Thursday, 13 October 2011
Thursday, 5 March 2009
Volume II – THE SLEEPERS OF LETHE
Volume I – THE RIDDLE OF THE SEAL
The Government of Gondwana
The Sleepers of Lethe
the Second Episode of Miguel Errazu’s
Chronicles of the Greater Dream
A Full Account of Recent Events in Gondwana
Escaping from a secret prison in the middle of a nameless desert, Theseus (Teddy) Managras is flown to Gondwana, the boundless land his grandfather once ruled. In The Riddle of the Seal – the first episode of this great trilogy – Teddy and his companions set out on a perilous journey, closely pursued by the Cyclops, the ruthless leader of the terrorist movement, Ultima Ratio.
In this Second Episode, they reach the Valley of Umbra where, on the eve of a great battle against the Cyclops’ armies, Sub-Commander Eisehu Kipper sends them on a mission to recover the bodies of the Sleepers of Lethe – seven legendary figures that have been resting for close to a hundred years beneath the colossal glacier of Oblivium. Some suppose they hold the memory of all the past.
As Teddy continues his journey, he discovers love, begins to remember his own past and understands at last why his grandfather was sent into exile, why his parents were assassinated, and why he himself had been secretly detained.
What the critics have said:
"An unusual work of high literary fantasy. The author’s astonishing powers of invention propel us beyond time and space, into a strangely familiar world that is a mirror-image of our own. A work of strong humanistic convictions." World Heritage, October 2007
Friday, 12 December 2008
Hello my Friends, this is Padraic, and I'm back at last from my world tour. I note that Michael, whom I left in charge of this blog, got bogged down in other matters and shamefully neglected his duty.
I'll forgive him nonethess, since his time has been well spent, and I find I've got back just in time to report that Polish film director Lech Majewski has finished shooting his latest movie, The Mill & the Cross, with Charlotte Rampling, Michael York, Rutger Hauer and Joanna Litwin. This interests us all the more that the film, scripted by Majewski and our friend Michael Gibson, is based on Michael's book of the same title, devoted to Breugel's incredible painting, The Way to Calvary, populated by about 500 characters.
The director of photography is Adam Sikora, who recently shot Jerzy Skolimowski's Four Days with Anna.
While portraying the passion of Christ, the painting also refers quite clearly to the cruel persecution of "heretics" which Bruegel witnessed in Flanders in the 1560's. It thus becomes a denunciation of persecutions in all ages. The laws of the day required male Protestants caught in Flanders to be beheaded and women to be burried alive. Other forms of cruel execution were also practiced. The photo above shows one of the "thieves" escorted to his place of execution by the hangman.
The film begins by relating a particular day in Bruegel's life, in the course of which the painter and his friend, the banker Nicholas Jonghelinck, go out of town to stand as helpless witnesses to the execution of a Protestant preacher whom they apparently knew and admired. Half-way through the film, thanks to a clever narrative device, the preacher becomes identified with Jesus and the film turns into a narrative of the passion.
Since shooting has been completed, a group of computer wizards has begun the arduous task of incrusting the actors into backgrounds realistically painted by Bruegel. The effect will be stunning.
The Mill & The Cross should be released in the fall of 2009.
Saturday, 14 June 2008
THE WARM CURRENT OF THE IMAGINED
AND THE COLD CURRENT OF THE REAL
Observing all the things that I had stored in my memory on my return from Gondwana, I realized that I could practically give a tangible appearance to the two, tremendous global currents that move like guiding spirits through the human world, commanding its climate and the conditions of our lives: the warm current of the imagined and the cold current of the real. These two together, move endlessly through our minds like the two faces of a single, inconceivable, cosmic conveyor belt. They endless lift new, utterly unexpected and undreamed things out of the imagined and slowly propel them into the real.
Thursday, 27 March 2008
THE CENTRE FOR POST-APOCALYPTIC STUDIES
Of all the marvelous institutions that have arisen lately in Gondwana, the Center for Post-Apocalyptic Studies is my favorite.
The stunning implications of its title really enchant me.
According to the principal traditions of the Third Hemisphere, all humans inevitably live inside a picture of the world. People often mistake this picture for the world itself until it shatters under the pressure of events.
