Originally published in 1972 Dark Satanic is the first book in Marion Zimmer Bradley's Occult Tales series and the prequel to The Inheritor. ThroughouOriginally published in 1972 Dark Satanic is the first book in Marion Zimmer Bradley's Occult Tales series and the prequel to The Inheritor. Throughout her life Bradley was an incredibly prolific writer and is, of course, better known for both the Darkover and Avalon series. Given the sheer quantity of Bradley's written output, it should come as no surprise that some of her books lack in the quality department.
Anyone familiar with her wider work will be aware, Bradley published a great number of books and short stories that can best be described as 'fragments' or literary experiments, in which she was trialling new plot lines, developing characters and experimenting with new themes. Rather than retaining these fragments in a drawer, Bradley was happy to see them published - in later years most often inside one of her short story collections and anthologies. Yet, at times her ventures into new territory were published as stand-alone books or republished and marketed as sequels and / or prequels to other novels. Dark Satanic belongs into the latter category.
The story unfolds in Manhatten where James Melford, a publisher, and his wife Barbara share an apartment with James's ageing mother (Mother Melford) and her friend, Dana, who temporarily stays with the Melfords while house hunting.
Shortly before his untimely death, one of James's authors, Jock Cannon, visits James in his office at Blackcock Publishing in order to to deter James from publishing Jock's recently completed account of black magic and the dark arts, as practised by New York City covens. As a result of researching the dark arts, Jock is now subjected to intimidation and harassment by as yet unidentified forces, wishing to prevent the information in his book from becoming public.
When Jock suddenly dies of a heart attack, James, still determined to publish his book, decides to investigate further. He remains unconvinced by Jock's warnings until he himself starts receiving threatening calls and unexpected late-night deliveries.
Meanwhile, Barbara, who has a rather strained relationship with her mother-in-law and is deeply unhappy about Dana's presence in the apartment, experiences strange goings-on. At first, she doubts her own sanity, but as the story unfolds, she becomes increasingly suspicious of Mother Melford, her confidante and their behaviour towards her.
Originally released in 1989, with Mind to Mind, Betty aims to provide a broad overview of her work as a spiritual healer, medium and clairvoyant.
StarOriginally released in 1989, with Mind to Mind, Betty aims to provide a broad overview of her work as a spiritual healer, medium and clairvoyant.
Starting with a brief account of her childhood and family background - Shine claims that her grandmother and daughter also have psychic abilities - the first part of the book is almost exclusively dedicated to Shine's personal biography and professional career, from becoming an opera singer to her venture into mineral therapy until taking up healing full-time.
Shine's various psychic experiences throughout her childhood and the recollections of her time as an evacuee in rural Berkshire during the Second World War are particularly intriguing. In this part of the book she also discusses her numerous physical ailments, which in the end prompt her to seek the assistance of a medium by the name of Horrey. Horrey diagnoses that Shine's ill health is the result of pent-up energy, which is trapped in her body, thereby causing a physical imbalance. To relieve herself of this imbalance, she has to release the surplus energy by healing others, thus curing herself and her patients in the process.
This biographical overview is followed by an insight into Shines work, the methods she employs, her guiding principles and a wide selection of case histories. Considering the number of arthritic cases featuring in the book, it is fair to say that Shine seems to have developed a certain specialism when it comes to curing arthritis. The vast majority of ailments she claims to have cured in Mind to Mind are somehow connected to arthritis. She not only claims to be able to remove calcium deposits from arthritic joints through hands-on healing. She also relays instances, during which calcium deposits were audibly removed ('popped'), whilst treating clients.
No doubt, her track record must have attracted the attention of David Icke. Not least because Shine discusses the case of one of her patients, a footballer by the name of 'David'. Meanwhile, Icke, who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, describes his first encounter with Betty Shine's Mind to Mind time and again in both his current and historic output. He first came across Mind to Mind when he was guided towards the book hiding in a pile of romantic novels, whilst trying to locate his son inside a bookshop on the Isle of Wight.
Arthritic conditions and Icke aside, Shine also provides detailed case histories on animal healing, healing small children and teenagers as well as cancer patients of all ages. Whilst she dedicates a rather large part of the book to case histories, she also offers practical advice to her readers. This ranges from a variety of meditation and visualisation techniques to recommendations on integrating spirituality into everyday life and how best to harness what she terms 'mind energy". All this is rounded up with a selection of practical exercises and a bibliography for further reading at the very end of the book.
Mind to Mind is a somewhat bizarre book. It is unbelievable and plausible at the same time. Shine's claims, including accounts of varicose veins being removed with the help of hands on healing and calcium deposits being audibly 'popped' through the forces of mind energy, are, to say the least, rather bold. A case of seeing (or rather, hearing) is believing...
Compared to contemporary mediums of the day, Shine was never really all too popular in the New Age movement of the 1980s. Considering the sheer number of publications following Mind to Mind, she was nevertheless successful at establishing her very own niche and circle of clients, most of which were somehow connected to the media and/or publishing industry in Britain at the time. David Icke, no doubt, complemented this group.
