THE 2020 AGENDA MANIFESTO——for Inclusion in the 2016 Progressive Democratic Platform

 

Bernie vs. Hillary

Bernie vs. Hillary

 

THE 2020 AGENDA MANIFESTO ——for Inclusion in the 2016 Democratic Platform to Realize the Bernie Sanders “Political Revolution for Economic Democracy” and the Clintonian SuperGoal of: “It’s Saving the American Dream, Stupid!”—-Draft Demands, Goals and 17 Point Action Agenda of the Global Counterforce Alliance

 

We the 99% of the people of America and of the World, in conjunction with the Counterforce Alliance in pursuit of Economic Democracy and Social Justice, within America, the EU and globally, and in resistance to the abuses and exploitation of the predatory 1% financial and wealth owning elite which according to the Economist Thomas Piketty in conjunction with unbalanced globalization and technological change, erosion of the Social Safety Net, destruction of Labor Union power and unethical money-class dominated government and elections, have reduced the real income of the American and Western Middle and Working Class over the past forty years, join together in solidarity to declare and support the following values and goals in response to the continuing and, despite recent superficial improvements, structurally unresolved World Economic Crisis. While pessimistic about the immediate present, we join in both idealism and optimism mediated through realism with regard to the ultimate future of humanity, convinced in the ultimate strength and creative power of the human spirit against all odds and obstacles, and convinced that the world is blessed with immense opportunities masquerading as insoluble dilemmas. In solidarity we set forth the following Demands, Goals, and Proposed Measures, long and short-term, and call on all of you of the 99% to mobilize all our common energies in their initiation, support and fulfillment, and call on all governments and leaders to assist the People in their implementation, including the Democratic Party of the USA in the 2016 Election cycle, whomsoever its nominee shall prove:

Left Meets Right in Wealth Tax Proposal

Left Meets Right in Wealth Tax Proposal

  1. Implement a Wealth Tax (Originally Proposed by Donald Trump in 1999!): We call for the immediate consideration and implementation of a Comprehensive Solidarity Tax on Wealth on all persons, natural and possibly corporate, and on trusts with net worth of $10,000,000 or more at the rate of at least 15% during the economic crisis and at least 3% annually. This would be in addition to and adjusted in complement with the existing Income Tax. The income of the 1% is already outrageously out of proportion to that of the 99%, having grown from 10% to 20% since 1980 due to an inherently corrupted and unfair tax system The wealth of the 1% is even more outrageously maldistributed, with the top 1% holding 38% of the privately held wealth in the USA, and the bottom 90% holding 73% of all debt. Economic democracy calls for a shift of the burden of taxation from income, particularly earned income to taxation of wealth and unearned income. Revenues would be made available to insure the solvency of the Social Security system, reduce the national debt, for fiscal stimulus to create jobs during the World Financial Crisis, for funding education and retraining for all unemployed or underemployed and for mortgage relief, among all other public purposes. (The original Donald Trump proposal of 1999 proposed a modified one-time version of the above to attempt to pay off the national debt in a single year while stabilizing the Social Security System. See: http://www.taxprophet.com/archives/faq/991128.htm)

Models: France has a tried and tested system of taxation of individual wealth at a progressive scale of rates from 0% to 1.8%, which is called the “Solidarity Tax on Wealth,” which provides a good working model for implementation in the USA. In 1999 Donald Trump proposed a one-off Wealth Tax of 14.25% on the net worth of individuals and trusts in excess of ten million dollars which was calculated to produce 5.7 Trillion dollars in new revenues.

 

We've Got The Best Political System Money Can Buy!

We’ve Got The Best Political System Money Can Buy!

 

  1. Radical Reform of Campaign and Political Contributions System and Restoration of Economic Democracy: Immediate repeal of Citizen’s United by appointment of Supreme Court justices committed to such or by Constitutional Amendment of broader scope, embracing comprehensive Campaign Reform by legislation or by Constitutional Amendment. As an Interim Measure: ALL TELEVISION AND MEDIA PROVIDERS SHOULD BE REQUIRED TO PROVIDE FREE MEDIA TIME TO CANDIDATES, STATE, LOCAL AND NATIONAL AS A CONDITION OF THEIR LICENSURE DURING ELECTIONS AND EQUAL TIME TO ALL. COMPENSATION, IF NEEDED CONSTITUTIONALY, SHOULD BE MADE FROM THE PUBLIC TREASURY. THIS OBVIATES THE NEED FOR 90% OF CORRUPT CONTRIBUTIONS, EVEN IF COMPREHENSIVE CAMPAIGN REFORM LAWS ARE BLOCKED.

The present corrupted system of political financial contributions by financial interests has become toxic and deadly. It is not an exaggeration to say that present laws have substantially lost legitimacy as they are not the result of the will of the people but of legalized corruption financed by the 1%, calling into question the duty of the 99% to obey or respect them. All laws and public decisions are essentially corrupted by the illegitimate political power of the 1% to maldistribute social resources to the disadvantage of the 99%, especially its lower third. To democratically re-legitimize the governmental system it is necessary to enact immediate campaign contribution reform or move to a fully publically financed system in which private political contributions are made illegal or restricted. We need to move from the “One Buck One Vote” system of the present back to a “One Person One Vote” democratic system. Economic Democracy is only sustainable after the financial corruption of the political system has been thoroughly cleansed.

Too Big to Fail; Too Big to Jail.

Too Big to Fail;
Too Big to Jail.

 

  1. Strict Regulation of Dangerous, Predatory and Irresponsible Financial Practices/Breakup of Banks Too Big to Fail/Glass-Steagel Firewalls: We demand further and stricter regulation of dangerous financial practices beyond Dodd-Frank such as credit-default swaps, derivatives, predatory mortgages, and associated abuses which caused the still-unresolved World Financial Crisis. We demand prosecution of the principal abusers. When unresolved by regulation, if necessary, weaknesses and abuse in the financial sector may be addressed by nationalization in the public interest. Banks too big to fail should be broken up where they pose systemic risk to the financial system.

 

Make the Banks Pay Their Fair Share!

Make the Banks Pay Their Fair Share!

 

  1. Implement Financial Transactions Tax To Pay For Free Public University Education for All Qualified: We call for the immediate imposition of a transactions tax on all purchases and sales of stocks, bonds, equities, financial derivatives, and especially on speculative and dangerous transactions such as credit-default swaps at the heart of the World Financial Crisis. The 1% should be required to pay at least 1% for all such financial transactions. John Maynard Keynes proposed implementation of such a system following the 1929 Crash and Depression to curb disastrous speculation.

Models: Britain has had a Stamp Tax on financial transactions since 1694 on the London Stock Exchange and Sweden has a comprehensive 0.5% tax on equity securities and financial derivatives, with like legislation in Brazil and Peru.

 

Tobin Tax on Foreign Exchange Transactions Makes the Globalized Economy Pay Its Fair Share

Tobin Tax on Foreign Exchange Transactions Makes the Globalized Economy Pay Its Fair Share

 

  1. Implement Tobin Tax or Tax on Foreign Exchange Transactions: With Globalization the international half of the economy must begin to pay its fair share of taxes, including those for the use of money abroad. Nobel Prize Laureate James Tobin proposed a tax on all spot conversions of one currency into another as a means of dampening speculation and “hot money,” In the post-Globalization era this has also been seen as a means of extending the fiscal tax base catchment area into the extra-national realm of the internationalized economy to generate resources for management of the abusive externalities of an irresponsible run-away global financial economy. The Tobin Tax of 0.5% to 1% should be levied on all conversions of one currency to another with the proceeds divided three ways: one-third to the nation of each currency and one-third to the United Nations and World Bank for purposes of global governance, international Keynesian fiscal stimulus and attainment of the Millennium 2000 goals. The division of the proceeds could also be divided on the basis of relative unemployment rates of the two nations or GDP per head. At present only international banks derive income from foreign exchange conversion, a privatized tax going to capital owners. The proceeds of the Tobin Tax should be used to COMPENSATE THOSE ADVERSELY AFFECTED BY GLOBALIZATION, including the long-term unemployed, underclasses, those in need of vocational re-training, relocation, and income guarantees or minimum income guarantees under a Social Safety Net or Social Contract.
  2. Implement Excise and Luxury Taxes on Luxury Goods and Property for Duration of Financial Crisis: During the time of Global Economic Crisis and mass unemployment, just as in times of war and national emergency, the 1% wealth owners should be required to make sacrifices proportionate to their means for the common good. All luxury items, especially Veblenesque goods designed to confer social status, including luxury cars and homes, luxury fashion goods and luxury services more than 100% in excess of the mean for common goods and unrelated to real needs should be heavily taxed for the benefit of the common good and to stimulate consumption by those in need. Even in the “Monopoly” game those who live on “Park Place,” “Get Out of Jail Free” and “Advance to Go” must take their turn at paying Luxury Tax.

 

Progressive Taxes Address Gross Exploitation of the 99% By the 1%

Progressive Taxes Address Gross Exploitation of the 99% By the 1%

7.  Progressive Income Tax Reform: Comprehensive reform of the existing Income Tax system must be undertaken to make it more progressive and reduce tax on the lower brackets and surcharging the upper brackets while protecting the middle-class and providing incentives for true entrepreneurship and job creation. Tax rates on the upper brackets should at least be reinstated to their pre-1980 levels. Faux deficits artificially created by lowering upper-bracket taxes and engaging in irresponsible and wasteful wars, followed by predatory demands for budget spending reductions, the favorite tactic of predatory capital, should be eliminated. Negative Income Tax, conditional on participation in retraining, education or public service work should provide a Social Safety Net for all persons. Unearned income from financial speculation or passive capital gains unrelated to innovation and growth in the real economy should be heavily taxed for the common good. The true creative capacity of the “free enterprise” system should be rewarded, nurtured and protected, whereas the unearned income from the parasitical and exploitative abuse of the real economy by the predatory financial economy should be severely restrained and taxed. Wherever possible the tax base should be shifted from income tax to wealth tax, and from payroll tax to progressive income tax and on to wealth tax. Regressive taxes, such as sales tax on necessities, payroll tax and others should be replaced or supplemented by progressive taxes on wealth and income.

8.  Inheritance, Estate and Trust Tax Reform: Inheritance, Estate and Trust Taxes should be radically increased for all estates above 10 million dollars as part of a wealth taxation program for the common good. Even Bill Gates and Warren Buffet do not leave their billions to their own children above a fair amount, and inherited wealth is the archetypal form of arbitrary, unfair and unearned misdistribution of wealth. Along with Gates and Buffet we believe the spoiled children of the wealthy elite should become entrepreneurial if they want to enjoy wealth, rather than taking a free ride on the gravy train. Evasions of Inheritance and Estate tax by abuse of trusts should also be eliminated and subject to recapture, unless true transfer beyond the control of the wealth holder occurs and the trust is monitored to make sure that decisions are in the interest of the beneficiaries and the public instead of a masked manipulation for the benefit of the wealth holder.

The Global Green New Deal

The Global Green New Deal

9.  Rebalancing Economic Globalization with a Global Green New Deal and Further Evolution of International Institutions and Global Governance Commensurate to the Newly Globalized World Economy: Much of the World Economic Crisis is the result of dangerously imbalanced Globalization in which limited nation-state economic institutions have not evolved to meet the realities of a globalized economy, creating dangerous and unsustainable global economic imbalances. Emergence from the Great Depression of the 1930’s required not just government action but also the empowerment of labor unions, civil society, Social Security and the Social Safety Net, Keynesian economic management, and the Social Contract and other checks and balances to the predatory and irresponsible power of financial capital. Globalization has eroded this balance of power, weakening the power of the nation-state, labor unions and civil society and thrusting us back to 1929 era stone-age predatory capitalism. If it is impossible to go back to the pre-Globalized world order with its national checks and balances against predatory capital, then it is necessary to move forward to a new globalized system of checks and balances on an internationalized basis of global governance. The Global Green New Deal seeks to evolve new internationalized institutions of global governance that can be socially, economically and environmentally sustainable, recasting the Social Contract and Social Safety Net in a new manner commensurate with the realities of a globalized economy. It is not anti-Globalization per se, but seeks a rebalanced Globalization with new and effective checks and balances against irresponsible and predatory international financial capital, through extension of global democracy, global governance and economic democracy.

 

Globalization of Industry Requires Globalization of Unions and Globalized Collective Bargaining Within Each Multinational Corporation

Globalization of Industry Requires Globalization of Unions and Globalized Collective Bargaining Within Each Multinational Corporation

 

10.  Globalization of Labor Unions and Collective Bargaining Initiative: We demand immediate amendment of Labor Law requiring multinationals to undertake globalized collective bargaining in good faith with unions representing all their international subsidiaries and affiliates and manufacturing sub-contractors. A key cause of the financial crisis in the stagnation of wage rates in the US and the EU, caused in principal part by the breaking of unions and de-unionization of the economy since WWII, of which imbalanced globalization is a key cause. Union Density rates have fallen to below 9% in the private sector in the US, rates of union membership not seen since 1929. Union power to collectively bargain on behalf of workers in the globalized sectors and services sectors is a necessary check and balance on predatory capital. Income maldistribution cannot be corrected only by governmental action but other forces such as labor unions and civil society and consumer and environmental activism must serve as additional checks and balances to irresponsible and predatory financial capital. The World Financial Crisis began with the Subprime Mortgage crisis, but this was caused primarily not by people buying homes beyond reasonable means, but rather by the failure of per capita earned income to increase for over thirty years. The housing crisis is really a household income crisis, and recovery in the US, the EU and beyond cannot occur until substantial sustainable increases in worker compensation and household income occur. Unions must be restored as a necessary non-governmental check and balance against the abuses of predatory capital. To do so Collective Bargaining and enterprise unionization must be Globalized. Collective Bargaining and Labor Standards must be included as key component of TPP and all future multinational trade agreements, and domestically a new initiative must be undertaken to Re-Unionize the Economy of the USA, both within the Private and Public Sectors and within the now dominant Service Sector, Internet Sector and “Gig” and Adjunct Sectors. Part-Time Workers must be given Proportionaity, or Access to Benefits on a Proportional Basis As Full-Time Workers, so that Employers such as Wal-Mart cannot deprive workers of benefits by the fiction of limiting their hours to 32 or 36 hours. By Law they should be forced to provide a proportional contribution to the Part-Time worker’s Health and Pension benefits on the same basis as the Full-Time Worker, regardless of hours worked. Multinationals as a condition of their goods being traded internationally must allow Global Unions in which all the workers of all of their international subsidiaries belong to a single union or alliance of unions and enterprises must have a legal duty to bargain in good faith globally with the united representatives of the unions of all their subsidiaries. Collective bargaining must be globalized to raise compensation both in the developed nations and in the developing and emerging economies. Only this will provide sustainable circulation of purchasing power to support sustainable economic recovery. Such a requirement should be made a mandatory condition of the WTO rules and supervised by a beefed up ILO. Multinationals with programs of union-busting or bad faith failure to engage in Globalized Collective bargaining should have their products banned from international trade. Unions must immediately undertake to organize all the workers of all the global subsidiaries of their companies and sectors in all nations in which they operate into a single collective bargaining unit, moving beyond the nation-based union model of the past. Raising the wages of workers in emerging economies through global collective bargaining is critical in boosting their purchasing power for American and EU goods and services.

 

The 99% Needs A Raise!

The 99% Needs A Raise!

11.  Conversion of Financial Capital into Human Capital—-Globalization No Worker Left Behind Initiative—$15 p/hr Fed. Minimum Wage & the 25 Million Futures Initiative: In education we have embraced the “No Child Left Behind” concept. In economic globalization we must embrace the “No Worker Left Behind” concept in response to Globalization and it economic restructuring. The financial resources generated by the Wealth Tax and the above tax initiatives should be utilized to provide a CONDITIONAL GUARANTEED MINIMUM INCOME through a negative income tax or other means. 25 Million Persons should be given subsidized living allowances and educational and retraining allowances continuing during their participation in retraining and rehabilitation, further education or public service and environmental work. The concept of any able person being “unemployed” should be decisively and permanently eliminated. If any person is not traditionally employed in the private or public sectors that person and his or her family should be given a guaranteed minimum income, conditional on their daily participation in further education, retraining or continuing daily public interest and environmental employment. All able persons shall be either employed full-time in work or full-time in education, retraining or preparation for work and guaranteed a survival income via the Social Safety Net as a condition of the Social Contract. The above taxes should provide for the radical expansion of the human resources and educational infrastructure to permanently absorb the displaced worker population, with the goal of returning them to the labor marketplace with greater productivity skills on economic recovery. The Tobin Tax on Foreign Currency Exchange shall be used to finance such measures.

12.  Implementation of Labor and Environmental Protection Requirements at the WTO: We demand the incorporation of Global Collective Bargaining and Environmental Standards, certified by ISO type inspection and verification as a mandatory condition of the WTO and trade of goods in the international marketplace.