Wednesday, 23 January 2008
Sunday, 6 January 2008
Tuesday, 25 December 2007
In an age endlessly harrassed by incitements to hatred and frantic calls for revenge, my government is determined to reaffirm the intimately held convictions of the inhabitants of this nation as to the very nature of justice. Only recently, one of the wiser men of this land stated the matter in these terms:
These are the principles that my government reaffirms today as it wishes all peoples and all nations a future freed from the raging fires of hatred and fanaticism and lit by the sun and moon of understanding, forgiveness, serenity, reconciliation and peace.
Wednesday, 28 November 2007
“We dined that evening with the young Grand Duke. The Prime Minister, as we learned, is an outstanding historian, and while his scholarly work had never been appreciated by the Grand Duke, his real troubles only began after he published a short story entitled The Service Station.
As summarized for our benefit by the author, the story relates the misadventures of a young man called Omee, who sets out to visit his girl friend in a neighboring town. He stops off at a service station on the freeway, but when he wants to leave again, he is told that the road has momentarily been closed, and that he will have to wait.
The wait goes on and on. Night comes, day returns, a week passes, then a month; more and more people keep turning into the service station and are unable to leave, and the service station itself, in which all these stranded people bed down like campers, keeps growing until it reaches the monstrous proportions of the Grand Duke’s palace.
Since these people can’t go anywhere, they must find ways of paying their keep. They are hired by the service station manager to clean up, serve food, watch and spy on one another, and even arrest, judge and incarcerate one another. They must also be fed, of course, and since the service station bar serves only junk food, that’s all they get. The men soon begin to crave company, and the accommodating manager brings in a busload of prostitutes, and even shows X-rated films once a week in his office.
The same bus occasionally drives the people to a neighboring fun fair, where they all have a virtual good time, and as days pass, they find their lives turning increasingly upon the contents of the sandwiches they will be served for lunch, the girls with whom they will be able to spend a few minutes in the evening or the roller-coaster ride they plan to take on Friday afternoon.”
“And how does it end?” I asked.
The Prime Minister made a rueful face.
“The end is simple, Mr. Errazu,” he said. “One day, the road is opened again, but none of them know where to go.”
This short narrative, recorded towards the end of Miguel's history, appears suggestive of the spirit in which he wrote the book: as though the whole thing were a metaphor and was meant to remind its readers of the place they had meant to reach when they first set out on their journey.
Sunday, 11 November 2007
The city (like the land itself) was derelict, and the port, as you can see from the picture, had dried up entirely in the half-century during which it had been cut off from the sea. Ocean-going cargos and liners that had not been able to leave on time had settled down gradually and turned into rotting hulks. We were all deeply distressed by the sight.
Meanwhile, further up the bay, the port city of Cornea, hub of commerce and historic purveyor of counterfeit goods world-wide, had developed like a thriving cancer. Or so we were told. We only later verified this ourselves.
This and much else, was the consequence of a number of deliberate and ill-informed decisions taken by the colonial authorities, firmly determined to destroy the fundamental qualities and strange individuality of the land, while filling their own pockets beyond all sense or reason.
As we traveled through the land on our way to Levana, we gradually realized the full extent of the damage that had been wrought - it was quite beyond anything we could have imagined.
Whatever government there had been had collapsed a few years before we came and various so-called "warlords" (meaning “psychopathic gangsters”) had, by force, taken over the lucrative mineral resources of the land. This was achieved with the help of a massive inflow of weapons provided by powerful occult interests and miserable children had been conscripted to fight their lucrative battles – losing life, limbs and innocence in the process.
The legendary valley of Umbra had, in the course of fifty years, been turned into a colossal pile of garbage and, since the four main rivers of the land no longer flowed (the consequence of a rash decision taken by the colonial corps of engineers in 1904-05), the entire land was suffering from a great drought. At the same time, the Mahashunya desert had begun to expand and was even threatening the capital, Levana, while the age-old culture of the desert, which had thrived thanks to its millennial trade in Dreamstones, had been utterly ruined, as a result of which its capital city, Sabea, abandoned by its population, had become a lost city.
What had caused this disaster? If we are to believe the views expressed by Ramanag in his memorable speech (reported in full by Miguel in the second episode of his Chronicles), those who then ruled the great colonial powers had, in recent years, made an intimate pact with “mere wealth and mere power.” They had taken to their hearts the indispensable tools of science and rationality and had made themselves their submissive slaves while neglecting the purpose that these admirable tools were expected to serve.
