

holding a future for us all,
an old future, an archaic future:
archeo future, a future perfect.




Related
Swedish Mystique
Coleridge: The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

onsdag 29 oktober 2014

Boknytt: Ernst Jünger -- A Portrait (Svensson 2014)


Jag har gett ut en bok. Det är en biografi över Ernst Jünger. Living Traditions Magazine säger om den: "A biography of the very highest calibre." Boken kan köpas här.




Jag har skrivit en bok. Boken handlar om Ernst Jünger. Han var en tysk som levde 1895-1998. Boken är på engelska. Förlaget som gett ut boken heter Manticore Press. Det är baserat i Australien.

Boken heter "Ernst Jünger -- A Portrait". På 288 sidor berättar jag om Jüngers liv, hans centrala verk, hans kontroversiella sidor och lite till. Som hans syn på konst och historia, hans sf-romaner och hans särprägel i största allmänhet.

Boken kan beskrivas som en essä, en personligt hållen biografi. Kort sagt: ett porträtt (eng. portrait). På tyska har vi Helmuth Kiesels och Heimo Schwilks mer akademiskt hållna Jüngerbiografier. Dessa böcker kom 2007. Och här är min Jüngerbok, en bok med en friare, personligare utgångspunkt. En bok som både tar en titt den kontroversielle Jünger och som lyfter den esoteriske, livsbejakande Jünger. En Jünger som är synnerligen aktuell i dessa nihilismens tider.

- - -

Boken har 32 kapitel. Ett exempel på stilen är detta, ur kapitel 10 som handlar om "På Marmorklipporna", Jüngers roman från 1939 som på engelska heter "On the Marble Cliffs":
”On the Marble Cliffs” displays a rich collection of characters. We have [for example] prince Sunmyra, pale and frail yet strong and belligerent, a romantic dreamer aroused from his sleep and ready to act against darkness, mirroring in a way the statue of the Bamberg Horseman (der Bamberger Reiter) in Bamberg cathedral: a heroic medieval knight, seemingly distraught but essentially a true rock of resistance. Mythologically he is in my book juxtaposed by the knight depicted by Dürer in his 16th century engraving ”The Knight, Death and the Devil”, a no-nonsense fighter with a literal devil-may-care attitude, a man of a hard mindset and yet no mere barbarian. And this character could be said to be represented by another ”Marble Cliff” figure: Biedenhorn, the commander of the mercenaries. The brothers at the centre of action get some help from him at the end, and before that he is lovingly depicted as the timeless solider, without higher ideals but reliable when it comes to battle and a jovial friend to his brothers in arms.
Du köper boken till exempel här, på Adlibris.




Relaterat
Recension av boken
The Adventurous Heart
Jünger the Pious
On the Marble Cliffs
Jünger and the Craft of Science Fiction

fredag 17 oktober 2014

Some Notes on A Book by Clark Ashton Smith



Hallelujah.




Who has seen the towers of Amithaine
swan-throated rising from the main
whose tides to some remoter moon
flow in a fadeless afternoon...?
Who has seen the towers of Amithaine
shall sleep, and dream of them again.
These are words by the poet Clark Ashton Smith (1893-1961). I sit here with his "Out of Space and Time" vol. 2, reading about demons and gargoyles, brownies and fairies, charnel-dungeons and emerald hornettoes. A truly mind-boggling journey through thick and thin:
Rememberest thou? Enormous gongs of stone
were stricken, and the storming trumpeteers
acclaimed my deed to answering tides of spears,
and spoke the names of monsters overthrown -
griffins whose angry gold, and fervid store
of sapphires wrenched from mountain-plunged mines -
carnelians, opals, agates, almandines,
I brought to thee some scarlet eve of yore.
The collection also has prose-poems like "From the Crypts of Memory", about a shadowy existence in a dying land beyond the Beyond. This is fat, rich poesy with words you don't even find in Longman Dictionary. The piece ending the book, "The Shadows", is as rich, with all its "fretted windows", "the undesecrated seal of death" and "a meaningless antic phantasmagoria". I read them again and again these jewels of literature: neither stories nor versified poems, but poems in prose. Being about two pages long they have the right length for a prose poem.

I like the book's more conventional tales too, like "The Last Hieroglyph", "The Monster of the Prophecy", "The Death of Ilalotha" and "The Vaults of Yoh-Vombis". These outings aren't overly deep, not profound in any sense of the word -- but fun in a quiet way, fun in a "oh-how-he-can-adorn-his-language-with-obsolete-words"-way. There's that personality you can't mistake, that jewelry tinge to it all that makes me come back for more. Purple shadows, man.
For trumpets blare in Amithaine
for paladins that once again
ride forth to ghostly, glamorous wars
against the doom-preparing stars.
Dreamer, awake! ... but I remain
to ride with them in Amithaine.




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As you can see the depicted book is another one than the one treated in the post. However, I love that bluegreen cover, painted by Bruce Pennington as it is.

torsdag 2 oktober 2014

This Day's Post


Hallelujah.



I go. I am going. I saunter around in my neighbourhood.

