Continuing the In Death series

From “Imitation in Death”, which I find hard going because it is particularly disturbing as the murderer is imitating the styles of various serial killers. This was oddly comforting, amazingly meta, to come across right after I had skipped a chunk describing a brutal murder to get to the nifty police procedural/ detective stuff.

“Rape, Peabody was sure, just as she was sure it had to have been brutal. And she’d have been young. Before the job. Peabody had studied Eve’s career with the NYPSD like a template, but there’d been no report of a sexual assault on Dallas. So it had been before, before the Academy. When she was a teenager, or possibly younger. In automatic sympathy, Peabody’s stomach roiled. It would take guts, and balls, to face that, to revisit whatever had happened every time you walked into a scene that reverberated with sexual violence. But to use it, instead of being used by it, that took more, Peabody determined. It took what she could only define as valor.”

Eve Dallas and her husband Roarke are both survivors of extreme childhood trauma and it’s one of the hooks of this series that keeps me reading, as their healing slowly unfolds, they learn to trust each other and be somewhat less dysfunctional, and they build a “found family”.

By this time in book 17, Roarke has faced many past ghosts from his childhood in Dublin, his father and his father’s death, and found some details about his mother he had no idea about (with a ludicrously homey reunion with his mom’s family!!!) Eve often faces having disturbing flashbacks as she deals with murder scenes but explicitly calls out her experience and “damage” as something that has given her strengths and insight into evil.

I’m impressed with this series in general. The dubious consent issues between Eve and Roarke have improved and it explores really interesting territory. I imagine a lot of readers have found the series useful in their own healing from trauma.

The science fiction (especially the fashions!) is still entertaining as well. Roberts doesn’t predict surveillance culture very well – for example people have a cellphone-esque “comm link”, but it doesn’t track their location, and what few security cameras exist are easily hackable somehow or their “discs” can just be stolen. (Which is just hilarious.)

Collective implicit learning and the internet

Morning reading. Ursula Franklin’s The Real World of Technology, 1990 (revised 1999).

Franklin describes how, in a classroom, students are learning some particular thing, but are also picking up social skills “ranging from listening, tolerance, and cooperation to patience, trust, or anger management.” She then tells a story as a metaphor, of people who take a ski lift and then ski downhill — doing something complex and dangerous without having first acquired the skills to manage climbing, falling, getting up again on skis. Presumably by going up a hill on skis, which I didn’t even know was a thing, or, I guess in cross country skiing you are going up and down hills.

Well, anyway, her point is that on the internet or in online collaboration more people are… doing stuff… without having practiced and socialized the skills to do it in a social or maybe a public context. This may be less true than it was in 1990 or 1999. (And, anyway, not SO different from letter writing, though I recall all those “netiquette” guides. It’s been quite some time since I’ve seen something like that. Do elementary schools teach internet manners?)

It often strikes me as I listen to my teenagers online in games with their friends, from their early days building things in Minecraft to later games like Overwatch, that they are becoming very skilled in negotiating, planning, and executing their plans in a collaborative way over voice and text chat, combined with whatever layers of drama exist between them. It’s a set of complex skills that they’ll bring into their adult online life. This isn’t that complicated of an idea, but I think of it when I listen to other parents freaking out about “screen time” or the pointlessness of games.

Tangential but I also liked this quote she includes from Fritz Schumacher,

. . .we may derive the three purposes of human work as follows:
First, to provide necessary and useful goods and services.
Second, to enable every one of us to use and thereby perfect our gifts like good stewards.
Third, to do so in service to, and in cooperation with, others, so as to liberate ourselves from our inborn egocentricity.

That’s so interesting! I looked Schumacher up just now, and realized that his book A Guide for the Perplexed is the VERY BOOK that my friend Rose was describing at dinner last night!!!!! WTF!!! It’s like when you first hear a word and then come across it everywhere.

Flying car retro future

I was only vaguely aware of Nora Roberts as a prolific writer of best sellers when a couple of weeks ago @mostlybree on Twitter said something about her science fiction detective series. They are written under the name J.D. Robb and there’s FIFTY in the series so far. How could I resist?

The science fiction elements are a thin but amusing veneer. It’s 20158 and there are flying cars! Mind control and subliminal messages! Hilarious computers that can barely do anything! Space travel including interstellar flight to the colonies (so far, faster than light ship drive hasn’t gotten even a mention! They just jaunt off to Vega 6 or whatever!) There is futuristic slang like “ice” and “mag” and people wear sort of spandex one piece suits a lot!

