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Sime~Gen Inc. Presents

ReReadable Books

March 2010

"Group Mind & Media Pt III: Mystery"


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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Desert Magic by Dana Davis, iUniverse, 2008

Strong Enough To Die by Jon Land, Forge May 2009

Dying By The Sword by Sarah D’Almeida, Berkeley Prime Crime Mystery, 2008

Peace, Love and Murder by Nancy Holzner, Gale Five Star Aug 2009

The Sword-Edged Blonde by Alex Bledsoe, Tor Fantasy, July 2009

Since January, we’ve been looking at a chicken/egg question relating humanity’s Group Mind to the forces that drive Big Business to feed that Group Mind’s hungers.

Why is our world the way it is? Why do people do what they do? Which is the cause and which the effect?

If we can solve the mystery of that relationship, we can apply the solution to all huge institutions humanity creates: government, insurance, conglomerate manufacturers, universities, hospitals, charities, organized religion, banks, publishing, Hollywood, Bollywood, retailing, wholesaling, Advertising, Wall Street, Main Street, Armed Forces.

"Large institutions" are usually represented in Astrology by the 12th House, and Neptune. Transiting Neptune is entering Pisces the Natural 12th House. Pisces and the 12th House are ruled by Neptune which means Neptune’s effect will be multiplied starting May 2011 then setting in hard in February & November 2012. Children born with Neptune in Pisces will be something else!

More importantly for this column, Neptune rules the glamour and illusion elements of Entertainment. And I have always maintained that Entertainment is a necessity ranked with Air, Water, Food, Clothing, Shelter. We need to dream.

Solve this mystery of cause-effect between the Group Mind and our Large Institutions for any one of those Large Institutions I listed, and you will find the same relationship between our Group Mind and all the Large Institutions. As Above: So Below. So let’s look "Below" very carefully.

One thing that intrigues every human being and can even energize a Group Mind is a Mystery. The urge to do original science is the urge to solve a mystery, a puzzle.

The urge to find the right way to worship is the urge to resolve a Mystery that’s behind a veil (see the High Priestess Card in Tarot) We are driven to know.

Science Fiction is a genre founded on solving scientific mysteries complicated by spiritual, human cultural values. Science Fiction is often defined as the story of the effect of new knowledge on people. Solving a scientific puzzle needs the same kind of thinking a Detective uses to solve a murder mystery. They are allied genres within the Large Institution of publishing, only part of which is devoted to Entertainment.

Perhaps every Large Institution is the result of Humanity’s Group Mind fumbling for a solution to a crucial mystery, to find out the truth. And we know the Truth is Out There – the scary question is, will it find us first?

Solving Mysteries has been the main survival tool for humanity. We don’t have pelts, scales, claws, spikey teeth or a thick shell to hide in. We have to see, understand, know and run fast, build traps, lure prey, strike with tools. One of the earliest mysteries we solved was animal behavior. We solved the problem of where and when to fish or we wouldn’t be here reading this.

Mystery hits at the most primal level, the bottom chakra, survival. Sex is related to the chakra above that, and isn’t nearly as primal as survival itself.

Morality and Ethics hardly enter the picture when The Unknown threatens and the Mystery must be solved.

And yet, the whole Romance genre with all its intriguing cross-genres of Paranormal, SF, Historical, etc., often turns on the Mysterious Stranger. Mystery energy may originate in the bottom chakra, but it rises to energize the second chakra. Survival and Sexuality are different energies, but they mingle in individuals. How much more so then do they mingle in the Group Mind?

So, today with Neptune approaching its own sign, we see large institutions mixing and mingling genres, just as American culture has broken down the walls between jobs and genders, between what is acceptable in public and what is not, what is acceptable in religious attitudes, and what not. Without that shift, you wouldn’t be reading this magazine.

Neptune dissolves. In its own sign it will cast glamour, shimmer the edges of things, and arouse idealism to where we just assume the ideal has already become reality. Neptune is the veil we must penetrate to solve the most vital mysteries of life. But the whole Earth has not experienced this effect in 165 years, one Neptune circuit of the Sun.

