A Voyage to Arcturus

A Voyage to ArcturusThis is one of the most incredibly eccentric, surprising and challenging philosophical fantasy novels ever written The Scottish writer David Lindsay died in 1945 He is usually regarded as a fantasy writer While he wrote a great deal, most of his works have been hard to find, out of print, neglected Voyage to Arcturus is the exception, having become a bit of a cult classic and reprinted again and again in paperback editions.The title suggests science fiction It is not Arcturus is a device, a metaphysical stage, arrived at through mediumship, not spacecraft The book is a modern Pilgrim s Progress, a moral parable, a snare and, until the last few pages, a deception.Lindsay was, at best, a pedestrian writer, incapable of conrete characterization In Voyage, however, there are no persons in any ordinary sense after the first few pages The characters are principles, points of view The path of the protagonist is transformative and darkly revelatory.One is reminded of another metaphysical fiction, another modern Pilgrim s Progress, viz C.S Lewis Perelandra trilogy But while Lewis is defending the establishment, retelling the biblical tale in modern terms, Lindsay, after exploring it rather convincingly, demolishes it and replaces it with something like a Teutonic hero s gnostic saga.When first finishing this book, I was profoundly upset, shaken to the core of my unthinking adolescent presuppositions I very, very rarely reread a book, especially a mere fiction This, I reread immediately and, then, again, years later.Students of dualistic gnostic systems will find this book interesting as a modern, and apparently quite sincere, take on a belief system quite common in the antique and early Christian worlds. Arcturus a Yolculuk, hik yecili in ve hik yelerle mest olmu olan insano lunun zihninin ayart c ve aldat c y n n g stermek i in onun silahlar n ona kar kullan yor.Yap ve ilerleyi tan d k dil ak c ve sade Yaln z, al lagelenin aksine ho nutluk ve tatmin duygusu esirgenmekte bizden T m ana hik ye ve alt hik yeler, zaman mek n alg s olarak ileriye do ru akarken d nsel ve ahlaki anlamda geriye gidi ya an yor Olaylar d nsel ve duygusal anlamda, yery z ndeki bezmi likten d nya cennetteymi hissine Tormance taki ilk g n , oradan da bilinmezli in hissettirdi i tekinsiz ve aresizli e dev iriliyor s ras yla.Mitsel anlat n n, kahraman n omzu ard ndan bize bak p seslenen tarz , gene ders vermeye yar yor Ama bu sefer farkl bir ders Hayat m z sar p sarmalayan mitselli in ayart c do as n if a f an n d zg nce ger ekle tirilebilmesinde, sahne ve ba rolde de i ikli e gidilmi deal kahraman n yerini, ona zenen s radan insan Maskull al yor Bu s radan insan n kaca yolculu un ge ti i Tormance d nyas , kendi evren bilimi ve varolu una mant kl a klamalar getirmeye al an Tormance sakinlerince kendi d nyam z n tarihi sosyo felsefi zleri temelinde yans mas na d n yor.Tormance gezegeninin ger eklik d zleminde, k inat yaratan g c n varl n n bilinmesi ve hatta bundan yararlan lmas s z konusu Do rudan veya dolayl olarak, tanr lar, peygamberler, kahramanlar ve b y c ler ile kar la labilmesinin y ksek ihtimali fantasti in soyutu somut hale getirip, ge mi i imdiye ta ma zelli inin neticesiyle imk n buluyor.Fantastik yan sayesinde, d nya tarihimizin her noktas nda yer alm ve almaya devam eden inan , fikir ve felsefenin esas zlerinin Tormance d nyas n n karakterleriyle beraber kucaklanabilme f rsat yarat l yor Maskull ve onun yolculu una tan kl k eden bizlerin kavram ve olgular ile daha rahat temas etmesi sa lan yor Ard ndan onlara pheyle bak lmas n da elbet.Teolojik bak a s s ras yla tek tanr l , ok tanr l ve daha da gerisini kapsayacak temellere oturtulmu vaziyette eytan kavram n n, d nyay yarat m ndaki rol nden bahseden mitlere kadar giden k kleri ve tanr n n ad ve d nya ile olan ili kisinin devaml farkl yorumlanmas inan tarihi ile az c k ta olsa ha r ne ir olmu san z, pekte yabanc s olmayaca n z konular zellikle ikincisi i in sadece ya ad m z d nyaya bir bak atmak bile yeterli.Bizim d nyam za k yasla her y n yle hayaller lemi gibi duran Tormance n bilin li varl klar , i inde ya ad klar r ya lemini kendi i dinamiklerinde yorumlay p ak lc la t r yorlar Tormance evren bilimi diyebilece im mant ki disiplinlerden yararlanarak, ya ad klar evreni belli sebep sonu ili kilerine oturtmaya gayret g steriliyor devaml Tormance evren bilimiyle retilen yeni duyu organlar n n olmas , nesne ve duyular zerinden d nyay alg lama konusuna kafa patlatmaya yetecek kadar malzeme sunuyor Fantastik ile bilimkurgu aras ndaki ili kinin bu rne iyle duyu organlar n a p, yaz l ve s zl olan n ileti im nesnesi olarak ki varl klar n hat rlatmakla kal nm yor hatta u zamanlarda, ak ll telefon ve internetle olan ba lar m zdan dolay bizlerin durumunu da d nd rtt beni.Arcturus a Yolculuk, okuru yorabilecek beklentiler d ng s ne sokuyor bilin li olarak Kendini bir sevdirip bir so utarak, asl nda, mitsel d ng n n ayart c kumpaslar na kar belle imizi tetikte olmaya zorlamakta