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A. LLOYD "Andy Lloyd" (Gloucestershire, England)

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Wrath Of The Titans (DVD + UV Copy) [2012]
Wrath Of The Titans (DVD + UV Copy) [2012]
Dvd ~ Sam Worthington
Offered by Venture Online
Price: 5.06

2.0 out of 5 stars Malfunctioning DVD, 9 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The movie wasn't awful, and quite fun in places. But unfortunately my version kept grinding to a halt. After a while I realised that these points coincided with the 'scene selection' changes. Each time, I had to restart the movie and fast forward through, which got annoying pretty quickly. At 5, I can't be bothered to return the DVD to Amazon, who supplied it - not worth the considerable hassle. But it was a case when the official version was no better than a pirate copy!

Haunted Mind: Inside the Dark, Twisted World of H.P. Lovecraft
Haunted Mind: Inside the Dark, Twisted World of H.P. Lovecraft
by Dr. Bob Curran
Edition: Paperback
Price: 15.91

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars better Mythos resource than biography, 19 Oct 2012
The book begins with a contentious biographical analysis of the eccentric author, examining how, according to Curran, Lovecraft's formative years and subsequent bizarre personality and dysfunctional lifestyle shaped his fictional writing:
"...As a person, H. P. Lovecraft could not be counted as "normal" in any accepted social sense. He was cosseted, selfish, and something of a sponger who placed his own needs above others. He was emotionally stunted and was not even a good or trustworthy friend. His vision was narrow, inhibited, and formulaic. And yet, his influence on the horror genre has been immense." (p27)
Neurotic, prejudiced and dependent, Lovecraft's alleged weaknesses in his dealings with real people seemingly facilitated the creation of a fantasy world in his mind which he drew upon to build an extensive and unified cosmology known as the Cthulhu Mythos.
"It was possibly the narrowness and isolation of his life that provided the impetus for his vision. Appalled and perhaps slightly overwhelmed by the pace and the harshness of the life around him, he had the ability to withdraw from it and to immerse himself in his own world... The fear of foreigners, the constant fear of hereditary insanity, and the fears of having to face the horrors of actual life manifested themselves in the strange characters and terrifying monsters, which stalk the pages of his fiction." (p337)
Curran's biographical analysis aside (which has produced some sharp criticism on-line from Lovecraft fans), the bulk of 'A Haunted Mind' is turned over to the content of his work. Curran presents the extensive bibliography of Lovecraftian tomes, the pantheon of barely pronounceable Lovecraftian deities and the gothic settings of Lovecraftian realms in great detail. Each step along the way he examines the possible influences which Lovecraft drew from. This gives Curran the opportunity to explore obscure and esoteric topics, as well as embarking upon his trademark story-telling. For instance, he presents a potted history of magical and occult texts from Europe and beyond, drawing analogies with Lovecraft's own invented tomes, like the Necronomicon. Some of Lovecraft's fans wonder whether such a tome may really have existed, a Rhode Island copy of which was accessed by the horror writer himself. Such notions seem somewhat fanciful.
I must admit, as someone who knows little of this genre I became quite confused at times. I found it difficult to know when Curran was describing a real-life mediaeval scholar exploring the esoteric literature, compared to one of Lovecraft's own historically-based characters used to flesh out the history of his fantastical tomes. This was not helped by the fact that Lovecraft's milieus contain real-life locations and universities alongside fictional institutions. When was a scholar based at the British Library real or fictitious? Sometimes, I just could not tell.
Lovecraft increasingly brought science fiction into his horror, and Curran explored ancient astronaut themes (where Lovecraftian alien visitors often seem to have been fleeing from another place in the galaxy). Obviously, writers like von Däniken, Sitchin and Temple came along some time after Lovecraft had died, so it was clear that the fiction writer was ahead of the game in this respect. Reading between the lines, Curran is pretty dismissive of these latter non-fiction researchers, presenting the debunker arguments as 'job done'. Compare this prevalent attitude to his remark about fictional ancient astronaut Mythos writers:
"And who is to say that they [Lovecraft, Walter DeBill, Denis Detwiller and David Conyers] are incorrect in stating that ancient aliens, somehow disguised as members of our own species, are moving and working among us - covertly observing us for their own obscure purposes." (sic)(p126)
In his books, Bob Curran often leaves open the prospect of a reality underlying the horror genre, tantalising the reader at the end of each chapter with a throw-away remark. Yet, paradoxically, when dealing with evidence-based subject matter he is entirely dismissive. Certainly, Curran's handle on horror is better than it is on astronomy, as his relayed critique of Planet X demonstrates (p130).
Curran also suggests East Haddam as a place that Lovecraft based Dunwich upon. Local knowledge of places and folklore influencing fictional work make a book like this come to life.
Batman's Arkham Asylum aside, I'm surprised that Lovecraft's work has not influenced more movie-makers or video game programmers. Surely his Mythos provides ample source material for some fantastic games and movies, in the same way that it has influenced so many other novelists?
Bob Curran's detailed examination of this horror writer's magnum opus provides a comprehensive resource for anyone exploring his fictional Cthulhu Mythos, even if his biographical analysis will not exactly delight Lovecraft fans.

