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Recommended Books

March 2002

"Riding A Trend"


Jacqueline Lichtenberg

 To send books for review in this column email Jacqueline Lichtenberg, jl@simegen.com for snailing instructions or send an attached RTF file.  
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Down Came a Blackbird by Barbara Karmazin, Atlantic Bridge Publishing (e-book) 2001. http://www.atlanticbridge.net

Beholder's Eye by Julie E. Czerneda, Daw Science Fiction, Oct. 1998

Those who follow the megatrends fueled by the international financial processes have noted the world-wide recession, the major retreat of the U.S. stock market, all made worse on September 11th, and the early statistics on January and February 2002 retail sales and new and existing home sales (which are related statistics).

Why would a student of Magic bother to watch CNBC?

Because of the structure of the Universe, of course.

Students of Astrology know there exists a "quadruplicity" -- 4 signs of the zodiac which are related, and usually associated with Elementals, Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. The Tarot has 4 suits for that same reason -- there is a structural parameter which supports and sustains this existence which requires 4 independent but related parameters to describe fully.

A magically valid altar is cubical, or multiples of cubical, for a reason. Boolean algebra requires no fewer than 4 independent variables to create an algebra that can do anything useful. Four-ness is a property of the universe not only in Magic -- it is also just as important in Mathematics and thus every branch of science we've yet invented.

One of those 4 independent parameters, usually associated with Earth is represented in the Tarot by Pentacles, and generally assigned the meaning Money or Finances.

That's a very superficial way of looking at it, but it'll do for beginners. Try looking at it this way. It's not Pentacles that represents Money, but Money that represents Pentacles. Many other things represent Pentacles, but Money does a good job of symbolizing the Elemental Earth.

As such, then Money is not the "root of all evil" but rather a very powerful Magical Force which, if abused, will rebound upon the abuser multi-fold with results that resemble "Evil" to the magically untrained eye.

Thus, to understand the mega-trends underlying the ebb and flow of the forces operating in your environment, you must "grok" or internalize an understanding of what the powerful streams of commerce among nations are doing, and why -- why being the most important part. "Why" has to do with culture, beliefs, attitudes, and old rivalries such as the partitioning of India into India and Pakistan, and the partitioning of Palestine into Israel and displaced refugees.

I have been studying those financial-power based trends for more than ten years now, and that study has paid off for me at this point in time. In October, I saw trends gathering and got ready to move with them. In November, I put my house on the market, and it sold the first day at my first, (high) asking price.

I flew to Phoenix for ten days, stayed with a dear friend, and bought a new house. Both deals went smoothly. Unfortunately, various details of moving our belongings lapped over into a Mercury Retrograde period and have become the usual sort of Mercury Rx. problems.

Still, riding the trend of the economics of home-sales revealed in things like the Federal Reserve moves has proven profitable.

And having experienced the Relocation process first hand for the first time in several decades, I now have a deeper insight into trends in publishing. When caught up in the relocation process, you have no time or energy to read or watch TV -- you spend it all on the phone on 800 numbers.

During this relocation process as it is currently practiced, I have completely lost track of the TV shows I follow, of the trends in publishing, and of the latest news of the War on Terrorism. But I've invented a new bumper sticker. "Customer Service" is when the customer serves the company.

It took me over two months to read the single book I bought to read on the plane the first time I came to Phoenix. And in the meantime, I read a very old Forever Knight fanzine at my friend's house, (loved it), saw a rerun of one of the Classic Trek movies, saw some DVD's and tapes at my friend's house and started Down Came a Blackbird by Barbara Karmazin -- because she sent me a print copy I could drag around with me. No wonder book sales have slumped.

I have read only a few pages of the beginning of this novel, but I have to recommend it to you along with the novel I had chosen to read on the airplane (and didn't) because quite by "accident" they go together.

Both these novels are about shape-changers, a favorite topic of mine.

Karmazin has written a novel with many hybrid elements which is artistically appropriate for the tale of a half-Sidhe/ half-human woman. It starts with a video game writer seeking advice on a game which involves fairies. Through the video-gamers, and her ESP senses, she gets diverted into a space adventure in the asteroid belt searching for the extra-terrestrial origin of her people.

The mix-and-match of these disparate elements alone would keep this novel off the print-shelves, no matter how perfectly written it might be. I'm looking forward to reading the whole thing. You should find this book at http://www.atlanticbridge.net under the Sci-Fi genre category - though I wouldn't call it that.

Beholder's Eye by Julie E. Czerneda already has a sequel out called Changing Vision, and I'm sad to say I don't have it to read because I only bought Book I to read on the plane.

Beholder's Eye is the first in the Web Shifter's novels, so look for them on amazon at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0886778182/rereadablebooksr/

The Web Shifters are a group of blue-shapeless nearly immortal creatures from some far galaxy who are here in our galaxy because one of them arrived blown on the solar winds, and then divided to produce a small group. They have adopted the mission of preserving the civilizations and cultures of our galaxy as they go extinct. They change shape into the native species of a planet, then nibble and eat their way through all the organics, internalizing chemical structure as well as memory and information, values, and customs.

This is a unique form of "grokking" -- a way to understand the alien from the inside -- to become the alien by eating it, or at least nibbling the edges. It is a way of understanding things like mega-trends that I had never thought of. And it is a fascinating application of the underlying concept behind the Element Earth.

This Web Shifting species must acquire the ability to transform themselves into another shape by long, close and careful study (and nibbling) by one of them. Then that one allows the others to eat portions of itself, thus internalizing the information and learning the new shape. They've been doing this here for centuries.

In this first novel, another one of their kind blows into our galaxy, a primitive form, voracious for life and sans cognitive functions and conscience. It devours all organics, people and plants, anywhere and everywhere, and becomes a notorious scourge. It is simply a raw force of Nature, not even a creature.

The single point of view character, Esen Alit-Quar, is the youngest among these folk, (500 years old) and is sent out to combat the scourge. She befriends a human, and together they watch all of her compatriots be devoured by the scourge. Then they concoct a plan to deal with the creature.

I expect the rest of the series will be the story of Esen's establishing her own group of progeny with her own unique, and different, mission -- which will involve at least this one human.

The potential for developments in this Relationship are infinite and I'm looking forward to seeing how Czerneda realizes this story-line. It has already gathered quite a following, so if you've missed it, be sure to catch up fast.


To send books for review in this column to: Jacqueline Lichtenberg, email jl@simegen.com for instructions.







Send books for review in this column to: Jacqueline Lichtenberg,


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