13.  Partial Shift of Social Security Funding from Regressive and Demographically Unsustainable Payroll Taxes to Financial and Wealth Based Taxes: The partial unsustainability of the Social Security system results from its outmoded tax base. Reliance on payroll taxes, while having some advantage in insuring the contractual inviolability and apparent fairness of the system, is unnecessarily regressive and demographically unsustainable. There is no reason why only workers and employers pay for retirement benefits of those who have sustained the economy over their lifetimes while the financial sector pays nothing. The financial sector has grown at near-cancerous rates and makes no contribution to Social Security while the ever lessening number of active workers is called on to shoulder the burden of supporting the old and infirm. The Wealth Tax and revitalized Progressive Income Tax should partially replace and reduce the payroll tax system to reflect the demographic changes and growth of the financial sector as a percentage of GDP from the initiation of the Social Security system in the 1930’s. The Tax Base reflecting Globalization, namely the Tobin Tax on Foreign Currency Exchanges and the Financial Transactions Tax on both Domestic and Foreign enterprises traded on our capital markets should let the burden of retirement be equally shared by the globalized and internationalized sectors of the economy which have taken so much profit from the work of the workers over their lifetimes.

 

A United Nations Parliamentary Assembly for Global Democracy

A United Nations Parliamentary Assembly for Global Democracy

 

14.  Implementation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly within the United Nations: We demand the Creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, based on the successful model of the EU European Parliament as a new third organ of the United Nations alongside the Security Council and the General Assembly for Global Democracy in Global Governance, as was proposed by UN former Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, as a Plank in the National Democratic Platform of 2016. The Occupy Wall Street movement as well as the Bernie Sanders “Economic Democracy Political Revolution” or “Democratic Socialism Political Revolution” should immediately march on the United Nations in New York and demand the adoption by the General Assembly of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, which is a proposal for the creation of a European Parliament-style international consultative assembly as a permanent organ of the United Nations alongside the Security Council and General Assembly. Article 22 of the UN charter allows the General Assembly to do so by a majority vote not subject to great power veto. Economic Democracy in the era of a globalized economy requires the extension of democratic processes to the system of global governance and the progressive evolution of international institutions such as the United Nations commensurate with the problems of the newly globalized economy and the globalization of all aspects of human life and of the environment. Eliminating the democratic deficit in our global international institutions will also help to address the maldistribution of wealth and income nationally and internationally. Modernly, almost all problems have become globalized and are beyond the power of single nation-states to solve on behalf of their peoples, from the World Economic Crisis, to Global Warming, terrorism, drugs and epidemics. The institutions of global governance must evolve commensurately, and as they evolve democratic checks and balances must evolve along with them. See: http://en.unpacampaign.org/index.php for more details.

Former United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali ----Prime Exponent of a UN Parliamentary Assembly

Former United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali —-Prime Exponent of a UN Parliamentary Assembly

 

15.  Globalization of Corporate Tax, Ending of Corporate Inversions, and Outsourcing Readjustment Tax: Run-away irresponsible capital takes all the resources of domestic enterprise and discards the workers, replacing them with cheaper foreign labor and operating through international subsidiaries and affiliates and expropriating existing workers and stakeholders of their stakeholder equity. To better balance the advantages and burdens of globalization and to preserve the earnings of the global entity within the catchment area of national taxation the Corporate Tax should be levied on global earnings of all subsidiaries and affiliates. Payments for Outsourcing and import substitution should be subject to a Restructuring Tax sufficient to support the retraining of displaced workers and in transition to new employment, and to deal with the uncompensated externalities of such practices, though such taxes should not be abused to the degree to amount to absolute or unjustifiable protectionism. Abuse of H1B Visas to improperly replace qualified American workers and defraud immigrants with fraudulently low wages must be stopped and abusers must be prosecuted. Hoardes of offshore capital and earnings of US companies must be taxed on an equal basis with domestic earnings regardless of shells or subsidiaries. Tax avoidance shells and schemes must be exposed and broken to assure the predatory 1% does not avoid paying its fair share through cheap tricks of Caymen incorporations, inversions and other quasi-criminal schemes and elitist conspiracies against the public.

 

16.  Shift of Keynesian Fiscal Stimulus and Public Debt from Sovereign National Debt to Internationalized Systems such as Eurobonds in the EU, G20 Initiatives and World Bank Instruments such as SDR WorldBonds: The principal reason for Sovereign Debt crises around the world is the necessity of fiscal deficits financed by borrowing as a means of stimulating growth of any economy in recession associated with John Maynard Keynes. However, we live in a globalized economy and where EU nations or the US or other nations borrow and run deficits much of the growth stimulated is in other export-oriented nations rather than in the catchment basin of the national tax systems used to finance this Keynesian debt. This is the root of the EU Sovereign Debt Crisis and much of the US fiscal deficit. When no domestic growth results, the stimulating nation is left with the complete debt but the GDP growth is unsustainably outside its tax revenue catchment area. Thus, much of the World Economic Crisis is the result of dangerously imbalanced Globalization in which limited nation-state economic institutions have not evolved to meet the realities of a globalized economy.

 

17.  Further Evolution of the “Occupy Movement “into the “Bernie Revolution” then into “Sustainable Economic Democracy” : Previosly to date the “Occupy” program has attained immense success in conscious building amid mobilizing human resources around the world to fight economic injustice and exploitation of the 99% by the 1% and fostering communication regarding the plight of the victims of the World Economic Crisis. As time goes on, however, the movement must evolve and mature, transitioning from consciousness raising to an action program, or interest and support will likely evaporate or be wasted. This evolution should result from open and democratic deliberation and debate, inclusive of both on-site activists and Internet-based contributors. To evolve beyond the “Primal Scream” of injustice cited by Al Gore towards solutions to the systemic problems requires first a process of analysis and possible solution design, then consciousness raising and support-building in aid of the proposals, followed by political struggle within the democratic processes and resistance to illegitimate suppression by either governments or opponents. To these ends the “Occupy” sites should evolve from protest encampments to staging areas for political organization, and then to mobilization centers for mass action. Analysis needs to be made, values and goals agreed upon, demands made as a tool for mobilizing support, and then concerted and sustained pressuring and lobbying of governments needs to be undertaken and completed, using bottom-up support as a vital base of action. To date the “Bernie Revolution” has taken the “Occupy Movement” to Stage Two of its process of maturation, giving it a focus on real world politics and real world policy goals to strive for. Seemingly out of nowhere he has achieved the seemingly impossible, bringing “democratic socialism’ to center stage as a major alternative in presidential and major party politics. As we have observed before, however, this is less miraculous than it seems, as more than half of the American middle and working class feels it is in danger of permanently losing its economic position, security and that which is commonly referred to as “The American Dream.” It is in this context that there is a great flexibility in examining new alternatives, rationally and emotionally, both of the left and the right, as there was in the 1920’s. It is not to be expected that existing power-holders will voluntarily adopt these proposals, and many of them will be met either with overt or covert hostility, or with ridicule, incomprehension or resistance. Therefore, consciousness raising and conceptual development must continue apace, and most likely within the democratic nations the electoral process must be entered into, endorsing candidates in sympathy, opposing opponents and rallying support until the composition of the legislatures and governments has changed to support these concepts. Strategies of political action will have to be worked out, including all options such as endorsement and support or opposition of existing political leaders, entering candidates in primaries of existing parties based around these principles, or formation of new political parties. In the long run, the Occupy Wall Street movement reincarnated at the Bernie Revolution will fail, unless it reaches out within the electoral process and entrenches its true believers at the local, state and federal levels in the councils, statehouses, Congress and Party positions beyond the high-prestige Presidential race, and furthermore mobilizes workers in the workplace, through established labor unions and newer unions and workers associations, and also the churches, that traditional alternative seat of conscience and consciousness independent of the state and the corporate economy. It must reach beyond its initial base of disaffected intellectuals, students, the unemployed and the underclass, and rally to its cause the broad working class, the “Senior Citizens,” AARP, endangered lower middle class and the progressive and mainstream wings of the religious community. Corporations must be occupied, but not from the outside by protesters, but rather from the inside by resurgent and revitalized unions ready to both strike and to demand co-determination of company decisions vital to their interests and survival, as in the German model of “Co-Determination” Union representation on the Boards of Directors of every corporation by law. And the union action must be global and not just national. In all of this it must be remembered that we live in a globalized economy within a globalized world, however much some candidates might fantasize about “building walls” around their countries, and the solutions must be found in close cooperation with all the other nations on earth. Therefore we must intensify our fight for the rights and security of the American middle and working class across the world, not withdraw from it or from the world economy. To that end we must find better international trade arrangements not simply withdraw into a pretended “Fortress Amerika.” To that end also we must strengthen the international order, including creating and entering the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly within the United Nations dreamed of by Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali prior to his death in February. Preference must always be given to peaceful, rational and democratic processes of change where appropriate. In case of illegitimate, violent, unlawful and unjustifiable government repression, the right of the people to resist by other means is enshrined in the American Declaration of Independence, the American Constitution and its Bill of Rights, and the French and UN Declarations of the Universal Rights of Man.

 

Restore the American Dream

 

Source: The Agenda 2020 Manifesto is adapted from the Occupy Earth Manifesto originally published in the original “Occupy Wall Street Novel” “Spiritus Mundi” by Robert Sheppard:

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Spiritus Mundi by R

Spiritus Mundi by R

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GET YOUR FREE e-COPY OF PUSHCART PRIZE NOMINATED CYBERTHRILLER SPIRITUS MUNDI BY ROBERT SHEPPARD (BOOK I) NOW BY FOLLOWING THIS SMASHWORDS LINK TO DOWNLOAD: Spiritus Mundi Book I, The Novel (5.0 Stars on Smashwords) https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/303856 _______________________________________________________________ In celebration of the Pushcart Prize Nomination for Spiritus Mundi a Pushcart Prize Giveaway Celebration has been declared as an introductory offer in which Spiritus Mundi, Book I will be made available free on Smashwords and affiliated outlets, including Barnes & Noble and many others. It is hoped that readers will be inspired by Book I to purchase Book II, Spiritus Mundi the Romance, either later or at the same time at the discount price of $3.99 (Remember you have to read Book II to find out how the story of Book I ends!). The Pushcart Prize is an American literary prize by Pushcart Press that honors the best “poetry, short fiction, essays or literary whatnot”published in the small presses over the previous year. Magazine and small book press editors are invited to nominate up to six works they have featured. Anthologies of the selected works have been published annually since 1976. The founding editors are Anaïs Nin, Buckminster Fuller, Charles Newman, Daniel Halpern, Gordon Lish, Harry Smith, Hugh Fox, Ishmael Reed, Joyce Carol Oates, Len Fulton, Leonard Randolph, Leslie Fiedler, Nona Balakian, Paul Bowles, Paul Engle, Ralph Ellison, Reynolds Price, Rhoda Schwartz, Richard Morris, Ted Wilentz, Tom Montag, and William Phillips. Among the writers who previously received early recognition in Pushcart Prize anthologies were: Kathy Acker, Steven Barthelme, Rick Bass, Charles Baxter, Bruce Boston, Raymond Carver, Joshua Clover, Junot Diaz, Andre Dubus, William H. Gass, Seán Mac Falls, William Monahan, Paul Muldoon, Joyce Carol Oates, Tim O’Brien, Lance Olsen,Peter Orner, Kevin Prufer, Kay Ryan, Mona Simpson, Ana Menéndez, and Wells Tower. Included in the Pushcart 2014 Nominations were several of well-known author Robert Sheppard’s “Poems from Spiritus Mundi” including “Moby Dick” and “Zeno’s Paradox” which were published in and nominated for the Pushcart Prize by Poetry Pacific and available here and on their website: https://robertalexandersheppard.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/poetry-pacific-3-poems-by-robert-sheppard/ INTRODUCING PUSHCART PRIZE NOMINEE ROBERT SHEPPARD’S EPIC NOVEL SPIRITUS MUNDI Spiritus Mundi Book Cover.80 Author’s E-mail: rsheppard99_2000@yahoo.com ON SPIRITUS MUNDI “Read Robert Sheppard’s sprawling, supple novel, Spiritus Mundi, an epic story of global intrigue and sexual and spiritual revelation. Compelling characters, wisdom, insight, and beautiful depictions of locations all over the world will power you through the book. You’ll exit wishing the story lines would go on and on.” May 13, 2012 Robert McDowell, Editor, Writer, Marketer, Editorial Cra, The Nature of Words ______________________________________________________ “Robert Sheppard’s novel, “Spiritus Mundi,” has everything. “Spiritus Mundi” is Latin, meaning “spirit” or “soul of the world.” According to the Norton Anthology of English Literature, the phrase refers to “the spirit or soul of the universe” with which all individual souls are connected through the “Great Memory.” This amazing novel is all inclusive and unceasingly riveting. If you are interested in politics, philosophy, human relationships, sex, intrigue, betrayal, poetry and even philosophy — buy and read “Spiritus Mundi”!”November 18, 2012 Raymond P. Keen, School Psychologist, Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DODDS) —————————————————————- “Robert Sheppard’s new novel “Spiritus Mundi” is a new twist on a well-loved genre. Robert leaves no stone unturned in this compelling page turner you’ll experience mystery, suspense, thrills, and excitement. Robert touches on sexuality and spirituality in such a way that the reader is compelled to ask themselves “what would you do if faced with these trials?” Robert is a master at taking the reader out of their own lives and into the world he created. If you’re looking for a “can’t put down” read pick up Spiritus Mundi!” May 20, 2012 Nicole Breanne, Content Coordinator, Ranker.com _____________________________________________________ “Longing for a thrilling experience of the sexual and spiritual world? Expecting a thorough summoning of your inner heart? Aspiring to find an extraordinary voice to enlighten your understanding heart? Then you can’t miss this extraordinary novel, Spiritus Mundi by Robert Sheppard. The author will spirit you into a exciting world filled with fantasy, myth, conflicts and wisdom from a fresh perspective. Don’t hesitate, just turn to the 1st page and start out enjoying this marvellous journey.”November 17, 2012 Alina Mu Liu, Official Interpreter, Editor & Translator, HM Courts & Tribunal Service, London UK & the United Nations —————————————————————————— “Robert Sheppard’s Spiritus Mundi is a literary novel for those with an extensive vocabulary, and who believe how you tell a story is as important as what occurs in it. It is as current as today’s headlines. Jaime Martinez-Tolentino, Writer” November 19, 2012 ————————————————————————– “Robert Sheppard’s exciting new novel, Spiritus Mundi, is an unforgettable read and epic journey of high adventure and self-discovery across the scarred landscape of the modern world and into the mysteries beyond. Its compelling saga reveals the sexual and spiritual lives of struggling global protesters and idealists overcoming despair, nuclear terrorism, espionage and a threatened World War III to bring the world together from the brink of destruction with a revolutionary United Nations Parliamentary Assembly and spiritual rebirth. This modern epic is a must read and compelling vision of the future for all Citizens of the Modern World and a beacon of hope pointing us all towards a better world struggling against all odds to be born.” May 19, 2012 Lara Biyuts, Reviewer and Blogger at Goodreads.com and Revue Blanche ________________________________________________________ “Robert Sheppard’s “Spiritus Mundi” is a book of major importance and depth. A must read for any thinking, compassionate human being living in these perilous times. I highly recommend this powerful testament of the current course of our so-called life on his planet. April 25, 2012 Doug Draime Writer, Freelance ___________________________________________________ “This new novel ‘Spiritus Mundi’ brings together history, politics, future society, and blends with a plausible World War Three scenario. I have read it and find it over the top fascinating. I am very glad to see Robert share his creativity with the world through this work of fiction, and know it will be a huge hit.” April 28, 2012 Jim Rogers, Owner and Director, AXL ______________________________________________ “Robert Sheppard is an exceptional thinker! His work should be read and made the subject of critical study.”May 26, 2012 Georgia Banks-Martin, Editor, New Mirage Journal —————————————————————————— “This novel rocks the reader with its supple strength. You want to say “No, No,” and you end up saying, “Maybe.” Political science fiction at its highest, most memorable level.”November 17, 2012 Carl Macki, Owner, Carl Macki Social Media —————————————————————————— “Robert Sheppard’s Novel Spiritus Mundi confronts politics and philosophies of the world. He’s examined multiple layers of personality in his characters; male, female, Chinese, Arab, English, and American melding them into a story of possible outcomes. How else can I convey the intelligent presentation of fiction woven with sensitivity to our world’s governments, religious influences and sectarian principles? We must not forget the influence of a largely secular world. Robert tirelessly checked, rechecked and triple checked his resources in order to bring a fiction of occurrence, and psychological impact as set forth in his novel Spiritus Mundi.”November 18, 2012 Glenda Fralin, Author, Organization NWG __________________________________________________________ “Robert was one of my best guests. His novel is as wide ranging as are his interests and expertise. He can explain his various ideas with great clarity and he does this with compassion. Novel is worthwhile reading.”November 18, 2012 Dr. Robert Rose, Radio Show Host, http://www.blogtalkradio.com/icdrrose ________________________________________________________________ Related Links and Websites: Spiritus Mundi, Novel by Robert Sheppard For Introduction and Overview of the Novel: https://spiritusmundinovel.wordpress.com/ For Updates on the Upcoming Movie Version of the Novel, Spiritus Mundi & Casting of Actors and Actresses for Leading Roles See: https://robertalexandersheppard.wordpress.com/ To Read Abut the Occupy Wall Street Movement in Spiritus Mundi: http://occupywallstreetnovel.wordpress.com/ For Author’s Blog: https://robertalexandersheppard.wordpress.com/ To Read a Sample Chapter from Spiritus Mundi: https://spiritusmundisamplechapters.wordpress.com/ To Read Fantasy, Myth and Magical Realism Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi: https://spiritusmundifantasymythandmagicalrealism.wordpress.com/ To Read Sexual Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi: The Varieties of Sexul Experience: https://spiritusmundivarietiesofsexualexperience.wordpress.com/ To Read Spy, Espionage and Counter-terrorism Thriller Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi: http://spiritusmundispyespionagecounterterrorism.wordpress.com/ To Read Geopolitical and World War Three Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi: https://spiritusmundigeopoliticalworldwar3.wordpress.com/ To Read Spiritual and Religious Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi: https://spiritusmundionspiritualityandreligion.wordpress.com/ To Read about the Global Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly in Spiritus Mundi: https://spiritusmundiunitednationsparliamentaryassembly.wordpress.com/ To Read Poetry from Spiritus Mundi:https://spiritusmundipoetry.wordpress.com/ For Discussions on World Literature and Literary Criticism in Spiritus Mundi: http://worldliteratureandliterarycriticism.wordpress.com/ For Discussions of World History and World Civilization in Spiritus Mundi: https://worldhistoryandcivilizationspiritusmundi.wordpress.com/ To Read the Blog of Eva Strong from Spiritus Mundi: https://evasblogfromspiritusmundi.wordpress.com/ To Read the Blog of Andreas Sarkozy from Spiritus Mundi: http://andreasblogfromspiritusmundi.wordpress.com/ To Read the Blog of Yoriko Oe from Spiritus Mundi: http://yorikosblogfromspiritusmundi.wordpress.com/ To Read the Blog of Robert Sartorius from Spiritus Mundi: http://sartoriusblogfromspiritusmundi.wordpress.com/ I write to introduce to your attention my double novel Spiritus Mundi, consisting of Spiritus Mundi, the Novel—Book I, and Spiritus Mundi, the Romance—Book II. Book I’s espionage-terror-political-religious thriller-action criss-crosses the globe from Beijing to New York London to Washington, Mexico City and Jerusalem presenting a vast panorama of the contemporary international world, including compelling action from the Occupy Wall Street Movement to espionage and a threatened World War Three, deep and realistic characters and surreal adventures, while Book II dialates the setting and scope into a fantasy (though still rooted in the real) adventure where the protagonists embark on a quest to the realms of Middle Earth and its Crystal Bead Game and through a wormhole to the Council of the Immortals in the Amphitheater in the center of the Milky Way Galaxy in search of the crucial Silmaril Crystal, and to plead for the continuance of the human race in the face of threatened extinction from a nuclear World War III, all followed by a triple-somersault thriller ending in which a common garden-variety terrorist attack is first uncovered by MI6 and the CIA as the opening gambit a Greatpower Game of States threatening World War III and then, incredibly, as the nexus of a Time Travel conspiracy involving an attempt by fascist forces of the 23rd Century to alter a benign World History by a time-travelling raid on their past and our present to provoke that World War III, foiled by the heroic efforts of the democratic 23rd Century world government, the Senate of the United States of Earth, to hunt down the fascist interlopers before their history is irrevocably altered for evil. When activist Robert Sartorius, leading a global campaign to create a European Parliament-style world-wide United Nations Parliamentary Assembly presses the proposal in New York on his old friend the UN Secretary-General and is rebuffed due to the hostile pressure of the conservative American administration, his Committee resolves to fight back by launching a celebrity-driven Bono-Geldof-Band Aid/Live 8-style “People Power” media campaign and telethon, allied to the Occupy Wall Street movement and spearheaded by rock superstars Isis and Osiris and former UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali to mobilize global public support and pressure. The Blogs of Sartorius, activist Eva Strong and Committee Chairman Andreas Sarkozy reveal the campaign’s working struggle, their tangled love affairs, a loss of faith, attempted suicide, reconciliation of father and son after divorce, and recovery of personal love and faith. Things fall apart as the idealists’ global crusade is infiltrated by a cell of jihadist terrorists using it as a cover, then counter-infiltrated by CIA agent Jack McKinsey and British MI6 agent Etienne Dearlove. A cat-and-mouse game of espionage and intrigue ensues pitting them against the Chinese MSS espionage network allied with the Iranian Quds Force crossing Beijing, London, Moscow, Washington and Jerusalem unleashing an uncontrollable series of events which sees the American Olympic Track and Field Team bombed on an airplane in London, uncovers a secret conspiracy of China, Russia and Iran to jointly seize the oil reserves of the Middle-East, and witnesses Presidents Clinton and Carter taken hostage with Sartorius, McKinsey, Eva and other activists at a Jerusalem telethon rally cut short by the explosion of a concealed atomic device in a loaned Chinese Terracotta Warrior, then flown by capturing terrorists to Qom, Iran as “human shields” to deter a retaliatory nuclear attack. In Book II, Spiritus Mundi, the Romance they encounter Iran’s Supreme Leader in Qom as the world teeters on the brink of nuclear confrontation and World War III, while mysterious events unfold leading Sartorius and McKinsey from their captivity in the underground nuclear facilities of Qom into a hidden neo-mythic dimension that takes them to a vast ocean and land at the center of the world, Middle Earth, Inner Shambhala, and to involvement in a mysterious Castalian “Crystal Bead Game” linked to the destiny of the human race on earth. They then embark on a quest for the Silmaril, or Missing Seed Crystal to the central island of Omphalos in the Great Central Sea in the middle of the globe, aided by Goethe, the Chinese Monkey King, Captain Nemo, the African God-Hero Ogun, and a Sufi mystic they traverse a ‘wormhole’ at the center of the earth guarded by ‘The Mothers’ and the fallen angel tribe of the Grigori (Genesis 6:1-4) which leads the way to critical meeting of the “Council of the Immortals” at the Black Hole in the center of the Milky Way Galaxy to determine the final fate of the human species. The heroes battle and overcome the treacherous opposition of Mephisto and his satanic subaltern Mundus through their Underworld and Otherworld adventures and successfully plead the cause of the continuation of the human species before the Immortals, returning with the critical Silmaril Crystal. resolving the Crystal Bead Game and thereby inspiring through the Archangel Gabriel a dream in the mind of Iran’s Supreme Leader which brings a new Revelation causing him to release the hostages and an end the crisis. China and Russia stand down from aiding Iran in seizing the Mid-East oil reserves, but in a treacherous blow the Chinese instead utilize their forward-positioned armies to attack their former ally Russia and seize Siberia with its large oil and gas reserves instead. President Barret Osama, America’s newly-elected first black President then invites Russia, Japan and South Korea to join NATO and together they succeed in expelling the Chinese from Siberia and usher in a new Eurasian and global balance of power and a New World Order. Rock Superstar Osiris meanwhile, after undertaking a narcissistic Messianic mission in the wake of the Jerusalem atomic blast is dramatically assassinated on live world-wide television on Jerusalem’s Via Dolorosa by a disillusioned follower. His wife and rock-star partner Isis then leads a spiritual movement to reconcile and unite the clashing religions and catalyze a common global spiritual Renaissance through a Global Progressive Spiritual Alliance which seeks to construct an Inter-faith Temple on the ruins of the atomic blast in Jerusalem. In counter-reaction to the cataclysmic events the world finally implements Sartorius’ crusade for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, but not before Sartorius has himself has died, Moses-like of a heart attack while helping to foil a metaconspiracy mediated by Time Travel in which a fascist agent from the 23rd Century who has time-transited back to our time to alter a benign history by causing WWIII and thus preventing the evolution of a democratic world government, the United States of Earth, which follows him through time and nabs him just in the “nick of time” to prevent Aramgeddon. The book ends with the opening ceremony of the UN Parliamentary Assembly which is attended in Sartorius’ name by his widow Eva Strong, whom Sartorius had fallen in love with and married in the course of the novel, and by their son Euphy, newborn after Sartorius’ death. They are joined in cinematic climax at the ceremony by newly chosen UN Secretary-General Clinton, President Osama and UN Parliamentary Assembly Committee Chairman Andreas Sarkozy who have just received the Nobel Peace Prize for their work in creation of the world’s first world parliamentary assembly within the United Nations, bringing together the representative voices of the peoples of the world in face-to-face assembly and dialogue for the first time in world history. Highlights: All the Highlights of the novel cannot be contained in such a short Introduction, but a few of them would include: 1. Spiritus Mundi is the first novel in world history to portray the creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assemblyon the working model, inter alia, of the European Parliament; 2. Spiritus Mundi is a prophetic geo-political WWIII novel of the near future forseeing a conflict and conspiratorial surprise attack by a resurgent “Axis” of China, Russia and Iran seeking by a decisive blow in jointly seizing the Middle-East oil fields to radically alter the global balance of power vis-a-vis the West in the world and Eurasia. Like Clancy’s The Bear and the Dragon, it forsees the inclusion of Russia in NATO, and goes far beyond in forseeing the inclusion of South Korea and Japan, following a joint Chinese-Russian occupation of a collapsing North Korea and the Axis strike at the Middle-Eastern oil fields; 3. Spiritus Mundi is an exciting espionage thriller involving the American CIA. British MI6, the Chinese MSS, or Ministry of State Security and the Russian SVR contending in a deul of intrigue and espionage; 4. Spiritus Mundi is a Spellbinding Terrorism/Counterterrorism novel involving a global plot to conceal an atomic bomb in a Chinese Teracotta Warrior to be detonated in Jerusalem; 5. Features the romantic and sexual searching and encounters of dozens of idealist activists, rock-stars, CIA and MI6 agents, public-relations spinmeisters and billionaires with a detour into the bi-sexual and gay scenes of Beijing, New York, California, London and Tokyo: 6. Establishes and grounds the new genre of the Global Novel written in Global English, the international language of the world, 7. Spiritus Mundi is a novel of Spiritual Searching featuring the religious searching of Sufi mystic Mohammad ala Rushdie, as well as the loss of faith, depression, attempted suicide and recovery of faith in life of protagonist Sartorius. Follows bogus religious cult leaders and the Messiah-Complex megalomanic-narcissistic mission of rock superstar Osiris that leads to his dramatic assassination on worldwide television in Jerusalem, followed by the religious conversion of his wife and rock-star parner Isis; 8. Features the search for love and sexual fulfillment of Eva Strong, a deeply and realistically portrayed divorced single mother involved in the United Nations campaign, who reveals her tortured heart and soul in her Blog throughout several disastrous sexual affairs and ultimately through her final attainment of love and marriage to Sartorius; 9. Features Sartorius’ experience of a bitter divorce, alienation and reconciliation with his son, his loss of faith and attempted suicide, his battle against drugs and alcoholism, his surreal and sexual adventures in Mexico City, and his subsequent redeeming love and marriage to Eva Strong; 10. Contains the in–depth literary conversations of Sartorius and his best friend, Literature Nobel Laureate Günther Gross, as they conduct worldwide interviews and research for at book they are jointly writing on the emergence of the new institution of World Literature, building on Goethe’s original concept of “Weltliteratur” and its foundations and contributions from all the world’s traditions and cultures; 11. Predicts the emergence of the institution and quest of “The Great Global Novel” as a successor to the prior quest after “The Great American Novel” in the newer age of the globalization of literature in Global English and generally; 12. Features the cross-cultural experiences and search for roots, sexual and spiritual fulfillment and authenticity of Asian-American character Jennie Zheng, and Pari Kasiwar of India; 13. For the first time incorporates in the dramatic narrative flow of action the mythic traditions of all the cultures and literatures of the world, including such figures as Goethe, The Chinese Monkey King, the African God-Hero Ogun, surreal adventures in the ‘Theatro Magico’ in Mexico City bringing to life figures from the Mayan-Aztec Popul Vuh, Hanuman from the Indian classic the Ramayana, and many more; 14. Book Two, Spiritus Mundi, the Romance is a fantastic Fantasy, Myth and Magical Realism Rollercoaster Ride: The more mythic Book Two utilizes a Wellsian motif of Time Travel to explore the making of history and its attempted unmaking (a la Terminator) by a hositile raid from the future on the past, our present, and the foiling of the fascist attempt by an alliance of men and women of goodwill and courage from past, present and future generations united in a Commonwealth of Human Destiny; Like Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day and Welles’ Journey to the Center of the Earth it involves a journey to an interior realm of the “Middle Earth;” it also contains a futuristic travel through a wormhole to the center of our Milky Way Galaxy for a meeting with the “Council of the Immortals” where the fate of the human race will be decided; 15. Is a fantastic read on a roller-coaster ride of high adventure and self-exploration! C Copyright 2014 Robert Sheppard All Rights Reserved NEW BOOK RELEASE: SPIRITUS MUNDI BY ROBERT SHEPPARD NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON! Spiritus Mundi Book Cover.80.1 PUSHCART PRIZE NOMINEE ROBERT SHEPPARD’S SPIRITUS MUNDI NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON! —–INVITATION TO LISTEN TO MAY 17 BLOGTALKRADIO INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR 10:00 AM PST _______________________________________________________________________ We are pleased to announce the launch of SPIRITUS MUNDI on AMAZON , including both Spiritus Mundi, Book I: The Novel (5.0-Star Amazon Rating Average), and Spiritus Mundi, Book II:The Romance (5.0-Star Amazon Rating Average). You can browse and sample both onlline for free now, then purchase immediaetly by clicking on the following Amazon sites: Spiritus Mundi, Book I: The Novel: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CIGJFGO Spiritus Mundi, Book II: The Romance http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CGM8BZG CHECK OUT SPIRITUS MUNDI’S 5.O-STAR GOODREADS RATING AVERAGE & REVIEWS ON GOODREADS: Book I (5.0-Stars on Goodreads) http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17857619-spiritus-mundi-book-i Book II (5.0-Stars on Goodreads) http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17857704-spiritus-mundi-book-ii-the-romance CHECK OUT A FULL SUMMARY OF SPIRITUS MUNDI ON SHELFARI before purchasing at: http://www.shelfari.com/books/36123188/Spiritus-Mundi—Book-I-The-Novel http://www.shelfari.com/books/36123187/Spiritus-Mundi—Book-II-The-Romance Spiritus Mundi is also available on SMASHWORDS in ALL FORMATS: Book I (5.0 Stars on Smashwords) https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/303856 Book II (5.0 Stars on Smashwords) https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/303798 Spiritus Mundi is also now available at the following sites: Spiritus Mundi: Book I: The Novel https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/303856 http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/spiritus-mundi-robert-sheppard/1115113181?ean=2940044432598&itm=1&usri=2940044432598 http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Spiritus-Mundi-Book-The-Novel/book-vYffC7MUUEyN0wJTQSpgFQ/page1.html https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/spiritus-mundi/id634577546?mt=11 http://www.diesel-ebooks.com/item/SW00000303856/Sheppard-Robert-Spiritus-Mundi-Book-I-The-Novel/1.html Spiritus Mundi – Book II: The Romance https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/303798 http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/spiritus-mundi-robert-sheppard/1115113152?ean=2940044433182&itm=1&usri=2940044433182 http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Spiritus-Mundi-Book-II-The/book-PlMhvFBI5USTGkLFnO1TQA/page1.html https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/spiritus-mundi-book-ii-romance/id634586781?mt=11 http://www.diesel-ebooks.com/item/SW00000303798/Sheppard-Robert-Spiritus-Mundi-Book-II-The-Romance/1.html CELEBRATING SPIRITUS MUNDI’S AMAZON RELEASE DAY WITH MAY 17 BLOGTALKRADIO AUTHOR INTERVIEW WITH DR. ROBERT ROSE 10:00 AM PST __________________________________________________________________________ We also invite you to listen in to the BlogTalkRadio Interview with Dr. Robert Rose interviewing Robert Sheppard on the topic of “World Consciousness and the Emergencer of World Literature” pre-recorded May 17, 10:00 AM, PST: How to Tune In: ============ You can tune in by clicking on the following BlogTalkRadio link: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/icdrrose/2013/05/17/robert-sheppard-global-consciousness or you can listen in anytime to the recorded Podcasts of the May 17 Interview, or past Interviews: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/icdrrose http://www.blogtalkradio.com/icdrrose/2012/08/01/robert-sheppard–spiritus-mundi-a-novel Spiritus Mundi, Novel by Robert Sheppard: Table of Contents Spiritus Mundi Contents Book One Spiritus Mundi: The Novel Chapters 1-33 1.Departure (Beijing) 2.A Failing Quest (New York) 3.War Council & Counteroffensive (Geneva) 4.New Beginnings (London) 5.Republic of Letters (Berlin) 6.Fathers and Sons (Washington,D.C.) 7.Ulysses: Blogo Ergo Sum (Beijing) 8.Frequently Asked Questions (London) 9.In the Middle Kingdom (Beijing) 10. Past and Present (London-South Africa) 11. Telemachus (Washington, D.C.) 12. The Everlasting Nay (Beijing) 13. My Brother’s Keeper (London) 14. In the Global Village (Beijing-Tokyo) 15. Deceits and Revelations (London) 16. Be Ready for Anything (Beijing) 17. The Obscure Object of Desire (London-Pyongyang) 18. Sufferings (Beijing) 19. Of the Yearnings of the Caged Spirit (London) 20. Cyclops (Washington, D.C.) 21. The Engines of Illusion (Beijing) 22. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (London) 23. The Temptation of the Sirens (Beijing) 24. Truth or Consequences (London) 25. Lazarus Laughed (Beijing) 26. Neptune’s Fury & The Perils of the Sea (The Maldive Islands) Naval Diaries and Ship’s Logs of Admiral Sir George Rose Sartorius (1780-1875) 27. Penelope (London) 28. The Volcano’s Underworld (Mexico City) Teatro Magico 29. The Everlasting Yea (London) 30. Paradise Regained (Little Gidding) 31. To the South of Eden (Kenya-to Midrand-Johannesburg South Africa) 32. In a Glass Darkly (London) 33. Spiritus Mundi Book Two Spiritus Mundi: The Romance Chapters 1-21 1.Gerusalemme Liberata & Orlando Furioso (Jerusalem) 2.In a Glass Darkly (London) 3.Great Expectations (Jerusalem) 4.The Parable of the Cave (Qom, Iran) 5.The Xth Day of the Crisis (London) 6.The Supreme Leader & The Three Messiahs (Qom) 7.Going for the Jugular (London) 8.The Night Journey, Goethe & The Monkey King (Qom) 9.The Central Sea, The Crystal Bead Game & The Quest 10. The Island of Omphalos & The Mothers 11. The Council of the Immortals & The Trial By Ordeal 12. Nemesis 13. Armageddon (London) 14. The Fever Breaks 15. High Noon & Showdown at the OK Corral (Washington, D.C.) 16. Ecce Homo (Jerusalem) 17. Deliverance (London/Lhasa) 18. For Every Action…. (Moscow/Beijing) 19. The Burial of the Dead (London/Little Gidding) 20. Spiritus Mundi (London/Jerusalem) 21. In My End is My Beginning —-The Convening of the First Meeting of the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (New York) Appendix 1: A United Nations Parliamentary Assembly: Frequently Asked Questions Appendix 2: Spiritus Mundi: Index of Principal Characters C Copyright Robert Sheppard 2014 All Rights ReservedShare this:

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In Memoriam: Boutros Boutros-Ghali, UN Secretary-General & Chief Proponent of A United Nations Parliamentary Assembly

Former United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali (1922-2016)

Former United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali (1922-2016)

In Memoriam: Boutros Boutros-Ghali, former Secretary-General of the United Nations———-His Life’s Final Mission  to Create a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly Yields A Key Progressive Foreign Policy Platform Initiative for the Sanders & Clinton 2016 Election Campaigns

 

February 16 marked the loss of one of the world’s great global statesmen, former United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali who passed away in his native Cairo, Egypt at the age of 93 after a magnificent life of service, both national and international. But despite his age, he was by no means looking backwards at the time of his death. To the contrary, he was actively spearheading a new campaign to revolutionize and democratize the United Nations organization for the 21st Century through the establishment of a “United Nations Parliamentary Assembly,” a new third organ of the UN alongside the existing Security Council and the General Assembly, which would be the functional equivalent at the global level of the successful working model of the EU European Parliament, the first major consultative international body democratically elected by multiple states and directly accountable to the electing people of its constituent nations, and not controlled by their national governments or powerholders—that is to say to incarnate the first working model of democratic accountability in global governance. Perhaps like Moses, another visionary “Out of Africa” he may have been fated in old age to lead his believers to the far bank of the River Jordan to see but not to enter “the promised land” himself, yet to pass the torch to the next generation who would fulfill his great dream and destiny, crafted for him by hands larger than his own. What is certain is that on his deathbed he has left us a clear clarion call to join and bear to final fruition his Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly http://en.unpacampaign.org/index.php . Accordingly, the creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly should be a central plank of the Foreign Policy Platform of all Progressive presidential candidates in the 2016 election year, including Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and all candidates claiming to represent the interests of the people nationally and globally.

I knew Boutros Boutros-Ghali as a colleague over two decades in the promotion of the idea of global democracy through the creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, primarily while I was working in China as a Professor of International Law at Peking University, China People’s Renmin University, the China University of Political Science and Law and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) Law Institute and Graduate School and other institutions from 1993 to 2013 and he was Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1992-1996. In 2000 I wrote a paper for the “Millennium Forum” of the UN “Towards a United Nations World Parliament,” published in the Asia-Pacific Law & Policy Journal of the University of Hawaii, which pioneered the concept of a UN Parliamentary Assembly and became globally known. Later I became a Senior Associate of the Committee for a Democratic United Nations, headquartered in Germany, which was the primary organizer of the Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, and Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali and I began to work together for the campaign, though I mostly in China and he in Egypt. He, because of his leadership and prominence, was able to take the premiere position in giving the campaign energy and credibility, despite his advancing age and health problems.

During this time I knew him to be what one might call one of the “grand cosmopolitans” yet was able to keep a healthful dimension of youthful idealism and openness to the new that often fades with the degree of experience he went through. He was an essentially private man, workaholic, controlling, out of the mould of a European tradition perhaps fading, but which I had an appreciation for, despite being American, having studied, worked and traveled in Germany and Europe, as well as amoung Europeans, diplomats and multinational businessmen in China over two decades. He was also a “man between” cultures and religions, perhaps of a greater Enlightenment, having come himself from a Coptic Christian yet Arabic background in the great Muslim state of Egypt in which his grandfather had been Prime Minister and his father Finance Minister before he had served as foreign minister during Sadat’s peace initiative with Begin which ended in asassination by way of Nobel prizes. Some said he himself was the personal model for the literary Coptic financier Nessim Hosnani, the embodiment of the “cosmopolitan class” in Lawrence Durrell’s classic “The Alexandria Quartet.”

 

His early life prepared him well for his later life. He graduated from Cairo University in 1946 after the war, then received a PhD in International Law from the University of Paris and a Diploma in International Relations from Sciences Po in 1949. He then served as a Professor of International Law and International Relations at Cairo University and President of the Centre of Political and Strategic Studies in 1975. He then worked or did research abroad at Columbia Univeristy, the Hague Academy of International Law, Paris University and in Korea.

Boutros Boutros-Ghali and Moshe Dayan Before the UN Security Council on Behalf of Peace Accords

Boutros Boutros-Ghali and Moshe Dayan Before the UN Security Council on Behalf of Peace Accords

He then served in the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, rising to head the ministry when Anwar Sadat made his dramatic move to sign a peace treaty with Israel under Begin, a course of action resulting in peace, the Nobel Prize and assassination. He finally rose to Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1992 to 1996.

 

Boutros Boutros-Ghali with Anwar Sadat at Peace Accords with Israel

Boutros Boutros-Ghali with Anwar Sadat at Peace Accords with Israel

 

His career, though successful, was not without its ups and downs, however. Having taken the reins he was confronted with successive crises in the former Yugoslavia, including the wars in Bosnia, Serbia and Kosovo, the genocide in Rwanda, the Somalia-Mogadishu affair, and ongoing African conflicts in Angola, Mozambique, Congo and elsewhere. Along with Pres. Clinton he drew criticism for failure to control the genocide in Rwanda.

At the end of his term he found President Bill Clinton had decided he had become a political liability and had conspired to replace him, ultimately with Kofi Anan, over the objections of the European allies. After retiring from the UN, despite advanced age he remained active as the head of La Francophonie, and in such organizations as the South Centre, the Hague Centre for International Law and the National Centre for Human Rights. After 2007 he spearheaded efforts towards the creation of the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly.

 

What is a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly?

A United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA) for the first time would give citizen representatives, not only states, a direct and influential role in global policy. The assembly would not replace existing UN bodies but would be an additional means to integrate parliamentarians more effectively into the shaping of globalization. It would effectively extend the proven model of a an elective consultative body modeled on the European Parliament to the global scale of the United Nations. It would not expand the powers of the UN beyond their present limits nor constitute any form of attempted “world government” limiting the powers of national governments in any way.

Possible Logo of the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly

Possible Logo of the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly

As a transitional step until direct elections become practical if necessary, the UN Parliamentary Assembly could consist of delegates from national and possibly regional parliaments, reflecting their political diversity as well as ensuring gender equality. The UNPA would therefore include members of minority parties whose opinions are often not represented in the United Nations. Unlike current UN ambassadors, UNPA representatives would not be subject to the authority of national governments. These parliamentarians would be free to ask probing questions, raise sensitive issues, and table innovative proposals for consideration by the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Bretton Woods financial institutions and other UN bodies.

The great problems of our times – such as war, disease, poverty and climate change – cannot be solved by individual nations acting alone. Direct citizen representation could help the world develop a greater understanding of itself as a global community. At the highest levels of the United Nations, a UNPA could function as a world conscience and watchdog, and a catalyst for further reforms. Over time, the UNPA could evolve from a consultative body to a world parliament with genuine rights of information, participation and control.

A consultative Parliamentary Assembly at the UN could be established as a subsidiary body by a vote in the General Assembly under Article 22, without changing the UN Charter. The historical record demonstrates, as with the Land Mines Treaty and the International Criminal Court, that if a few countries urged on by civil society take the lead, significant transformation at the international level is indeed possible.

The “Appeal for the Establishment for a Parliamentary Assembly at the United Nations” promoted by the UNPA-Campaign reflects the consenus among like-minded parliamentarians, civil society representatives, activists and scholars regarding the proposal.

The central mission of the creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly is to make the United Nations and the entire system of global governance and international relations less dominated by the narrow concerns of nation-state power gamesmanship and service to multinational economic elites and more focused on and accountable to the interests of the people and peoples of the world. In other words it seeks to close the “democratic deficit” that has allowed international decision making to be hijacked for the narrow interests of the power elites and economic elites of the world and make the international system serve the people through democratic processes and democratic oversight.

 

What Has the Campaign for A United Nations Parliamentary Assembly Achieved So Far?

The Campaign for the Establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA) is a global network of parliamentarians and non-governmental organizations advocating citizen’s representation at the United Nations.

At the Campaign’s launch in April 2007 at more than one dozen events on five continents an international “Appeal for the Establishment of a UN Parliamentary Assembly” was published. In April 2009 the Campaign issued a “Call for Global Democratic Oversight of International Financial and Economic Institutions”. The Campaign’s statements are supported by individuals from 157 countries, among them 743 members of parliament, and 398 NGOs from all around the world.

Five international conferences have taken place so far: In November 2007 in the Palais des Nations in Geneva under the patronage of former UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, in November 2008 in the European Parliament in Brussels, in October 2009 in New York, in October 2010 in the Senate of Argentina in Buenos Aires, and in October 2013 again in the European Parliament in Brussels.

The Campaign’s Secretariat is led by the Committee for a Democratic United Nations.

To sign up to support the Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly go to:

http://en.unpacampaign.org/index.php

 

Who Supports Creating a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly?

 

EU’s Foreign Minister confirms her support of a UN Parliamentary Assembly

Remarks of the EU’s High Representative at an event in Rome

Speaking at an event in Rome, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, expressed her continued support for the proposal of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, UNPA.

“I have not changed my mind since I was a member of the

Mogherini EU Foreign Minister

EU Foreign Minister Mogherini Declaring Support for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly

Italian Parliament: a UN Parliamentary Assembly could be a very useful tool,” Mrs. Mogherini said in Rome. She continued: “I don’t know how realistic it is to conceive its creation in the short run. But I think that a UNPA would help the UN to be more effective and help the system of global governance to create connections with an active and responsible citizenship. Indeed, a UN Parliamentary Assembly could strengthen the link between a system of global governance, which is remote by definition, and a citizenship that includes a global dimension.”

 

Endorsement by numerous former UN officials

Prominent supporters of the appeal with ties to the UN include former UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, former Under-Secretary-Generals Shashi Tharoor, Brian Urquhart and Heitor Gurgulino de Souza, former Assistant Secretary-General and former President of Slovenia, Danilo Türk, former Assistant Secretary-General Anders Wijkman, the former commander of the UN mission in Rwanda, Roméo Dallaire, the UN’s former rapporteurs on the right to food, Olivier de Schutter and Jean Ziegler, the former rapporteurs on torture Theo van Boven and Manfred Nowak, and former UNESCO Director-General Federico Mayor.

The campaign calls on the UN’s member states to start deliberations on the proposal. Last year, the UN’s rapporteur for the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, Alfred de Zayas, recommended that the UN should further study the matter.

 

Global Commission recommends a parliamentary body to overcome UN’s democratic deficit

Report of the Commission on Global Security, Justice & Governance presented in The Hague

As part of a revitalization of the United Nations, the report of the Commission on Global Security, Justice & Governance that was presented in the Peace Palace in The Hague

Former US Secretary of State Madeline Albright and former Nigerian Foreign Minister Ibrahim Gambari, Co-Chairs of the UN Commission Endorse Creation of a New UN Parliamentary Network

Former US Secretary of State Madeline Albright and former Nigerian Foreign Minister Ibrahim Gambari, Co-Chairs of the UN Commission Endorse Creation of a New UN Parliamentary Network

recommends the establishment of a “UN Parliamentary Network.” According to the report titled “Confronting the Crisis of Global Governance,” such a new parliamentary body would constitute a “pragmatic approach toward strengthening UN-citizen relations and overcoming the world body’s democratic deficit.”

The document explains that the parliamentary network could be established by the UN General Assembly according to Article 22 of the UN’s Charter. “It would bring together parliamentarians elected from their national legislatures, to discuss and advise on issues in UN governance that concern citizens worldwide,” the report says. The establishment of this body is understood as “a vital step that can be taken in the immediate term” that is complementary to long-term efforts towards “the creation of a standing, formally constituted UN second chamber.” The Commission points out that the parliamentary network would focus “on UN governance itself, and on facilitating more accountable and inclusive decision-making at the global level.”

The report and the Commission’s key findings were presented by its Co-Chairs, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Nigerian Foreign Minister and UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari. According to Secretary Albright, the world requires “more capable tools of global governance, with different kinds of public, private, and mixed institutions designed for twenty-first-century challenges.”

Recommendations highlighted during the presentation include the creation of a “”next-generation UN conflict mediation and peace operations capacity,” strengthening the responsibility to “Prevent, Protect, and Rebuild,” innovating climate governance, improving G20-UN-Bretton Woods institutional coordination, the expansion of the UN Security Council and a restraint in the use of the veto, or a strengthening of the International Court of Justice.

The international Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly, an informal network of parliamentarians and civil society organizations, applauded the Commission’s support for the creation of a UN Parliamentary Network. “Seventy years after the UN’s establishment it is high time for a formal UN body that allows elected representatives to be involved in the world organization’s affairs,” said the campaign’s coordinator, Andreas Bummel.

 

German Parliament Endorsing Creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly

German Parliament Endorsing Creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly

 

German parliament urges the government to examine a UN Parliamentary Assembly

Parliament adopts joint motion of coalition parties CDU/CSU and SPD

In a joint motion of the governing coalition parties the German parliament urged the government under Chancellor Angela Merkel to support efforts to reform the United Nations that aim at making the world organization more efficient and more transparent. The democratic legitimacy of the UN needs to be guaranteed through modernization, the motion says. “This includes to examine the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly,” the parliament stated.

 

Civil society assessment of global governance: It’s inefficient and undemocratic

 

Global governance “isn’t working,” new report says, stresses urgent need of improved democratic participation

CIVICUS, a global non-governmental organization that identifies itself as world alliance for citizen participation, has released a new assessment of national and international government organizations. In detailing the recent turmoil that has driven a wedge between governments and citizens in countries like Brazil, Turkey, and Venezuela, the group determined

Civicus Civil Society Report

Civicus Civil Society Report

in its State of Civil Society Report 2014 that people across the world are losing faith in both national and global institutions.

Of particular focus in the report was the inability of international government organizations to adequately respond to the needs of its constituents, and these organizations’ overall lack of vital democratic mechanisms that would allow greater input by citizens into the management of world governance. “Global governance isn’t working. Global problems still lack global people-oriented solutions,” the report sums up and warns that “international governance institutions with limited scope for people’s participation risk becoming irrelevant.”

CIVICUS highlighted how global governance organizations, due to their lack of accountability to the global populace, are instead influenced by the whims of wealthy nations and powerful multinational corporations. In turn, this causes these institutions to de-emphasize issues that matter to the average citizen, and further fuels the notion that global governance is too disconnected from the needs of common people. The report states that a stronger mandate for democratic participation in world governing bodies would alleviate the influence of the wealthy in these institutions, and would also allow citizens a chance to bring some of their most pressing concerns to the forefront.

Right to democratic global governance

The report includes guest contributions on civil society perspectives on the state of global governance. The director of the Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly, Andreas Bummel, writes in an article on the campaign’s proposal that “intergovernmental bodies are largely disconnected from democratic oversight, participation and deliberation.” He stresses that “the right to democratic governance” as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is “indivisible and cannot be limited to the national level” as “agenda-setting and decision-making on important policies are shifting to the UN and its specialized institutions, as well as to international fora such as the G8 and the G20.” A UN Parliamentary Assembly, he says, would be a means to “improve global governance by adding a democratic and independent complement to existing intergovernmental bodies.”