Visual Creativity: 1
Visual Creativity: 1
by Mark McGough
Edition: Paperback
Price: 12.95

4.0 out of 5 stars a colourful bonanza of talent, 7 July 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Visual Creativity: 1 (Paperback)
This paperback coffee-table book, offered through Amazon, presents a diverse ollection of contemporary artwork and design. Each page shows a striking painting, drawing or photo alongside a short desciussion of the work by its creator. Most images have a distinctly modern feel, both in their style and their composition and content. Generally upbeat in tone, the book is a celebration of 2012 artistic talent. There is a good mix of aesthetic work and conceptual art - something to please all art lovers on the lookout for the very latest talent around.

Cracks in the Great Wall: UFOs and Traditional Metaphysics
Cracks in the Great Wall: UFOs and Traditional Metaphysics
by Charles Upton
Edition: Paperback
Price: 11.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ufology faces Hail and Brimstone, 17 May 2012
This is a strongly opinionated book which aims at explaining the nature of the UFO phenomenon. It is written by an author who is well-versed in comparative religion. Despite a rather eclectic background of spiritual development in the past, Charles Upton now represents a more or less orthodox religious ideology. This ideology seems to be predominantly Christian, but his metaphysical system is also coloured by other mainstream religions, like Buddhism and Islam. He is clearly very well read, and his rather polarised excursion into the field of UFO research should be generally welcomed. His conclusions are, however, somewhat mediaeval. He also has a rather scathing attitude towards those who now walk a path he seems to have once trod upon himself.
In trying to understand the nature of UFOs, Charles Upton argues that neither physical nor psychic explanations alone can ever hope to offer a plausible or satisfactory understanding of the phenomenon. The UFO reality not only bridges the murky area between them, but in fact threatens us with a dangerous vision of lower demonic realms. Essentially, Charles Upton offers us a vision of Armageddon, alien-style. Our fascination with UFOs is a symptom of the post-modern disease which is allowing demonic forces to gradually sap our common humanity, leading our planet and civilisation towards great spiritual peril.
Of course, not everyone is likely to agree with this thesis. I don't, for a start. There is a rather arrogant dismissal of any possible critique of the viewpoint extolled within the pages of "Cracks in the Great Wall". If Upton's solution is unacceptable, then that is because there must be fault found with the doubter. The solution itself is paraded as absolute Truth, based as it is upon Scripture and metaphysical analysis by a member of the Faithful. To my mind, this drops the whole package into the realm of pseudo-science, of a religious bent. If his thesis is beyond the ability to be disproved, then it cannot be remotely scientific. The author would probably not be too bothered by this assertion: He presents quite a lot of critical commentary about science, and modern materialism in general. It is not really his purpose to present a scientific case, and his overview of Ufology is not exactly broad either.
Saying all of that, Charles Upton makes some excellent points in his book. He presents a scathing critique of the moral redundancy of the work of the late Dr John Mack. Why, he asks us, can we not see the evil intent behind alien abduction? Are we so blind in our post-modern, secular world that we have lost sight of spiritual danger? He equates aliens with demons, abductees with victims of demonic possession. It is not psycho-therapy that is required, argues Charles Upton, but exorcism. He laments the passing of traditional religious values through the rise of secular modernism, and the consequent lack of spiritual ammunition to face off the demonic threat posed by 'aliens' in our post-modern world.
Additionally, his highly focussed analysis of the film "Roswell" is worth reading, containing many valuable insights about the subliminal weaving of messages by film-makers in general, and Steven Spielberg in particular. Charles Upton thinks that Spielberg's work in the alien/UFO field is pure Satanism. Which is possibly a little harsh. Fortunately for Spielberg, he appears to be in good company:
"ET...regularly produced a kind of maudlin, pseudo-religious reaction in people to whom all normal religious emotions were apparently foreign - but there is nothing in it that can't be explained by the generally accepted anti-clericalism and aesthetic satanism endemic to Hollywood culture." (p43)
Uh huh...