This submission, Ramanag suggests, is like a drug, which leads its victims to assume that wealth alone is proof of their existence, ans to they think themselves immeasurably superior to those who are free of that self-destructive vice. They themselves became the contented slaves of the sole law of profit, and this form of slavery, I am told, is still quite successfully imposed everywhere in the world today, wherever the monopoly of power and the accumulation of wealth by the great machines of commerce has become an inherent purpose to the detriment of the well-being of the communities they were formerly expected to serve.
Ramanag was convinced that the Third Hemisphere alone can provide the antidote to this poison – and this antidote, he declared, was the Greater Dream – in other words, the state of minde favored by an uninterrupted dialogue between the human community and the community of the Emblemata - the Living Statues found only in our country.
Miguel’s presentation of the Emblemata in "The Riddle of the Seal" remains the best approach to this singular feature of the land and the fullest information is provided in the third episode of the Chronicles, "The Garden of all the Dreams – which is still awaiting publication.
I myself can confirme that the restoration of the Greater Dream in Gondwana has been followed by a well-night miraculous recovery of the land: Today, three years after we discovered this scene of desolation, Eburnea is once more open to the sea and a thriving port, the four rivers are flowing, the Valley of Umbra is on its way to recovery and Sabea itself is revived. The most important part of my mission, as I travel around the world today, is to present this news in an acceptable form to all those I meet. This must be done with utmost tact because resistance can be considerable at times. For this reason, too, my hope is that Miguel’s book will be widely read and understood, since his presentation strikes most people asremarkably convincing.
Thursday, 1 November 2007
At the time I left the country, two days ago, there was still no news, but we all hope to have some in the coming weeks.
I did however see our dear professors (Herbert and Wilhelmina) in Levana, and they kindly gave me an excerpt from the article they will be devoting to the Geography of Gondwana in the Encyhclopaedia Gonduanensis. It contains the sort of information they had already promised to post a few weeks ago... Here it is.
The Geography of Gondwana
As we said earlier on this Blog, cosmographic speculation about Gondwana has been particularly difficult in the past. But all this has recently changed. Spectacular progress in the field of satellite photography now allows pictures to be taken from unprecedented altitudes by using MRI (Mental Resonance Imagery - see below). This innovative technique has produced the startling view of the entire continent of Gondwana shown above. Although its landmass is equal to that of Asia, very little is presently known about the country. Certainly the most striking images that have been sent back from space are those shown in animation of the home page of the Greater Dream Project Website (www.greaterdream.com).
The above picture, based on the first thorough sattelite survey of the land has been modified to bring out the coastline and simplify the task of geographers working on navigational maps. The Venture Islands appear in the Northwest corner of the map. The Far Furlew Islands lie at some distance to the North. Some have pointed out that the outline of the continent somewhat resembles a cross-cut of the human brain. We have no significant comment to make about that!
And here, finally is something about MRI
Mental Resonance Imagery (hereafter MRI) emits messages of every kind which bounce off the thoughts and emotions of others and allows the person emitting them to map the other person’s mind and personality with a fair degree of accuracy. In former times, this was known as conversation.
Appreciations based on MRI are inevitably as subjective as is the appreciation of the bat when it pursues a gnat. But the fact that the bat more often than not manages to swallow the gnat should encourage us to assume that the creature’s subjective perceptions somehow produce valid and reliable data. This appears to provide an interesting argument in favour of MRI in general, although its uses in mapping apply a somewhat different technique, which cannot be fully discussed here.
Tuesday, 16 October 2007
Sunday, 30 September 2007
This being said, our friends at the University Press are very excited to learn that the Chronicles are now available in Japan and they have have asked me to inform the public on this blog.
And while you're at it, they suggested, you might as well also give the links for Amazon US and UK.
I tend to forget these practical points, and they do well to remind me.
With this go our greetings to our many friends in Japan. The illustration above was sent in by one of them. This brings him out warmest thanks.