I am going there. I go there. I have the habit of wandering along in the misty morning. Now children, we don't have mist every morning in our vicinities. Sometimes the mornings are clear. But above we see an image of the mistyness that sometimes seems to invade our fair city. It's a coastal town and the water you see in the pic is an inlet of the Baltic Sea, in itself an inlet of the North Sea and the Atlantic. In theory you could sail from Härnösand to any high sea port in the world.

- - -

In actual fact, I'm waiting for this day to end so that I can grab a bite and go to bed, listening to some music or read a non-challenging, however not utterly boring book. The book can't be too good because then I'll get upset, getting ideas to write something about it.

I'm not always like this. I read challenging books too. But these days, having written Important Stuff in the daytime, I can't take anything seriously after I've hit the sack.




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måndag 22 september 2014

Svensson: The New Improved Sun (poem)



Essentially, we live in a peaceful world. There is no longer the threat of all-out war, whatever MSM says. Mankind is on the eve of a new era. Hereby a poem that catches the gist of this.




It was an early morning in September, 2010. I was out on a bike ride in my beautiful town, Härnösand.

It was fairly warm. The air was moist, the effect of a rain the night before. "The wild and windy night / that the rain washed away / has left a pool of tears / crying for the day"... as Macca had it in "The Long and Winding Road".

The sun had risen, but from my point of view it was concealed behind a mountain on my right.

On my right a brook ran, carrying rather a lot of water; it had been raining as I said. I was in an area of detached houses, a villa region in the near-city zone, and to have an open brook running through the scenery was a quaint eyecatcher: they hadn't led it through ducts and covered it with soil. No, freshly running water, murmuring in the early morning sun...!

In front of me was an old regimental barrack, a yellow "kasern" as we say in Sweden, presiding on a small shelf in the hillside, surrounded by emerald green lawns and flanked by maples, the building resplendent like a castle with the front catching the sun rays. And in my mind I transformed it into a watering place, a place to quench your spiritual thirst. And along with some other reflections on the times, it all evolved into this poem. Note the Macca-reference in line #1...! By the way, the rest of the lines are also made up of quotes/titles. I won't tell you which ones though. Not today.

Now for the poem:

I'm in love with her and I feel fine
living in this Midsummer Century
praying at the Watering Place of Good Peace
under the New Improved Sun.

I could comment a lot on this. Now I only say: since after November 11, 2011, earth lives on a higher, spiritual level, for example resulting in the impossibility in an all-out war, such as "total Middle Eastern War" or "war between Nato and Russia over Ukraine".

It just won't happen. And I sensed it, vaguely, already in 2010, writing this poem.




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fredag 19 september 2014

Svensson: Good Cop, Mad Cop (flash fiction)



It's time for another ultra-short piece, a flash fiction as we call it in the industry. A work of fiction shorter than 1000 words. Here's my latest oevre.



Criminal investigator Johnson lived and worked in Anytown, a city somewhere in the Heartland. Once he was working on a murder case. However, the poor man went mad trying to solve it so another policeman had to take over the case. Smith, the new guy, did his best trying to decipher the illegible notes of Johnson, and he got some leads that eventually led him to a villa on 378 Park Drive. There a possible suspect would be living so Smith took his car and went over.

Finally there he found a letterbox with the address ”378 Park Drive” next to the drive of the villa. But turning around the streetcorner Smith found another letterbox, this one next to a cobbled walk leading to the back door of the same house. Here the address was ”101 Mayfair”. In a way it was logical since they were different streets and the house was situated at a streetcorner -- but why two letterboxes at the same house?

Smith went up to the door and pushed the ding-dong. And who opened but Johnson, the mad policeman. After some more investigation Smith concluded that Johnson was the murderer, under the covername ”B. Batty” who happened to live in the same house although around the corner. A true schizoid: one man with his two personalities living in the same house, but on different addresses!

”I daresay,” Smith said to himself when the case was solved, sitting in his office smoking his victory cigar, ”this was a remarkable case. You could call it a criminal variety, with psychopathological undertones, on the theme of ’fireman also being a pyromaniac’. Here it was about a policeman being a criminal, my own colleague Johnson as it turned out.”

Smith took a whiff and let the smoke dance around in his oral cavity, slowly blowing the smoke out. Smoking cigars shouldn’t be done by inhaling, namely.




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In Swedish: Kopisten i Babylon
In Swedish: Melinas resa
The picture has got nothing to do with anything. I guess it's an emerald. Or a tourmaline.

söndag 14 september 2014

Svensson: The Swedenborg Machine (short story)



Back in 2011, I published a story in a Swedish anthology. The title of the story was "Swedenborgmaskinen". Now I present it to you in English, aptly naming it "The Swedenborg Machine". It's about a latter-day scientist going off into lands unseen and there meeting the 18th century Swedish mystic, Emanuel Swedenborg.




1.

They whispered behind my back and called me mad, out of my mind, bananas. And sometimes they said it to my face, stating: ”You’re mad, Anatol! You’re a wayward fool, dabbling in metaphysics. We, for our part, the sharp ones, practise science; you on your hand practise witchcraft.”

They said that, my colleagues. And yet they let me go on doing my stuff. Why? Well, I did have support from higher levels, from the chairman of our institute, Professor Kossgren. He was a man of broader visions, always keeping the door open for metaphysical and esoteric influences, since science had always benefited from these to some extent. Like Stradonitz discovering the benzene ring dreaming about a serpent biting its tail, and Crick having the vision of the DNA double helix while on LSD. Not that I took acid, oh no, but I did have a penchant for thinking outside the box, going beyond the Beyond. The ”mad” label just went with it.

