Speculative Literature: A Reading List of Alternative Beliefs, Part 2
The subject of extraterrestrial life is the ideal crossover between the subgenres of speculative fiction in Parts 1 and 2. Both function to explain incomprehensible things around us, whether they are tragedies that have occurred in our past or concepts we won’t understand until the future, if ever. Like the first type of speculative literature, Type 2 takes ideology and marries it with wild stories, but unlike the narratives designed to cope with or induce fear, these are stories meant to comfort and enrich the sense of wonder, if not hope, that the reader holds regarding the scope and potential of our universe. In part , I’ll highlight some great entry points for
TYPE TWO: INCREASINGLY ELABORATE PRETERNATURAL NARRATIVES;
Since the preternatural (that which simultaneously includes the extraterrestrial (“aliens”), supernatural (“religious figures and events”), and paranormal (“Scooby-Doo shit”)) subjects in this genre are pretty much always either the progenitors of humanity or a race that has existed since before humanity, creation stories are always present – usually for both the alien planet(s) and Earth. As such, you can just imagine how there is a fuck ton of made-up history to dig through to find the pithy love-one-another messages.
Another reason these are not just Chicken Soup for the Possibly Unhealthily Open-Minded Soul books is because they are much more credible. You see, these rom old-ass aliens, and not the beardo with a doctorate in “family science” and a ponytail, or a man who still gets “the 1950s” as his haircut after being traumatized in a war. that the aliens are totally chatting with. Extra levels of persona-muddling through dictation are available with “channeled” texts, where the author is merely writing down what the invisible guides or angels or ghosts or aliens or eels or weed want him or her to write down. (Note that the three examples linked were all by the same channeler. Word must get around Earth re: quality mediums when it comes to telepathic communication needs.)
The reason these narratives are designated as “increasingly elaborate” is because human abductions are apparently like eating Pringles: once you pop, you just can’t stop. If the aliens were to abduct someone once, why of course they would come back a second time to tell him or her some more stuff. They have a rapport! It actually seems reasonable in some narratives; unfortunately, this sequelitis is sometimes used to address previous errors in predictions, correct plotholes in narrative, and generally shoehorn in even crazier-sounding stuff. I mean, that’s general practice for sci-fi and fantasy literature, so it’s not surprising to see it in this genre as well. Here are some prime examples of Type 2 spec-lit:
Intelligent Design, by Raël: This is a collection of his first three big books – the autobiographical story of a French racecar driver who was visited by aliens just to teach him some things (which is wholly believable in Comic Book World)., They returned a couple years later to re-abduct him just so as to provide him with corrections, redactions, and further info on other more mundane topics. How nice of them. If you want your Christian mythology to include human experiments, this is the cult for you. I bought another one of his books recently – The True Face of God – only to learn that it is literally the same book. Fool me once, Raël…
The Complete Ascension Manual, by Joshua David Stone, Ph.D.: Okay so this may not be healthy but I currently own
Here is my defense as to why this does not fall under “fool me six times”: the initial book in the series is dedicated first to Stone’s wife, second to his pet cat Rags, and third to “the Ascended Master Djwhal Khul.” The first thing you read perfectly encapsulates what I love about this series: they go from reasonably mundane proclamations of brotherhood and togetherness to absolute bonkers oration on beings of light that could create things at will but later endorsed space slavery and forms of mental torture! It is very difficult to find a narrative more hilariously contradictory than these. I think the reason I haven’t ascended yet is because the keys to “realizing the self as God during this lifetime” (jeez, Jim Jones much) are necessary for ascending, and there are ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY-SEVEN of them, so I don’t think I’ll be ascending anywhere anytime soon L Willing to sell cosmic map
The Bible, by God (attrib. by Thomas Aquinas): J/K NOT PEACE AND LOVE
The Book of Kryon, by Kryon (chan. through Lee Carroll): Kryon has channeled a medium he has deemed very reliable – to the tune of 12 printed volumes – and from what I understand, he is basically two things: Kryon is a very positive angelic entity, and he is “of magnetic service.” Alright, so I guess I only understand one thing about Kryon, because I have no idea what that quote means, but he sure says it an awful lot.
Much of Kryon’s teachings open with broad and basic claims that are easy to agree with (“It is very common to disagree about Jesus” makes sense simply based on the number of Christian sects) before entering metaphysical mad libs that grow more difficult to parse. Sometimes his teachings are simply incorrect, such as “The actual word Metaphysics is fairly intangible.” Newsflash, Kryon: all words are intangible. His heart seems to be in the right place, though, considering how often he says the reader is loved.
It’s rather unsurprising that this form of spec-lit is not as popular as it once was – even as recently as the ‘90s, this kind of literature was present at a lot more book fairs and conventions than it is now. The necessity of hope and the belief of infinite possibilities required to buy into these narratives has factored into, if not resulted in, the diminished popularity of these specific preternatural narratives. I think this is pretty unfortunate, because these books are more engaging than a lot of the sci-fi I’ve read in the past.
The best sci-fi has speculated about what our world may be, or could end up being, and not only does this subgenre provide such speculation, but it does so with a stronger sense of immediacy and urgency than older narratives often do. Because the information they impart is regarding our real world, what they are describing is happening to you, now. In speculative preternatural literature, you play a part – no matter how insignificant – in a fantastical narrative that would otherwise be absent. I think Dune, The Star Diaries, and The Beast Who Shouted Love at the Heart of the World contain some of the most riveting worlds and language I’ve ever read, but I have no place there. In Type 2 spec-lit, you don’t just learn about a new, incredible world – you inhabit it. When I think about it long enough, I can almost see how Scientology was able to get somewhere. Welp, goodbye forever – I’m off to space
Shaun Gannon is on that planet now, in 1989. His tweets, befitting a two-year-old, are at @GrouponFan888. His e-books, poems, and other work are available at shaunwow.tumblr.com – they’re pretty good, but don’t take my word for it: I wrote them. Why are these things in third person