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The Re-Readable Collection Of   SF&F
Specializing in Intimate Adventure

Reviews only of books highly recommended by Jacqueline Lichtenberg

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Here you will find Science Fiction, Fantasy and Occult novels and nonfiction books reviewed by Jacqueline Lichtenberg in her column in The Monthly Aspectarian called Recommended Books

Because The Monthly Aspectarian is aimed at the New Age reader seeking paths to enlightenment, the novels are discussed from the point of view of what a student of the occult could learn from them.  The overall column, however, is designed to enhance any reader's enjoyment by revealing the world of books as a conversation among writers, and in the case of sf/f among writers and readers.  And so this column is apt to break all the rules of reviewing and criticism.  It is up close and personal.    It is about friendship, and about the creative interaction between writer and reader.    Read about how best to use this column. 

  Star Trek fans - before you search among these reviews for books you'd want to read, find the hidden Star Trek Connection among all the novels recommended here.  And if you're worried about online shopping or about amazon.com in particular, read this.

Recommended Books Columns Listed by Year - 1993 -- 2000+
1993

Find out of print books
at amazon.com 

1993's columns focused on defining the New Genre called Intimate Adventure by Jacqueline Lichtenberg, and quoted in the Publisher's Weekly article on a Science Fiction World Convention held in Boston. 

In the Star Trek Connection, Jacqueline Lichtenberg writes:

"My main interest in science fiction is now and always has been focused on nonhumans, and/or human-variants, and the Relationships that can (and can not) be developed across the inherent gulf between human and nonhuman.  My own fiction reflects that interest in Relationships as the determining force behind all Action - be it Action/Adventure or Action-Warfare.  And so Gerald Jonas, the New York Times Science Fiction Book Reviewer, who reviewed my novels extensively, called my writing   "Science Fiction Soap" -- and I agree whole heartedly." 

1994 The February column of 1994 details the criteria of excellence by which books are selected for review here.  From the August column onwards, there is a discussion of the role of Government in the novels reviewed, and what that implies. 
1995 The January column starts:

In the December '94 column, I discussed some of the forces operating behind the commercial fiction scene to shape and limit what is available to you on the shelves of chain bookstores. I also pointed out some of the hotbeds of seething activity working to foment change in the commercial fiction delivery system.

In previous columns, I have established that by "fiction delivery system" I mean not just printed material but also movies, TV, video, cd-rom, audio-tape originals, and any other sort of hardware invented to provide consumers with a fiction template to spark dreams.

I consider this system "broken" because there is a notable lack of feedback between the ultimate consumer of the fiction (you) and the purveyor. TV networks have Neilsens and book publishers have computerized warehouse inventory statistics. Statistics can indicate vaguely what the consumer will pay for — before consuming the product — but not why they chose the product, and certainly not whether the purchaser ultimately found the product worth its price or why it was/was not worth that price. Statistics measure the effectiveness of the packaging, not the contents.

Many of the columns of 1995 focus on what I've dubbed "The Fiction Delivery System."

1996 The January column begins:

Recently, this column has focused on how writers trick readers into believing the impossible before breakfast. This month, we'll look at this process from the reader's point of view.

Science fiction/fantasy is classically defined as literature having one of the three elements:

1. What if . . .?

2. If only . . .. or

3. If this goes on . . .

And the best sf/f, the kind I tend to review for this column, has all three of these elements woven together.

In watching the responses of anti-sf/f folk to the TV show which I focused on last month, Forever Knight, and other sf/f offerings on TV, I find the most often uttered comment is, "It makes no sense." This comment is usually heavily loaded with tone of voice, body language, pitch/stress patterns, that indicate (to me) scorn, rejection, and triumphant discovery of a truth.

The general message I get underneath and over the words is, "Since this makes no sense, it is therefore stupid / ridiculous / contemptible, and anyone who finds it interesting is insane. What a relief! I'm okay — she's not."

Before the 60's this exact same comment and attitude were leveled at printed sf which was — even at that time — my favorite reading matter. With the advent of Star Trek on TV, science fiction came "out of the closet" and into the mundane world and drew similar fire from the general public (which was why I wrote Star Trek Lives!). In thirty years, you might have expected some attitudes to change. A little.

Yet I've found that some of the most intelligent people still reject science fiction/fantasy on the grounds of, "It makes no sense." This has puzzled me sorely, but I now think I understand it, thanks to the explanation in the book Genderspeak by Suzette Hadin Elgin (who also writes science fiction novels that explicate the linguistic principles she discusses in these nonfiction books on The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense. I've reviewed some of her novels in this column: Native Tongue, Native Tongue II: The Judas Rose, Native Tongue III).

Among the rich and varied inventory of skills Elgin presents in Genderspeak is one principle she calls "Miller's Law" which she touched on elsewhere in her books because it's an important key principle.

Elgin quotes the noted psychologist, George Miller:

"In order to understand what another person is saying, you must assume that it is true and try to imagine what it could be true of. (Interview with Elizabeth Hall, Psychology Today, January 1980, pp.38-50 and 97-98)"

You assume that the crazy thing this person just said is true and ask yourself what that implies about what else would have to be true to make it so. If you can imagine that, you will often know what to say to prevent a confrontation.

Elgin presents this advice in what I can only call a straight-faced, level tone of writing. As I interpret it, she is presenting information she has good reason to suspect the reader doesn't know, and is suggesting adopting a mental habit she figures many readers might not have.

I was shocked. And illuminated.