Bile isteye okuru kendinden so utacak hatta anla lmaz oldu unu d nd recek hamlelerde bulunuluyor Tormance n, kurallar n ana karakter Maskull a kabul ettirdi i gibi, kitap da okurun beklentilerine kolay kolay teslim olmadan kendi kurallar n dayat yor.Geleneksel kahramanl k destan ile dilinin kemi i olmadan her eye sata an hicvin ortak noktas ne olabilir Ka edebiyat tan mlamas ndaki ka n kendi k esinde tak ld d n l rken, hayat m z n her yan na fark ettirmeden sinmi olabilir mi Arcturus a Yolculuk u okuduktan sonra akl ma tak lan birtak m sorular bunlard Ve bu sorular, sorular sordurtan ve cevaplar n kesinli ine g venmeyen kendisi taraf ndan yan tlar buldurdu ironik gelece i gibi.Ge erli sebeplerden dolay , okura dost canl s davran p hemen her eyini ortaya sa mayan yolculu u be enen nice b y k yazara hak vermek gerek m rlerini kurmaca olu turmaya adam isimler, onunla alakadar olarak kitapta ke fettikleri bizler i inde nem ta yor.1920 de yay mlansa da, insano lunun var oldu u s re boyunca tali yollara saparak uzakla t varolu yolculu uyla alakal olarak tazeli ini yitirmeyen ve ac verici tahlillerde bulunuyor yazar David Lindsay, Arcturus a Yolculuk taCemalettin S PAH O LU ncelemenin tamam i in Well, uh, hmmm This is definitely something.The writing style and character depictions are both subpar, but the narrative of events and allegory are something wildly original, especially for the 1920s This book resembles a Gnostic version of the Pilgrim s Progress written by Philip K Dick in the post VALIS period.This book would hardly fit into the genre of scifi That term, too often used as an insult, could not adequately describe the book at its best What is this A future morality play A Gnostic manifesto Psychohistory Religious acid head trips Asimovian ego death People grow new limbs and everything is in strange colors There s a struggle for life and death and the creation of the universe somewhere Harold Bloom wrote fanfiction of this I m at a total loss on how to describe this thing It s short and free, so try it out. Loses a star solely through my inability to understand what exactly transpired within and, with the passing of the years, my inability to recollect sufficiently to ponder it anew Like everything truly excellent, it begins with a s ance and an assortment of oddball characters ere the reader finds himself with the protagonist, Maskull, newly awoken upon the gravity juiced planet of Tormance and, thus, in orbit about the plasmatic sphere known as Arcturus It is at this point that the infamous Magn first makes its tentacular appearance, and the remainder becomes a pleasingly puzzling and puzzlingly pleasing extraterrestrial excursion in which the Shake n Bake with which an individual existence has been coated becomes eaten removed flaked through conscious concentration collision recollection contemplation in order to expose the immaterial heart of true being pumping in metaphysical rhythm within Or something like that My abridged take If God had deigned to laden men with a penis sharing the girth, flexibility, and tubularity of an elephant s trunk, we d all be taking semen showers and there d be a lotgardens in the world. A Voyage To Arcturus Is A Novel By Scottish Writer David Lindsay, St Published InIt Combines Fantasy, Philosophy Sf In An Exploration Of The Nature Of Good Evil Their Relationship With Existence It S Been Described By Critic Philosopher Colin Wilson As The Greatest Novel Of The Th Century , Was A Central Influence On CS Lewis Space Trilogy JRR Tolkien Said He Read The Book With Avidity , Praised It As A Work Of Philosophy, Religion Morality Clive Barker Has Stated A Voyage To Arcturus Is A Masterpiece Called It An Extraordinary Workquite Magnificent It Was Made Widely Available In Paperback Form When Published As One Of The Precursor Volumes To The Ballantine Adult Fantasy Series In , Featuring A Cover By Illustrator Bob Pepper Lindsay S Choice Of Title Therefore The Setting Of Arcturus May Have Been Influenced By The Nonfictional A Voyage To The Arctic In The Whaler Aurora Published InBy His Namesake, David Moore LindsayCover Artist Bob Pepper I don t think I can write properly and it may be entirely because of reading this dizzlingly piece of art.I ve not read anything like it before and I tend to doubt there is anything like it out there However, like Maskull Nightspore, I will spend my life out there pursuing it whatever it is hopefully I m longer for this world Though in this hope I sometimes falter Arcturus a pitch perfect something It is a great lumbering, spiritually forgetful romp I believe I have heard it referred to as an amalgam of disparate religious doctrines, rituals, etc.This book surges while disorientating, disorientating while it shows you glorious unknown things The book itself is such a rich fantasy, perhaps even an esoteric allegory, as some have suggested, but the writing is working seamlessly to hide all the cogs about how its trick of credibility was accomplished The one thing that struck