The Nightshirt Sightings, Portents, Forebodings, Suspicions

Posts tagged with “Science Fiction”

Altered States of Reading (5): Kirk Allen of Barsoom

Sunday, 24 April, 2016

What could any Other know of the up-and-out? What Other could look at the biting acid beauty of the stars in open space? What could they tell of the great pain, which started quietly in the marrow, like an ache, and proceeded by the fatigue and nausea of each separate nerve cell, brain cell, touchpoint […]

Altered States of Reading (Part 3): A Private Part of Time’s Anatomy

Tuesday, 6 October, 2015

A couple weeks ago, Twitter etc. went wild when a new book revealed allegations that UK Prime Minister David Cameron had, during an initiation ritual while at Oxford, inserted “a private part of his anatomy” in the mouth of a dead pig. To an entire nation, it was a hilariously obvious permutation of Charlie Brooker’s […]

The Vicinity of the Real (Tarkovsky’s Stalker)

Sunday, 2 August, 2015

The Zone in Andrei Tarkovsky’s late sci-fi masterpiece Stalker is one of my favorite places, real or imagined. It is a landscape of overgrown ruins, where spacetime itself is uncertain and only the experienced can guide you through. It is not that the guide (the “Stalker” of the title) knows the way—because the way is […]

Martian Holocausts, Cosmic Paranoia, and the Surveillance Universe

Saturday, 6 June, 2015

Ever since the Viking orbiters photographed a curiously face-like mountain and oddly pyramidal features in the Cydonia Mensae region of Mars in 1976, many have liked to speculate that the Red Planet was once inhabited, either by human settlers in the distant past—the argument made by Richard Hoagland—or by an indigenous civilization that flourished many […]

Feeding the Psi God: Precognitive Dreaming, Memory, and Ritual

Wednesday, 6 May, 2015

I’ve mentioned several times the debt I owe to J.W. Dunne and his 1927 book An Experiment with Time. Dunne was not a scientific researcher or a parapsychologist by training, but a military man and aeronautical engineer who became interested in questions of time and its structure after becoming aware of uncanny examples of apparent […]

Prophecies, Time Loops, and Bubble Realities: La Jetée and The Sacrifice

Wednesday, 22 April, 2015

If precognition is real, then we have to take account of the range of sci-fi effects it would produce, effects that go beyond the strictly ‘prophetic.’ Because we fail to see how our consciousness is receptive to the future and how our actions contribute to, and only in a minority of cases confirm, that future, […]

The Solaris Mind: Hypnagogia, Meditation, and Insight

Sunday, 8 March, 2015

A classic motif in science fiction is that humanity ventures to the farthest reaches of space only to find, impossibly, something of our own that we had forgotten. Stanislaw Lem’s 1961 novel Solaris, about a planet covered by a viscous ocean that manufactures simulacra from its observers’ unconscious, is probably the purest expression of this […]

When Is It Hyperfootball Season?—Rethinking Eternalism

Sunday, 14 December, 2014

There are rumblings from the Internet that graphic novelist and magus Alan Moore is soon to drop a million-word novel on the world, called Jerusalem. It shows great courage and faith, in a world that no longer reads books, that Moore has stretched out his text as much as possible instead of compressing his ideas […]

The Real Infinite Improbability Drive: Cloaking Devices, UFOs, and ESP

Sunday, 7 December, 2014

Away in front of them a huge white dome that bulged against the sky cracked down in the middle, split, and slowly folded itself down into the ground. … Beneath it lay uncovered a huge starship, one hundred and fifty metres long, shaped like a sleek running shoe, perfectly white and mindboggingly beautiful. At the […]

Psi of Regret: Pitfalls of Prophecy from Patanjali to Paul Muad’Dib

Sunday, 23 November, 2014

It’s been over twenty years since I last read Dune, but inspired partly by the phenomenal documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune, I recently re-read Frank Herbert’s masterpiece and a few of the sequels. Although the latter are uneven, I need hardly say that Dune itself holds up magnificently. It is still the one novel I would put […]