To order from Amazon JP: http://www.amazon.co.jp/s/ref=nb_ss_fg_eng/503-2372167-5218364?__mk_ja_JP=%83J%83%5E%83J%83i&initialSearch=1&url=search-alias%3Denglish-books&field-keywords=Errazu&Go.x=11&Go.y=9
To order from Amazon US: http://www.amazon.co.jp/s/ref=nb_ss_fg_eng/503-2372167-5218364?__mk_ja_JP=%83J%83%5E%83J%83i&initialSearch=1&url=search-alias%3Denglish-books&field-keywords=Errazu&Go.x=11&Go.y=9
To order from Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_ss_w_h_/202-4689653-7820622?initialSearch=1&url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Errazu&Go.x=7&Go.y=5
Friday, 28 September 2007
The color of tiny fireblue water-beetles,
Young girl whom I dearly loved,
And who are like an iris in The Animated Flowers,
You'll come and take me gently by the hand.
You'll lead me down this little hidden path.
You won't be naked, no, but, O my dear, sweet rose!
Your mild breast will blossom within your blouse of mauve.
We won't even kiss one another on the forehead
But, hand in hand, skirting the new-green brambles
Where the grey spiders sit and weave their rainbows,
We'll shape a silence soft as honey.
And now and then, when you sense my sadness rising,
You'll press your slender fingers harder on my hand
And together, stirred like lilacs in a thunderstorm,
We won't understand... we won't understand.
The Animated Flowers, by the way; was a French publication of the nineteenth century, which had apparently caught the poet's fancy. I looked it up and couldn't find the iris, but I did find another flower (posted above), which gives an idea of the sort of beauty that enchanted the French poet.
Thursday, 27 September 2007
Thank you, Birgit!
Wednesday, 26 September 2007
We are here there to examine a proposal to change the name of our country. The idea was brought up recently at the UN by a number of countries that had gone through much the same sort of post-colonial experience as our own, but I doubt that anything will actually come of it. I’m not even sure that it’s really desirable to do so (more about this some other day)
The professors’ presence on this occasion was a fortunate coincidence, since it allowed pass on an interesting question I received today from Lady Singleton (click below).
In brief, the lady would like to know just where she she can find Gondwana on the map.
I’m so glad you asked that question, dear Lady Singleton, and here’s what our encyclopaedic professors have to say about the subject (after consultation with a few of their collaborators).
There’s been a tremendous amount of speculation and controversy about this very question through the millenia and references to the country are found in a number of works of great antiquity - which shows that the ancient world was entirely aware of its existence.
An intriguing diagram is found in a ninth-century manuscript of Ptolemy’s “Handy Tables” now in the Royal Library in Levana (and also, in a variant form, in the Vatican Library). In the Levana MS, a sphere is shown resting upon a hemisphere rather like a sculpture on its pedestal. One may be reminded of certain myths in which the earth is said to rest on the back of a giant turtle. A turtle shell is also a hemisphere, of course, and the point may be relevant, though it doesn’t appear to have been noted so far by any of the respected authorities.
Further and more oblique references are encountered in Aristotle’s treatise on Memory, in the Dialogues of Plato (passim), in several of the manuscripts of the Revelations of Hermes Trismegistus (see Festugières’ definitive work on this subject), as well as in the works of Giordano Bruno and others (including, most recently, Hölderlin).
What we call Gondwana today was referred to in Antiquity as the Third Hemisphere (Tertium Hemisphaerium). This has been taken quite literally at times, as can be seen in the above diagram, but a recent archeological discovery opens some new and intriguing perspectives.
This brooch or fibula (actual size) was discovered in a 1st millennium BC tomb site outside Levana. Thanks to Michel Mauraisin, director of excavation at the site for allowing us to use this picture.
Many experts today believe that the silver brooch in the shape of a Moebius Loop (above), dating from the first millennium BC and only recently discovered in one of the royal Barrows outside Levana, illustrates the surprising direction taken by the topological speculation of the country’s earliest cosmographers.
Our colleagues at the department of Psychology at our university point out that this loop or strip offers a helpful topological representation of the way the imagination interacts with practical experience.
They point out that in such a strip, a single continuous surface may connect two distinct points initially inscribed on opposite sides of the sheet of paper – before it was twisted into professor Moebius’ paradoxical shape. The full implications of this remain to be explored.
(Any one interested in the Moebius Strip can look it up by using this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%B6bius_strip).
This leads to a further important comment: the region referred to as the Third Hemisphere in the Western world, was known to 12th century Arab geographers as the Eighth Climate. According to a number of earlier thinkers the Third Hemisphere or Eighth Climate stand in direct continuity with the two other hemispheres and climates, but on the other side of the page, so to speak – hence the need for the idiosyncratic loop as a topological model. Persian geographers, too, as early as the 12th century, were calling Gondwana Na-Koja-Abad – the Nowhere Place, from which, they held, all knowledge flows.