In the report’s foreword, CIVICUS Secretary-General Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah stresses that “there is an urgent need to democratize global governance, to support greater participation of citizens in decision-making and to engender an environment that enables civil society to substantively engage in these processes.”

Website of the State of Civil Society Report 2014

 

 

A UNITED NATIONS PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY: AN IDEA WHOSE TIME HAS COME

The great problems of our times – such as the World Economic Crisis, war and peace, Global Warming and climate change, international terrorism, epidemic diseases such as AIDS -– cannot be solved by individual nations acting alone. It is more and more obvious in our Era of Globalization that the most fundamental problems affecting the lives of individuals can only be addressed by global action on a worldwide basis, and that the mechanisms of the past for doing so, such as informal intergovernmental cooperation as in the G-20 and such treaty conventions as the glacially-paced failed Climate Change conferences of Copenhagen, South Africa and Warsaw are ineffective, slow, unwieldly and so divorced from the people as to suffer fatal democratic deficits.

At the same time our international institutions have been slowly evolving more effective models for international and global governance, most successfully in the case of the European Parliament of the European Uniion (EU), which brings together the elected representatives of 27 European Union member states in a permanent parliamentary assembly representing not simply the member states and their governments, but the independent elected representatives of all segments of European public opinion, whether in government or in opposition. The pioneering model of the European Parliament has now been copied across the world with analogous parliamentary assemblies now in successful operation, such as the Pan-African Parliament of the African Union (AU), the Arab Parliament of the Arab League and the Latin-American Parliament (Parlatino). Now that the concept of an international parliamentary assembly has been proven on the ground passing the test of time and reality, the time is now ripe for the creation of such an institution on a global scale as a new organ of the United Nations beside the existing General Assembly and Security Council to enable the United Nations and our system of global governance to be strengthened to an extent necessary to solve our globalized problems in a globalized world, and to bring the United Nations and its related international institutions into closer communication, responsiveness and accountability to the peoples of the world, not just governments in power, and by so doing address the democratic deficit in our system of global governance.

An energetic coalition under the leadership of former United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali is now working hard and effectively to bring about the creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, spearheaded by the Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly whose website is accessible at:

Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly: http://en.unpacampaign.org/about/unpa/index.php

Former United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, leader of the Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA)

The European Parliament has endorsed the creation of such a UN Parliamentary Assembly and it is supported by hundreds of Members of European Parliament and similar support groups across the world. The fact that it is supported by the former UN Secretary-General and the European Parliament and Pan-African Parliament proves both that it is a highly practical, tested and workable idea whose time has come.

The Proposed Logo of the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly featuring the “benches” at which the elected representatives would sit.

A United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA) for the first time would give citizen representatives, not only states, a direct and influential role in global policy. The assembly would not replace existing UN bodies but would be an additional means to integrate parliamentarians more effectively into the shaping of globalization. In tabling this initiative it is also important to clarify what a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly would not be. It would not be a world government. It would not in any way attempt to make law on a global scale or in any way limit the sovereignty of existing national governments. The existing United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council would continue to exist side-by-side with the new UNPA and would continue their existing work, just as the national governments of the EU along with the European Council continue to function alongside the European Parliament. The creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, at least initially would not increase or decrease the sovereignty of UN member states nor alter the powers of the existing UN organs, the Generally Assembly and Security Council. Instead, it would add the voice of the peoples of the world to the existing institutions and increase their accountability to those peoples, from whom they derive all their existing powers.

Direct citizen representation could help the world develop a greater understanding of itself as a global community. At the highest levels of the United Nations, a UNPA could function as a world conscience and watchdog, and a catalyst for further reforms. Over time, the UNPA could evolve from a consultative body to a world parliament with genuine rights of information, participation and control.

As a transitional step until global direct elections become practical, the UN Parliamentary Assembly could consist of delegates from national and possibly regional parliaments, reflecting their political diversity. The UNPA would therefore include members of minority parties whose opinions are often not represented in the United Nations. Unlike current UN ambassadors, UNPA representatives would not be subject to the authority, direction or control of national governments. These parliamentarians would be free to ask probing questions, raise sensitive issues, and table innovative proposals for consideration by the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Bretton Woods financial institutions and other UN bodies, just as the European Parliament successfully functions within the European Union.

Contrary to popular belief, creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly would be procedurally quite easy as all that is required is a majority vote of the UN General Assembly, and its creation is not subject to any veto power under the United Nations Charter. A consultative Parliamentary Assembly at the UN could be established as a subsidiary body by a simple vote in the General Assembly under Article 22, without changing the UN Charter. The historical record demonstrates, as with the Land Mines Treaty and the International Criminal Court, that if a few countries urged on by civil society take the lead, significant transformation at the international level is indeed possible. “We the People” of the World can bring about this fundamental democratic change through an energetic “People Power” campaign pressuring our national governments to vote “Yes” on the proposal in the UN General Assembly.

If the creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly is so drastically needed to address the core problems of our age and it is so procedurally easy to accomplish it, you may ask, why hasn’t it been done already? One reason is that the proposal has often been misunderstood when raised, both from those who have hoped or feared too much from the proposal and those who have expected too little. Many people dismiss the idea as an unworkable utopian dream by mistakenly thinking that the UNPA would hope to bring about a “One World Government” replacing or subordinating existing nation-states in one swoop. But this is a “red herring” and “straw-man” argument irrelevant to reality. The United Nations Parliamentary Assembly would not reduce the sovereignty or freedom of action of any national governemnt and is neither utopian nor a threat. Its work would be essentially similar and of restricted scope to that of the European Parliament within the EU, which no one sees as a threat.

A second reason for resistance to the idea is the natural disinclination of existing governments, regimes and powerholders to any limitation of their personal powers. But the idea of democracy on the national or international level is precisely that power holders MUST be made accountable to their peoples and that applies to the international arena as well as the national arena. Clemenceau famously said that “war is too important to be left to the generals.” and a fortiori government and global governance in an age of globalization is far too important to the lives of the people to be left to the nation-states, the diplomats, heads-of-state, regimes, generals and power holders of the world, and you and I and the peoples of the world must insist that they finally be made accountable to the people and their interests above and beyond the “power game” interests of those functionaries and politicians who purport to act in the people’s name but place priority on the exercise of their own power. That is what democracy, national and international, is all about.

We urge all the “People of the World” to support Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali and the Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, and encourage you to access their website to learn more and contribute your support. We also urge all Americans to write to President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry to introduce and support the proposal for its creation in the UN General Assembly. Leadership in its creation would be the crowning achievement of this outgoing administration and and merit the awarding of a further edition of the Nobel Peace Prize for all concerned.

 

 

Spiritus Mundi Novel by Robert Sheppard--Bookcover

Spiritus Mundi Novel by Robert Sheppard–Bookcover

 

The novel Spiritus Mundi by Robert Sheppard is the first novel in World Literature to expressly illustrate and urge the creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly for global democracy. Below is the an FAQ, or “Frequently Asked Questions” concerning the concept of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly which appears as an embedded part of the novel. The novel may also be accessed at:

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APPENDIX 1: FROM SPIRITUS MUNDI NOVEL BY ROBERT SHEPPARD

A UNITED NATIONS PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

Contents

General questions………………………………………………………………………………………………….. ….1

1.1. What is a parliamentary assembly?…………………………………………………………………. 1

1.2. What is so important about a UNPA?………………………………………………………………..1

1.3. Since publication of the strategy paper, what new aspects did come up?……………….1

1.4. What is the Global Marshall Plan and what has it to do with the UNPA project?……..1

1.5. Don’t we have enough bodies and bureaucracy already at the international level?….2

1.6. What are the preconditions of a world parliament? Isn’t the idea simply an utopia?…2

1.7. Following the principle of subsidiarity, government should be brought as near to the people as possible and people should enjoy maximum freedom within the law to run their

own lives. Would a global assembly really help to advance such freedom in any significant

way?………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… …3

1.8. Before we can elect an assembly for the world, the world should be willing to become

a governable entity. Instead of moving in that direction, it is becoming more fragmented

and polarized. Isn’t this obstructing the idea to set up a UNPA?…………………………………. 3

1.9. Doesn’t the Inter Parliamentary Union already fulfill the function of a UNPA?…………3

1.10. . What makes you think this would really work?—–Are there any successful real world experiences to draw upon?………………………………………………………. …………….…4

1.11. What’s the history of the idea of a world parliament going back to WWI and earlier, and why hasn’t it been realized since that time? ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 4

1.12. Wouldn’t international cooperation become even more complicated and ineffective if

a UNPA would have a say?………………………………………………………………………………….. 4

1.13. Not all UN politics are to the good of the people why then concentrate on the UN

at all?……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 5

Creation of a UNPA………………………………………………………………………………………………… 9

2.1. . Wouldn’t a UNPA be too hard to establish? Is a reform of the UN Charter needed to establish a UNPA? Wouldn’t some big country just veto it?………………………………………. 9

2.2. Where will the UNPA be located?……………………………………………………………………. 9

2.3. Which are the steps to be taken for the creation of this new body?……………………….. 10

2.4. How much does a UNPA cost and where would the money come from?……………….. 10

2.5. Couldn’t civil society organize its own world parliament? Why draw upon national parliaments?…………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 11

Design of a UNPA………………………………………………………………………………………………………….12

3.1. How many members will each country have?……………………………………………………. 7

3.2. If such a planetary assembly would be popularly elected, a third of the seats would go

to China and India. What voice would people from smaller countries have?…………………. 7

3.3. How can one have free elections for the UNPA in countries that do not allow free

elections for their citizens at all?……………………………………………………………………………. 7

3.4. Are there other models than that recommended by CUNPPA? ………………………………..8

3.5. How can the ordinary citizen participate in the work of a UNPA?………………………….. 8

3.6. Why should the maximum number of delegates range between 700 and 900?……….. 8

Rights and functions………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 8

4.1. What would a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly do?—–What would the main functions of a UNPA be?………………………………………………………………………………………. 8

4.2. Would delegations of the UNPA have the right to participate in international governmental conferences? …………………………………………………………………………………. 9

4.3. Can you give some examples where parliamentary control of international action

would have been crucial?…………………………………………………………………………………….. 9

4.4. What is the ultimate aim of establishing a UNPA?……………………………………………. 10

Campaign for a UNPA…………………………………………………………………………………………………… 10

5.1.What can I do to support the campaign?…………………………………………………………. 10

5.2. Which governments support the UNPA proposal?……………………………………………. 10

5.3. Which parliaments support the UNPA proposal?……………………………………………… 11

5.4. Who else is supporting the idea?…………………………………………………………………… 11

5.5 What Testimonials and Statements of Support has the Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly received from Parliaments, NGO’s and notable individuals?

5.6. What are the views inside the IPU about the CUNPPA campaign? ……………………….11

5.7. What if the United States or another veto power does not support the proposal?….. 12

United Nations Parliamentary Assembly FAQ

General questions

1.1 What is a parliamentary assembly?

An international parliamentary assembly is a consultative body attached to an international

organization. It is usually composed of parliamentarians appointed by the parliaments of the organization’s member states. Examples of existing parliamentary assemblies include: The

Pan African Parliament, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Francophonie. A Parliamentary Assembly may also be constituted by direct international elections, as in the case of the European Parliament of the European Union, to date the most highly evolved example and model of a Parliamentary Assembly. Existing models may evolve into the future to assume the greater powers of a true constitutional Parliament. However, as yet no parliamentary assembly exists on the global level. For a fuller discussion of the concept of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly see:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Parliamentary_Assembly

1.2 What is so important about a UNPA?

Currently, the governance of the international system is a process exclusively between governments. An international representation of citizens or parliamentary control of international governmental action and international organizations as such, does not exist. A United Nations Parliamentary Assembly would address this democracy deficit or “democratic deficit” by introducing the voice of the citizens into the United Nations and international politics. The membership of the assembly would reflect the composition of national parliaments and thus would also include members of opposition parties who are not participating in government. Furthermore, in contrast to government diplomats, members of the UNPA would be free from instructions, free to take a global perspective and to represent the world community as such. In addition, a UNPA would be an important link between the citizens and the United Nations who step by step could be vested with information, participation and control rights and therefore would act as body for international parliamentary oversight. It could serve as a parliamentary umbrella for international cooperation. By addressing issues concerning global governance and United Nations reform, it could become a political catalyst for the further development of the international system and eventually could be transformed into a principal organ of a reformed United Nations.

Furthermore a Parliamentary Assembly is increasingly necessary as a matter of efficiency to provide a permanent and continuous forum in international treaty negotiations such as the Climate Change conferences in Bali, Copenhagen and Durban, and to make them more democratic. The experience of the Climate Change, WTO and other specialized international conferences is that it is simply not workable to merely convene a treaty Conference every two, five or eight years for two weeks to deal with these subjects. There needs to be a permanent assembly with specialized committees working continuously on debate, consensus building and treaty drafting on these matters with continuous dialogue and feedback between governments and civil society to avoid the too sporadic, short and demonstration disrupted plenary conferences which are now far too slow and obsolete.

1.3 Since publication of the strategy paper, what new aspects have come up?

The strategy paper of the Committee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (CUNPPA) on the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA) was released in September 2004 and published as paperback book in May 2005. The discussion on the recommendations included in the paper is an open ended process. At some point, the Committee will publish a follow up paper reviewing its strategy and considering enhancements and changes.

Important aspects which came up with regard to the basic concept are the inclusion of a delegation of the European Parliament into a UNPA (being a directly elected parliament), the possible inclusion of representatives of indigenous peoples, means to guarantee gender equality in the UNPA and the question whether and how local decision makers may be included as well.

1.4. What is the Global Marshall Plan and what has it to do with the UNPA

project?

The Global Marshall Plan (GMP) has developed out of a nongovernmental initiative. It aims at a better design of globalization and global economic processes: a so called worldwide“ eco-social market economy.“ The focus lies on an improved global structural framework, sustainable development, the eradication of poverty, environmental protection and equity, altogether thought to be resulting in a new global economic miracle. The Global Marshall

Plan includes the following five core goals:

1) implementation of the globally agreed upon UN Millennium Goals by 2015;

2) raising of an additional 100 billion US$ a year required to achieve the Millennium Goals, to enhance worldwide development;

3) fair and competitively, neutral raising of these necessary resources, also by burdening global financial and other transactions;

4) gradual establishment of a worldwide eco-social market economy with an improved global policy framework through the interlinking of established rules and agreed upon

standards for economic, environmental and social issues (WTO, ILO and UNEP standards);

5) new forms of appropriation of funds directed to the grassroots level, while at the same time fighting corruption.

In the view of the Committee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly the connection of the Global Marshall Plan and the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly proposal is twofold.

Firstly, the dual aims of enhancing economic and political opportunities for the people are deeply interwoven. Democracy embraces both fair economic and fair political participation in a given society. They are two sides of the same coin which cannot do without each other in the long run. On a global scale, the effort to establish a UNPA therefore covers the political side while the GMP covers the economic one.

On an operational level a UNPA as independent and democratically legitimate body could have a the function of guaranteeing accountability of the GMP’s use of money. Administering sums as large as 100 billion US$ a year makes effective control and oversight necessary. This could be provided by an international parliamentary body such as the UNPA.

Links: http://globalmarshallplan.org/

1.5. Don’t we have enough bodies and bureaucracy already at the international level?

It’s true that the UN system embraces a multitude of programmes, funds, specialized agencies, institutes and other entities (see chart: http://www.un.org/aboutun/chart.html). While there certainly are opportunities for more efficiency and streamlining, one has to keep in mind that the UN system is designed to take care of the wellbeing of 7 billion people on the international level. Given the growing tasks transferred to the UN by its member states, the UN Secretariat as the core of the system, for example, is very modest in size and budget.

In fact, it cannot fulfill its functions properly because it is not financed and staffed well enough. It has a total staff of about 7,500 and a budget of about 1. 4 billion US Dollars. The New York City Fire Department’s staff alone, for example, is more than two times larger. The combined expenditures of the complete UN system, including, for example, peacekeeping operations, was at 12.3 billion US Dollars in 2001 – less than 2 US Dollars per world inhabitant and year (figures: http://www.globalpolicy.org/finance/tables/tabsyst.htm). The City of New York, in comparison, currently has an annual budget of 52.9 billion US Dollars and thus spends about 6,500 US Dollar per inhabitant and year.

1.6. What are the preconditions of a world parliament? Isn’t the idea simply a utopia?

The idea of a world parliament directly elected by the world’s population with legislative powers embedded into an effective system of global governance—–a true and comprehensive World Parliament in a legally constituted and fully functioning constitutional World Government certainly still is an unrealistic utopia today and the Committee does not advocate or go so far at the present time, which would most likely be unworkable. Instead it advocates a first, but limited step in that direction, creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly of an advisory nature based on already proven models such as the European Parliament of the European Union. In practice the idea of a unified government of the world, or a “United States of Earth” would face insurmountable difficulties because of the extreme social and economic disparities and political differences in development and interests in the world which exist today.

Starting from a broad notion of democracy, encompassing both political and social participation, the concept of international democracy cannot be reduced to merely establishing a new body. This approach could even corrupt the actual intention. The concept rather includes comprehensive questions of human development as well, such as how to create fair economic opportunities for everyone, thus taking on the challenge to reduce extreme poverty and to bridge the wealth divide, or GINI Coeffecient, within as well as between countries. The basic precondition for a world parliament therefore is a minimum of common economic and social welfare in the world which does not yet exist.