And now my ventures into the unknown had paid off. They had materialized in a tour de force of engineering prowess, a stupendous creation, a machine of remarkable qualities. To be precise it was a portal with an aluminum doorframe and lintel, all around a slit for the activator and, lastly, a separate control panel.

It was complete, my magnum opus, my grand design, the machine with which I would prove that the fourth dimension existed –- i. e., that it was a higher dimension, a hyperworld permeating the physical world. Does that sound vague to you? However, the important thing was that I didn’t surmise this fourth dimension being time as Einstein had postulated.

And right there’s where the project had begun. On the annual Swedish physicists’ meeting, in the pub afterwards, I had suggested that time wasn’t the fourth dimension; time in itself is no dimension. Indeed? my enemy, Gregor Welaion, had objected. Yes indeedy! I said and emptied my Vodka Martini.

”But... how...?”

”It’s simple,” I said. ”Space is a dimension while time merely is change. Time isn’t a dimension as Einstein has it, only a measure of the changes taking place in space. Of course you can draw up a coordinate system with time on one axle and space on the other –- but then you can move on and in different circumstances put any labels you wish on the axles, as progress, acceleration, anguish, happiness, what have you...

”But this is blasphemy!” Welaion had said, red as a lobster.

”Of course,” I said. ”Science begins as blasphemy, and ends as superstition, as Huxley put it...”

”What, Huxley? You’re way out of line here! I call for an investigation.”

”Oh yeah? Only to have me whisper Eppur si muove between the teeth...?”

- - -

There, with the scuffle imminent, the meeting had broken up. We went to our respective hotels and didn’t meet any further. As I said this was at the annual Swedish conference of physicists, that year -- 2007 -- held in Gothenburg were Welaion had his operation. As for myself I went back to Stockholm and the Polhem Institute where I worked. The next day I was called to the office of Professor Kossgren who had heard about the hassle. Supporting me full-out he asked me to delve further into the physics of the fourth dimension, leaving everything else and immediately getting to work. ”Never mind the cost, you have unlimited resources!” Kossgren had said. ”The institute’s honour is at stake!”

So I got to work –- and now, a year later, a day in June 2008, I was finished, in spite of snide remarks from the other employees at the institution, the so called ”pure scientists”, fine young men thinking inside the box. My opus was finished, my portal with the aluminum doorframe and all that. In itself the portal was a simple construction, secured as it was in absolute space and with sensors in relative time. By the suprematistic conveyor he who entered the portal was led beyond the depth, width and length of the everyday world, landing in the fourth dimension: a higher space, an esoteric ether beyond the Beyond.

The idea to it all I had gotten from a passage in a book, ”The Philosopher’s Stone” by a certain Henry T. Laurency, the so-called Hylozooic. It was the abovementioned concept of time not being a dimension. Then the painting of Kasimir Malevitj, ”Black Square” from 1913, had inspired me, this ultimate image of a higher dimension. Suprematist painting, you know. Then I just had to calculate on it all; in pure logic no postulates about the existence of anything can be made, they say, and that fit my hypothesis that the world is just a vague apparition while true reality is transcendental.
How life is vain, dim, unreal,
like scenes that ’round the drunkard reel...
As the poet said.

Truly mindboggling ideas, aren’t they? All this esoteric stuff. Not that I was some full-fledged idealist, some dreamer. I was a critical, hard working scientist. But sometimes you have to think outside that proverbial box, really throw eveything out the window and start afresh with totally alien concepts. Presume the unpresumable.

And that’s what I did. I was the kind of scientist having to believe twelve impossible things before lunch...

Anyhow, the project now was complete, my dimensional machine, the portal. I stood by the control panel and gathered strength. It was June 23rd, 2008, 9:45. There was only one thing left to do: to test it.

Power on: I pressed the button. There came a faint humming noise from the machine and the slit in the doorframe started to glow green. I entered some relevant commandos on the keyboard, activating the suprematist conveyor and pressing enter; ever so fitting, right? Press ”enter” before you enter the fourth dimension...

I left the control panel and got up on the dais. The inner of the portal flickered of energy, currents and dreams. ”Here I stand before eternity,” I thought, pathetically but true.

I exhaled, then filled my lungs –- and entered the portal.

As expected I didn’t see anything at first. Everything was white, white as an overcast sky. Then I saw a sheen like glowing brass, silver and gold –- and then I found myself laughing. I had done it, this was indeed the fourth dimension! The fourth dimension, reduced to ”time” by Einstein but in reality so much more than that, infinitely more...! And that’s the chief reason why I wanted to explore it: to boldly go where no man has gone before.

I had reached beyond the Beyond, I was flowing in an ethereal space. I still wore my jeans and laboratory coat but I was as light as a feather, I could go anywhere I wanted with pure force of thought.

- - -

I soared through the ethereal spaces, I danced around in the astral world. Then I gathered myself a little, thinking that it wouldn’t serve me to go completely mad. I did have that reputation but they wouldn’t score with it this time. I had to explore these unfamiliar vistas with sane, sober, Faustian clear-sightedness.