me were the characters wonderfully ridiculous names, which you would think would completely undercut the power of the story somehow and force it to seem all at least a little bit silly, however this is not the case While brimming with symbolism, madness there is even a touch of humor in the symbolism and story Haunte s masculine stones the conceit of which made me giddy in its sheer audacity His stones help propel his craft now isn t that cute and so true.It is a fully realized world and I can t help but wonder if it influenced Jack Vance s enjoyable and highly detailed entertainments Arcturus obviously has bigger fish to fry than simply entertaining you It stimulates the senses than just the five, if you possess a sorb Despite the comparisons, mine to Vance, others to Bunyan, it is not only a good novel of its kind it is the only novel of its kind.Tentative conclusionsConclusion This book is athan human flight of fancy Further Conclusion David Lindsay was obviously not a man of this world Further note on Lindsay s Arcturian names Lindsay was perhaps referencing the improbable names of the heroes and villains in the pulp novels of his days while twisting them into transcending such humble origins charging them with somehow mythic significance WOMBFLASH FOREST FLASH GORDON GORGON In other terms, the names, like the story itself, are oddly harmonious hybrids that against all odds work. Leave the past alone, it cannot be reshaped The future alone is ours It starts fresh and clean from this very minute1920,, , , , , , plus So, I picked this book up because it is on my Inklings reading list in other words on the list of books I ve kept that, according to their own accounts, cultivated the imagination of the Inklings CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams, Dorothy Sayers, et all This book especially has been noted as a primary inspiration for Lewis Out of the Silent Planet Now that this is out of the way Arcturus was published in 1920 less than a decade after Edgar Rice Burroughs John Carter of Mars was first introduced to the world and feels very like a poor man s version of thatcohesive tale It has been falsely labeled as the first science fiction novel I mean that s just rubbish and, by some very delusional individuals, the greatest novel of the 20th century insert blank stare Let s say the good things first Reading this is akin to reading George MacDonald s Lilith not surprising perhaps since MacDonald s influence on Lindsay has been admitted If you know going in that the protagonist and whether or not he is the actually the protag is very debatable by story s end is going on a journey through things which have very little to do with one another, then you will beprepared The initial part perhaps the first 25% leads you to believe something very different The opening scenes are electric, atmospheric, and exciting, in the vein of H.G Wells The first few encounters on the distant planet feel as though they are establishing important characters and a definitive trajectory Don t be fooled They aren t At the 50% mark, you find yourself wondering if the author was dabbling in opiates while writing like I said, it is akin to reading George MacDonald The novel s greatest strength is the imaginative landscapes and creatures Maskull meets, both on earth and in that distant quadrant of the universe While Lindsay seems unable to imagine any creature that isn t somehow and in some way humanoid, there are stunning landscapes and plants and tectonic activity enough to make your head spin At one point, the main character floats for some time on a sea plant tree thing that feels like a combination of Tolkien s Treebeard and Meerkat Island from Life of Pi In that scene, like many in the book, Lindsay hints at things around his character, that these things are going to turn out to be important, and then he abandons them This, in fact, is his M.O throughout the tale and eventually, you tire of feeling like you ve been written yet another bad check Haha Those were the good things Now to the bad things The names for things in this book are some of the weirdest and most ridiculous I ve ever read Lindsay is just terrible at naming things At one point I found myself wondering if he had just randomly opened a dictionary and put his fingers on two different words any words to put them together to form a name I mean I can do that Watch Boobticket Dogbutton Drunknoodle It s a bit like that I really just had to let it go so that it didn t drive me crazy On to other things This novel has been described as a combination of Calvinist theology and Nietzschen philosophy Did you just shake your head Because I did On hearing that, presumably one immediately questions how these two wildly opposite philosophies could possibly coexist The answer is, well, they can t I have rarely read a novel in which an author so strikes me as being both absolutely sure of where he is going, and as confused as a toucan in Antarctica The experience, I admit, is not unlike