There's a political figure in Northern Ireland called the Reverend Ian Paisley who reminds me a little bit of Charles Upton. Both are consumed by Absolutism; no middle way or grey areas. Just self-righteous condemnation of the opposing forces as being in the league of Satan. Bizarrely, Ian Paisley is a very popular politician amongst Unionists in Northern Ireland at the present time, so who's to say that the work of Charles Upton might not also capture the 'Noughties' wave of neo-conservative thinking, even in a subject as off-beat as Ufology? After all, it has been argued before that the New Age movement is fundamentally right-wing in its nature. (Perhaps this is why it appeals to so many cranky radio stations across the American continent.)
"Cracks in the Great Wall" is thought-provoking enough. I actually found myself enjoying it as a piece of philosophical rhetoric; I just took some of the overtly religious sentiment with a pinch of salt. Serious UFO researchers should perhaps read this book, if only to gain an acutely different perspective. And if you're a Bible-bashing Christian who sees the work of the Devil around every corner, and occasionally in the sky too, then it's got to be for you!

Countdown to Oblivion: The Definitive Alien Abduction
Countdown to Oblivion: The Definitive Alien Abduction
by D.J. Haskell
Edition: Paperback
Price: 15.84

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars not quite what's written on the tin, 17 May 2012
Although this is sub-titled as `The Definitive Alien Abduction', it is actually quite difficult to define what category of book this lies within. On the face of it, the book is the account of an anonymous alien abductee. But I don't think it's quite what it seems.
The Author starts off by providing us with an account of him meeting a man, who he calls the Stranger, who provides him with a large bundle of manuscripts in a pub. The Stranger makes the Author promise to write this up as a book and publish it, which the latter agrees to in his drunken state. Perhaps this is a trick would-be authors could try themselves with potential publishers?
This then brings us to the main text of the book, which is a rendition of the Stranger's manuscripts, bolstered by a lot of reference material from various scientific and historical texts. The Stranger writes his account as a confused abductee who is taught by human-like aliens in their spaceship. The sessions have a dream-like quality about them and are certainly bizarre. The aliens have a rather pedagogical approach to teaching. The whole thing has the feel of one of those educational T.V. programmes aimed at secondary school kids; the material being taught is rather dry and complex, so needs a wild context to grab the attention of the audience. In this case an alien teacher.
But this book is not aimed at children. Its target audience is presumably adult. So, whilst the pedagogical format of the main body of the text seems somehow inappropriate, the information being imparted should prove quite interesting to many grown-ups. Certainly more interesting than you'd get in a typical school lesson, that's for sure! I found that the complexity of the various levels of interaction D. J. Haskell has provided in this book tend to get in the way of the message he's trying to get across. The alien abduction scenario seems to be a rather artificial vehicle to convey his popular science and alternative teachings. "Countdown to Oblivion" is actually one of those "A Brief History of Everything..." books, with a heavily alternative slant. I would have preferred the information presented in a more straightforward way, to reflect that. In all honesty, the abduction scenario painted comes across as rather unconvincing. Others may differ in their assessment, of course.
That said, there's plenty of entertaining source material in the book, and the author is reasonably well-read, judging from his bibliography. "Countdown to Oblivion" also includes eight appendices, which are generally physics-orientated. The philosophy of the cosmology discussed in the text is also quite up-to-date, reflecting the Multiverse and intelligent creation theories in particular.
Sir Martin Rees presented similar material in his recent television programmes about the Cosmos. The difference between Sir Martin Rees and our alien tutor on board his classroom spaceship is that the Astronomer Royal didn't keep saying "Look, this stuff is too complicated for you, Earth-worm, so just accept what I'm trying to tell you and shut up, okay?"
Thinking about it, though, maybe that's what Sir Martin's undergraduate seminars at Cambridge Uni are like, too?? Anyway, D. J. Haskell fills out those annoying alien assumptions of Earthly ignorance with his system of well-researched appendices. His book is filled with interesting titbits of knowledge, many of which I have not come across before.
He also presents some new ideas that are clearly his own pet theories. For these reasons, this book is worth delving into. You just have to take the abduction scenario with a large pinch of salt.

