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Sime~Gen Inc. Presents

Recommended Books

May 2002

"Saturn In Command"


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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Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda TV series in syndication

Buffy The Vampire Slayer TV series on UPN - episode titled "Smashed"

Revelation by Carol Berg, ROC Fantasy, August 2001

Stardoc by S. L. Viehl, ROC Fantasy, Jan. 2000

Beyond Varallan, A Stardoc Novel by S. L. Viehl, July 2000

Angel of Destruction by Susan R. Matthews

The keyword that surfaces when Saturn is in power over life's events is "Responsibility." It is not "blame" -- though a lack of emotional maturity can make it seem so. It is not guilt. It is not punishment. It is not suffering. It is the operation of the law of cause/effect operating on the spiritual or soul level, producing in the mature soul a sense of Responsibility.

If you make a mess, you clean it up. If you see a mess someone else made and nobody's cleaning it up, you clean it up, and never think twice about it. If you want to be a member, be counted, have a place in the world, you "take responsibility" for your own life, that of your dependants, and for a portion of the public trust. See my reviews of Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's Saint Germain novels.

Saturn "teaches" in about 29 years of regular cycle, that attitude of maturity. And so it also can manifest in your life as the actions, reactions, attitudes, and prevailing opinion of those more mature than yourself, though not necessarily older.

Some textbooks on astrology identify Saturn with the "older" people in your life, particularly the "father" or male nurturing parent.

When Saturn moves into a sensitive area of your own natal chart, or into an activated area of the natal-chart of the country you live in, organization or Group Mind you belong to, it stirs up activity by those more mature, more responsible, more in charge, more in command. Saturn rules Capricorn, the natural 10th house, and so carries all the significance connected to your overall purpose in life, the reason you were born, your vocation or 'calling' - where you are in command.

We're seeing Saturn in the world today as debate rages regarding the responsibility of the USA in the Middle East Conflict. And the purpose of the USA is FREEDOM.

Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda recently broadcast an episode where on Earth, in Boston, an insurrection against the Nietzscheans was started that spread to other planets they had enslaved -- a shot heard round the galaxy. The rhetoric was all about Freedom, all about dying for a cause, all about defending Earth, reclaiming Earth for humans, all about taking responsibility for the course of life, about the price of freedom, about sacrifice for freedom.

And as Star Trek has always done, this episode of Andromeda posed a wondrously thorny question that sends a thrill of alarm down our spines but gives us no hint of the "correct" answer.

"If it's 'right' to fight for the Freedom of America, the World, or Earth itself, why isn't it right to fight for the freedom and self-determination of a Palestinian Homeland that was stolen by majority decree of the United Nations?"

The emotions this episode of Andromeda aroused in us all are the exact emotions active in driving the Terrorists of the world into a frenzy of pointless and feeble acts of wanton destruction (that don't even induce terror, just disgust and contempt)

The episode centered on starting a war- a Mars ruled exercise - but in the name of Freedom, which oddly enough is very much a Saturn concept. Those interested in the nuances of Saturn ruling Freedom should read the Sime~Gen novel Ambrov Keon by Jean Lorrah or any of the Free Amazons of Darkover novels by Marion Zimmer Bradley.

Also check out Buffy The Vampire Slayer, which like Andromeda and Forever Knight, has many tight, cleanly focused scripts that exemplify the very best theme-based writing I've ever seen. Writing students should watch these shows with pen and paper in hand and outline the theme of each scene and plot-thread.

In a recent re-run of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, Willow is challenged to stop using magick just to make life easier or more fun, but suddenly realizes how to turn the "rat" back into a woman, thus undoing a wrong (Saturn, responsibility) and then takes off to have fun with magic, throwing responsibility to the winds.

In that same episode, the vampire Spike discovers he can hit Buffy but no other human - therefore Buffy's return from the Dead has not left her a "normal" human - and they end up in a violent fight that ends in violent kissing in spite of her resolve not to get involved with Spike.

"Resolution" (New Years and otherwise) is a Saturn keyword. Intention, ambition, all the mental/emotional targeting words are Saturn keywords. When Saturn commands the events of your life, it throws challenges at you that bring you into conflict with your "good intentions" with the "shoulds" and "oughts" that lie dormant in your subconscious most of the time, placed there by your parents like time-bombs to control your actions in crisis. And then you either mature and take responsibility and do what you "should" no matter the price, or you don't and opt to remain immature.

What we're looking at in World Affairs now is the peaking of the Saturn transit in opposition to transiting Pluto. Pluto's influence was discussed in this column last month. This current group of novels highlights the issues that Saturn brings into play when taking Command of the Power of Pluto.

I read the novel Revelation by Carol Berg without having read its prequel - and found it an entertaining and understandable story about heroic action to stop a war. This novel exemplifies the turning point in the development of a soul where prices have to be paid by taking responsibility - what you want, what you enjoy, what makes you feel good about yourself, your pride, your self-esteem - all of that has to be paid to put right the mess you made previously (either by succeeding or failing.)

In Revelation, Carol Berg does not miss a beat, or make a false step throughout the entire (485 page) novel. The writing is clear, concise and to the point. The focus is on the story of one man, Seyonne, an ex-slave, who is taking responsibility for stopping a complex and fruitless war with religious undertones and we stay with his viewpoint, live his lessons throughout.

The Stardoc novels by S. L. Viehl are likewise focused on Responsibility and the lessons of Saturn.

In Stardoc, the single viewpoint character, a woman surgeon named Cherijo learns she is a genetic construct - a result of an illegal experiment on Earth. Earth has just joined an interstellar confederation, and thus she is able to flee Earth to get away from her "father" - the one who made her. But her 'father' convinces the interstellar authorities to declare her non-sentient, a possession, and he's rich enough to hire mercenaries and spies to capture her.

She falls in love with a nonhuman, her fiance dies, she accepts adoption into his family, and through various good deeds in carrying out her Oath as a physician, she gets away from the trap. But she's still fleeing her responsibility.

The writing is compelling, the characters real, the mysteries well turned. Viehl has used her medical experience from both military and civilian trauma centers to paint us a vivid picture of what might be out there.

In Beyond Varallan, Cherijo embroils her rescuers in an interstellar war, fought over possession of her. With the price on her head, she is betrayed again and again - by those she least suspects, with only one unlikely loyalty actually holding fast. Those who've studied Saturn can use a computer to count the Saturn keywords here.

Cherijo accepts responsibility for being who she is, and sacrifices herself for the safety and freedom of an entire people who exemplify loyalty and responsibility.

There is a third novel in this series I haven't seen yet.

Angel of Destruction by Susan R. Matthews gives us a view of her Judiciary universe from the point of view not of an official Torturer but of a law enforcement officer named Vogel. He has taken Responsibility for settling 5,000 space raiders, Pirates operating under "letters of Marque and Reprisal" who had their official government support withdrawn. That made them thieves or terrorists.

Vogel negotiated a peace that settled this family of terrorists on a freight stop on the frontier. Out of hatred, a group tries to pin new, murderous raids on this retired pirate group. Vogel goes out on a limb to get legal proof that the group is being framed, and in the end he exonerates them.

However, the group must still flee for their lives beyond the borders of the Judiciary. One gets the impression that this group and Andrei Koscuisko, our favorite Bond Involuntary Inquisitor will have to deal with the problem these freedom lovers have posed.

Revelation, Stardoc, Beyond Varallan, and Angel of Destruction are all about "political borders" - which is very, very much a Saturn concept.

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


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