reading Nietzsche himself and his constant need to be undefinable yet talk like he knows exactly where he is and what he is doing I ve not yet read Zarathustra, but know enough about it to wonder if its influence is felt here in Maskull s encounters with interplanetary gods and subjects In a wild weird way, like Nietzsche, he even seems determined to make no sense as if that is the point and it very well may be If that s the case Lovecraft performed chaos so much better And whee, what fun we could have with that topic on another day The alleged Calvinist influence can only be seen by me, at least perhaps in the underlying fatalistic traits that sometimes constrain portions of that theology Lindsay was raised in a Calvinist background according to one biographer Perhaps researching that tidbit a bit further would prove helpful.In the meantime, my impression of David Lindsay is that he was a very confused man, and not far from the place Nietzsche ended up at the end of his own confused life The whole experience reminded me of GK Chesterton s chapter on lunacy in his book, Orthodoxy I m paraphrasing here, but he essentially says, If you want to find a man who really believes in himself, check out an insane asylum This sentiment perfectly sums up my impression of The Voyage to Arcturus, in that it is pretending to be a thing that it isn t perhaps it is really wanting you to think that it knows where it s going but in the end, it really, really doesn t Proof in the pudding for me is the number of readers who admit absolute confusion while reading this book, rating it as low as ratings go, while, on the other hand, you have the eccentric few who give it five stars for being so enlightening that they can t possibly explain why A pretentious trademark if ever there was one For me, a piece of art may certainly be hard to understand, but not impossible especially if the list of confused includes the artist himself If you can find enlightenment in this book, then explain yourself, man, or I don t believe you And before you think I m being difficult, Einstein wouldn t either That said, the punchline of this book has been explained always briefly and it still doesn t work The punchline alone is made clear in the novel, but the why the point the remedy is completely absent It feels a bit like watching a magician perform tricks in a mirror with the audience to his back.The wildly curious thing to me about the book is how much imaginative force CS Lewis drew from it his Malacandra and Perelandra display extremely similar not identical imagery to Arcturus as do his characters of Ransom, Weston the Unman , and Tinidril , while his own books seem to also undo and counteract the structure of Lindsay s weird world He has been quoted as saying some very specific things about Nietzschen philosophy that I now wonder about as being perhaps provoked by Acturus psychedelic conclusions In short, his Space Trilogy really seemed to be an effort to fix this story as well as draw down the excitement from the John Carter series and play amedieval tune While I m not really a fan of this novel, I admit I have it to thank for the pact Lewis and Tolkien made soonafter to both write science fiction Lewis finished his, Tolkien started, but never published Nevertheless, both Lindsay and Lewis did create some of the most fantastic images of foreign planets ever to appear in stories Together, they provoked our imaginations to let go of earth entirely and imagine wholly new worlds in Lindsay s case, one of chaos, and in Lewis one of resounding love and design. How I first came to learn about David Lindsay s A Voyage to Arcturus was in a strange cookbook I saw in the early 1970s written by a hippie who decided to use as the heading of each page a recommended book title One of the books was this one, but it took me over forty years to get around to reading it I remember liking many of the cookbook author s recommendations, and my library is full of them and yet I cannot remember the name of the cookbook or its author Does anyone reading this review know of this odd cookbook It is particularly apt that A Voyage to Arcturus is as strange as the way I first came to learn of the book What I thought at first was a science fiction novel based solely on its title turned out to be a spiritual quest that is just happens to be set on a distant planet named Tormance that circles Arcturus, which in the book is a double star consisting of Branchspell and Alppain With two companions, Krag and Nightspore, the hero Maskull takes a voyage to the distant star, where he is deposited in the middle of a red desert with no one else in sight.For the remainder of the book, Maskull travels from south to north on Tormance, going through several lands, and having strange encounters with a wide variety of natives, who all seem to live in isolated pockets spread across the different lands On his quest, which takes five days, Maskull finds love, murder, adventure, religion, and death He was a naked stranger