Books Read and To Read before 'Ascension'...
114 7.8 0260. 2001: A Space Odyssey - Arthur C. Clarke
Written by Arthur C. Clarke
It is here that Clarke shows he is the premier intellectual mind of the science fiction genre. What would go on to become the greatest movie of all time, no doubt would turn out to be the most mind-expanding novel you will ever read. Clarke sure doesn't disappoint. Although I can tell where the movie and novel separate from one another, it's really just minor differences. Things that were in the movie that weren't in the book, things that were in the book that weren't in the movie. But the end result is one of the most creative, thought-provoking, and genre-bending space epics ever put to paper, that ends where it begins and begins where it ends. -Readers should note that it's inevitable that the book should somewhat differ between the movie cause as Kubrick and Clarke had been looking for a project to do together for some time now, changing projects a couple times from two of Clarke's earlier works before finally settling on something 'completely original'! Kubrick brought Clarke on board for a project that he described as wanting to be the first good science fiction movie, the novel and movie were virtually written and shot at the same time, with Clark trying to keep up to Kubrick and vice-versa. The overall result, for those of whom (and I know you're out there, I used to be one of you-) who may have found themselves 'lost' by Kubrick's film, it does fill in some of the gaps concerning the information and meaning behind some of the movie's most INFAMOUS scenes. It was strange for me to see such iconic scenes being translated into written word.
The beginning starts with a sound argument for the Ancient Astronauts Theory, concerning a Pleistocene primitive ape-man in Northern Africa named Moon-Watcher. That's interesting, the movie never named the main character. As the ape-men live stagnant primitive lives, times are harsh, but the primitives thinking nothing of hardship, they have no prior understanding of it. Their lack of aggressiveness makes their survival instincts nearly non-existent which makes them easy prey for predators such as a leopard which is constantly hunting their clansmen. They have no sense of past or present so they feel no need to start a war with neighboring species such as the pigs and lizards and other edible creatures they are surrounded by. This is also evident in a strange scene in which Moon-Watcher's father is killed and he doesn't register any sort of emotion cause he does not recognize this term 'father' we're all familiar with? The clan is even spineless to attempt to defend their watering hole from more aggressive, stronger rival clans, they feel no need to fight cause they already expect the outcome. --Things change the moment a strange black monolith, measuring 1x4x9 in dimensions, seems to appear outside their cave out of nowhere one morning. Even though possible credit could be linked to mysterious noises Moon-Watcher heard in the middle of the night before that morning? Where did it come from? Why is it here? Who built it? -None of these questions register on the minds of these simple creatures as they seem rather 'unconcerned' with it's presence as long if it doesn't act as any added source of food supply.
But soon enough everything starts to change as the monolith begins to pulsate a 'coordinated' series of high-frequency vibrations, causing the consciousness of the ape-men and women to alter, and they dance rhythmically to it. The monolith appears to be manipulated by Higher intelligences and seems to select out certain individuals and put them through a series of 'tests'. Certain 'gifts' are given to the dawn of mankind and the Fall from Eden scenario is played out beautifully in this anti-religion anti-Darwinian interpretation. Man learns to kill to get what they want, they learn to keep written record. And from there 3 million years worth of human history play out all the while the strange black monolith having vanished mysterious nearly as fast as when it arrived. --Flash forward to the modern space program in 2001, man has now established colonies on the surface of the Moon and more advanced forms of space travel have been realized and met. Dr. Heywood Floyd is brought in as a specialist to consult on a highly classified sensitive matter concerning a recent discovery on the Moon. When Heywood finally arrives there he is shocked to discover what the team refer to as TMA-1 (Tycho Magnetic Anomaly-One) as the very same black slender, smoothy polished monolith that we first saw in the first part of the book. Here it is buried under layers of rock and sand on the surface of the Moon. Before the team has a chance to truly investigate it, the Sun rises on the horizon of the Moon and TMA-1 begins pulsating a large disruptive vibratory beam out into space.