I descried something in the distance, looking like green meadows. I headed there, thought myself in that direction. Soon I was walking across a landscape, hearing twittering birds and seeing a rippling rivulet surrounded by willows, dipping their branches in the water. A rosy building presided some distance from the roadside. Far off you could see hazy mountains, green woodlands and temples with white steeples.

I could go anywhere in that dreamland, it seemed, but I only had the urge to visit the pink palace nearby. I headed for its garden and soon found myself walking among shiny trees and mysterious flowers; they were bigger, more beautiful and more brilliant than anything I had ever seen.

It was all very beautiful but at the same time I asked myself how to get back to my own world, the three dimensional world. Maybe there was someone to ask in this house.

I passed through a pergola and came out in an alcove. There, by a table, a peaceful man in a wig and a black justaucorps was sitting, speaking with a radiant woman. She was indeed radiant, she almost glowed. Was she perhaps ”a being whose nature is light” = a bodhisattva...?

I approached. And finally, standing before the glorious couple, I bowed and asked:

”Excuse me, Anatol Ersson is my name...”

The two of them nodded gently and asked me to sit down. I continued:

”Do you by any chance know the way back to Earth?”

”To Earth?” the man in the wig said. ”I do know the way, I’ve recently been there. So you wish to go back to that dark abode, eh...? Don’t you want to stay in this world, this spiritual world...?”

”Spritual world” I thought, that sounded serious. Now, I could picture a fourth dimension as a higher plane of existence and I could think in speculative, almost esoteric ways –- but ”spiritual?” As a scientist I didn’t like the concept, it was like crossing a border.

”Oh, sure it’s beautiful,” I said. ”But I’m a beginner in these fields, so if you could guide me back to more familiar lands...”

”Will do, my good man, will do,” the man said. ”But first take a bow for Bealália, my splendid deva, a being of light in this world...”

I bowed to the lady, enchanted by her beauty. Then I turned to the man and asked him who he was. ”Emanuel Swedenborg” the answer came. Indeed, I thought, the spiritualist and inventor; mining engineer, assessor and dreamer of 18th century fame! One of the few Swedes to have become world famous along with Strindberg, Nobel and Ingmar Bergman.

”But why can’t you stay in this world?” the deva suddenly said in a singing voice.

”I thank you for your invitation,” I said, ”but everything here is a bit new to me...”

”A bit too light and shiny, perchance...?” Swedenborg said. ”A bit too beautiful and enchanting, eh...?”

”That may be so,” I said with a sense of shame. Everything here was for certain supernatural and paradisic but I couldn’t handle all this splendour right now. I was happy with just having discovered the fourth dimension.




2.

Swedenborg exchanged a few more words with the lady and got up, saying it was time for us to go.

”So you want to get back to your own world?” the spiritualist said. ”To the natural world, to Earth?”

I nodded. Swedenborg thereby took farewell of the lady and I did the same; she waved her hand slowly and then began to disappear into thin air, gently. That’s the devaic way of being, I guess: to just fade away when you feel like it. Then the Assessor led me by the hand and soon we soared through shimmering rainbows and spectral skies. Somewhat used to these flights by now I just looked around me, enchanted by the sights but fully conscious.

”So you’re the great Swedenborg?” I said.

”Indedd I am.” The Assessor had a constant, discreet smile on his lips, like the one you see on early greek statues: the archaic smile.

”The world we just left,” I asked, ”what was that called?”

”That was the spiritual world, situated on this side of heaven.”

”But there were houses, mountais and trees in it,” I said. ”I thought these spiritual lands were only thin air, light and the like.”

”Many believe that, even the poet Dante; you are in good company there. But the things you saw weren’t tangible; they were projections of our thoughts. They were correspondences.”

”So they weren’t real then?”

”Oh, they were real, forsooth. Your thoughts are real, aren’t they?”

My head spinned. And the woman we had met, the ”deva”, was probably what others would have called an angel –- or a bodhisattva, a ”being of light”. Well, you have to experience a lot as a scientist; as I said you have to encounter twelve impossible things before lunch, and I hadn’t had lunch yet...

- - -

Soon the colours around us got more mixed and impure, the light less divine. Houses appeared before our eyes, tangible, earthly houses and no ethereal creations. Suddenly we were walking along a cobbled street, the clouds sailing past us in the sky and gulls crying nearby. Swedenborg stopped by a corner.

”My dear Mr. Boström,” he said, ”now we’re here. Back on Earth, as you wished. Back in the natural world.”

”Indeed...,” I said and looked at a man in a leather cap and grey clothes, pushing a wheelbarrow before him, loaded with cabbages.

I saw this man –- and I saw ladies in long dresses and head scarves and men in coats and tricorni; I saw wooden houses with lozenge panes and I saw a horse cart. The smell of horse manure was ever present.

”Well,” I said, ”I’m back and I’m happy with that. But tell me, what year is it?”

”What year? It’s the one thousand seven hundred sixtieth, counting eight.”

I paled and stuttered: ”1768...”