New developments in satellite photography have allowed geographers and cosmographers to make great progress in the elaboration of a coherent scientific model. We propose to go into this tomorrow or the next day, providing the FM is willing.
Of course I'm willing, dear Herbert and Wilhelmina, you know the subject far better than I do!
Saturday, 22 September 2007
When I was in New York recently, I called on Irene Thimble, Vice-President of the Women’s Butterfly Watcher’s Auxiliary.
Gondwana owes a lot to this remarkable organization, whose highly confidential history goes back nearly a century.
As Miguel's readers know, it was a force behind the liberation of Theseus Managras, who had been detained for several years in a secret prison in a state of artificially induced amnesia. The WBWA is mentioned in passing in the first chapter of Miguel’s book, and readers are only informed of its true and most surprising history in an article belatedly compiled for the Notes and Comments section of the end of the third episode (which we hope to see in print next year).
Irene was a professional pianist all her life and still plays very well. She is also a widely read woman endowed with considerable humor and wit, as I gathered as soon as she opened her door, since I could hardly fail to notice the earrings she was wearing.
With her permission, I took a photograph of them. I also took one of her own kind face, but she modestly declines to have it posted on this blog. I did manage to reach a compromise however, and while I may not show her face, she has granted me permission to show the face of the clock that hangs on her kitchen wall, together with the delightful flowery wall paper that I admired all through a sumptuous lunch she served as we sat there, all together, in the company of her husband and a few friends.
Friday, 21 September 2007
We don’t want to change the world.
We only want to change the way people imagine the world.
And if this should somehow also cause the world to change,
would there really be cause to complain?"
I’m inaugurating this blog today with the idea of offering occasional comments arising out of my own reading of Miguel Errazu'’s Chronicles of the Greater Dream (see links below).
I’ve only just read the first chapter and I’m amazed at how little Teddy, Angelo and Dexter we discover then, resemble the men I know today.
Teddy, at the time, was still wandering aimlessly through the woods of amnesia. Angelo’s mangled body was vivid testimony to his unexpected encounter with a freight train (he had been trying to escape from Wisiwygh’s agents). As for Dexter, the way he paraded through life with his umbrella suggests that he’d actually swallowed it.
Gondwana somehow managed to heal us all. Padraic
The Greater Dream Project Website http://www.greaterdream.com/
The Riddle of the Seal, the first episode of Miguel's Chronicles of the Greater Dream, was published this month by The University of Levana Press (UK), with six illustrations and a map by Izhar Cohen, a "Scholarly Introduction" by Michael Francis Gibson and a thoroughly documented Notes and Comments section compiled by Professors Herbert Hughes and Wilhelmina Roberts, co-editors of the new edition of the 24-volume Encyclopaedia Gonduanensis. Both professors teach at the University of Levana, the capital of Gondwana. The book is available on Amazon in the UK and the US.
I’m Padraic Lonternough and I turn up in the second chapter of Miguel Errazu’s Chronicles of the Greater Dream, a full account of recent events in Gondwana.
My first name, by the way is the Gaelic equivalent of Patrick. Padraic (pronounced Fawdrig) is the proper Gaelic spelling. A truly brilliant stratagem devised long ago to confuse a persistent enemy.
I readily tolerate being called Patrick.
There's no need to go into my personal history here but, as I inaugurate this blog, I should explain how I fit into the story.
I moved or, more accurately, fled to Gondwana a few years ago to escape from the total vacuity of the consumer society. I was drawn there by my growing interest in apes. I’m a primatologist, and I went to Gondwana to study the great apes of the tropical rainforest, Gorilla Gorilla Gonduanensis – a really huge creature that stands, in relation to our own Gorillas as does the Great Dane to the Dachshund.
How Teddy and I met is recorded in the second chapter of Miguel’s book and I’ll leave it to Miguel to tell that story. In any event, that meeting had momentous consequences for both of us and it quite changed my life.
I no longer study apes today. I’m Foreign Minister of Gondwana and I run tirelessly around the world, settling old quarrels and doing my very best to establish constructive relations with all countries. A calling, someone recently pointed out to me, not so far removed from my former line of work in which I successfully established friendly relations with a two-ton gorilla… You might say that I now study people.