Flash forward to two years later. A highly prepped space flight on route to the outer orbit of Saturn, has astronauts on board the space shuttle Discovery, consisting of David Bowman, Frank Poole and several other trained astronauts in cryostasis. Together they are kept company with the ship's seemingly friendly but potentially threatening super-computer, the Hal-9000. Hal represents the peak of man's ultimate obsession with advanced technology and artificial intelligence, as well as our ever increasing over-dependence of it. To make something artificial more human, is to run the risk of giving that creation human emotions. But there are no human emotions more destructive that 'lies'. In the movie this was supposed to be Kubrick's artistic expression of the argument that it is not so much the weapon (the black monolith/Hal-9000) that we as humans should be so frightened of but more likely the corrupt minds of those who might use those weapons for harm? To give man ultimate freedom of past and future is to give man ultimate freedom to act as his own downfall (threat of nuclear capabilities/extreme paranoia). -It is at this point after Hal malfunctions and Bowman is forced to fight for his life that Bowman learns of the ship's true purpose and eventually ends with his inevitable arrival in orbit as a satellite around the Moon of Saturn, Where much to Bowman's shock he discovers a much larger TMA-2 black monolith, just floating there in space, where he eventually investigated as goes through a psychedelic trip into a Higher dimension by entering hyperspace through a star-gate. Where Clarke goes to elaborate and intricate details to describe everything Bowman experiences and is thinking as he witnesses sights no man could ever even dream were possible or even begin to think were real. Eventually arriving at being born into a new advanced form of consciousness at the hands of whatever intelligent beings were guiding him, and being reborn "a star-child". Where Bowman subsequently is his birth, old age, and death, all in one instance. Truly a remarkable piece of work!
Just about everything you could wish to understand about human origins and Higher dimensional frequencies and the existence of no time, is all in Clarke's masterpiece vision. Truly a man ahead of his time. I will say I have a few minor grievances about the book that are almost too minuet to make any difference. Unlike the movie I felt Hal in this book had somewhat more human characteristics than the film. The "open the pod bay doors" scene is gone. And there isn't as much of a sense of loss in this book as there was in the movie as to the disappearance of the monolith. But those are just small potatoes. Fans of the movie will must undoubtedly note (which the author himself explains the reason for) that in the book the destination is the outer orbit of Saturn where as in the movie Kubrick was forced to relocate to Jupiter. Too bad, anyone who reads David Icke's book will be aware of the esoteric connection concerning the planet Saturn. I found myself intrigued by the epiphany Bowman makes when he realizes Saturn's rings are speculated to be as old as 3 million years (around the same time the monolith appeared on Earth???)...
348 8 0245. American Gods - Neil Gaiman
Am in the middle of reading...
Am up to Chapter 7!
0 0 0242. Ancient Teachings for Beginners
Am in the middle of reading...
Am up to Chapter 2!
781 7.4 0240. Angels and Demons (Robert Langdon, Book 1) - Dan Brown_II
Am in the middle of reading...
Am up to Chapter 19!
So far what I think is: Lives up to the reputation, OMG - Tom Hanks was PERFECTLY cast as Robert Langdon!
2 9 0219. Chariots of the Gods: Unsolved Mysteries of ... - Erich von Daniken
Written by Erich von Daniken
The book that 'started it all...although the Ancient Astronauts Theory had been around the block for quite a while by now author/scholar Erich von Daniken was really the one that brought the subject to the public's awareness. Here we have von Daniken doing months if not years worth of research and private visitations to some of the great primitive wonders of the ancient world, looking at it through wide open, fresh new eyes and intellect? -Now before I get started I must stress, that while though I am quite interested in this particular subject, absorbing all the knowledge I can on it, this particular book is not exactly one of my favorites. That can hardly be the author's fault though since I wasn't even 'alive' when this book first got published and have read all the material on the Ancient Aliens subject out of continuitive order. What I mean by that is that for me personally, this book seems somewhat...obsolete? -However "Fingerprints of the Gods" would never have been 'possible if it were not for von Daniken's groundbreaking 'blueprint'.