Carrots Elves and Aliens: The Missing Link
Carrots Elves and Aliens: The Missing Link

3.0 out of 5 stars a strange little book of poetry, 17 May 2012
Unexpectedly, this is a book of poetry. Well, a mixture of poetry and symbolic art. Each page offers a poem accompanied by illustrations of a challenging, profane, and often highly erotic nature. Much of the poetry is anti-Establishment, and centres upon the loss of personal faith and subsequent journey deep into the dark side of alternative science. Gentle readers should be prepared to be very, very shocked by this book; the imagery employed explores several perversions and depravities, often with a iconic religious theme.
The front cover of John Francis Callaghan's book shows an ancient Mesopotamian artifact depicting the Sumerian trinity of Sun, Moon and Nibiru, various constellations, and partly encircled by the Cosmic Serpent. This juxtaposition of religious and sexual imagery seems to be a running theme throughout the book, enhanced further by various plays on words in the poems themselves.
Personally, I found the bizarre layout of the poems and the wild, wild illustrations more interesting than the poems themselves. But that might be because poetry itself isn't really my bag. Symbolism, however, is, and this book is loaded to the hilt with it. The author explores the theme of inhibited sexual desires fully in his illustrations. He also loads the pages with religious iconography; orthodoxy mixed with blatant sexual themes; heretical, alternative imagery jumbled together into a Gnostic collage. He also attacks the mediocrity of modern society; the banal and superficial nature of consumerism. This poet seems engaged in a deeper struggle, with emotions and desires, mythical archetypes and hidden knowledge.
For fans of the Dark Star Theory, there are numerous Winged Discs set on one page alongside a poem entitled 'Where's my Mummy' (!). Emerging from the classic Winged Discs (one or two of which must have come from this site) we discover an evolution towards Nazi, Austro-Hungarian and American Eagles as symbols of all-conquering power. There's a thought...
Then there's the Nibiru/Planet X page, entitled 'No Boundaries', and formatted in quasi-Cuneiform text, opposite a rather scary looking naked priestess! I'll reproduce the first couple of verses of this poem to give you a flavour of the poetry, the format of which can be a little repetitive:
Languages from the past
Spring from thought this day last
Sophistication before time
Something lost inna rhyme.

Cuneiform tablets clay
My true thoughts gone astray
Translate this in the now
Only guess why and how.
(From 'No Boundaries' by John Francis Callaghan, 2004)
I find myself recommending 'Carrots, Elves and Aliens' to open-minded, inquisitive folk with a reckless interest in heresies...and religious porn. (I'm reminded of the infamous Bishop of Bath and Wells in 'Black Adder'). The catch is that the book, at 16, is quite pricey.

