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Sime~Gen Inc. Presents

ReReadable Books

August 2011

"Where The Magician Stands: In Reality"


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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Kris Longknife: Redoubtable by Mike Shepherd, Ace pb Nov 2010

Alien Tango by Gini Koch, DAW SF pb Dec 2010

A Devil In The Details by K. A. Stewart, RoC Fantasy, July 2010

Magic At The Gate by Devon Monk, RoC Fantasy, Nov 2010

The Reckoners by Doranna Durgin, Tor PN Romance Feb 2010

The Good, The Bad and The Uncanny by Simon R. Green, Ace pb Jan 2011

A Hard Day’s Knight by Simon R. Green Ace HC Jan 2011

Archimedes is variously quoted as having said: Give me a lever long enough, and a prop strong enough, I can single-handed move the world.

Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_antiquity

Archimedes of Syracuse (c. 287 BC – c. 212 BC) was a Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, and astronomer. Although few details of his life are known, he is regarded as one of the leading scientists in classical antiquity. Among his advances in physics are the foundations of hydrostatics, statics and an explanation of the principle of the lever.

This quote about the lever is from a breakthrough moment at the origin of the development of the scientific view of the universe. It’s a quote about how energy (or power) transmits through the matter composing reality.

In other words, it was a fanciful image designed to communicate a higher truth to those living mostly within the magical view of the universe. It is such an absurd but vivid image that the sound-byte has survived in science textbooks for millennia.

Now we live in the scientific view of the universe and struggle to understand the magical view of the universe, a universe where Divine energy shapes and directs everything and every person, every Life Event, every personal experience..

But that quote still works because the Magician’s task is the Great Work, i.e. to "move the world."

We need three conditions to do that: A place to stand, (Part 1 of this series, Outside Time), a lever long enough (Part 2 of this series, The Human Soul), and a fulcrum, a prop strong enough.

Yes, the human soul is like a "lever" in that it is Eternal, anchored in the Infinite, Outside Time, but like a "wormhole in space" it’s other "end" is anchored in a human body, an animal body with basic animal needs and desires. But the human soul has spiritual needs and desires. We’re not animals, but we’re not pure spiritual beings either.

This column discussed how the human soul enters manifest reality through the dimension of Time in The Soul-Time Hypothesis. (Jan-June 2007, posted at lightworks.com & simegen.com)

Kabbalists attribute our wayward behaviors to a weakening of the connection between the Soul and The Infinite. The offerings at the Temple in Jerusalem are known to be a shortcut to maintaining and strengthening that connection. That is why the Hebrew prayer book is constructed, via the numerical value of the letters, to replicate the Temple Service. The Soul’s connection is the magician’s lever that reaches from the stance Outside Time to the focus of the Great Work Inside Time.

So where can we find a prop, a fulcrum, strong enough to support our Soul?

In a word, Values.

The place we stand is Outside Time, Within The Soul, but what we need to "move" is inside time, in reality.

Outside Time, nothing changes because "change" has within it the concept of two states, separated by Time. Likewise, the concept "move" has within it, the concept Space, or Place – two locations separated by distance.

So the only way to do The Great Work is to transmit something – call it Divine Energy – from outside time to inside time causing Change because you can’t have "Change" outside Time. The conduit is the Soul, and the receiving terminal of that conduit is the Body.

So the magician must Work in the Body, with the Body, get hands dirty in the world. If you study Kabbalah, you’ll hear that over and over – you can’t grow spiritually by just reading. You must take the Values you learn from books and apply them to your daily actions.

Every daily life choice followed by action, often apparently trivial actions like eating, paying bills, building community, helping a friend move, changes not just you and your Soul, but the entirety of material creation.

That’s why choosing to do Right, to be the White Magician, to stay away from "The Dark Side Of The Force" is so hard –the weight of the whole world is on the end of your lever. So you need a strong fulcrum, a set of Values at the point where Soul passes from Spiritual to Material.

That’s where reading Science Fiction, especially Science Fiction Romance and Fantasy with heroic characters comes in. By exercising your imagination through the gymnastics of decision making, always asking yourself what you’d do if you were that Hero(ine) of that Novel, then applying that Value to your less dramatic circumstances, you can indeed "move the world."

That’s why sometimes it’s so hard to help someone who’s done you wrong, or give the $10 you were saving to go to a movie to a street beggar, or watch the Glenn Beck show and change your opinion, even if not to agreement. Each decision and action, however trivial, changes the entire world. Do something hard today.

To help you find something hard to do, I’ve chosen a set of novels that present vividly realized Heroic figures with problems even bigger than they are. Each of these novels can help you identify the dry-rot in your Value Fulcrum so you can replace that weak spot with something stronger. Each is a five-star, recommended novel, some in Series I’ve been pointing you to for years.

First the Kris Longknife novels by Mike Shepherd (Read anything by Mike Shepherd), the 2010 entry, Kris Longknife: Redoubtable. Kris is a woman who is heir to a throne, defending the borders of a space empire for her father, dealing with complex family politics, staggering from one moral dilemma to another. The Longknifes have a reputation for thwarting the runaway ambitions of others. Kris is young, but her wake is peppered with improbable successes, just as any Magician’s would be. The Force is With Her – why? Values. Power doesn’t solve problems. So far, 9 flawless novels about that Magician’s Fulcrum.

Gini Koch, whom I’ve met on twitter, says she has a hard time believing any aliens who come to Earth will have pristine, innocent motives. Alien Tango, sequel to Touched By An Alien, is a great example of Alien Romance about power, control, Relationship, and love. The heroine has a knack for succeeding by standing at that pivot-point at the center of Events, clinging to her Values. Hard to tell if it’s SF or Fantasy, but reading it, you don’t care. These books exemplify the way the Divine energy rearranges our world.

A Devil In The Details by K. A. Stewart is "A Jesse James Dawson Novel" – a series about a Champion who puts his Soul at risk to duel demons and free those who’ve made pacts with the dark forces. Does every fool deserve saving? Would you throw-down for a perfect stranger? Values.

Devon Monk’s long series of Allie Beckstrom novels now has Magic At The Gate, sketching in the details of our world existing over wells of Magic with Gates into Hell that humans must keep closed. Or should they? Here she visits the dead in hell, and faces many befuddled loyalties.

Here’s another set in our normal world, which is next to another "place" separated by some dimensional membrane. The Reckoners by Doranna Durgin (whom I met on facebook and she sent me an ARC of this one) has a heroine who releases "ghosts" to the next life. On a job, she meets what seems to be a man who wants her to release ghosts haunting The Winchester House – or is that all he wants? Is that really all she can do? Who do you trust?

Simon R. Green also creates another "dimension" next to our everyday reality, The Nightside, where magic is the power and all our normal, everyday values seem to be inverted. Perversion is for sale and there’s lots of profit to be made fleecing the tourists from the dayside.

The Good, The Bad And The Uncanny takes the story of the hero, John Taylor, a PI on the Nightside who has the magical talent for finding things and people, one step farther into the morass of Nightside politics. He has been chosen, against his will, as heir to a position of extreme Power on the Nightside. But being a Hero, he sees only the weight of Responsibility. Would you?

In A Hard Day’s Knight, John Taylor has possession of the sword Excalibur which has magical properties our King Arthur legends don’t detail and is connected with more supernatural politics than King Arthur could manage.

You see, in both these novels, how Power gravitates to a guy just trying to make a living on the Nightside. Everyone there wants Power. He doesn’t. He gets it. That’s the sure sign of the White Magician at work moving the World using the fulcrum of Values.

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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