Notably the romance novel hero guy, Roarke, is very unclear on the meaning of consent, but I skim over those bits or handwave them and it does improve a LITTLE after the first book or two.

More interestingly he and the protagonist, Eve Dallas, are both processing their childhood abuse. Eve has pretty intense sexual abuse survivor stuff going on, flashbacks, nightmares, and so on which often intersects with her work as a homicide detective.

She is also sort of butchy and doesn’t give a shit about anything. Enjoyable in itself! She’s always walking in late to a fancy dinner party covered in blood and bruises after not sleeping for 3 days and honey badger don’t care because JUSTICE. (And Roarke the zillionaire gazes adoringly at her the more she swaggers around with her thumbs hooked into her gunbelt — while Sommerset the butler gets more and more annoyed.)

Their relationship is a big focus of the plot as they figure out over time how to trust each other with more of their backgrounds and their vulnerabilities & drop their need to always be strong survivors, accepting each other’s concern and care. That’s fairly sweet. But that dynamic is even more interesting between Eve and her ever-growing cast of mostly female friends – Mavis the new wave rock star, Nadine the high-powered, hard working reporter from Channel 75, Peabody (raised by new age farm hippies) who she mentors at work. They are all trying to teach her how to be a friend and how to accept their loving friendship! Neat!

The best parts of this weirdly addictive series are the descriptions of fashion. Like, what is both futuristic and classy to the author, or how she imagines the reader, is deeply hilarious and familiar. It is like this 80s retro mall thing, where classy is basically, being on a date, eating a steak at Red Lobster while you have your hair elaborately feathered, spike heels, and a saucy little temporary tattoo of a butterfly on your left hip. Maybe a Red Lobster in SPACE LAS VEGAS. Maybe some hinted to be super racy sex with SCENTED OILS later on in the date a la Rick James “Superfreak”. Incense, wine and candles, such a freaky scene! There are these archetypes that are slightly “off” of retro-futuristic Satanists, Wiccans, computer hackers (“E-men”), glam rockers or new wave musicians, fashion designers, if they were all working at franchises in a 1980s mall. That’s how it reads to me. (I mean this affectionately.)

Here is one of the glorious outfits – I feel compelled to type out a monster paragraph.

“She’s the problem,” Yvette said with a thin smile, and Eve turned and got a full blast of the magnificent Simon.

The eyes caught her first. They were a pale, almost translucent blue framed by thick dark lashes and thin ebony brows that each peaked to a ruler-sharp point in the middle. His hair was a brilliant ruby red, swept high off his forehead and temples and styled to tumble in a snowfall of springy curls to the middle of his back.

His skin had the dull gold sheen indicating mixed-race heritage or complexion dyes. His mouth was painted a deep bronze, and riding along his prominent left cheekbone was a white unicorn with gold horn and hooves.

He swept back the electric-blue cape draped over his shoulders. Beneath he wore a skinsuit of chartreuse and silver stripes with a deeply scooped neckline. A tangle of gold chains gleamed against his impressive chest. He angled his head, sending the long gold dangles in his ears dancing as he set one hand on one slim hip and studied Eve.

I keep reading these characters as gay and Simon might be (he is a bit part, so far, a makeup designer, hell, maybe he’s the murderer) but sometimes they sound hella gay and then aren’t even bi (though, comfortingly, there are bi and gay folks tho no one trans in this version of 2058). First of all who the fuck notices someone’s eye color in this way? Anyone? Is that a thing? Am I just nearsighted and eye-contact-averse enough to find it completely alien?! When I first meet someone I just think “That’s a nice hat” and hope that person will please wear that same outfit and hair style for the rest of their life. I would never study someone’s eyeballs, WTF?!

There’s a lot to unpack in Simon’s description but let’s just contemplate the way it sounds like he has one cheekbone that sticks out further than the other one, and how it has a ridiculous sounding face painting of a unicorn. LOVE IT!!!!

Here’s another description, a bit more low key but it made me laugh as well. It is of a “quietly elegant” bar in Manhattan.

The bar had pretty silver-topped tables, pale blue privacy booths, and clever art prints of New York street scenes decorating the warm yellow walls.
Classy, she thought, glancing over at the long, shiny bar with sparkling mirrors and tuxedo-decked servers.