Canon BC05  Colour Ink Cartridge
Canon BC05 Colour Ink Cartridge
Offered by EU Best-Buy
Price: 10.01

2.0 out of 5 stars failed to work, 27 Jan 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Failed to work. No ink in printer cartridge, or at least failing to print with what's in there. Obviously completely useless to me. I bought this via Amazon on a different page on their site, via 'Chainstore Massacre' who have promised a refund (1* returned for prompt service!). This is the supplier I believe, A hefty postage cost was also charged, almost doubling the cost - Chainstore Massacre say this is out of their hands.

Alien Interface: The First Published Account of an Amazing Alien Contact from the 1960s
Alien Interface: The First Published Account of an Amazing Alien Contact from the 1960s
by Mike Oram
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A belated message from the stars, 5 Dec 2011
This is a purportedly true-life story of a British man's contact with aliens, back in the 1960s. The subject of this alien contact has only chosen to come forward relatively recently - providing a detailed account of his interaction with aliens to UFO researchers Mike Oram and Fran Pickering. Despite the passage of time, his story is presented clearly and relatively consistently, and is set out in this book in the form of transcripts of recorded interviews. George gives us a remarkable, somewhat incredulous story of three meetings with visiting aliens in a quarry near his home, complete with observations of their classic-looking flying saucer in flight, and detailed descriptions of the aliens themselves as well as the inside of their craft.

It's a fairly typical account within the context of the Contactee experiences of that era. The aliens are genteel, diplomatic and considerate hosts. They seem remarkably open about their capabilities, mission and concerns for our welfare, even providing intelligence about where their bases on Earth are located. The primary contact is with an alpha-male alien (thankfully un-named) with superb English, enduring patience, and a keen sense of humour. One imagines he would be awfully good at cricket.

The female aliens seems to play a subservient role, acting like 1950s housewives aboard the flying saucer - with the additional feature of being somewhat overly keen to copulate with our reticent storyteller. To complete the domestic picture on the saucer is the presence of a lower form of alien life, which fulfil the role of guard dogs/manservants (the initial abduction by these creatures seemed uncannily similar to encountering the Morlocks in the 1960 film 'The Time Machine').

The encounters, particularly the third one, had a devastating effect upon George's health, physically and mentally. He ended up in hospital with radiation burns (verifiable evidence presumably long since lost). His relationship with his wife broke down and, as the prospect of a fourth meeting loomed, he took flight to continental Europe, abandoning his family. If I was a psychologist reading this book I would no doubt ascribe the alien encounters to the idealised, escapist fantasy of a mentally unsettled man who was no longer coping with family life. The revisiting of these fantasies some 40 years later, then, is his way of reconciling himself with the mistakes he made early in his adult life. An alternative explanation would be that George genuinely made contact with a technologically superior race of extra-terrestrials, and these stressful encounters disrupted the normality of his life to such an extent that he buckled under the strain. The book's neutral, but sympathetic authors leave it to the reader to draw their own conclusions. As they note:

"Much of what [George] had to say sounded bizarre, as many UFO experiences do if judged within the parameters of accepted 'normality'. Many points correlated with data collected from other sources over the years; some things he claimed to have been told could now be disproved with the passing of time; some had proven to be true, others pointed to the future..." [p47]

Which brings us to the message imparted by the alien visitors; a quintessential part of all Contactee encounters. Invoking Biblical references as historical fact, our genteel alpha male alien turns prophet. Human civilisation is in danger of implosion, the fragile Earth faces destruction from an incoming galactic object of uncertain providence (sounds like Planet X, timeline between 2100-2150), and our political masters are puppets of nefarious alien overlords. Things will kick off in July 1999, starting in the U.S. but then affecting all the nations of the world (shades of the U.S. sub-prime property collapse of 2008 leading to the financial credit crunch; through to the current sovereign debt crisis and looming Eurogeddon). The bad aliens are instinctively greedy, corrupt and manipulative, while the good aliens (who originated on Earth millions of years ago) are powerless to intervene because of the burden of galactic law.