I paled –- because, as a scientist I didn’t believe time-travel to be possible. It was against the laws of cause and effect. But maybe Swedenborg involuntarily had drawn me down to his own time when I asked for his help to get me back to Earth. The bypass via the fourth dimension, which isn’t ”time”, had made this seeming time-traveling possible.

We went down the street. People started to look at me. I still wore jeans and the lab coat, that’s why, and I was bare headed: in the old days everyone wore a hat of some sort, rich and poor alike. Hat or no hat I started to picture life in the seventeen hundreds; maybe I could get a job as a mining engineer, the cutting edge of yesterdays technology. Well, how about that? Then again, a life without TV, bananas, chinese food, jet airliners, ipod...?

The impressions flooded me, deluged me. Slowly but surely it all hit me, the argument was brought home: I was trapped in the 18th century!

My knees got weak, everything went black and I fainted.

- - -

It was a sunny room with an elm outside. A lady in a head scarf sat beside the bed I was lying in. Now she got up and cried out the door:

”He’s coming to now, methinks!”

She bathed my forehead with a wet towel. I smiled, thanked and sat up. I tried to think: with my machine I had gained the fourth dimension, a supermundane world, a higher reality, an esoteric realm. And there I had met the spiritualist Swedenborg, a seasoned visitor in these lands for what it seemed. Oh yes, as an educated 21st century man I had heard about his travels in different dimensions, but that was about all I knew about him. Then I had asked him to show me the way to Earth and that he had done, taking me to his Earth, his 18th century reality. So I was trapped here. Unless...

The Assessor came in, still dressed in his silken coat and wig: a dignified gentleman, a grandseigneur of olden times, smiling enigmatically. He asked the maid to make some coffee; then he sat down and said that he had had me carried to his house after I had fainted.

”To your house...?”

”To my house in the southern part of Stockholm. On Hornsgatan, kvarteret Mullvaden, if it is familiar.”

Indeed it is I thought, from the squatting activities in the 1980:s. ”BZ in Mullvaden” was a huge story in my younger days with people illegally living in those derelict apartment houses, built on the same spot as Swedenborg’s old mansion.

Swedenborg questioned me about my whereabouts. I told him that I came from the 21st century and he accepted that without further ado, but then again he was a speculatively minded scientist himself. We talked for a while about the differences between our respective ages, but then I broke in and posed the burning question:

”Could you, Mr. Swedenborg, help me get back to my own times? The 18th century seems on the whole to be a charming world, and your welcoming me in your house is most hônnete. However, home, sweet home and all that...”

”I understand you completely,” the man said. ”But how would it be done?”

”Well,” I said, ”if you fasten a construction in absolute space and put sensors in relative time, and then connect a suprematistic actuator to it all –- then you might reach the fourth dimension, the world where we first met, and by means of that interdimension get back.”

The spiritualist got a concerned look and walked away. In the mean time I despaired and blamed myself for my condition: if I had had a remote control to my dimensional machine I might have gotten back home without help. An assistant at the control panel might have helped too, but that I didn’t have.

- - -

The maid arrived with the coffee. I took a cup, put some broken sugar in it, stirred and drank. There were also some sugar buns. Coffee and sugar buns, the favourite dish of Swedenborg; I knew that, but what else did I know about him and his teachings? Not much to be honest. As for myself I had a weak spot for esoterica, that’s true, but purely on a intellectual level. I couldn’t understand what it meant to be pious and Christian and all that, that wasn’t part of my scientific upbringing.

Emanuel returned with an unwritten paper. He took a cup for himself and sat down at a table, drinking some of the brew and beginning to brood.

Birds sang, the sun shone and the elm spread a green lustre; what an idyl. Maybe life in the 18th century wasn’t so bad after all: not so stressful and breakfast in the green, all accompanied by Bellman picking on his lute. Then again there were horse manure, cholera and 500 pubs, and shady politics with bribes and secret committees. And as for sunshine and bird song we had those too in the 21st century.

”Well now,” my host ejaculated, ”fasten the construction in absolute space you said... Will you please sketch it out for me.”

He handed me a quill pen and a paper. I sat up in my bed, took a nearby Haupt bureau as a tablet, dipped the pen in the inkpot and made a blueprint of sorts, based on the principles of my own machine. Would Swedenborg then be able to build one with the tools of the 18th century? If he even got to understand it...

- - -

I sat at the kitchen table, drawing and sketching. I felt better after the rest, fully recovered after my fall. Dressed in lab coat and jeans I brought Swedenborg up-to-date with my research. He seemed to grasp it all. As ”the Columbus of the spiritual world” he already knew about the fourth dimension, more than anyone in this age, and the concept of securing the contraption in absolute space reminded him about his idea of correspondences.

It was late at night. A kerosene lamp was burning in the room and I had filled one paper after another. By now Swedenborg got up from his chair next to mine, tipping over an empty coffee cup and exclaiming:

”By God, it can be done! My dear Mr. Boström, I will take you back to your own time.”

And that was it, the genius had spoken. After all he was a genius, a mining engineer and a designer of submarines and airships, a theoretical physicist -- and to that a true esoteric, a speculative philosopher and dreamer. I could think of no better man in the 18th century to build me a time machine, to be honest!