Classy like an episode of Miami Vice (which Danny just suggested would make a good aesthetic for this if it were a TV show and I can totally picture it)

Back to book 6, and trying to deduce things about the future technology of the world of Eve Dallas. It’s 2058 and there’s faster than light travel, antigravity, cellular rejuvenation, Autochefs that are like weird little microwaves which you stock with ingredients, except most people can only afford soydogs and soy milk and fake coffee probably also made of soy.

A delightful book beckons

In the park near our house on top of the hill, there’s a house that must belong to a teacher or school librarian, because there is always a cardboard box or two full of kids’ paperback books there, sometimes boring but sometimes the best sort of old, weird book. I had a stressful week at work and am feeling fed up so decided to dive into this gem from the free box.

It’s called The Saucepan Journey, it’s by Edith Unnerstad, first published in 1949, and is translated from Swedish. The book opens by describing the seven children in the family, and how they don’t have room in their tiny apartment for them all to sleep, having to put three chairs together and put an ironing board on top, or for the smaller ones, sleeping in a bureau drawer (as I hear I did as a baby!) There is a housing crisis (because of it being just post-war?) and no one will rent to them anyway because they have too many children and not enough money.

Their mother used to be a traveling (and maybe not very successful) young Shakespearean actress and their dad is a travelling button-seller but really, a brilliant inventor. He’s invented a 3 part whistling saucepan called “Pip”. A grumpy uncle dies and leaves them his brewery horses and two large wagons.

Their mom, a sprightly and inventive person herself, comes up with the idea that they’ll leave their cramped apartment, build bunk beds in one of the wagons, fit up the back of the wagon with a little kitchen, and travel the country selling Pip (in all three sizes).

Without even going further than that it’s clear this is going to be an amazing book. I am almost in tears at how awesome it is, and nothing has even happened yet! The Swedishness and the being 70 years old and it being relatively normal to have horses in the middle of cities adds to the fabulosity.

The parents are nice – fun – adaptable – And the children all seem to appreciate each other’s capabilities and quirks.

Why are some books so cozy, and enticing, and you can fall asleep thinking about how you’d fit up your little caravan behind your brewery horses, either with your seven (!) children or as one of them, enterprisingly selling patent saucepans? I can feel the stress just draining out of me. Even better — there are two sequels.

The Wide, Wide World

Today in weird old children’s books! (Which I like to read while I’m sick, and I’ve had a cold all week.) The Wide, Wide World (1850) by Susan Warner was the first book published in America to sell over one million copies! It’s the book that Jo March was reading in Little Women when someone discovers her reading and crying in a tree! Girls in *other* books are often reading it too!

The Wide, Wide World starts out in a tense, claustrophobic situation where 10 year old Ellen is hanging out with her mother who is obviously dying of consumption. (The dad is an indifferent and kind of scary figure – barely there.) The mom has to go overseas for her health so they plan to send Ellen to her aunt in the country. Ellen devotedly makes toast and tea for her mother and tries (unsuccessfully ) not to cry and to love Jesus best.

The crowning glory of this book is probably in these first few chapters when they finally stop crying and praying (and coughing) long enough to leave the house on a shopping trip to get Ellen a Bible. (The mom sells her treasured ring to be able to afford it!) Agonizingly long bible-choosing scene. The mom also buys her a truly wondrous mahogany writing-desk with a zillion little drawers and compartments & all the things to go in them brand new. Pencils! different note-papers! Ink and ink powder and a screw top jar for the ink! (Even some pounce!) Then, surprise, a work-basket equally well provisioned. I wonder if Warner was fantasizing about having the best possible writing desk, or didn’t quite know how to go about moving the plot forward and had to fill up the chapter and used her own gorgeous little desk as an example?!

Then an utterly terrifying journey with some strange family who are not very genteel. They mock her bonnet. Luckily on the river boat she meets a kind old gentleman on deck who finds her crying and comforts her by discussing Jesus at GREAT LENGTH and then sets her to read the text of some hymns. Yay, he even gives her the tiny hymnbook which he’s helpfully marked up with pointers and explanations! By the end of the journey as night falls I think she’s cuddled up in his arms?! He never even says what his name is. I picture him as a very whiskery man in a top hat with his pockets just STUFFED full of weird religious tracts.