It's been reported that much like "Pulp Fiction" in the 90s', as soon as "Chariots of the Gods?" caught fire, the literary world was BOMBARDED by von Daniken clones and wannabes, trying to cash in on the craze. Most devoted fans feel except for certain authors those releases lacked the particular intellect and passion that von Daniken carries with his particular research? --Although I can sort of agree with some of von Daniken's critics' reviews, from what I hear (you should note that the author himself admits to some of own errors and faux pas in the opening introduction of the RE-release when it comes to the 'type' of critique I'm alluding to?) It does constitute for a lot of "let's take his word for it" postulating. von Daniken throws around a lot of facts and scientific jargon (like I've seen so many other Ancient Aliens writers do) where as Hancock's books always seem to take the reader on an 'adventure'. However, upon completing this classic epic I can certainly see what raised the public's eyebrow in the first place?
Evidence be damned, von Daniken does present in intelligent and well-indisputable manner convincing hypotheses for the origins of mankind and poke intentional curiosity at the Forbidden Truth behind ancient religious mythology. Although not quite as thick as some of the other books I've read y'all will be surprised just what's IN the book in it's entirety? -von Daniken makes a pretty good case of it though as he looks at the Ancient Alien question from more of a romanticized perspective involving curiosity and awe, with the intent of trying to alter the public's current perceptive of the outlook of UFOs and alien intelligence. And from what I'm told, it was successful, "Chariots of the Gods?" sold out on bookshelves everywhere, the bombardment of denouncement from critics all around the world at the time only made it more popular, "the oldest trick in the book?"
Covering a wide range of subjects von Daniken takes us from the mysterious Nazca Lines of the Peruvian desert to the subject of telepathy and quantum physics. The one that really surprised me was the inclusion of the case of Edgar Cayce, the man who supposedly received startling reality altering information from Higher Intelligences while in a coma? It's a great book, a lil' dated now since it was von Daniken's first on the subject, but for anyone looking to get into the study of Ancient Aliens, I recommend this as a good start...
32 7.9 0218. Childhood's End - Arthur C. Clarke
Written by Arthur C. Clarke
A classic sci-fi story from the mind of "2001" writer Clarke. Released during the early 50s' at the height of the international race between the US and Soviet space programs, many thinkers and writers around the world during this era were seriously pondering the implications of what this might mean should the programs make good on their promise of sending mankind to the moon before the century is up. Clarke himself states in the opening preface that his belief (as well as everyone else's belief) at the time was that if you were to ask him if you ever thought man would first land on the moon as early as 1969, he'd say you must be crazy! -The result being that Clarke has written a highly speculative hypotheses of what may be likely to happen should mankind ever be faced with a scenario of contact by higher intelligences, presented on such a grand scale and dry and stiff and such a reverse way than the previous "War of the Worlds" method. -I think Clarke's parabol may be unique and refreshing, if not a little naive, but read for yourself and you'll find that the man is a visionary ahead of his time and paints a eerily convincing outline of the much rumored public speculations regarding 2012 - Ascension Date! If only he knew-
Set at an 'unspecified' date in the early new millennium, this story begins much the same as in the fashion of "Independence Day" mixed with "the Day the Earth Stood Still", and I also believe may be the inspiration for the popular anime series "Crest of the Stars". With no central character, and multiple locations and focus, the story jumps around from location to location over a period of a hundred years give or take. At the height of the Cold War between the American and Soviet factions, it's proposed that the ETs arrival is in response to the serious implications of nuclear threat. One day their large ships seem to appear over metropolitan cities all over the globe, just at a time man is about ready to set out what it achieved to do in landing on the Moon, something even more awe-inspiring occurs. They call them the Overlords. They're purpose and mission is kept rather tight lipped and mysterious, along with the concealment of their true appearance. It's been highly speculated that this book has been the true inspiration and blueprint for the cult phenomenon mini-series and tv remake series "V". It really is almost the exact same thing except that show took more subversive liberties where as this story is more in the tradition of books by Erich von Daniken concerning a more diplomatic and 'romantic' approach to such an epic concept, were it to really happen.