in a huge, foreign, mystical world, and whichever way he turned, unknown and threatening forces were glaring at him The gigantic, white, withering Branchspell, the awful, body changing Alppain, the beautiful, deadly, treacherous sea, the dark and eerie Swaylone s Island, the spirit crushing forest out of which he had just escaped to all these mighty powers, surrounding him on every side, what resources had he, a feeble, ignorant traveller from a tiny planet on the other side of space, to oppose, to avoid being totally destroyed Then he smiled to himself, I ve already been here two days, and still I survive I have luck and with that one can balance the universe.In the end, the experience of reading Arcturus is as different from the sci fi genre as Hermann Hesse s Siddhartha or The Glass Bead Game.I wonder whether my appraisal of this book will change over time, as it has for Paulo Coelho s The Alchemist, which I now feel like downgrading A book like this one leaves a powerful aura behind it which sometimes lasts, and sometimes doesn t I rather suspect that the aura of Lindsay s book will last, if for no other reason that it is such an original It is a book that reflects its Scottish author s feelings about the recently concluded horrors of the First World War The book starts in Victorian London and quickly moves to outer space, but the adventures of Maskull could take place anywhere in a world that has come loose from its moorings. Of the stranger books I ve come across, this has to be strangest, and while the title and initial chapters suggest that this may be a work of dismissive Science Fiction Fantasy, it is decidedly not.Published in 1920, the book hails from a strong lineage of allegorical journey stories Think of the travails of Candide or better yet, of Gulliver s Travels While the aforementioned books were of a political nature, A Voyage to Arcturus speaks about somethingprimal how does one define meaning in the universe What is the relation of what we feel to what actually is Ostensibly, we have a curious protagonist offered a chance to visit a strange planet orbiting a distant binary star system He eagerly takes up on the voyage and is transported to the other realm what ensues is a fantastic philosophical debate on the nature of good and evil, the role of existence, and the true nature of man.In all honesty, I cannot pretend to understand even a fraction of what transpires My attempts to relate it to known texts, biblical or classical, fall short But that could only be because I lack the memory or intelligence to recall my past associations with those literature.When our hero wakes on the planet, he is alone and has inexplicably gained the function of several new appendages As he progresses through the various continents and countries, he meets characters, seeminglyknowledgeable than the last, each directing him forward, compelling him closer to what he seeks which is the creator of the planet or what he has associated as God on Earth but in truth neither is or isn t His appendages either gain new functions or fall off completely And invariably, many of his hosts perish through his actions I venture my meager understanding of the conclusion that the author may have wished to impart that the thoughts of humankind is resplendent in emotions, but only pain truly defines them The first land that the protagonist comes to, he feels great affection for his hosts, but that feeling is amorphous In the final land, he falls in love with a singular being and by then he is already so close to the truth, this emotion is sharp and distinct, made real by his proximity to pain It is important to mention that love is perhaps only one aspect of the novel, maybe of primary importance I do not believe it is love as in romantic love but love as in the good within If you are curious about this book, there are many resellers onoffering it for cheap The best thing this book does is rid oneself of preconceived notions It will make you think.Upon finishing this book, I came to see myself as a void of malleable putty Each significant event has attempted to mold me, but I return to the same darkness, to the same formlessness I believe that is akin to the journey of the protagonist Though he is shaped and changed much, he returns inevitably to the same mold because the truth was within the whole time.In any case, it is a mind fuck.

Librarian Note There is than one author in the GoodReads database with this name David Lindsay was a Scottish author now most famous for the philosophical science fiction novel A Voyage to Arcturus.Lindsay was born into a middle class Scottish Calvinist family who had moved to London, tho growing up he spent much time in Jedburgh, where his family was from Altho awarded a university scho

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  • Mass Market Paperback
  • 288 pages
  • A Voyage to Arcturus
  • David Lindsay
  • English
  • 18 June 2019
  • 9780345032089

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