On the side of political participation, there are similar problems. The direct, democratic election of delegates to a world parliament in undemocratic states, for example, is simply not possible. Thus, the creation of a fully democratic world parliament, in addition, depends on the development of stable democratic systems at the level of nation states as well.

These issues in mind, however, the Committee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly believes that first steps are possible and urgently needed. This is why it advocates the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly.

1.7. Following the principle of subsidiarity, government should be brought as near to the people as possible and people should enjoy maximum freedom within the law to run their own lives. Would a global assembly really help to advance such freedom in any significant way?

Yes. A United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA) would help to solve global problems which by their nature cannot be dealt with effectively on a local level but affect people’s daily lives. By bringing the voice of the people into the UN system and international relations, a UNPA would contribute to a better understanding and awareness of such global problems. Creating fair economic and social opportunities for the people, for example, is not only a matter of national, regional or local concern. It is also a matter of economic and financial relations in the world. A UNPA therefore is very much in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity since its aim is to enhance the possibility for the citizens to influence the international environment which has an impact on their day to day lives. Subsidiarity means that problems should be dealt with on the level as near to the citizens as possible capable of managing such problems. In case of global problems no such lower level is available. Thus, citizens need an international body to represent them more directly.

1.8. Before we can elect an assembly for the world, the world should be willing to become a governable entity. Instead of moving in that direction, it is becoming more fragmented and polarized. Isn’t this obstructing the idea of setting up a UNPA?

No. On the contrary, we believe that a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly would contribute to bridging national differences. Since a UNPA would be composed of a membership which roughly reflects the political composition of the respective national parliaments and of delegates who in principle are not answerable to or controlled by their home governments but rather more directly to their peoples, these would tend to group according to political orientation rather than divide according to national origin. In this way, delegates would recognize political agreement with fellow parliamentarians from other countries and the need for international solutions would become more apparent. A similar development on the regional level has taken place, for example, in the European Parliament.

1.9. Doesn’t the Inter Parliamentary Union already fulfill the function of a UNPA?

No. The Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) is a fraternity of members of existing parliaments meeting only on a sporadic and intermittent basis. It does not directly represent the people at the United Nations. It is an umbrella organization and fraternity of a few members of existing parliaments with no connection or input into the United Nations principal organs. The IPU’s goal is to share insights and experiences as members of existing national parliaments and perhaps indirectly channel the views of national parliaments into the UN decision making process, but not to be a continuous deliberative body addressing global problems and needed solutions as its principal activity. Its members are fully absorbed in their work at the national parliament level and have only a small amount of time and effort left over for international efforts. Moreover, its interest is not to democratically control the UN and its decision making by serving as a direct channel for communicating the desires and interests of the underlying peoples, which is the natural role of a genuine parliament. Nor is the IPU at the moment prepared to take on the role of an international legislative organ, which participates in making international laws and regulations through the treaty-making process and otherwise. In a recent paper of 2006, for example, the IPU largely reiterates the Declaration of the First Conference of Presiding Officers of Parliaments of 2000 that the “parliamentary dimension [to international cooperation] must be provided by parliaments first of all at the national level”.

1.10. What makes you think this would really work?—–Are there any successful real world experiences to draw upon?

When imagining the possible development of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly one can draw first upon the very strong leading example of the European Parliament (EP) as the principal international parliamentary organ of the European Union. Developing out of the Parliamentary Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community, founded in 1952, the consultative function of the early European Parliament, set up in 1962, was widened to include the right to be heard in legislative processes. Since 1975, the EP has been allowed to co-decide with regard to the budget. At the beginning, the EP consisted of representatives of national parliaments. In 1979, direct election of EP parliamentarians in the EC Member States was introduced. Politically strengthened in that way, the EP rejected the draft budget of the Commission for the first time. Today, the European Parliament has the same rights as the European Council with regard to three quarters of all legislative projects in the European Union. Additionally, successful international parliamentary assemblies have been implemented including the Pan-African Parliament of the African Union, the Arab Parliament of the Arab League, and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino). Parliamentary Assemblies also exist in other international organizations such as the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, the WEU Parliamentary Assembly, and the MERCOSUR Parliament.

1.11. What’s the history of the idea of a world parliament going back to WWI and earlier, and why hasn’t it been realized since that time?

The idea of a world parliament was introduced initially before the First World War. However, at that time, no international or regional organization existed. The paramount thrust of many proponents of an international organization was to introduce some institution which would control national state behaviour at the international level. Thus, they saw as an international organization first the League of Nations, after the Second World War the UN by itself as a kind of parliament which would control states behaviour. That this would not work as long as there was no democratic control within the organization was for a long time not recognized, especially during the time of the Cold War where the UN also took on the role of a mediator. Therefore, the legitimacy deficit of the UN was only widely criticized after the end of the Iron Curtain era, i. e. the 1990s.

Moreover, there was another, even more important reason why a UN Parliament was never realized. For governments, it was already a huge concession to set up an international organization after the First World War. They were not prepared to give up their sovereignty to an organization which the idea of a parliament would entail when it is implemented, i. e. when it is entrusted with genuine democratic rights of control and lawmaking.

Nevertheless, one government, namely, Germany, tried to introduce a World Parliament as part of the new League of Nations after the First World War. However, Germany could not impose itself since it had lost the war and bargained from a position of weakness. Major decision makers at that time, especially the US President Wilson, the instigator of the League of Nations, were against the idea. This was also the case after the Second World War and continues until today. However, meanwhile, the UN comes under more and more pressure because it demands national democratization, but is not democratically organized itself.

1.12. Wouldn’t international cooperation become even more complicated and ineffective if a UNPA would have a say?

Yes and no. On the one hand, it is true that a Parliamentary Assembly at the United Nations would be another player in the diplomatic scenery which governments and their executives in international organizations would have to take into account to a certain degree, just as the EU Parliament has become. On the other hand, being composed of elected parliamentarians, the assembly would be closer to the citizens and as such it would lend more credibility and legitimacy to international decisions in which it is involved. In this way, the parliamentary assembly actually would contribute to an increased efficiency and efficacy of international actions.

1.13. Not all UN politics are to the good of the people—-why then concentrate on the UN at all?

The United Nations was set up after the Second World War in order to avoid wars in the future and to reduce narrow nationalist thinking through cooperation of states. This is also reflected in the UN Charter which describes as the task of the UN “to maintain international peace and security, to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples and to achieve international cooperation in solving international problems of an economic, social cultural or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion” (Art. 1of the UN Charter). In pursuing these goals, the UN has achieved a lot throughout the years, be it with regard to the whole system of human rights, the decolonization process, development, etc.

Of course, not all UN politics may be to the good of all affected by them. The reason for this is that particular political decisions beyond the framework just described are left to the states which have to decide about them in the UN organs. Thus states within the United Nations may be fixated upon the narrow advantage of the governing elites of those states rather than the underlying interests of even their own peoples, let alone the underlying international and global interests of the people of the world as a whole. States are represented by governments not by direct representatives of the people and in addition often have pure national interests and not the common good of the world as their highest priority, for example in the prioritizing of immediate national political concerns over the long-term avoidance of global climate change. Moreover, the UN is made up of thousands of bureaucrats and people in complex organizations and structures always in need some leadership and control in order to be reminded of public goals and not only to cling to their personal interests.

Thus, what the UN needs is an enhanced control and guidance mechanism and not its abolition. It needs most an independent organ which controls governments’ UN decision making, weighing it against the common good of all humankind, and similarly evaluates the actions of those implementing the decisions—mainly, the UN Secretariat and governments. The UN has achieved many good things for humanity. More to the point, however, is the simple fact that there is no viable alternative to the United Nations—-it is the only organization capable of acting effectively on a global scale in respect to the global problems which urgently need solving. Without it, the world would be poorer, colonized, crueler, and less supervised. Thus, it is better to maintain and improve the UN and to rectify its deficiencies and wrongdoings.

Creation of a UNPA

2.1. Wouldn’t a UNPA be too hard to establish? Wouldn’t a complicated reform of the UN charter be needed to establish a UNPA? Wouldn’t some big country just veto it?

No! Perhaps surprisingly, United Nations Parliamentary Assembly with consultative functions vis-à-vis the UN General Assembly can be established relatively simply by a simple majority vote of the UN General Assembly according to Art. 22 UN Charter which says: “The General Assembly may establish such subsidiary organs as it deems necessary for the performance of its functions.“ No veto right applies, because the Security Council need not be involved in the decision making.

Besides, a UNPA could also be established by a standalone international treaty and a cooperation agreement with the UN. A reform of the UN Charter, however, would be necessary should the UNPA once be transformed into a more fully functioning principle organ of the world organization at a later step.

2.2. Where will the UNPA be located?

It is too early to determine the eventual seat of a UNPA administration. The Committee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly does not make recommendations in this respect at this time. To save costs and take advantage of existing infrastructure, however, plenary sessions could be held free of charge in the hall of the UN General Assembly in New York, for example, or at other venues all over the world. A rotation system whereby the assembly would shift its location in successive meetings to the various continents or regions, perhaps in coordination with regional parliamentary assemblies such as the Pan-African Parliament or Parlatino, would involve the opportunity to impart the work of the UNPA to a larger public in the respective regions. Perhaps a system of alternating meetings between New York and on a revolving circuit of each successive continent might be desirable. If a government or regional international organization is ready to place appropriate premises at the UNPA’s disposal, at zero cost and for an indefinite duration, this could be an argument to settle the administrative headquarters there.

2.3. Which are the steps to be taken for the creation of this new body?

Politically, the most important step is to secure considerable support by national parliaments and governments, by the concerted efforts of their underlying peoples. Eventually, the proposal needs to be scrutinized and debated in detail by like-minded governments, ideally in cooperation with parliaments and civil society. Depending on the results, these deliberations then would lead to the introduction of an a Proposal into the respective committee of the United Nations General Assembly or, in the alternative, to a special-purpose treaty negotiation process.

2.4. How much does a UNPA cost and where would the money come from?

First calculations of the Committee for a Democratic UN as to how much the setting up of a UNPA would cost resulted in a first rough total estimate of 100 to 120 million Euro per year. This would include the establishment and maintaining of a permanent UNPA Secretariat, the administration, logistics and the carrying out of parliamentary work in a first, still limited step, during an initial contemplated annual session of two to six weeks per year. The figure was calculated based on the budget of the InterParliamentary Union (IPU) for the administration of its Secretariat and on the budget of the European Parliament for travelling, accommodation during sessions as well as for extra costs, costs for special travels in execution of the mandate and general reimbursements. It is based on the assumption that all UN member states which participate possess a constitutionally elected parliament. The actual financial need for the first step can only be quantified if it is clear how the UNPA is to be designed, for example composition, voting procedure, participating states and legal basis. The money could most likely come from UN Member States through incorporating it into the regular UN budget and financing process, as far as a UNPA established according to Article 22 UN Charter is concerned, which Article states: “The General Assembly may establish such subsidiary organs as it deems necessary for the performance of its functions,” otherwise arrangements might be made through a budget which has to be set up and financed separately. Alternatively in such a context it is sometimes suggested that voluntary contributions for a direct financing of the UNPA from governments, international organizations, individuals, corporations and other entities could be made possible, analogous to Article 116 of the Statute of the International Criminal Court. This could relieve the regular contributors. A necessary precondition in this respect would be that these contributions are in accordance with relevant criteria defined for this purpose which especially would have to guarantee the independence of the UNPA from donors influence. Furthermore, the UNPA could be recipient of means raised by innovative financial sources such as global taxation of airline travel, and taxation of international financial instruments and flows as reflected in the Tobin Tax proposal, should they once emerge from the process of longer-term historical evolution to be established.

2.5. Couldn’t civil society organize its own world parliament? Why draw upon national parliaments?

Certainly, civil society could organize its own global conferences to discuss issues of global concern. In fact, it is doing so. The World Social Forum, for example, is a successful implementation of this approach. Another example was the civil society components of the Millennium Forum which took place in 2000 or the efforts to create a regular NGO Global Conference synchronized to meet yearly just ahead of the annual United Nations General Assembly sessions.

A parliament, however, is something different. The term describes a type of representative deliberative assembly vested with a varying degree of political powers under a respective express or implied constitution which holds the executive branch of government accountable and participates in action, lawmaking or policymaking. A self organized conference which has no legal links to the established political order and which is not officially elected by the populace obviously is not a “parliament“ or parliamentary assembly and certainly cannot undertake public action, develop authoritative policy or adopt any sort of treaty or legislation. Since civil society organizations and their representatives are not popularly elected, they lack a central precondition which characterizes parliaments and their membership, namely to speak with accepted authority for their peoples. The same applies to any self appointed “people’s assemblies“ or other “Do-it-Yourself” quick fixes. By its definition, therefore, a “world parliament“ or authoritative world parliamentary assembly in the any genuine meaning of the term as such cannot be organized on a do-it-yourself basis by NGO’s or civil society without integration into the governmental process of legal governance, and without which it would lack democratic legitimacy and authority, not to mention governmental resources. However, it is possible to draw upon national parliaments because these are regularly elected by the populace.

Links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parliament

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_social_forum

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Parliamentary_Assembly

Design of a UNPA

3.1. How many members will each country have?

The Committee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (CUNPA) recommends that the determination of the number of delegates per country in the UNPA should be left to the political negotiations of the governments during the preparatory process. The basis of the negotiations should be a commitment to a graduated division oriented primarily according to population size but including other modulating factors, corresponding, in principle, to existing parliamentary assemblies. Besides purely population size, other criteria could play a role, such as the equality principle (one member one vote) or the financial contributions to the UN system. However, the calculation should and can be made in such a way that huge countries, such as China or India, are not overrepresented or overdominant and small countries have guarantees of some minimal weight and influence. A graduation constitutes a perfect means for achieving this and, practically speaking, reflects the modern usage in existing parliaments and international institutions which are not 100% proportional as to population alone but balance other factors. Furthermore, CUNPPA recommends an upper limit for the total number of delegates between 700 and 900.

3.2. If such a planetary assembly would be popularly elected, a third of the seats would go to China and India. What voice would people from smaller countries have?

Not necessarily. A third of the seats would only go to China and India if such an assembly would only take the population size into account and if it would be directly mirrored in the distribution of seats. However, the composition of none of the existing regional parliamentary assemblies purely mirrors the population size of their member states. The Committee for United Nations Parliamentary Assembly also does not recommend such a pure, one-factor only approach. As in the case of the voting power of Germany, the largest nation in population within the European Union, most likely a commonly negotiated framework necessary to gain acceptance by all the parties would lead to significant dilution of the “one-man-one-vote” principal, however legitimate that may or may not be, and would be modified to include a larger proportionate representation of smaller nations to provide at least some minimum national voice and influence, plus reflecting the necessary compromise of abstract principles with the practical and power-based considerations of “Realpolitik.” Existing regional assemblies all work with a graduation of seats and/or votes which workably allows avoidance of an over or under representation of member states. Moreover, besides population size, other criteria, such as the equality principle (one member, one vote) or an equity in representation derived from the greater financial contributions to the UN system and others, are being discussed as additional criteria to calculate the distribution of seats and/or votes. See also question 3.1. and para. 3943 of the strategy paper.

3.3. How can one have free elections for the UNPA in countries that do not allow free elections for their citizens at all?

In undemocratic countries which do not allow for free, equal and secret elections at all, realistically speaking, it will not be possible to have pure democratically legitimate delegates for the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly in the short term. Pseudo-parliamentarians coming from such undemocratic states actually would probably be subject to the clandestine control and instructions of their home government or monopoly party. CUNPPA has dealt with this problem in its strategy paper, para. 32. There are legitimate objections that the participation of such “pseudo-parliamentarians” could undermine the democratic legitimacy and moral authority of the assembly altogether. This opinion contradicts the fact that the affected states are already represented in the United Nations with equal rights according to international law. In view of this, excluding these states from a participation in a Parliamentary Assembly at the United Nations could hardly be explained.

Furthermore, to draw the line between the criteria for an inclusion and those against would hardly be possible in a convincing way. An exclusive membership excluding large numbers of states would undermine the global perspective and would make its effectiveness and legitimacy implausible. Having said this, it certainly is important that the clear majority of the membership is democratically legitimate, and that processes are instituted for further evolution to make it progressively more and more so. Since the majority of the UN Member States as a result of favourable historical evolution in recent decades are to a greater extent democratic than ever before, this prospect would not be infeasible.

3.4. Are there other models than that recommended by the Committee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly?

In a question as complex as the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, it would be pretty extraordinary if there were not many different opinions on various aspects and possible models. These are the most important differences between the recommendations of CUNPPA and other proposals:

CUNPPA recommendation Other proposals

Mode of establishment

In a first step subsidiary body to Standalone international treaty by likeminded states General Assembly according to

Art. 22 UN Charter or transformation of InterParliamentary Union and subsequent cooperation agreement between UN and IPU

Participation Open to all UN Member States

Open Only to democracies

Attached to United Nations, later including financial institutions

No attachment Election

At first step indirect election through national parliaments, later direct election optional or phased in.