Then a stressful stay at an inn. The travelling companion lady lets Ellen just fall asleep on the floor and goes down to dinner. But the nice servant girl conspires with the inn’s chambermaid and they make up a nice bed for her & bring her fancy dinner. Huzzah! (No one mentions Jesus. Just how polite and sweet Ellen is. )

The next day they brutally yeet Ellen and her trunk in the town square of Uhhhh I can’t remember. Townville. Clearly we are in upstate New York though. She gets to ride in an ox-cart to her aunt’s house and then terrifyingly the ox cart driver tells her to just walk in. The aunt had no idea she was coming. OK this is getting too long so I’ll just say: The aunt is a sharp and hard hearted person, the ox-cart driver Mr. Van Brunt ends up befriending her, there are like a zillionty great characters (ox-cart guy’s old mother, charismatic Swiss French lady who lives on top of the mountain, her feckless, tricky and wild granddaughter Nancy, Alice Humphreys the young lady who is the minister’s daughter. Alice adopts Ellen as her sister and talks to her constantly about Jesus so they are BFFs. Then we meet Alice’s brother John ***DUH DUh DUNNNNNNNN*** ***super dramatic entrance music*** who is studying to be a minister and who LOVES to tell Ellen how to behave and truly be good and who also encourages (as Alice does) her education, her questions about science, the refraction of light, etc. Meanwhile, she and Alice learn perfect French from the lady on the mountain. She goes with Alice and John to a house party at their friends’? cousins’? mansion, Ventnor. Then she goes home to alternate staying with Aunt Fortune (the mean one) and Alice.

I can’t help seeing some of this from Aunt Fortune’s point of view. She works her ass off and is a perfect housekeeper and has to take care of a useless religious nut who cries all the time and Ellen’s nice genteel sweetness is never for her but only for strangers who don’t do all their own work. Anyway, at some point Ellen has to take care of the Aunt and the house mostly by herself for a month even doing the super difficult churning. Aunt still terrible though for opening her letters from her mom and not letting her have them for days. (Even when her mom just DIED.) Oh yeah her dad is also lost at sea.

Let us fast forward through the scenes at Ventnor and also when she finally gets a completely perfect pony.

Suddenly things take a completely bizarre turn. Nancy brings a hidden letter to Ellen! It says her mother’s dying command is that Ellen should go to her maternal grandmother in Scotland who is super rich! Who no one has ever heard of because they were estranged! Whaaaaat! But Ellen wants to stay with John her “brother” (i.e. the youngest and hottest creepy jesus loving control freak in her life) But it is her duty to obey her parents! OMG!!!! She is packed off to Scotland immediately of course. Impossible to tell how old she is but by this time maybe 18 or so. Her creepy uncle in Edinbugh adopts her (How many times COULD a person be adopted, Ellen wondered to herself) and makes her drink wine (GASP) and doesn’t take Jesus seriously — all the Scottish relatives make fun of Yankees and the backwoods – forbid her jealously to talk about her “brother” – Well, you can guess what happens at the end.

A++ excellent totally bizarro book; clearly L.M. Montgomery did a serious Jesusectomy on it to get herself going. Despite my alienation from all the religious stuff I liked Ellen’s moral quandries as she tries to be nice to people and do her duty even when they are horrible, despite her fierce temper.

JUST FOUND OUT that there is a 53rd chapter that wasn’t published until the 1980s (thank you Feminist Press) I need this! They have this edition in the Main library downtown for in-library use only so I’m going to have to go on pilgrimage!! Very exciting. I mean, obviously it’s just like Susan marrying John her “brother” which was only hinted at coyly in chapter 52.

Reading The Cruel Way

I am reading Ella Maillart’s The Cruel Way, about her road trip from Switzerland to Kabul in 1939 along with her friend Annemarie Schwartzenbach. This book was in theory free from University of Chicago, but I ended up buying it after several failed attempts to get the free book in a readable form, having installed several ugly and pointless pieces of bad software which I then had to uninstall. Better to buy the book and crack the DRM myself! Ridiculous!

Maillart is an ethnographer and writer, is interesting, often fantastically racist, hates Hitler, and is trying to help the famously “androgynous” men’s-suit-wearing Schwartzenbach clean up from a heroin addiction (what better thing to do than bring someone straight to Afghanistan????!!!) and get over some sort of stormy lesbian heartbreak. While I hoped initially they were lovers, now I think not – Schwartzenbach seems to have some other affairs along the way, though. Their relationship is pretty cool though. I enjoyed the moment where Schwartzenbach moans that Ella is more famous because her books have been translated (even though Schwartzenbach had more publications). Still true and no one seems to have translated her to English yet. Also fascinating, Maillart’s recordings of sentiment from people in various countries about Hitler, Mussolini, Britain, the US, Russia on the eve of war.

