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Sime~Gen Inc. Presents

ReReadable Books

(March 2009)

"Karma of World Prominence"


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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Synthesis & Counseling in Astrology by Noel Tyl, Llewellan, 1994

Valor’s Trial by Tanya Huff, DAW HC June 2008

Key to Redemption by Talia Gryphon, Ace Fantasy pb, October 2008

The Cipher by Diana Pharaoh Francis, RoC Fantasy pb Nov 2007

The Excalibur Murders by J. M. C. Blair, Berkley Prime Crime Historical Mystery, July 2008

How accurate a picture does fiction provide of what it’s like to be rich, famous, infamous, Superhero or Supervillain? How accurate a notion do the gossip columns, "ain’t it awful" features on TV "news" and scandal mongering present of people who make news?

What are the World Famous really like? And why?

Do writers need to know that in order to sell you entertainment? Do you want your fictional characters to be Real or just Realistic according to your personal notion of what the Rich and Famous might be like? And where did you get your notions?

Why do actors and athletes (even politicians) catapulted to stardom melt down on drugs, alcohol, partying, broken marriages, marriage for the sake of publicity, nude photos, drunk driving, flying small planes into a mountain, or embezzlement, bribe taking, or risking client’s money on idiot schemes?

Why is there a class of people who "rise to the top" – who write a book, become CEO and rescue a company, make a movie, win a contest, or suddenly find some ordinary thing they’ve done attracting the World Media to their door?

What is it about this class of people that commands attention from the world? Is this a special karma written into the Natal Chart?

Admittedly, there are those who have their 30 seconds of fame, and maybe write a book about it, or have a movie made where an A List actor gets to play them, and ten years later, nobody remembers it. But there’s another class who seem to live their whole life in the limelight, being quoted on the crawl under the News Anchor’s talking head.

Even though we don’t let them rule countries (much) anymore, there is a class of royalty from which Kings rise.

That’s a politically incorrect concept in America where we are trying to build a classless society of equals. And our preferred fiction reflects that yearning for equality with those doomed to fame and maybe even fortune.

Doomed? To fame?

Don’t we all yearn to be rich and famous? So many TV shows, Reality and otherwise, get their popularity from peeks into the lives of the super-rich, painting a picture of a life soft as a rose petal or painful as a thorn under a fingernail.

Many Science Fiction and Fantasy novels focus on a Protagonist who is a Prince(ss), King, Scion of a Dynasty, descendent of Ancient Royalty or Magicians with serious Powers. These novels tell the story of the life, love and adventure of rising to a throne, taking over a family business, or solving a world problem and ending up in charge of keeping the problem at bay, of being chosen.

These are stories of characters who live in that limelight, who spend their lives at the center of their culture’s attention, who have vast power and learn the responsibility that comes with it. And I’ve always loved to read such stories.

But lately I’ve noticed that many writers are simply putting joe-ordinary, you and me, into the role of the SuperFamous, without taking into account the sort of Personality and Life Course that class of individual generally displays in reality. I think it’s always been that way, and I didn’t notice until I’d learned Noel Tyl’s Astrological Signature of World Prominence (www.noeltyl.com).

The message underlying these favorite stories is that you and I could live such a life and still be ourselves. In fact, we could do a better job of it than those born to it. We can make that life happen to us by willing it, working hard, being lucky. Anyone can be a King. Anyone can rise or sink to be anything. It’s unfair that these screw-ups get all the glory. The concept is an irresistible lure.

But suddenly, after learning to think with Noel Tyl’s Signature of World Prominence, the Classless premise no longer seems so plausible.

Now, this is seriously advanced Astrology. If you’re up to it, read Noel Tyl’s book Synthesis & Counseling in Astrology, page 522 (near the middle). Pay attention to the discussion of Mid-points and Prominence. But here’s the Signature to look for: 1)Peregrine Planet usually ruling an angle, 2) 0 deg Cardinal activated, 3) Pluto Conj, Sq, or Op Saturn, Uranus, or Neptune or ruling an angle & 4)Personal Fulfillment of Potential.