The following days Swedenborg was occupied with machine building in his drawing room downstairs; he wanted to work on his own and I complied. After all it was just some reverse engineering of my own machine. I mean, the man was a genius and as for myself I had already built a dimension machine, there being no point for me in building another, not on a personal level at least. No challenge. Well, maybe working with 18th century limitations would have been interesting –- but as for now the Assessor had already gone ahead with his project so I let it be. He cherished the challenge he would get from this venture.

I let it be, leaving him to his own machinations. So I spent the days strolling in his garden watching apple trees and flower beds and sitting in the octagonal summerhouse in its centre. He stored some of his books there, and amazed I read titles like Arcana Caelestica, De Caelo Et Inferno, De Cultu Et Amore Dei, impressive tomes bound in leather by the man himself. He knew book-binding too; what didn’t he know?

Impressive books; however, I couldn’t read any of them. They were all in Latin.

- - -

I took a tour of the city, Stockholm: ”stolta stad” as Bellman sung in his Epistle 33, ”You proud city”. I borrowed a hat and a fine coat to blend in, watching the new royal castle and the churches and all the tourist views, immortalized by the painter of the day Elias Martin. The smell of horse manure, open gutters and the sights of prostitutes, street kids and drunks gave some added colour.

I crossed the Nybron and looked up to the steeple of Klara kyrka, rising in splendid isolation, undisturbed by the modern highrises of Hötorgs City which today tend to dwarf it. Fluffy clouds scudded across the sky and all was nice and warm. In Kungsträdgården I sat down and watched the verdure of the elms and got lost in the twittering of the birds and the hubbub of the city. I started to think about my personal situation in the 21st century and I didn’t like it at all. I was an outsider in the scientific community, a slight esoteric among everyday philosophers and materialists.

It wasn’t just my dispute with Welaion. His likes were indeed everywhere. Say that you believe in metaphysics and people start looking weirdly at you; whisper something about ”karma” and ”reincarnation” and they start dialing the asylum: yes it’s him with the steel-brimmed glasses –- and then strait jacket, ambulance and off to ”One-Way Hotel”...

Me paranoid? Oh no, it’s exactly like that in the scientific community. On the surface it’s all open-minded and tolerant, but in verity it’s like the Inquisition.

But I persisted in my odd ideas. Like, for instance: in pure logic nothing is really said to exist; I’ve touched on that before. There is a hint of higher reality, there is an immanent esoterism in science: matter can’t be the highest state of being because then thoughts, ideas and theories would just be fancy. All that which makes science into what it is.

- - -

A somewhat sclerotic science community, that was my ”home”. So why even bother to return? Still there were some good portents. Pure materialists were beginning to get scarce; there were some who listened to Dirac for example, when he said that beauty in the equations was more important than that they agreed with the expteriments. And that could make you think of Paul Davies when he said that in nature order and beauty is the norm, not coincidence, and the explanation to this can’t be reached empirically. And didn’t James Jeans say that the universe more looks like a big thought than a big machine...?

Well, there was hope after all. I got up, dusted some imaginary dust off my coat, cocked my hat and returned to the southern part of the city, singing Bellman’s Song no 64, ”Haga”:
Fjäriln vingad syns på Haga,
mellan blommors frost och dun,
sig sitt gröna skjul tillaga,
och i blomman sin paulun…
(See the butterfly in the meadows of Haga, among flowers and down, making his abode in a bloom...)




3.

It was D-Day, the big day; it was May 19th in the year of grace 1768 to be precise. My host showed me into the drawing room, in the midst of which presided an armchair with strange contraptions: at the top end there was a clock, beside the arms there was an hourglass and a pendling axle, and around it all was a spiral brazen rail.

”So this is...?”

”This is my machine,” Swedenborg said, "the, if you will, Swedenborg Machine. Now, I have added to your drawing with some concepts from the spiritual world. My machine transforms linear time into a durée, an ever flowing now. This is done by implicit resonance, dynontology and the induction of monads, the last of which is effectuated by this clock that I have modified.”

He pointed to the clock at the top. I nodded and studied the construction closely, immediately understanding how it was made: beyond the odd concepts it took for granted that time wasn’t a dimension, merely a way of measuring changes in the material world, in the three-dimensional space. Precisely my thought, as I have touched on above.

I sat down in the chair, a fine piece of furniture clad in jacquard fabric, and said:

”Comfortable, I daresay!”

”Very much so. It’s my best lounge chair.”

”Oh, but you needn’t have –”

"Mais non," Swedenborg said, ”anything for my guest. So then, shall we get started...?”

I nodded. Then I got to think that this Swedenborg for certain was a wise man, a pious man and a guru. As I said I was no dyed-in-the-wool esoteric, but some new ventures of research wouldn’t hurt. So I decided to ask him a little about his way of thinking.

"Monsieur," I said, ”we met in the spiritual world and they say that you are an experienced traveller in those higher planes of existence. They even call you ”The Columbus of the Dream World”. So can you teach me some of your dream geography, your outlook on this and other worlds...?”

Swedenborg nodded and said that those travels were made without his own volition; he just thought some odd thought and then he was snatched away to impossible worlds.