Direct election or Indirect

Furthermore, there are initiatives promoting a self-organized People’s Assembly. For this see question 2.5. “Couldn’t civil society organize its own world parliament? Why draw upon national parliaments?“

3.5. How can the ordinary citizen participate in the work of a UNPA?

One of the reasons to establish a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA) is to provide for a closer link between the United Nations and its affairs and the citizens in the UN member states. Citizens would be able to contact their own delegate to the UNPA responsible for their constituency and in this way would have a direct contact person to raise issues which may affect them and are of international concern or directly linked to the UN or its affiliated organizations. Delegates would be able to provide information and to take up issues for further consideration in the UNPA.

3.6. Why should the maximum number of delegates range between 700 and 900?

The Parliamentary Assembly at the United Nations should not exceed a certain number ofdelegates in order that its efficiency and functionality is maintained. This means that if the Assembly is too big the members will most probably be unable to effectively communicate, interact, bargain, reach effective understandings and compromises, develop interpersonal relationships, understandings and bonds of trust, and develop leadership and the purposive collective consensus and will necessary to make their work effective. The Committee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly thus estimates that the upper limit for this is at about 900 delegates. These seats then would be distributed to the participating states. An example for this procedure is the European Parliament. Representing about 450 million citizens of the European Union, it has a maximum number of MEPs fixed at 750, with a minimum threshold of five per member state and no member state being allocated more than 99 seats.

Rights and functions

4.1. What would a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly do?—–What would the main functions of a UNPA be?

The populations and civil societies of the UN member states have to be better and more directly included into the activities and decision making processes of the United Nations and its international organizations. This can be achieved by setting up a parliamentary assembly. Possible functions a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly could be vested with have been named in CUNPPA’s strategy paper (para. 5). The functions of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly would minimally include:

  1. Submission of its own opinions/resolutions to the General Assembly, ECOSOC, the Secretary General, the Security Council, and to the organs and other institutions of the UN system;
  2. Consultation with the General Assembly, ECOSOC and by organs of other institutions of the UN system with regard to important questions;
  3. The right to address questions to the Secretary General, the Presidents of the General Assembly, of ECOSOC and of the Security Council as well as to the heads of other institutions of the UN system and demand appropriate answers;
  4. Rights of information and participation in relation to the activities of the institutions of the UN system including the still independent Economic and Financial Institutions;
  5. Readings of draft resolutions of the General Assembly, of ECOSOC and perhaps the Security Council with the right to submit suggestions for amendments;
  6. The right to submit to the General Assembly and to ECOSOC draft resolutions for further negotiation and adoption;
  7. Co-decision with regard to the adoption of the UN budget;
  8. Co-decision with regard to the election of the UN Secretary General;
  9. The right to be integrated into all treaty negotiations and conventions which are conducted under the auspices of the United Nations to establish or modify international institutions or for other purposes;
  10. The right also to be integrated into multilateral treaty negotiations or conventions at the international level not under the auspices of the UN;
  11. The right to submit, in accordance with Article 65 of its Statute, legal questions to the International Court of Justice.

Furthermore, a UNPA must have the right to establish inquiry committees which may summon functionaries of the UN institutions and conduct investigations with full powers to fulfill their task. In line with a comprehensive reform of the United Nations in the future, the UNPA could be transformed into a UN main body and become part of a global legislature.

4.2. Would delegations of the UNPA have the right to participate in international governmental conferences?

Wide parts of the populations of the various nations and of the population of humanity on earth globally do not feel sufficiently represented by their government in International institutions and negotiation processes. An indication of this are the continuing protests of civil society alongside international government conferences such as the WTO, COP, G8 or G20, which they feel are not only democratically illegitimate but in increasing ascendency in controlling the conditions of their daily lives. The Committee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly therefore strongly recommends that the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly should have the right to fully participate in multilateral treaty negotiations processes and to this end should have the right to send official representatives or delegations and make proposals. For instance a delegation from a UNPA would be seated at such conferences as the Copenhagen/Durban Climate Change Conference or at plenary meetings of the WTO.

4.3. Can you give some examples where parliamentary control of international action would have been crucial?

A government-independent Parliamentary body a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly could have assumed a role to scrutinize international action, or inaction, in the case of the genocide in Rwanda 1994, to name an important example. While there in fact has been a subsequent inquiry commissioned by the UN Secretary General on the failings of the international community in face of the genocide, a UNPA would have been able to address the inadequate response by the United Nations during the events themselves. Since a UNPA would include delegates of oppositional parties from the parliaments of the UN member states, it would offer them an international platform to voice concerns which governments would not address. Alerting the world community of large scale human rights abuses therefore is an area where a UNPA could play an important political role.

Another area where a UNPA could assert oversight functions and conduct important analysis is with regard to the UN’s sanctions regime. The United Nations Oil for Food programme, for example, was only thoroughly scrutinized by an international inquiry committee set up for this purpose by the UN Secretary General after the US General Accounting Office discovered severe irregularities in its operations. This underlines the need that there be a permanent independent body which is able to provide continuous oversight and public feedback in respect of the UN’s programmes. A UNPA would be well suited for this purpose. In contrast to inquiries by national authorities or by ad hoc bodies set up by the UN Secretary-General, a UNPA inquiry committee would be representing an international viewpoint and would be democratically legitimate and speak with authority through its parliamentary membership.

Links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_for_food

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rwandan_Genocide

4.4. What is the ultimate aim of establishing a UNPA?

The creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly will be an ongoing long term process which will continue even after it is once established as consultative body in the first phase. Connected with globalization, this process will be closely interlinked with the continuing evolvement of an ever closer world community and a growing need for effective global governance. A UNPA is the embryonic starting point for the creation of a world parliament in the long term future in order to guarantee the involvement of the citizens in international affairs as closely as possible and to support a sense of the global common good and democratic legitimacy and oversight as globalization requires more and more powers to be transferred to international bodies to deal with the ever more internationalized problems of a globalized world. See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Parliamentary_Assembly

Campaign for a UNPA

5.1. What can I do to support the campaign?

As an individual citizen you can do one or more of the following:

  1. Sign the international appeal for the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly published as ofApril 2007;
  2. Write an email to your friends and colleagues and invite them to sign the appeal as well;
  3. Subscribe to our newsletter in order to be up to date on current developments;
  4. Write politely to the member of parliament of your constituency and ask him/her to support the proposal to establish a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly. Should you get an answer, share it with us!
  5. Help us with a donation to the Committee for a UNPA. Any amount counts!
  6. Become supporting member of the Committee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly;
  7. Volunteer your professional skills. The campaign is largely based on volunteer collaboration. We need translators, web programmers, graphic designers, lobby assistants, research assistants and volunteers with other skills which are necessary to build an international campaign of this kind;
  8. If you are member of a civil society organization or a political party, campaign for its support of the establishment of a UNPA;
  9. Write a carefully drafted letter to the editor of your newspaper if an article invites a comment touching upon the UNPA proposal. Maybe it will be published!

5.2. Which governments support the UNPA proposal?

On 7 July 2009 Pope Benedict XVI published his first social encyclical called “Caritas in Veritate,“ charity in truth. In this writing, the Pope contemplated the nature and consequences of globalization, the global economic crisis and the world order. Benedict XVI stressed the importance of a reform of the United Nations Organization and of international economic and financial institutions. “There is urgent need of a true world political authority,” the Pope proclaimed. According to a study published today by the Committee for a Democratic U.N. (KDUN) in Germany, “it is possible to derive from catholic social doctrine the creation of a democratic world legislative which, in particular, has the task to exercise oversight over the executive world authority.”

“The establishment of an effective political world authority has been continuously advocated by the Holy See since Pope Pius XII in the 1950s and was now again reiterated by Benedict XVI.

The Committee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly is trying to establish a dialogue with open-minded governments on the proposal to establish a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly. Despite widespread support at many levels, as yet, no government officially sponsors the approach officially in diplomatic negotiations. Historically, a similar proposal was put forward by one of the first democratic governments of Germany in 1919, after the First World War. Its draft for the statutes of the League of Nations included a “world parliament“ elected by the parliaments of the member states. Naturally, as defeated country at that time, Germany’s position had no effectiveness at that time.

5.3. Which parliaments support the UNPA proposal?

In 1993 the European Parliament has been the first directly elected parliament to endorse the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly in an official resolution adopted by its plenary. It has reiterated its position in resolutions from 2003 and 2005 and up to the present. In January 2006 the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has also adopted a resolution containing such support. As at October 2006, no similar resolutions have been adopted on national level. However, a majority of the members of the National Council of Switzerland have endorsed the UNPA proposal in an open letter addressed to then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in February 2005. In 1993 the Standing Committee on External Affairs and International Trade of the House of Commons of the Canadian Parliament did support the UNPA proposal. Because of subsequent elections, the plenary never dealt with the issue, however. It is the goal of the Committee for a Democratic UN’s campaign to build more parliamentary support for the proposal. These and other relevant resolutions and documents are available on the websites of various wholly independent, unrelated and distinct organizations sharing parallel goals to this Committee such as:

http://en.unpacampaign.org/index.php http://www.unokomitee http://www.kdun.org http://www.unpacampaign.org

de/en/documents/projects/unpa.php

5.4. Who else from NGO’s, Civil Society, Academia and individually is supporting the idea?

The Campaign’s Appeal for the Establishment of a Parliamentary Assembly at the United Nations is supported by thousands individuals from 137 countries and 217 non-governmental organizations from 57 countries, among them 17 international networks.

Notable supporters include former United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, former Czech President Vaclav Havel and Nobel Prize winners Günter Grass. The Pope’s endorsement of the general concept in his first social encyclical called “Caritas in Veritate”, Charity in Truth has been noted above.

The two Campaign’s statements together are as of 2010 supported by 699 members of parliament from 94 countries and 155 former parliamentarians from 40 countries. The sitting MPs represent estimated 111.8 million people from their constituencies.

The individual supporters include hundreds of distinguished personalities, in particular 226 professors from 50 countries, 6 Nobel laureates, 11 Right Livelihood laureates, 8 former foreign ministers, 3 former prime ministers and people from all walks of life.

Besides parliamentary support, several organizations and conferences have supported the proposal of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly. To name the most important: The Socialist International, the Liberal International, the World Federalist Movement Institute for Global Policy and the United Nations Millennium Forum 2000. Furthermore, the idea of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly is being supported by hundreds of distinguished individuals from more than 70 countries, among them parliamentarians, leading scholars, former government members, civil society leaders, human rights activists, authors, Nobel laureates and others. See the list of initial supporters of the international appeal for a Parliamentary Assembly at the UN and the continuous updates to be published on the sister websites http://en.unpacampaign.org/index.php and . http://www.kdun.org/en/index.php .

5.5 What Testimonials and Statements of Support has the Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly received from Parliaments, NGO’s and notable individuals?

Testimonials and statements of support include the following, amoung thousands of others:

“The European Parliament calls for the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA) within the UN system, which would increase the democratic profile and internal democratic process of the organization and allow world civil society to be directly associated in the decision-making process”

European Parliament, June 2005

Former United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Butros-Ghali Calls for Establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (16 May 2007)

“States and societies everywhere in the world increasingly confront forces far beyond the control of any one state or even group of states. Some of these forces are irresistible, such as the globalization of economic activity and communications. In the process, problems which can only be solved effectively at the global level, are multiplying and requirements of political governance are extending beyond state borders accordingly. Increasing decision-making at the global level is inevitable. In this process, however, democracy within the state will diminish in importance if the process of democratization does not move forward at the international level. Therefore, we need to promote the democratization of globalization, before globalization destroys the foundations of national and international democracy. The establishment of a Parliamentary Assembly at the United Nations has become an indispensable step to achieve democratic control of globalization. Complementary to international democracy among states, which no less has to be developed, it would foster global democracy beyond states, giving the citizens a genuine voice in world affairs. As the Campaign’s appeal rightly implies, a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly could also become a catalyst for a comprehensive reform of the international system. In particular, I would like to point out, it should become a force to provide democratic oversight over the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO. We cannot just dream, or wait for someone else to bring our dream about. We must act now. In this sense, I strongly encourage you in your struggle for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly. Once established, this new body will be a decisive contribution to strengthen democracy at all levels.”

“…the Latin-American Parliament declares … its support to efforts towards the creation and establishment of a Parliamentary Assembly of the United Nations Organization (UNO) with the purpose of strengthening the effectiveness, transparency, representativeness, plurality and legitimacy of the international system”

24th Ordinary Assembly of the Latin-American Parliament, Panamá, December 2008

On 7 July 2009 Pope Benedict XVI published his first social encyclical called “Caritas in Veritate”, charity in truth. In this writing, the Pope contemplated the nature and consequences of globalization, the global economic crisis and the world order. Benedict XVI stressed the importance of a reform of the United Nations Organization and of international economic and financial institutions. “There is urgent need of a true world political authority,” the Pope proclaimed. According to a study published today by the Committee for a Democratic U.N. (KDUN) in Germany, “it is possible to derive from this Catholic social doctrine the creation of a democratic world legislative which, in particular, has the task to exercise oversight over the executive world authority.” The establishment of an effective political world authority has been continuously advocated by the Holy See since Pope Pius XII in the 1950s and was now again reiterated by Benedict XVI.

Pope Benedict XVI, in his first social encyclical called “Caritas in Veritate”, Charity in Truth

“The method of representation at the UN should be considerably modified. The present method of selection by government appointment does not leave any real freedom to the appointee. Furthermore, selection by governments cannot give the peoples of the world the feeling of being fairly and proportionately represented. The moral authority of the UN would be considerable enhanced if the delegates were elected directly by the people. Were they responsible to an electorate, they would have much more freedom to follow their consciences”

Open letter of Albert Einstein to the UN General Assembly, October 1947

Former WTO Director-General Mike Moore Endorses Creation of a UN Parliamentary Assembly

In a comment published today, the former Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Mike Moore, has spoken out for the creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA). “The global architecture is in need of refurbishing. It is necessary to build democratic principles into global governance,” said Moore who was also Member of Parliament for the New Zealand Labour Party for over 20 years.

“A parliament at the U.N. would symbolize the notion of humanity as a community of world citizens.”

Günter Grass, Nobel Prize Laureate in Literature (1999)

“The United Nations would probably have to rest on two pillars: one constituted by an assembly of equal executive representatives of individual countries, resembling the present plenary, and the other consisting of a group elected directly by the globe’s population in which the number of delegates representing individual nations would, thus, roughly correspond to the size of the nations.”

Václav Havel President of the Czech Republic (1993-2003) at the Millennium Summit of the United Nations, New York, September 2000

“The call for a Parliamentary Assembly at the United Nations has my support”

Emma Thompson, Actress, Academy Award recipient

“I support the call for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, and believe that a more democratic United Nations as envisaged by this campaign will strengthen the accountability and legitimacy of the UN”

Ken Livingstone, 2000-2008 Mayor of London

“A UN Parliament would be an epiphany. By contrast to the UN General Assembly which is driven by the narrow interest of government representatives only, a UN Parliament would truly reflect the world’s public opinion.”

Akbar Alami, Member of the Islamic Consultative Assembly

PACE: Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Calls for UN Parliamentary Assembly

In a resolution on the reform of the United Nations which was adopted today(1 Oct 2009), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has called for “the incorporation of a democratic element in the United Nations system.” While the assembly reiterates its “unabated support” to the UN and multilateralism, it also stresses that “the United Nations is in urgent need of a far-reaching reform in order to make it more transparent, accountable and capable of facing the global challenges of today’s world.” The resolution states that the assembly regrets that although numerous reform proposals have been advanced over the last years in the UN none of them aimed at “improving the democratic character of the United Nations.” This could be done, according to PACE, through “the introduction of a parliamentary element in the structure of the UN General Assembly.”

“A long-term Green goal is overcoming the international democracy deficit. This includes greater democratization of the UN and other international institutions. Among these reforms, Greens support the creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA) as a parliamentary body within the UN system.”

Global Greens Second Congress, São Paulo, May 2008

“The Pan-African Parliament … notes that in a first preliminary step the United Nations Parliamentary Assembly could be composed of national parliamentarians, but that eventually it should be directly elected by universal adult suffrage in the UN member states. … Stresses that a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly eventually should have participation and oversight rights, in particular, to send fully participating parliamentary delegations or representatives to international governmental fore and negotiations and to establish inquiry committees to assess matters related to the actions of the United Nations, its personnel and its special programmes”

Pan-African Parliament, October 2007

“The World Federation of United Nations Associations supports the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly as a consultative body within the United Nations system as a voice of the citizens and calls upon the governments of the United Nations member states, parliamentarians and civil society representatives to jointly examine possible steps and options to create a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly”

38th Plenary Assembly of the World Federation of United Nations Associations, Buenos Aires, November 2006

“Whilst international organizations and negotiations will remain essentially the domain of intergovernmental co-operation, the democratic accountability of existing organizations should also be improved through the increased participation of national parliaments in global economic management. This calls for increasing the role of national parliaments in monitoring and mandating the work of their governments in international forums as well as for strengthening existing and creating new forums for inter-parliamentary co-operation in different international organizations.”