I’ve found Pluto to connect to much of the larger-than-life, self-destructive behavior we’ve noted in celebrities (but not Main Characters in our stories) – the energy of fame gone wild. Neptune likewise. These are energies ordinary people can’t handle and when thrust into prominence by that exact energy, they don’t handle it well. Other souls handle it perfectly. Most authors of SF/F skip that World Prominence effect in characters and plots, and show us ordinary people handling these energies well, if with some effort.

Here are 4 attempts at presenting such a lesson.

The 4th novel in Tanya Huff’s Confederation Series is Valor’s Trial. Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr, a Confederation Marine developed a reputation while fighting many space battles. Now she has been lost in battle and presumed dead. Her father and her lover won’t give up though. Neither does Torin when she finds herself a prisoner of Aliens. It’s a UFO Abduction story spread over interstellar space, with a Great Escape and Rescue plot. I highly recommend it. Huff is an accomplished writer with a deft touch on Relationship.

Tallia Gryphon’s "Gillian Key" series (Key to Conflict and Key to Conspiracy) has the flavor of a "Mary Sue" set in a world like the Anita Blake series. Key to Redemption takes the series one step farther as we see Gillian using her Sex Therapist license. She is also juggling cases of vampires and other paranormals who need psychological counseling while dealing with her jealous Vampire lover. When summarized like that, it sounds ridiculous – but trust me, this is a smoothly written, powerfully good read that makes psychological sense. As in all "Mary Sue" genre stories, Gillian is you or me with a plethora of talents and degrees. I’m just a sucker for Vampire Romance and I do love "Mary Sue" stories!

Diana Pharaoh Francis starts a new trilogy, Crosspointe, with The Cipher. Lucy Trenton is a member of a Royal Family with financial problems. She works for a living using her unique talent to detect majick users and spells. In this introductory volume, Lucy has a majick device called a Cipher clamp itself onto her flesh. Those so afflicted don’t live long lives. She fights and we fight with her. Lucy is easy for ordinary readers to identify with, and her problem is one we all can summon pure grit to resist. The complications she deals with are familiar also – men. Sizzling hot men. Men who don’t live up to their potential. When she finds herself uncovering a deep and wide conspiracy against the existing order, she needs the help of the men she knows all too well, or not well enough.

J. M. C. Blair gives us an alternate history Britain in The Excalibur Murders, where Merlin isn’t a magic user, but a scientist. Arthur, however, believes in magic and wants to use a magic object to improve the Realm. Since Arthur believes it, so do others, people who steal the object and murder to thwart Arthur. Merlin must use his anachronistic science and his best apprentice (a woman pretending to be a boy) to solve the mystery.

This Arthur and this Merlin are just everyday people in character, and even in the problems they face. This is a very nicely turned police procedural mystery that’s a bit of fun because of the alternate history setting – but it’s revisionist history filled with blatant and unexplained anachronisms. The worldbuilding seems awkward to the SF/Fantasy trained eye, but it’s a gracefully written mystery.

The first in a series called Merlin Investigates, it is published by Berkley as Prime Crime Historical Mystery. The mythic figures of Merlin and Arthur become such ordinary, everyday people that this novel demonstrates my point precisely – here the mythic giants are made accessible by ignoring the traits observed by Noel Tyl in World Prominent figures.

Blair’s Merlin is more Sherlock Holmes than the traditional Merlin character, so if you like Holmes as much as I do, try this series. The Excalibur Murders reminds me of J. D. Robb’s "In Death" series of futuristic detective stories with a Romance. I think Merlin Investigates will become very popular.

Students of writing interested in the Signature of World Prominence and how it affects the character from the inside may find it easier to see my point in the Merlin Investigates series than in the hands of a writer like Tanya Huff.

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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