Nonetheless, Mind to Mind is worth reading. Despite focussing on her own case studies, Shine repeatedly tries to provide a realistic assessment of spiritual healing, its remit and limitations. The methods she personally advocates most prominently are surprisingly simple. These include positive visualisation techniques and meditation as well as suggestions on how best to integrate activities of this sort into daily routine. No matter whether one believes that Shine can heal her patients remotely utilising a laser beam made of 'mind energy' or not, her advice to limit negativity to no more than a maximum of five minutes per day, certainly does not cause any harm....more
Almost three years ago, I had Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac on loan from my local library. Had I written my review of the book at the time,Almost three years ago, I had Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac on loan from my local library. Had I written my review of the book at the time, it would probably have sounded very different from my assessment today. Frau Zimmermann - at least as far her Almanac is concerned - is certainly not aiming her designs at beginner knitters; and I would have described myself as one at the time. Consequently, when I first laid hands on Zimmermann's Almanac, I didn't find it too appealing. The patterns appeared somewhat tired and outdated; and her occasional digressions into anecdotes, though intriguing, distracted from the instructions. When it was time to return my borrowed copy to the library, I did so without attempting to retain any of the instructions for future projects. It seemed as if the Almanac had nothing on offer for me.
Revisiting Zimmermann's Almanac three years on, my opinion today differs greatly from my initial assessment three years ago. I now consider it a very special publication indeed. First of all, a few words on the low-cost nature of the paperback edition: The Knitter's Almanac features instructions to over 15 patterns, including 4 sweaters, on approximately 150 pages making this a densely packed little book. With the exception of the book cover, the photographs of the projects are all in black and white, thus lacking the visual detail of the contemporary knitwear design publications we have all become accustomed to.
The Almanac is written diary-style, featuring written instructions and the rationale for knitting a particular project at a given time during the year. This is interwoven with the author's anecdotes and personal observations, providing glimpses into Zimmermann's own life and her unconventional approach to the craft. The Almanac may lack visual appeal, but this is compensated by the wisdoms of a seasoned knitter and plenty of practical advice on top of a wide selection of projects.
The Truth Vibrations in Context: Including David's latest release (The Perception Deception) back in 2013, David Icke has authored a total of twenty boThe Truth Vibrations in Context: Including David's latest release (The Perception Deception) back in 2013, David Icke has authored a total of twenty books since 1983. The Truth Vibrations is the account of David's own spiritual awakening. It is preceded by two earlier works: It's a Tough Game, Son!, published in 1983 and It Doesn't Have To Be Like This: Green Politics Explained, which was published in 1989 and provides an overview of his visions for an alternative political agenda during his tenure as a UK Green Party national spokesperson. The publication of The Truth Vibrations in May 1991 led to David's infamous appearance on the Terry Wogan Show in April 1991, which in turn resulted in his portrayal as a messianic lunatic and subsequent years of public ridicule both on and off screen.
From the mid 1980s and during the time of writing Truth Vibrations, David was privately starting to seek solutions for the management of his own medical condition (rheumatoid arthritis) in homeopathy and other forms of alternative treatment. At the time of publication, Icke was also still very much a mainstream celebrity on British TV, who had not long departed from the BBC in a row over the broadcaster's code of conduct on impartiality. (David publicly criticised the introduction of Poll Tax and thereby violated the BBC's code of conduct.) Since leaving the broadcaster, Icke continued to pursue his career as a national speaker for the UK Green Party. All in all, David had a healthy public profile at the time. In the absence of such a media profile, none of the mainstream media would have paid attention to The Truth Vibrations. The book and its author would have simply slipped through the net of the mainstream.
I borrowed "Let the Right One In" from my local library. Whilst checking the book out, the librarian commented that it was among the best books he hadI borrowed "Let the Right One In" from my local library. Whilst checking the book out, the librarian commented that it was among the best books he had read for a while.That sounded promising. Glancing over the book cover and the usual snippets of praise that are taken from newspaper reviews, I noticed that one reviewer likened Lindqvist's style of writing to Stephen King's. Even better, I thought, and started reading on the bus home.
Prior to reading, I did have a vague idea what the story was about. In short, a "gritty" novel on vampires set in Sweden. (Gritty - that's the critics' favourite adjective when passing their verdicts on Scandinavian literature. Hence, it had to be included somewhere in this review.)
I was soon to find out that this is only half the story. Lindqvist's novel is as much a modern vampire tale as it is a story about bullying, social isolation, social injustice and sexual exploitation. All this is set against the backdrop of Sweden in the 1980s - the very country, which is usually presented to the rest of Europe as the shining beacon of consensus democracy with broad societal approval for its welfare state and all things social democratic. Compared to this, the dark atmosphere of Stockholm's anonymous suburbia of sink estates, broken homes, teenage violence, substance abuse, petty crime and sexual deviancy (the book is teaming with peadohiles) in Lindqvist's tale might come as a bit of a shock.