The rest of this column examines these issues as they pertain to the array of SF works reviewed, and the rest of the year's columns focus on the various places people are now getting their "fix" of sf/f.  

Also throughout the 1996 columns, there is an examination of "The Purpose of Life" and the nature of "Identity" as discussed in contemporary sf/f.

The April column begins:

One paragraph from my March column has been excerpted and quoted in a publication called NOW VOYAGER, the organ of the Kate Mulgrew Fanclub (Star Trek: Voyager, Captain Janeway). That particular paragraph has also impressed one professional editor over dinner in Manhattan while I was pitching a book project. Oddly enough, the editor, who does not edit sf/f, was fully conversant with all the Treks and with Forever Knight and read the excerpt on ST:Voyager I had printed out from my March column, was nodding and muttering, "Yes. Right. Of course." After I got home, I downloaded my e-mail and found the request to quote that same comment that had impressed this editor. Suddenly, this month's column crystallized in my mind.

That paragraph of mine quoted in NOW VOYAGER is as follows:

"So some viewers see Janeway as a Kirk, and some see her as a weak sister who doesn't belong on the bridge of a garbage scow. Very few put the two views of a Captain together and realize that her confused characterization accurately portrays this society's confused view of what a woman is — an adventurer into the "where no woman has gone before" of the Corporate Board Room, or a home-maker whose house-builder has failed to keep the roof on during the storm of recession."

Identity is the key concept being discussed by ST:Voyager onscreen -- even into 1998.

1997 The 1997 columns focus on Mastery - examining what sf/f has to say about Mastery as an education level, a state of mind, an emotion, a level of competency -- what it means and whether/why we should pursue attaining Mastery. 
1998 Since you're most likely to find the recent titles still available, I have started working on the 1998 page first.  So here you'll find a few handy links to where you can find out more about each title. 
1999

Introducing the
addendum to Recommended Books
Afficionado's BookShelf of Keepers
with fiction and esoteric nonfiction. 

1999 columns titled:

Identity and the Intimate Medal of Honor PART TWO

"Honorable Threat-Response"

"The Craft - of life - as an artform"

"Is Individuality Honorable?"

"Werewolves, Vampires and The Cardinal Grand Cross"

"Threat-Response, Soul and Astrology"

"Power+Options=Karma"

"The Essence of Story"

"The Essence of Creativity"

"2nd House vs. 8th House & Honor"

For Astrology background visit http://www.noeltyl.com

 

 

 

2000

 

"Law, Rules and Order"

"Rites of Passage and Madison Avenue"

"Daily Heroics of the Millenium"

"New Coping Strategies of the Millenium"

"Civil Obedience in SF/F"

"What does it mean to be human?"

"Magician's Greatest Risk"

"Dangers of Honor"

"What if you're not a Magician?"

"What if you're not a Hero?"

"Karmic Burden and the Millennium"

"Interest on the Karmic Debt"

 

 

2001   Index of columns now available here. 
2002 Index of columns for 2002 now available here.  
2003 Index of columns for 2003 here
2004 Index of columns for 2004 here  
2005 Index of columns for 2005 here  now available
2006   Index of columns for 2006 here now available
2007   Index of columns for 2007 here now available through Dec. 
2008   Index of columns for 2008
2009 Index of columns for 2009
2010 Index of columns for 2010
2011 Index of columns for 2011
2012 Index of columns for 2012
2013 Index of columns for 2013
Never Cross a Palm With Silver (The Biblical Tarot Series)
by Jacqueline Lichtenberg
Our Price: $14.95

Paperback - 224 pages (December 1997)
Toad Hall Inc; ISBN: 0963749854 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.54 x 9.00 x 6.00

This first book in a radical new series examines precisely what the Bible prohibits as divination. What does divination really mean? Although the origin of the Tarot is shrouded in mystery it is clearly connected to the Qabalah ( the Jewish mystery school) thus it is likely that not only Moses but also Jesus knew and understood Tarot. Our ancestors made distinctions between prophecy and destiny between divination and fortune telling. the differences and similarities between the Tarot and the Bible-as defined by a Biblical God-are explained so we can receive and understand God's messages
THE BIBLICAL TAROT
Vol. 1
NEVER CROSS A PALM WITH SILVER
Jacqueline Lichtenberg

Rabbi Jonah Gerwirtz comments on the back cover: "My appreciation to the author for a most insightful and creative approach and her most orthodox presentation of sacred and traditional concepts.  this book crosses denominational lines and will be of value to all students of Bible and Tarot."

On the front cover, Rev. Thomas f. Schmidle, Universal Life Church, Church of the Natural Way, says, "Outstanding - a whole new concept of God and the connection with the Tarot!  Exceptional clarity, very well written and well organized -- I loved it!"

Jacqueline Lichtenberg says: Strange how the oldest ideas are considered "new" from time to time. But then Star Trek always gets its best material from Shakespeare. 

Jacqueline Lichtenberg has completed Vol. 2, "The Magic Of The Wands" and is working on Vol. 3, "The Cups: Half Full or Half Empty?" with volumes on Swords and Pentacles being planned.  Each of these 4 volumes, sub-titled "The Not So Minor Arcana," show the student how to develope a personal interpretation of the cards using the Qabalistic Tree Of Life.  To be notified of availability of these volumes, go to amazon.com and fill out the "Eyes" form .     The 6th volume is to cover the Major Arcana and the Court Cards.  See Toad Hall Inc. for an excerpt. 

Read the introduction and first chapter. 




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