Neat stuff looked up in Wikipedia along the way
* Windcatchers of Hyderabad http://localcode.org/2017/03/windcatcher-passive-cooling-and-cultural-identity/ https://www.fieldstudyoftheworld.com/searching-windcatchers-hyderabad/

* The Tomb of Kabus and the Qabus-Nama

So many other things but it’s now a week later and I have moved on to read some other things! Oh well, I’ll post this anyway.

Reading Richard Hughes

I started reading Richard Hughes with High Wind in Jamaica (or, The Innocent Voyage) which was so strange and charming and unsettling that I had to set out to read this guy’s other books as well. In High Wind the adults in the book (and the reader) realize how amoral the children are – they’re terrifying, not innocent. You get a small taste of the protagonist, a 10 year old girl, starting to become conscious in an adult way. Glimpses of what we might think of as the reality of her situation appear to her and then melt away like mist.

My memories of these moments were like looking at mortality directly (since not only would I die but, the continuity of existence meant that the “me” of that moment would disappear and be forgotten) so I would vow to myself to remember particular things and write them someday so as not to lose the self of that time (paved over by some blithe future me.)

Next I tackled his incomplete trilogy, The Human Predicament. Also good and disturbing, with half the books taking place in England and the U.S. (with a detour to Morocco) and half in Germany during Hitler’s rise to power. It is pretty wild to read a novel that has Hitler as a character making his cameos. Hughes can get very digressive in a Melville sort of way, prosing on about philosophy and psychology, which I enjoy but I’m sure not everyone will. Augustine, our young protagonist, wanders around rootlessly having just missed the Great War by a hair as an 18 year old cadet when Armistice was declared. Cut off from the generation of men above him who experienced the war directly, and having grown up expecting to die in the trenches, he had no plan for how to live his life.

I was thinking of Anthony Powell and his protagonist Jenkins (comparing him a bit unfavorably with Hughes’s narrative point of view which hovers & dips into many people’s minds, crossing class & gender & other boundaries)… Then wondered if Hughes is a character in Dance to the Music of Time and if so… who…. I have to poke around and think about it. He was a bit older than Powell so they weren’t at Oxford at the same time. Bonus tangent: find and read The Loom of Youth by Alec Waugh to find the controversial queer bits.

I’m now in mid-read of In Hazard, a novel based on a steamship caught in the 1932 Cuba hurricane, which is even more obviously Melville-ish than the others. I wondered about the casual racism of the British seamen towards the Chinese crew members and then happily the point of view switched to some of the Chinese crew, without making me cringe. We first see the thoughts of a young man, P’ing Tiao, praying to T’ien Fei. Then a young Christian guy Henry Tung, trying to keep up the spirits of his mates with tall tales, and then the view switches to Ao Ling, P’ing Tiao’s friend, who isn’t religious at all and who lived through famine and became a follower of Mao. (I enjoyed Hughes’ asides comparing Chiang Kai-shek to Hitler – calling him the first fascist revolutionary whose first act was to start shooting leftists). Oh, god, then the cringe when the Brits come down the hatch and start talking the worst condescending pidgin (they are terrified of mutiny).

Interesting books – I’m so sad not to have the rest of book 3 of The Human Condition (there are 12 chapters of it.)

Inadequate notes on recent reading

Am I ready to read The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley? Do I want a severe mindfuck experience? YES ABSOLUTELY.

*** hours later ***

Holy shit! This is a really good book. Very intense! Makes me think of Delany. Yes, and all the other logical things to think of like The Forever War. (And that Mary Gentle series too…) It’s so tight and beautifully structured & dense. I felt a little tempted to chart it out (maybe on a re-read!) Hurley just gets better & better as a writer.

Next book: Finder by Suzanne Palmer – Super fun space opera! If you like the Expanse I bet you will enjoy this interstellar repo man & his comrades.

The Book of Flora by Meg Elison – Another freaking awesome book, last in the trilogy started off by Book of the Unnamed Midwife. I nommed it for the Tiptree immediately on finishing it. Read the whole trilogy together – Book 1 stands on its own but the second and third books are better if you read them together (so that you don’t forget all the stuff that happened in the Book of Etta, which is important for Book of Flora). It is sort of a gorgeous gulliver’s travels of post apocalypse societies and how people of various genders and queernesses adapt to those different cultures & their rules (and keep leaving to try and found something new). Must add how much I loved the Librarians, and also Cheyenne – I would definitely visit though not join either!

