Fiction & Literature

Occult fiction, poetry, and literary criticism.

Review: Join My Cult!, by James Curcio

By Psyche | January 21, 2005 | Leave a comment

Join My Cult!, by James Curcio
New Falcon, 1561841730, 284 pp., 2004

I’m on the subway, there’s a guy across from me reading Illuminatus!, a girl standing by the door is reading Carlos Castenada and I’m sitting there with a glowing green copy of Join My Cult! and reading bits of it to my husband on the ride to work and my mind is humming with synchronicity and the effort required to attempt to make sense of all this to my dear boy, sitting patiently, eyebrows raised incredulously. Even as I’m reading it, I can tell, this is a book to be read at least twice.

The novel opens with the introduction of Gabrael, one of the most realistic portrayals of an illuminated adept or ‘Invisible Master’ that I’ve read in a while. Shortly after we are introduced to the hero, Alexi, constantly tossing flashes of insight over his shoulder, and his best mate Ken. There is large cast of other characters, most of which seem to be direct reflections of Alexi and Ken in various shades, deliberately giving it a sort of kaleidoscope effect.

Any attempt to summarize the plot would be futile: there isn’t one. At least not in the traditional sense. There are bits of story, and each scene is layered with characters and images with often profound occult significance, and it moves from one to another with no obvious thread to tie them together.

Densely packed with occult, philosophic and paranoid conspiratorial references this is not a book to be rushed through. It barely makes sense as it is. It’s a kind of Cosmic Banditos meets The Illuminatus! Trilogy meets disillusioned teen angst lit, and none of these.

Join My Cult! is a clever, insightful and daring adventure into the surreal depths of the subconscious mind, and, if you’ll forgive the pun, it has all the makings of a cult classic.


Review: Harm None, by M. R. Sellars

By Taylor Ellwood | November 10, 2004 | Leave a comment

Harm None: A Rowan Gant Investigation, by M. R. Sellars
Willow Tree Press, 0967822106, 368 pp.

Harm None is a pagan detective fiction book, with a refreshing twist. The pagan isn’t the detective. He’s a consultant for the police. Not only does is he consulted on the images, but he becomes a spiritual medium that can give the police clues to the murders.

What I find most refreshing about this book is that the author notifies readers at the very beginning that there are intentional grammatical errors, purposely included, because as the author notes, no one he knows (or I know) speaks perfect grammatical English. By no means however should the reader of this review think that the author has made tons of grammatical errors. While I think some of the grammatical errors could be cut down on, I do also think that they do make the speech of the character more believable.

The plot for this book is excellent. The dealings with the police seem to be accurate and at the same time the character of the story is not some omnipotent magi. Rather while the main character is a practitioner of magic, he is nonetheless who acknowledges the need to learn and hone skills as well as how terrifying it can be to have an ability and not necessarily have full control of it. The supporting characters for the story are believable, from the skeptical police friend to the villain. Some of the ethical ramifications of magical acts are also explored.

This is a book that is written from the perspective of a Wiccan practitioner of magic, so some fields or practices of magic are not included or represented. It would be interesting to see how the main character would interact with a chaos magician. Overall though the book is an excellent read, which will keep you up into the early hours of the morning, turning pages and waiting to see what next happens to Rowan Grant.


Review: Nature’s God, by Robert Anton Wilson

By Psyche | October 15, 2004 | Leave a comment

Nature’s God: The History of the Early Illuminati (The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles, Volume III), by Robert Anton Wilson
New Falcon Publications, 1561841641, 225 pp., 1991, 2004

In Nature’s God, the third book of Wilson’s Historical Illuminatus Chronicles, it is 1776, and our dear Sigismundo Celine has done a runner and made for America. Here he meets up with Seamus Muadhen, now James Moon, who also left the old world after not killing his sworn enemy. They chat, briefly but insightfully, over alcohol before parting ways, Sigismundo further drowning himself: ‘Those of happy histories can ask what lies behind the surface of things. Those of us who know what lies behind the surface always choose to enjoy every illusion as long as possible. The color of a perfect English rose in my brain, not in the flower, but I would prefer to enjoy the color than to think dull thoughts like that. Leave philosophy to the innocent. We veterans of infernos and abysses prefer the roses, the sunsets, and the beautiful meaningless music’. Shortly after, James joins revolutionary army of George Washington and Lafayette.