- - -

I sat in the time machine chair, waiting to travel forth in time. However, for the moment I was still in 1768, still listening to Swedenborg's on-the-cuff lesson. Now he was talking about the philosophies he had been taught beyond the Beyond, and among other things he told me this: what’s important in life is your will, your own free will. You are free to walk in the Light, to deliberately choose to go that way; you can’t just sit down and wait for the mercy of the Lord. You're cooperating with the Lord to create the life of your choice: "Deus non transferat hominem, sed homo se ipsum." God doesn't direct you here or there; that's done by the individual himself.

I nodded and then queried: ”But you said that you sometimes get snatched away to Heaven...?”

”Yes,” the Assessor said, ”these days I sometimes do. But I was an agnostic for a long, long time before that, not experiencing that much in the way of wonders."

He continued the recapitulation of his teachings: happiness is here and now (he said), any moment is your best moment.

”This moment too?” I asked.

”Yes,” my host said. ”Regardless of your being on your way home now and all that.”

How odd I thought –- any given moment is your best...

He added something about his correspondences, how everything we see is an expression of ideas, of thought. The tangible things exist for the ideas to have something to manifest themselves in. A sort of Platonism then? I thought.

Swedenborg nodded enigmatically and wound up the clock; he asked me what time he should set it for. I turned and saw that it was a very strange clock with separate works for year, month and day. There was also a globe for the location in space, a brass-and-tin piece he called an orbis terrarum.

I was about to say my 2008 date; then I changed my mind and said: ”August 24th, 1913, S:t Petersburg”. Swedenborg raised his eyebrow and then complied, setting the clock –- and then he set the pendulum in motion, made the axle to swing, turned the hour-glass and placed a steel ball on the brazen rail.

”Right then, here we go!” he said before letting the ball go.

I nodded and saw the ball run down the tortuous rail. It hypnotized me and made the whole room to spin. Before I knew the armchair rose from the floor –- or rather, the room disappeared and I was travelling through an undefined something. It was probably the same fourth dimension I had visited recently.

- - -

Again I travelled beyond the everyday dimensions. But why the Russian destination of 1913, you might ask? Well, it was just a detour to the studio of Malevitj, on the Nevskij Prospekt, to buy his then newly painted ”Black Square”: the image of the fourth dimension, an artistic correspondence to my journeys. And verily, I did reach the place and I did get to meet the Russian. We talked for a while about non-figurative art as a spiritual discipline, as an emancipatory act. After some mahorka and tea I moved on. I set the clock for June 23th, 2008, and my lab at the Polhem Institute in the northern suburbs of Stockholm, as part of the famous Tekniska Högskolan to be precise.

Again I flew through the unknown, darkness shot through with emerald and ruby. I thought about correspondences and free will, implicit resonance, absolute space and suprematism, monades and dynontology. I though about happiness being here and now and about non-objective, non-material art as an emancipatory force. Looking at pictures with no tangible objects, just shapes and colours, liberates you. Like the painting of ”Black Square” I had just bought and held in my hands, sitting in the magical chair.

I soared through light, bathed in light. Soon I saw a room before me, a control panel framed by a portal with greenish lustre. Sitting in the armchair I stately flew through the gate and came out in the lab, landing with a bump. I was home again, the same day as I had departed the place: June 23rd, 2008. I eyed the clock: half past three, just in time for the coffee break.

I got out of the chair, Swedenborg’s time machine. Right then a thought struck me: when I first ventured into the fourth dimension I discovered that I could travel by will of thought alone. I willed myself in a certain direction and immediately got there. So, I thought, standing in my Stockholm lab after coming back to my own times –- why hadn’t I willed myself back to Earth then? Why did I have to ask Swedenborg to help me?

Well, I got distracted I guess. After seeing the beauty of the Spiritual World I forgot about that willpower way of traveling. Had I remembered it, well, that would have saved me some tribulations. Then again, I did get to meet Swedenborg and see Stockholm of the 18th century, and that wasn’t so bad...

- - -

I pushed away the Swedenborg machine into a corner, hung the Malevitj on a wall and took off the 18th century attire I still wore, instead putting on a lab coat, approaching the control panel and shutting off my own machine; it had been running ever since I left. As I said I didn’t have an assistant. I was a bit of a loner.

Then there followed a debrief with the Professor, a report and an in your face to Welaion. Of course he questioned the results, I didn’t have any proof that I had been to the fourth dimension. And he for one didn’t want to test the machine, that would be way too dangerous! No one else dared either. Not immediately. But soon a veritable shuttle traffic to eternity got going so my portal didn’t stand idle there in my lab, I can tell you that. My metaphysical ideas began to be discussed in the science community. Seeing time as the fourth dimension slowly faded away.




Epilogue

As an epilogue to it all I can mention that I went to the public library one day shortly after coming home, the library being a golden brown structure with a cylinder atop a cube of sorts. I refer of course to the Stadsbiblioteket by Gunnar Asplund, situated on Sveavägen in the fair city of Stockholm. I went up the majestical stairs, crossed the rotunda and headed for one of the adjacent chambers –- and there, filed under ”C”, Religion, I found and borrowed some works of Swedenborg. Now there were Swedish translations, knowledge in Latin wasn’t needed.

It was an exciting read I must say, like Vedic or Platonic philosophy in a curiously personal vein, esoteric visions from a man who had seen what he spoke about. I decided to become a full-fledged esoteric myself there and then. Yea, verily: I started to venture into spiritual lands, into pious emotions and encounters with the holy and the sacred.