What's striking is that many of the prophecies cited were already scheduled to have taken place, and didn't. Yet, George places them in the public domain through Oram/Pickering in the raw - after the fact. That's either impressively honest, or foolish. There's no massaging of the data, no spin. George doesn't seem to 'own' this aspect of the material he's presenting. He's just the messenger.

I'd like to think that this Contactee story would find a wide audience, but leaving it until 2011 to come forward with a close encounter of the fourth kind experience that allegedly happened over 40 years ago may have been a serious mistake. The truth is that the world has become a much more cynical place in the intervening decades, and George has rather missed the Contactee boat. Worse, the passage of time has made it far more difficult for the researchers to verify details of the story (corroborating family testimony, medical evidence, or physical evidence at the quarry). However, if his purpose for coming forward now was more personal and cathartic, then I think the authors have done his story justice. I hope he finds some resolution to this bizarre chapter in his remarkable life.

The Three Dangerous Magi: Osho, Gurdjieff, Crowley
The Three Dangerous Magi: Osho, Gurdjieff, Crowley
by P. T. Mistlberger
Edition: Paperback
Price: 14.88

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A flawless text about 3 flawed masters, 17 Sep 2011
I first got to know the author of this book, P.T. Mistlberger about 10 years ago. We were both members of a wonderful online forum exploring many esoteric subjects. I realised at the time that he had an extraordinary breadth of knowledge, and a powerful intellect to bring to bear. What I didn't appreciate at the time was Mistlberger's deep personal commitment to the path of self-knowledge over many, many years. That journey through the 'Work' of these flawed masters, who make the tri-foci of this incredible book, provides the reader with a viewpoint of exceptional scope and clarity.

The last book of its ilk I read was David Ovason's "The Zelator", to which "The Three Dangerous Magi" compares favourably. That was a long book, too. "The Three Dangerous Magi" is 714 pages long, with the main bulk of the text occupying 603 pages. Yet it is not long-winded. Indeed, it is rather concise! A biography of each of the three subjects would certainly require at least 200 pages, but the content of this work is not simply biographical. Mistlberger manages to cram in historical and philosophical influences, an outline and critique of their teachings, lengthy analyses of their individual failings, and a practitioner's guide through the Work that each set out. No easy task, let me tell you.

At the outset, I thought I knew a reasonable bit about Crowley, perhaps a beginner's understanding of Gurdjieff's place in the esoteric field, and frankly nothing about Osho. Now I feel like I understand a great deal about each man, and his work; such was the grand sweep of this magnificent text.

Each of these 20th Century Magi is already wrapped in myth, and Mistlberger sets about deconstructing the popular misconceptions that have arisen over the years. His insights may be those of an adept - even disciple in Osho's case - but he has a dispassionate air about his writing that is refreshing, and he's ultimately candid about the human shortcomings of each of these masters. There is a resolution of opposites in each man. They explored the personal, as well as the transpersonal. There is a crossover here between mysticism and group psychotherapy.

"Osho, Gurdjieff, and Crowley were all entirely occupied with healing the inner fragmentation of the person. To tackle this problem they, on occasion, moved deeply into exploring the Left Hand path and accordingly ended up using many approaches that addressed the repressed, shadow part of the mind." (p199)

Much of the book is about how these masters built up communes practising their methodologies, and how these communes disintegrated publically and spectacularly. Yet, Mistlberger argues convincingly that these esoteric train wrecks did not reflect on the integrity of the underlying philosophies deployed by each of the masters. Disciples had their part to play, and the human fallibility of the masters themselves, too. Their stories are fascinating, in the same way that all public descents into the pit are grimly fascinating. Their fallibilities are common to us all, as the author eloquently describes here:

"There is something intrinsically absurd about the human condition. Nature in itself - inorganic matter and organic life - moves along as it does, flawless even in its intense imperfections. But we as humans, being self-conscious, have the capacity to enter into an exquisitely wise perspective - or more commonly, into a perpetually awkward and absurd misstep, like a terrible dancer on a floor with Nijinskys." (p433)

A paradox that is returned to again and again throughout the book is how enlightened men who have crossed the abyss of ego-dissolution could be so profoundly flawed throughout the rest of their lives. Sex, drugs, bullying, cars, money. It's all there, writ large across the tapestry of mystical vision and accomplishment. Yet in a profound way these misadventures were an intrinsic part of the path to self-knowledge. And it is this approach that offends the orthodoxy, and threatens the self-righteous. It is this mystical requirement to walk on the wild side that makes these three men so dangerous, and compelling.

Of the three, I think the author is perhaps most overly sympathetic towards Crowley. I have met enough heroin addicts down the years to know what that drug can do to them, and like many I find his descent into depravity is little too much to bear, no matter what inner work was being accomplished. Mistlberger, perhaps sensing the general reader's unease, defends his viewpoint:

"One of my intentions in writing this book was to aid in restoring Crowley's reputation to a more rightful standing. He is, in my opinion, probably the single most unfairly maligned mystic and teacher of modern times; perhaps a modern day equivalent of Apollonius of Tyana or Simon Magus." (p418)

He argues his case well, arguing that Crowley was not a particularly good guru, but as a rogue mystic he was second to none, and well ahead of his time in many ways. He walked his inner journey with incredible resilience and commitment and - very unusually - maintained a comprehensive diary of 'unprecedented depth', which he published, warts and all.

By contrast, Osho and Gurdjieff were superb teachers, acting as transformational catalysts for their disciples. They used strong tactics to awaken their devotees from slumbering consciousness (Gurdjieff in particular seems to have run something of a spiritual boot camp). More puritanical commentators condemned these methods, but you can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs. The essential difference between these gurus and their more orthodox peers is that they advocated immersion in life itself, rather than withdrawal from the real world, and the inevitable problems of repression that comes with hiding in a cave, monastery or retreat.

Each mystic created a system that was a synthesis of diverse influences (if Osho's can be said to be a system at all), which Mistlberger explores in depth in his final chapters. In these chapters the book contains less personal insights (which form such a stylistic hallmark elsewhere) and are more encyclopaedic in tone. These chapters, although highly instructive, extend the book into an overly long opus. Nevertheless, it should be said that no stone has been left unturned in 'The Three Dangerous Magi".

The only thing the book is missing are images of the three magi themselves. The author describes them well enough, creating such texture to their biographies that one feels that one has known each for some time. Yet that all important visual image is lacking. A set of plates, or some illustrations, would have been most welcome.

"The Three Dangerous Magi" is a magnificent book, the result of decades of research and personal emersion in the off-beat, mystical worlds of inner transformation. I can't recommend it highly enough.

The Followers Of Horus
The Followers Of Horus
by Andy Lloyd
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.82

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Robert Shepard's U.S. review, 8 Sep 2011
This review is from: The Followers Of Horus (Paperback)
"When Bill Bainbridge, reporter for the London Daily Standard, was pulled off restaurant reviews in 2012 to investigate wild NASA UFO conspiracy theories, little did he know that he'd still be doing it six years later.
True, he and his friends uncovered the UFO -- a giant, top-secret nuclear-powered spaceship called Ezekiel One, built by NASA and crewed by U.S. astronauts. But soon enough the ship slipped from the view of earth-bound astronomers and headed into the great unknown.

The events of 2012 were covered in Andy Lloyd's first science fiction novel called, appropriately enough, "Ezekiel One". The sequel, called "The Followers of Horus", begins with Bill trying to meet up with an Italian astronomer. Bill's employer, a Russian tycoon named Mr. Provotkin, very much wants to know the coordinates of the mysterious Dark Star, the purported destination for the spaceship. However, anyone on the verge of finding out tends to end up either comatose or floating face-down in a river. Very powerful interests want the Dark Star to remain secret, and they'll stop at nothing.