At first, little contact is made between Earth and the Overlords, like the opening moments of "District 9". Broadcasts are made on behalf of the Overlords representative Karellen, who we get the persistent notion that he's not the highest in rank of their species, but no information is given as to who might be the Overlords' superiors? -Finally, a representative of Earth is brought in, in the form of a man named Stormgren, who ventures to and from from the ships to pass messages and diplomatic relations between Earth and the Overlords. Stormgren and Karellen's relationship is truly the most endearing one of the story as the two individuals exchange numerous tongue and cheek witty banter amongst each other whenever they get together and each man is trying to probe the other for further information. Both are aware they're doing is and know each other knows, and are quite relaxed about it. Karellen knows it's only natural Earthlings be 'curious' about their new found masters. Storgren has quite a great deal of respect for his Supervisor friend - but that won't last long as time passes and Stormgren is forced into retirement from his job. -Others around the globe aren't so trusting and friendly of the Overlords' presence as the Overlords make numerous controversial dictations and laws paranoia becomes fevered as various domestic terror groups arise. In one instance Stormgren is even taken hostage by one known as the Freedom League, and despite his opposition to the leaders ideals, if he too is pushed to pursue his own curiosity at the layer of deliberate secrecy and deception at the hands of the Overlords, even if he has to take matters into his own hands. Just what are they hiding?
The story jumps ahead to the triangle between English aristocrat George Greggson and his African wife Jean and conflicted brother-in-law Jan. It has now been quite a long time since the Overlords' arrival. They have shared inspired knowledge and technology with mankind while continuing to uphold and level of superiority amongst the humans. Human beings now live a life of relaxed comfort in the indulgence of such and abundance of technology. Like the humans from "Wall-E". But the overall plot begins to pick up at the events of Rupert Boyce's dinner party in which the social elite attend which George and his wife and brother-in-law are all present. One of the Overlords, Rashaverak, also shockingly happens to be attending the festivities in and unrelated matter to a certain party game that happens to take place at the end. Although the word is never spoke, it resembles the activity of using a Ouija Board, in which the party guests attempt to access intelligences from hidden realms and ask them foolish questions. It's all quite cut and dry until someone asks the rather serious question of where the Overlords' homeworld is. What they get in response are coordinates and this brings to the surface the attention of the Overlords.
From that point on the Greggson family is under heavy secret surveillance and the birth of their son Jeffrey plays an integral part to the true purpose of the Overlords' mission. Little by little, privileged details of information are revealed as we learn the Overlords true appearance to be quite large in stature and resemble the appearance of traditional accounts of mankind's impression of the Devil. The Overlords don't seem as concerned with the fact that humanity has this information so much as where did it come from in the first place? -And just so you know, the spoilers, I wouldn't be mentioning all this if I didn't think it was relevant to a much LARGER picture in the end. --Clarke does an immaculate job of describing the spot on science of psychic phenomena as well as the speculated theories about where mankind may be heading in the coming Golden Age at the end of the Mayan Calendar. And this was at a time before it was being more publicly discussed in the books by such Ancient Astronauts authors as Graham Hancock, David Wilcock and David Icke. It begs the question then where is Clarke getting his information?
The true story behind this book is that Stanley Kubrick originally wanted to adapt this story to the Big Screen and then considered Clarke's book "the Sentinel" before finally settling on a join 'original' production between Kubrick and Clarke on "2001: A Space Odyssey". -While although I don't quite agree with Clarke's naive romanticized approach to a proposed ET/human encounter in the future, I do get the point Clarke was trying to drive home. There's a cause and effect for everything, and the overall ending is quite poignant and harrowing, nature can be quite cruel but progress can't be prevented, and shouldn't be regretted. The presentation of Clarke's overall Universal Mind message is true awe-inspiring. But before I give this book too high a praise I should warn other readers out there who are like me, this book is quite dated, has certain questionable aspects to it's logic and I found the overall pace to be rather dry and stiff. There was a lot of emphasis on social etiquette and not enough scientific intrigue as say a minimalist story like "2001". Modern readers may have a hard time getting into the rhythm. But I promise you the effort will be worth it, as the ending may very well cause you to contemplate your own role in the Universe, and what your purpose may be?...
4 8.3 0215. Communion: A True Story - Whitley Strieber
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