How then to combine it all with objective science? you might ask. That sacred stuff I had gotten into. Well, in science you have to be cold and analytic, I fully agree, but an underlying feeling of awe and wonder doesn’t stand in your way. On the contrary: it inspires you.

As a scientist you need inspiration –- so where better to find it than in spiritual lands...?

Yes indeedy! So spiritual lands, here I come, half way up the rig and a sliderule between my teeth: a 21st century Columbus for the astral world...!




Related
Ascended Masters: Some Info
Is Obama the Mahdi?
Elias Martin, "Utsikt över Stockholm"

Swedish Mystique


What foreigners know about Sweden is the Nobel Prize, Ingmar Bergman and such.




In my collection I have a book by Peter Englund. Yeah, it's him, the Secretary of Svenska Akademin. He even signed it for me, imagine that...! Maybe I should write him and try to influence him in giving me the Nobel Prize in literature. Well maybe. Or maybe not.

Anyhoo, The Prize and Akademin are part of what you can call Swedish Mystique. It's those things that foreigners find exotic and alluring with Sweden. Another one might be Ingmar Bergman. Everybody loves him, right? Who can resist "The Seventh Seal" with the white-faced Death playing chess with the statuesque Max von Sydow? The nihilism and Angst aside I too like this film. Bergman might lack some depth, some esoteric footing, but on the whole his film is a great one. Life and death, the knight and the common people he meets, the landscapes, the interiors, it all adds up to a mystic whole, Swedish style.

- - -

So what's more to say about the Swedish allure? Neverending pine forests, that's pretty typical for Sweden's inland. I was born there. Now I live by the coast but we have rather a lot of woodland here too. I love these woods. It's the playground for sagas and myths, for John Bauer and traditionalism. A student of Bauer's school was Gustaf Tenggren who eventually joined Disney Studios and painted backgrounds for Snow White and Pinocchio. He knew how to draw trees and make them contribute to the atmosphere. Tenggren made a lasting impact on the Disney Studio and their renderings of folk tales such as Cinderella and The Sleeping Beauty.

I'm a Swede and a mystic, an adept and a scholar, so I've gotta be the definition of Swedish Mystique. We've been living in a materialistic paradigm until now. Now's the time for Antropolis. Now's the time for dancing in the woods to the tune of Jethro Tull's "Broadsword":
Bring me my broadsword
and clear understanding,
bring me my cross of gold
as a talisman...
I'm a very mystic man. I sing about my home on the High Coast, about the Northlandic Strain. Dance to the sound of saami drums, dance in the splendour of the Nordic Light.




Related
Antropolitan -- The Only Way to Fly
Secular Hymns
Judas Priest: Point of Entry
Eld och rörelse
Novellsamling
Skogskyrkogården south of Stockholm, architect Sigurd Lewerentz

tisdag 9 september 2014

The Not-So-Good of Philip K. Dick


Of course I love Phil Dick also. Even when he was bad he could be interesting. And as for his outright good ones, here's my appreciation of them on Motpol, in Swedish. But in the blog post you're now reading I'm going to list some Dick books I disagree with.




The five worst Philip K. Dick Novels, how about that for a controversy? Again, let me just say that I generally adore Dick. Make no mistake about it. But here I've decided to seek out the worst books by PKD.

And here they are.



1.

A Maze of Death -- you've got it, death-death, desolation and drug-induced paranoia such as insects with guns... However, there's energy and drive to it, the setting, though depressing, has some depth. Although a hackwork this novel, being written by Dick, kinda "radiates quality". A novel about God and prophets, it has its moments but overall it's something of an oddity. Read Galactic Pot-Healer instead, it's got a modicum of optimism.


2.

Dr. Bloodmoney or how We Got Along after The Bomb -- in short: you can't write about The Bomb. It goes beyond human drama, then as well as now.



3.

The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch -- all in all a rather fine book but I'm bothered by the setting in an Earth plagued by scorching sunshine. It doesn't contribute to the story, other than saying we shall pity the characters.



4.

Eye in The Sky -- again a good book compared to many others, however the framing of the characters (right-wing guy, prissy secretary, religious fanatic) is a bit too clever-clever, a Simpson's-like satire, i. e., not hard-hitting at all. And all the railings against religion are trite; later on Dick learned better in that respect.



5.

The Man in the High Castle -- Nazis bad, Japs innately good, now that's "a bedtime-story for the children of the damned" I'd say. OK, it's wrong to call this a bad book. In fact it's got most of the marks of a classic. But I freak out on the implicit antiwhiteness of it all.



Coda

Virtually without comment, Dick novels to read are: The Game-Players of Titan, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (mid section great, the basis for the film Blade Runner), Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said (anti-Nixon but overall great) Time out of Joint and Selections From the Exegesis (ed. Sutin).




Related
Counter-Currents: My Notes on Heinlein
Jünger and the Craft of Science Fiction





Related in Swedish
van Vogt
The Man In The High Castle
Dick: Vad är verkligt?
Dickish
Paranoid science fiction
Katedralbyggare och kritiker
Adams, Dick, Donaldson...
Jim Ballard

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