At the beginning of the story we meet Oskar - a perpetual outsider, who is bullied at school and who in turn harbours dark fantasies about the various ways, in which he would like to inflict revenge on his assailants. He collects newspaper articles on serial killers in a scrapbook, lives with his mother, a single parent, in one of the apartments on the estate, regularly wets himself out of fear of his bullies, commits petty theft and shows signs of suffering from an eating disorder. Very early on, it becomes clear that Oskar has virtually no one he can confide in - until he meets Eli, this is.
At first, Oskar assumes that Eli is just another girl living on the estate, but admits to himself that certain things about Eli are rather strange. He only ever sees her at night and even though the temperatures are dropping sharply at the onset of the Swedish winter, Eli is skimpily dressed and doesn't even seem to feel the cold. There is also a rather pungent smell about her and following their first encounter, Oskar thinks that she looks utterly unhealthy. Assuming that the person sharing the apartment with Eli is her father, he blames parental neglicence for Eli's wayward appearance. Despite all these oddities, Oskar is intrigued by Eli and the two begin to meet up regularly in a playground just outside their homes - much to the dismay of Oskar's mother and Hakkan, Eli's middle - aged "housemate". What Oskar doesn't know, however, is that Eli is a two hundred year- old vampire in the guise of a twelve year - old, and that she shares her apartment with a paedophile ex - teacher, who goes on occasional killing sprees for his "beloved" Eli, both to provide her with much needed nutrition and to potentially earn her affection in the bedroom. The ensuing story is part vampire tale, part thriller and a story about the quirky friendship between Eli and Oskar.
I was surprised when I saw that the publishers of "Let The Right One In" in Germany, where the book's title is "So Finster die Nacht" (roughly translated: The Night So Dark), have chosen to market the story as a thriller. Lindqvist has written a modern vampire tale that also contains elements of a thriller, but it is primarily a vampire horror.
Despite or perhaps because of the recent hype around this genre, vampires are not everyone's cup of tea. Unlike the creations of other authors in the field, Lindqvist's vampires are not at all suave, good - looking or attractive. If you are looking for another Edward, don't read Lindqvist. Lindqvist's vampires are troubled creatures, haunted by their existence and their past as well as deeply constrained by their way of life. This is true for Hakkan, who chooses to be turned into a vampire, and Virginia, who becomes infected, as well as Eli, who has been living as a vampire for two hundred years. Lindqvist's vampires are deeply rooted in the grim reality of the overall setting created by the author.
What comes with the territory of any vampire novel are the rules the author imposes on his vampires. Lindqvist's vampires are physically strong, yet burn up when exposed to sunlight, they are deeply disliked by cats, spend their days resting in bathtubs, take invigorating baths in blood and have to be invited before entering a room. Unfortunately, Lindqvist only allows us very brief glimpses into Eli's past and it remains rather vague how he / she came to be a vampire. Whilst this move adds to the mystery surrounding Eli, I still would have liked a little more background on Eli's past.
A lot of readers have remarked on the seemingly never-ending amount of graphic violence in the novel. Being a horror novel, one would and should expect that the book contains quite a few gory scenes. Whilst this may not be to everyone's taste, I have no problem with the depiction of violence. However, I didn't think that the gore emanating from the vampires was half as upsetting as the abuse Oskar is subjected to by his peers. Although substantial, the vampire elements of the book are only one part of the novel. Oskar's story - the story of a lonely boy with no one to confide in bar Eli - constitutes the real horror and makes for uncomfortable reading.
In fact, uncomfortable describes very well, how I felt during most parts of the book. This, however, isn't necessarily a bad thing, as long as the story holds your attention and you want to carry on reading. For two thirds of the story Lindqvist certainly managed to keep me in his grip. Towards the end, however, and whilst the author was busy to tie all narrative strands together, my reading pace dropped and I think I must have stopped caring about the story, its characters and their fate.
I have experienced this phenomenon before, unfortunately in the context of novels written by one of my all - time favourite authors: Stephen King. As regards Lindqvist and the claims of the critics, there are certainly a number of similarities between Lindqvist and King. Lindqvist has a similar way of depicting his characters' thoughts (mostly incomplete sentences in italics that interrupt the narration from time to time), he enjoys ridiculing organised religion and has a similar sense of humour. Unfortunately, his book also suffered from the problems encountered in so many of King's novels: the rushed, slightly unbelievable denoument at the end of the book. Perhaps, one could say that this is a common problem within the horror / fantasy genre. Perhaps, this applies to certain authors and certain novels in a variety of genres. Unfortunately, Lindqvist's storyline got out of hand and by the time I got to the end of the book, I simply lost interest.
My verdict in short: 3 out of 5 stars - For the best part, this novel is a gripping read interspersed with a lot of intelligent social commentary and Lindqvist certainly knows how to shock his readers. ...more