Next book. The Mad Scientist’s Daughter. It’s ok, nicely written, but left me a little flat. It’s a little too easy for the protagonist to be forgiven and forgive herself for her actions and the whole book was so heteronormative that it didn’t grab me. I have another thing to say but it’s a little spoilery that I’ll put it in the first comment to this post.

The Carpet Makers by Andreas Eschbach – Good, so good, but so unquestioningly and unnecessarily sexist. Why must people. So disappointing. (Like Gene Wolfe – such claims to all compassing profundity while having this absolutely ludicrous blind spot for gender.) When you hit the ending bit with the tall blond young woman and the archivist you will scream and mentally throw your book across the room. If you bracket all that and just kind of pretend everything is like some surreal leave it to beaver universe then it’s a nifty book.

Still reading those Morland books!

I’m on about book 26 or so. World War I is about to start, a bunch of damn Morlands just got onto the Titanic, and one of them is getting arrested at protests for women’s suffrage and force-fed in jail. Fairly intense!

Again… if you read these I recommend just skipping the U.S. Civil War one as it’s a hot racist mess. Go right back to England where this series belongs….. whew! Though, well, not like she doesn’t also manage to somehow have the Boer Wars be lily white as well (how?)

I had 2 days of conference-going after an active weekend of concert-going and I’m now having just a bit of a flare up feeling in various joints so I spent the day in bed. Sucks but I hope to be up and around quickly! But I don’t feel much like writing. Tired and achy.

A Few Hours in a Far-Off Age

I’m enjoying Henrietta Dugdale‘s utopian SF, A Few Hours in a Far-Off Age. Millions of years in the future, we and the disembodied narrator follow along as highly evolved humans discourse on education and the history of the Christian Blood Age. Australia sank into the sea and a new continent, Alethia, rose, though Melbourne is rising again and has this giant museum/school exhibit hall built on it with what sound like fancy study carrels next to elaborate dioramas of “torture instruments” ie corsets, low necked dresses, and high heels; or just like, men being sexist while drinking the Demon Alcohol and denying women a right to education whilst cheering on their various wars and not doing any of the housework.

The evolved teenagers (2 per family) gratifyingly listen to the smiling lectures of their evolved moms, then we weirdly follow one of them, Veritée, to her private study where she divests herself of our rational dress outer garments (loose trousers with a tunic and a short jacket, none of which are constraining in any way) to reveal her silk undergarments (similar to the top ones), does calisthenics, studies next to her giant pet tiger-dog, has some vegetarian food (delivered by the one family servant who is educated, evolved, and only works till noon after which she goes off for recreation and philosophizing, and who emerges bearing the trays of fruit and bread from a weird mirrored pillar with a spiral staircase). Veritée then has a bath (slightly creepily we see her beauteous form in the bath – better than any Blood Era statue of beauty since unconstrained by Torture Instruments and well calisthenicked.)

Some of the teenagers then fly off in an aircar (run by some sort of power plus kept safe by the Repelling Engine) to the beaches of the West Coast at 80 miles per hour. They frolic, have a picnic, and probably discuss Evolution some more. In one interlude we are treated to a description of the inventresses of the Repelling Engine (inspired by the corpses which used to rain down from aircar crashes!) They go on a test flight and then are welcomed by parades, honors, costly gifts, job offers (which they refuse unless they both get the job together) as the cheering crowds celebrate the new age of safer air travel.

Space travel is mentioned as a possible future but not really given much thought.

Henrietta does not seem to like church or the organized religion of her time, or the “myth-men” who run it, much.

I have returned to our earth. Oh, what cruel disorder here reigns! Truth crashed and persecuted! “Hypocrisy, the only evil that walks invisible, except to God alone,” flaunting in every myth temple! howling in every community! checking progress at every avenue.

Fools and rogues! You who profess so much love and reverence for your skeletons. I tell you it is all useless that you noisily rattle their offensive bones before my vision. That bright light of truth from the far-off age shines to me through your blackest screens! Go, hug your loathsome relics of a loathsome era in privacy—if you can—and say not again to my ears what you dare not utter to the Infinite in your solitude.

Ha! I see I “obey” and do the “work” that was commanded, for the light shines more brightly!

A dream? What is dreaming? Some explain most learnedly how it is caused by certain conditions of the body. May not some dreams cause those certain conditions?

Dream, or what else it has been, I see always the beautiful light bright with truth and hope. No one can extinguish it!