Bill was very paranoid in 2012, and rightly so -- he survived at least two assassination attempts. However, he's gotten sloppy, lulled into complacency by years of fruitless investigations. In his heart, he's fed up with the whole thing and just wants to go back to reviewing restaurants. By the end of the first chapter, we'll see how disastrous Bill's carelessness turns out to be. While a good portion of the earlier half of "The Followers of Horus" focuses on the search for the Dark Star on Earth, an equally important plot line follows the voyage of Ezekiel One itself. This dominates the latter half of the book.

The trip is to last fifteen years. The crew consists of relatively young men and women who are beginning to feel the tedium. Having completed their spectacular flyby of Saturn and passed beyond the orbit of Neptune, there is really nothing now for them to see through the transparent glass observation dome, apart from the Milky Way. Day to day, nothing ever really changes. The ship feels motionless. The Dark Star, actually a giant planet called a "sub-brown dwarf", is far too dim to notice. There is a very small amount of artificial gravity produced by the slow, but steady, acceleration of the ship, but it is not enough to prevent significant bone and muscle atrophy. The human body is not designed for prolonged weightlessness. There are exercises the crew members are supposed to perform, but they're getting lackadaisical. Also, a need for secrecy means that, for long time, the ship is cut off from radio contact with Earth. On-board food production is starting to falter, and people are feeling the hunger pangs. Foolishly -- and against clear orders -- they have begun to have children.

One major source of tension is the fact that only the commanding officer, Bradley Pierce, knows the true nature of the mission. There are twelve priests on board, all schooled in the ancient Sumerian language. Supposedly, they're to serve as ambassadors for humanity when Ezekiel One reaches Nibiru, a planet-sized moon orbiting the Dark Star. However, they are keeping watch over a secret cargo, in a no-go portion of the ship. As increasingly mutinous crew members hatch a daring plan to shorten the voyage and, perhaps, save themselves from starvation, Pierce tries to dissuade them. The priests will not accept any shortcuts, but Pierce can't tell anyone why. Before long, tensions will build to the crisis point, and the crew will learn a terrible secret.

I have known about Andy Lloyd for the better part of a decade, thanks to his "Dark Star" book and website. I always figured that his theories about a hidden binary companion to the Sun would make good science fiction novels, and Andy for the most part has delivered. I first read the books last fall, and have just finished them a second time. I enjoyed a couple or three exciting run-for-your-life chase or escape scenes. I also enjoyed some subtle humor, such as the absurd Monty Python line translated into Russian.

A major character, known to Bill Bainbridge as the Tall Man, has a surprising amount of clout. His audience with the Pope is quite unconventional -- he doesn't exactly go in through the front door. And when a character jokes that he's an alien with cool space tech -- well, maybe he isn't really kidding after all. I especially liked the vivid descriptions of Nibiru orbiting in close proximity to its primary, bathed in ruddy or magenta light, looking very much like the Eye of Horus of ancient Egyptian lore.

The plot does suffer from a few flaws. The one that sticks most in mind involves a very dramatic scene where the major villain reveals himself -- and he talks like Yoda. It just doesn't quite project the right kind of menace. But after this he mainly stays in the background and lets his henchmen terrorize the protagonists, and the story starts clicking again. Andy also could have used another couple of eyes looking over the text.

I know from firsthand experience how hard it can be for a writer to ferret out those pesky typos. Also, at one point the names of a mother and her daughter were transposed, stopping me cold until I figured out what was going on.

If you're looking for a science-fiction treatment of some ancient Babylonian and Egyptian legends, in the same vein as Stargate, this book could be for you. But definitely you'll want to read "Ezekiel One" first. I'd love to see a third book follow up on the fate of the crew of Ezekiel One, and other events on Nibiru. This story definitely isn't over yet."

Written by Robert Shepard Jr

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