After leaving a few false leads in his wake, Sigismundo flees to the wilderness where he build himself a cabin, and sit in meditation ‘seeking the solitude to make his mind an empty mirror at the age of twenty-six. That was the result of being involved with conspirators and magicians since he was fourteen’. However he is occasionally interrupted by the adorably named Miskasquamish of the Maheema, a shaman of a fictional Native North American tribe.

Meanwhile, back in England, Maria is initiated into a surviving witch cult in England and begins spreading feminist propaganda under a false name, while her husband advances in Freemasonry and turns to the drink and boys.

This is an immensely quotable book, perhaps even more so than the previous volumes, despite its smaller size. don’t think this will be the last book in the chronicles, it seems decidedly unfinished, with the possibility of a fourth in the future.

Wilson has packed a lot of excellent material into this work – where else are you going to read an in depth piece on God’s Willy? Highly recommended in addition to the previous two.


Review: The Widow’s Son, by Robert Anton Wilson

By Psyche | September 29, 2004 | Leave a comment

The Widow’s Son Volume: The History of the Early Illuminati (The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles, Volume II), by Robert Anton Wilson
New Falcon Publications, 1561841633, 343 pp., 1985, 2004

The second volume in Wilson’s Historical Illuminatus Chronicles begins in Paris, 1772 and, once again, our hero, Sigismundo Celine, is under siege by unseen conspirators. As he says, ‘Some want me dead, and some are satisfied if I am just buried alive, and you represent the nice, friendly crowd that merely wants to overthrow every government on the planet and make me the Universal Emperor.’ And it’s does appear that ‘being Sigismundo was a dangerous business…People were always trying to kill Sigismundo, or drive him mad, or generally vex him’.

This volume introduces a few new characters, the Irish fisherman Seamus Muadhen, who moves to England in the spirit of revenge and becomes John Moon, only to discover he cannot fulfill his purpose, and instead immigrates elsewhere; as well as a loose band of politically-minded assassins and thieves, among others.

With enough footnotes to rival Weisbecker’s Cosmic Banditos, Wilson annotates with his usual clever tongue in cheek wit, though they tend to leave me somewhat bewildered at times. For example, while I understand that Brian O`Nolan is Myles na gCopaleen, who is also Flann O`Brien; I’m having difficultly with the fact that de Selby may be La Fournier, but is most certainly not La Tournier – or even that he may not have existed at all in the first place, and in fact may bet a part of a conspiracy invented by Brian O`Nolan and Robert Anton Wilson. Then again, for all I know Wilson could be O`Nolan (who is Myles na gCopaleen, Flann O`Brien and possibly de Selby and La Fournier). It can seem a little confusing at times, and much more so at others.

Wilson has a special talent for depicting things exactly as they are shown in a manner which serves only to complicate matters further; it is one of his greatest gifts, and has produced yet another brilliantly fascinating and engaging volume in this chronicle. Highly recommended.


Review: Cthuloid Dreams, by DJ Lawrence

By Psyche | July 24, 2004 | Leave a comment

Cthuloid Dreams: A Collection of Occult Poetry, by DJ Lawrence
Chaosmagic.com, 115 pp., 2004

Inspired and influenced by the Discordianism, Lovecraft mythos and Setianism, DJ Lawrence has compiled a collection of poetry gathered over the years.

Often lyrical with delightful turns of phrase, Lawrence seems taken with decidedly darker themes, with titles such as ‘Bitter’, ‘Set’, ‘Death’, ‘Necronomicon’, and of course, the title-poem ‘Cthuloid Dreams’.

This is a neat collection of more than sixty short poems, whose evocative imagery would lend itself well to inclusion in darker themed rites.

Cthuloid Dreams
can be purchased exclusively from Chaosmagic.com’s online store.


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