Significantly, 2011 will mark one Neptunian year since we discovered Neptune. It always affected us; we just didn’t understand the cyclicality of the effect. Also remember on Star Trek: The Original Series, the Engineer Scotty who always "beamed us up" was a quintessential Pisces. Applied Science is, oddly, a Neptunian function.

So Neptune is teaching us about the relationship between our individual work and service (6th House) and our Group Mind’s work and service, 12th House. Perhaps Neptune transiting Pisces will highlight all humanity striving at The Great Work.

We might see those lessons surfacing already in some of the more mystical edges of fantasy publishing.

First let’s look at a self-published, iUniverse, novel, provided to me by the author. It’s an award finalist by Dana Davis, titled Desert Magick, and set in Arizona’s Superstition Mountains (which is very near where I live!) Remember, all the books I review are "5-star" excellent, and they’re in this column because they’re relevant to you.

Desert Magick is an urban fantasy about a White Witch with a complicated mystical family. She’s stalked by a mysterious ghost-like figure, and needs to resolve a mystery of a Native American power centered in the mountains. The characters are engaging, the writing proficient and breezy. This is a book written for readers of this column. You’ll love it.

Here’s one, set in Texas, about modern Texas Rangers. It came to me via the Amazon Vine program. Strong Enough To Die by Jon Land. Little mysticism in this straight action-detective novel, except for some hints at an ancient Mexican heritage. These are mundane characters, solving a mundane murder mystery with a lot of soul growing pains involved. It illustrates effect of Neptune.

Dying By The Sword by Sara D’Almeida is another in her Musketeers Mystery, rewriting the Dumas novels in an alternate history. It’s spooky how I believe D’Almeida’s Musketeers are real, more real than Dumas’s. I reviewed these novels and the much more mystical alternate-history novels D’Almeida wrote under the name Sarah A. Hoyt in my August 2009 column. Wallow in them!

Nancy Holzner sent me an Advance Reading Copy of her novel Peace, Love, and Murder. Many authors send me review copies, but few are this good. The main character is a man named Rainbow who grew up in a Hippie Commune, ran away to join the Army and was disowned for it. He’s home now, but the Commune is now a subdivision, and his parents are gone. He resists seeing the mystical dimension underlying his problem, and I think there has to be a sequel!

I met Alex Bledsoe on Twitter, and at my request he had his publisher, Tor, send me The Sword-Edged Blonde and an Advance Reading Copy of the direct sequel Burn Me Deadly which I just started reading.

Meanwhile, he admitted he’d read some of my novels, so I asked him for a cover quote for the reissue of the Dushau Trilogy, and he sent this on twitter: ""The Dushau Trilogy presents a fascinating alien race, and a vivid adventure story about identity and connection."

I mention it because lately they’ve been very twitchy about reviewers disclosing any conflict of interest, and this is a potential whopper. Bledsoe is a fan of my novels, and I always seem to love the books my fans write! So maybe my judgment is off here? Let me know!

Still, I have to give my highest recommendation to The Sword-Edged Blonde. It is An Eddie LaCrosse Novel, set in an apparently disconnected Fantasy world. A Sword Jockey, Eddie LaCrosse (think Have Gun Will Travel) has abandoned his heritage as a Baron to live hand-to-mouth as a Sword-for-hire who incidentally is a crackerjack detective. This novel hands Eddie a very mysterious locked-room murder mystery, a Queen turned cannibal and a woman everyone thinks is a Goddess (for good reason), and he solves it even though it shakes the foundations of his notion of reality. You’ll have to stay sharp to keep up with him as he unravels the clues.

I like LaCrosse as much as I like Harry Dresden of The Dresden Files novel and TV show. My kind of people.

So you see Mystery is in the blood of every Science Fiction fan (and writer). Scientists are a Detective Group Mind investigating the substance of reality. Mystics are a Group Mind scientifically investigating the meaning of substance. Heisenberg discovered the observer changes the observed by observing. As our Group Minds investigate our Reality, are we changing it? Neptune transits Pisces.

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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