Report from the Helsinki Process on Globalization and Democracy, co-chaired by Foreign Ministers Jakaya M. Kikwete from Tanzania and Erkki Tuomioja from Finland, August 2005

“In the belief that the principles of separation of powers and democracy should be made beneficial on the international level … the Liberal International calls on the member states of the United Nations to enter into deliberations on the establishment of a Parliamentary Assembly at the United Nations.”

53rd Congress of the Liberal International, Sofia, May 2005

“A Parliamentary Assembly at the UN would encompass a number of advantages. Representation of the population and participation of civil society within the organization would promote the faith of citizens in the UN and increase its acceptance and legitimation. … peoples and minorities could introduce their concerns more efficiently within a Parliamentary Assembly at the UN, ultimately promoting the preservation of global diversity.”

Open letter of a majority of 101 members of the Swiss National Council to then UN-Secretary General Kofi Annan, February 2005

“Parliamentary oversight of the multilateral system at the global level should be progressively expanded. We propose the creation of a Parliamentary Group concerned with the coherence and consistency between global economic, social and environmental policies, which should develop an integrated oversight of major international organizations.”

World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization established by the International Labour Organization, April 2004

“Better-structured democratic control and accountability is needed if the world’s democratic deficit is to be addressed seriously. At some point, contemplation of a UN Parliamentary Assembly will be needed. … Such an Assembly should be more than just another UN institution. It would have to become a building block of a new, democratically legitimate, world order”

22nd Congress of the Socialist International, São Paulo, October 2003

“The Forum urges the United Nations to consider the creation of a UN parliamentary body related to the UN General Assembly. One proposal that should be considered is the creation of a consultative Parliamentary Assembly”

Millennium Forum of Civil Society, United Nations, May 2000

It has also been suggested that [an assembly of parliamentarians, consisting of representatives elected by existing national legislatures] could function as a constituent assembly for the development of a directly elected assembly of people. We encourage further debate about these proposals. When the time comes, we believe that starting with an assembly of parliamentarians as a constituent assembly for a more popular body is the right approach. But care would need to be taken to ensure that the assembly of parliamentarians is the starting point of a journey and does not become the terminal station.”

Report of the Commission on Global Governance, co-chaired by Swedish Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson and former Foreign Minister of Guyana, Shridath Ramphal, 1995

“The feasibility of a parliamentary chamber or assembly complementing the present intergovernmental structure should be seriously explored, as it might enhance the political legitimacy of the organisations and strengthen accountability of organisations and governments”

High-Level Expert Group of the InterAction Council, chaired by Andries van Agt, former Prime Minister of the Netherlands, May 1994

“[The European Parliament] wishes consideration to be given to the possibility of setting up within the UN a parliamentary consultative assembly to enable the elected representatives of peoples to participate more fully in the work of UN bodies”

European Parliament, February 1994

“A World Parliamentary Assembly would enable national parliaments to become better acquainted with the work of the United Nations … The establishment of a second body in which the major nations would have an added weight would bring the United Nations closer to the one man, one vote ideal”

Twentieth Report of the Commission to Study the Organization of Peace, New York, November 1969

“There should be a study of a house directly elected by the people of the world to whom the nations are accountable”

Ernest Bevin, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1945-1951), Speech in the House of Commons, November 1945

An international Parliament elected by the Peoples should replace the assembly of delegates proposed in the Paris text [of the Statutes of the League of Nations]. This Parliament should have full prerogatives and legislative powers”

International Conference of League of Nations Societies, Berne, March 1919

“I support the efforts of the Committee to establish a parliament at the UN because with this the world community would clearly commit itself to common democratic action.”

Sigmar Gabriel, Federal Minister for the Environment, Germany

5.6. What are the views inside the Inter Parliamentary Union about the CUNPPA campaign?

The Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) at the moment consists of 148 member parliaments. The views held within the IPU therefore are not uniform. Consciousness of a legitimacy deficit of the UN and of a role of the IPU in overcoming this deficit is there. However, views diverge with regard to which way to follow. The official road map of the IPU is becoming and maintaining the “parliamentary dimension of the UN”. This amounts to a representation of national parliaments at the international level, rather than representing the people at the UN and democratically controlling the UN, i. e. being a watchdog of UN affairs and speaking for those represented within “we, the peoples”. However, there are also those members and individual parliamentarians who perceive the IPU as being capable and being predestined for being more a real UN Parliament, which includes democratic decision making and control, building on the large institutional knowledge which the IPU has acquired within more than 115 years. Yet, up to now, these voices are still in the minority within the IPU.

See also question 1.9. “Doesn’t the Inter Parliamentary Union already fulfill the function of a UNPA?”

5.7. What if the United States or another veto power does not support the proposal?

First of all, in order to set up a UNPA, support of the veto powers on the UN Security Council legally is not necessary. If a UNPA is established as a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly, its majority vote alone is sufficient (every state has one vote and no veto power). If a UNPA would come into existence through a rapprochement of the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) to the UN, this could be done through a more detailed cooperation agreement which would contain genuine parliamentary rights and duties for the IPU. In this case, the UN organ to which the UNPA should be linked, in this case the General Assembly, decides about the treaty either by Majority vote or, if it is judged to be an “important question” in accordance with Art. 18 (2) of the UN Charter, by a two thirds majority of the members present and voting. In the IPU itself, which naturally also would have to decide about such an agreement, the US is not a member anymore. And even if it were, the decision making organ of the IPU, the Governing Council, also decides by majority vote. Thus, US support, or the support of any Security Council veto-power legally is not necessary to set up a UNPA and it is important to realize that the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly is not subject to any veto.

Nevertheless, political support of the veto powers would of course be highly desirable. The United States, in particular, throughout the last years under conservative administrations repeatedly criticized the UN for not being efficient, effective, and of being corrupt. The US even conducted its own investigations at Congressional and federal level into the corruption accusations towards the UN Oil for Food Programme, for example. This gap in the UN legal system is exactly what the Committee for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly wants to fill: Since the UN members and the UN administration cannot control themselves effectively, we need an institution which is independent and is equipped with sufficient investigation and control powers and rights. This would be the main task of a UNPA. A UN Parliament should be able to set up inquiry committees, which can question UN officials and have access to documents. It would be able to rectify possible wrongdoings within a huge institution such as the UN. Furthermore, the US has stated its desire to increase democracy in the world, which necessarily also includes democracy within international organizations and institutions.

For a fuller discussion see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Parliamentary_Assembly.

Robert Sheppard, Editor-in-Chief, World Literature Forum

Robert Sheppard, Editor-in-Chief, World Literature Forum

(Thanks and acknowledgement is given to the Committee for a United Nations Parliamenary Assembly and KDUN, of which the author serves as a Senior Associate and whose FAQ contributed to this FAQ.)

Copyright Robert Sheppard 2016 All Rights Reserved

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IT’S SAVING THE AMERICAN DREAM, STUPID!

The Death of the American Dream?

The Death of the American Dream?

 

 

From the American Scene Series—A Continuing Commentary on American Life & Culture

 

 

Robert Sheppard, Editor-in-Chief, World Literature Forum

Robert Sheppard, Editor-in-Chief, World Literature Forum

 

By Robert Sheppard

Editor-in-Chief, World Literature Forum

Author, Spiritus Mundi, Novel

http://www.amazon.com/Spiritus-Mundi-Book-The-Novel-ebook/dp/B00CIGJFGO

 

A Dream On Fire

 

Today, the wake of “SuperTuesday” reminds us again in these United States that we are in the midst of an undeniably unique and extraordinary election year. On both the Republican and Democratic side the “Establishment” politicians seem to be facing a Tsunami tidal wave uprising variously characterized as “outsiders,” “Tea-Party Insurgents,” “Progressives” or “Populists” as represented by the likes of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz on the Republican right wing and Bernie Sanders, a self-described “democratic socialist” on the Democratic left-wing. At the same time, whatever the underlying “movement” propelling each of the candidates, much of their message and embodied energy seems lost and obfuscated most recently in scandal, new lows of personal attack, ad hominem, character assassination and either “the fog of war” of the political arena or the vapors of its gutters. All of this is obscuring the alarm-smoke from the far more important underlying existential threat surprisingly simultaneously diagnosed by the populist upswells on both the left and the right that is the true hidden motivator of all that is extraordinary: The Urgent Threat of the Death of the American Dream Through the Collapse of the American Middle Class.

 

Amecan Dream on Fire

“It’s the Economy, Stupid!” was the winning slogan Bill Clinton’s prophetic campaign strategist James Carville crafted in early 1992 at a similar period when the Clinton campaign seemed to be losing direction, which also included the corollary: “Change vs. More of the Same.” Then the micro-threat was merely to emerge from a short recession. Now, the macro-threat is the existential threat to the middle class status either attained or strived for under the banner of the “American Dream.” Tip O’Neil famously said that “all politics is local,” meaning that every voter votes and acts based on how it will affect his own life and future. This election is up for grabs and will be won by the candidate who can most convincingly be seen as the fighting savior and rescuer of that endangered and desperate middle class who feels their “American Dream” crumbling into ashes at their feet: “It’s Saving the American Dream Stupid!”

This populist mobilization bringing forth this “extraordinary election year” is in fact a cry both of outraged anger akin to Network’s “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” and the desperate cry for help of the drowning man. It is the desperate call for help of a failing middle class and working class that after 30 years of stagnant incomes, the holocaust of the Great Recession of the Bush era and its lost decade from which there was no true recovery, is convinced in its bones that its house and its dreams are afire and the establishment of both parties has failed and will continue to fail to save it. It despairs unless there is radical and immediate change, the “moral equivalent of a declaration of war” to save the Middle Class and to save the American Dream. The American Middle and Working Class have awoken from the false consciousness of blindly affirming the clichés of either party as they know from bitter experience of the last thirty years topped by the 2008 Bush Great Recession that “politics as usual’ cannot and will not work. They fear with reason that theirs will be the first generation in which their children’s real livelihood will be lower than their own, or whose path to even modest success is for the first time blocked save for a narrow elite. They know from their scars if not from their minds that:

  1. 8.69 million Americans are “officially unemployed” and that 92.90 million Americans are considered to be “not in the labor force”. That means that more than 101 million U.S. adults do not have a job right now;
  2. One recent survey discovered that 55% of Americans believe that the American Dream either never existed or that it no longer exists;
  3. After adjusting for inflation, median household income has fallen by nearly $5000 since the Bush Great Recession of 2008;
  4. After adjusting for inflation, the median wealth figure for middle income-families fell from $78,000 in 1983 to $63,800 in 2013;
  5. At this point, 59% of Americans believe that “the American dream has become impossible for most people to achieve;”
  6. In the 1967 Johnson Administration, 53% of Americans were considered to be “middle income”. But today, only 43% of Americans are;
  7. According to the New York Times, the “typical American household” is now worth 36% less than it was worth a decade ago;
  8. By recent report, 43 million Americans currently have unpaid medical debt on their credit reports;
  9. Traditionally, owning a home has been one of the key indicators that you belong to the middle class. Unfortunately, the rate of homeownership in the U.S. has now been falling since the Bush 2008 Great Recession;
  10. According to a survey that was conducted last year, 52% of all Americans cannot even afford the house that they are living in right now.
  11. Since the Bush Great Recession of 2008 the number of Americans on food stamps has gone from 32 million to 46 million and millions are still hungry, homeless and unemployed despite more than one out of every five children receiving food stamps;
  12. According to a Washington Post article more than 50 percent of the children in U.S. public schools now come from low income homes. This is the first time that this has happened in at least 50 years;
  13. In 2008, 25 percent of all Americans in the 18 to 29-year-old age bracket considered themselves to be “lower class.” But in 2014, an astounding 49% of all Americans in that age range considered themselves to be “lower class;”
  14. It is hard to believe, but an astounding 53% of all American workers make less than $30,000 a year;
  15. According to one recent survey, 62% of all Americans are currently living paycheck to paycheck;
  16. According to CNN, the typical American family can only “replace 21 days of income with readily accessible funds.
  17. The largest employer in the United States right now is Wal-Mart. The second largest employer in the United States right now  is a temp agency (Kelly Services). One out of ten jobs in the United States is now filled through a temp agency.
  18. The U.S. economy continues to trade good paying jobs  for low paying jobs. 60% of the jobs lost during the last recession were mid-wage jobs, but 58% of the jobs created since then have been low wage jobs.
  19.  Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs. Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.
  20.  At this point, one out of every four American workers has a job that pays $10 an hour or less.
  21. The ratio of wages and salaries to GDP is near an all-time record low.
  22. In the year 2000, about 17 million Americans were employed in manufacturing. Today, only about 12 million Americans are employed in manufacturing.
  23. The United States has lost more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities since 2001.
  24.  The average number of hours worked per employed person per year has fallen by about 100 since the year 2000.
  25.  Back in the year 2000, more than 64 percent of all working age Americans had a job. Today, only 58.7 percent of all working age Americans have a job.
  26.  When you total up all working age Americans that do not have a job, it comes to more than 100 million.
  27.  The average duration of unemployment in the United States is nearly three times as long as it was back in the year 2000.
  28.  The percentage of Americans that are self-employed has steadily declined over the past decade and is now at an all-time low.
  29.  Right now there are 20.2 million Americans that spend more than half of their incomes on housing. That represents a 46 percent increase from 2001.
  30.  In 1989, the debt to income ratio of the average American family was about 58 percent. Today it is up to 154 percent.
  31.  Total U.S. household debt grew from just 1.4 trillion dollars in 1980 to a whopping 13.7 trillion dollars in 2007. This played a huge role in the financial crisis of 2008, and the problem still has not been solved.
  32.  The total amount of student loan debt in the United States recently surpassed the one trillion dollar mark.
  33.  Total home mortgage debt in the United States is now about 5 times larger than it was just 20 years ago.
  34.  Back in the year 2000, the mortgage delinquency rate was about 2 percent. Today, it is nearly 10 percent.
  35.  Consumer debt in the United States has risen by a whopping 1700% since 1971, and 46% of all Americans carry a credit card balance from month to month.
  36. The national debt has now reached 19 Trillion dollars as a result of regressive and unjust tax cuts to the top 1% and 10% of income and wealth holders as denounced by Warren Buffett since the balanced and surplus budget years of the Clinton administration, causing overtaxation of the middle class and erosion of the Social Safety Net.

 

American Dream Is Over

 

Four Root Causes of the Threat to the Middle Class American Dream: 1) Unbalanced Globalization; 2) Unbalanced Technological Change; 3) Unfair and Regressive Taxation in Favor of the Top 1%/10%; and 4) Erosion of the Social Safety Net and Labor Union Collective Bargaining

The French economic historian Thomas Picketty is the most comprehensive elaborator of the “tectonic” economic shifts in the global economy which have most glaringly left the middle-class and the working-class so impoverished in recent decades in the Western and developed world and he provides the most coherent answer to the question of “What has so destroyed the American Middle Class and the American Dream?” His 2013 book Capital in the 21st Century is now accepted as the greatest classic of its time and a modern successor to the power of influence of Karl Marx’s “Das Kapital” over a century before. He uses extensive historical data to document how the concentration of both income and wealth reached extremes in the upper 1% and 10% of the populations of the USA, UK, France, Germany, Japan and other developed economies, attaining a peak in the “Gilded Age” of the 1890’s of unfettered capitalism and globalization, then diminished greatly through the advent of the New Deal in the US and socialist reforms in Europe. Since the 1980’s burst of Globalization, high-tech automation and Neo-Liberal Reagan/Thatcher reforms however, income and wealth inequality have returned to the 1890 extremes, and significantly, supposedly “democratic” America has become more elitist and unequal than Europe, while the Social Safety Net has been eroded in both.

What forces are then causing the decline of the American Middle Class and its American Dream? Picketty identifies the familiar one of Globalization, of course. Even from the time of Ross Perot’s “sucking sound” of American jobs going down the drain populists have suspected and accused the internationalist elite of sending American jobs abroad in exchange for multinational corporate profits. And of course the flip-side of the decline of the American middle class and its jobs has been the rapid rise of the Chinese and Indian as well as European middle class and the globalization and outsourcing of many of those jobs into the global economy. Unfortunately for “wall-builders,” isolationists and protectionists, however, there does not seem to be any feasible way to “unglobalize” the economy nor to effectively “abstain” from globalization in a globalized world, especially for a nation that also arrogates to itself the role of the “leader of the free world” as well. Nonetheless, even as Secretary Clinton has acknowledged with regard to TPP, committed free-traders need to redouble their efforts to balance globalization and free trade to make it more so-called “fair-trade” and to massively strengthen the Social Safety Net that must go along with further opening of globalized free trade to assure equitable adjustment and benefit to all social classes, not just to the elite 1% and the multinational corporations. In particular Labor Unions must be made equally global so that Collective Bargaining functions across national borders within multinational corporations as effectively as it once functioned across US state-lines after the New Deal labor reforms following the Great Depression.

 

Piketty

Globally Acclaimed French Economist Thomas Piketty

 

Picketty also identifies the familiar impact of technology, meaning the impact of “automation” particularly in the high technology and IT worlds enabling the outsourcing of many formerly administrative and middle class jobs such as use of overseas “Call Centers” and such software as CRM and other innovations as a further source of the decline of the Western middle class.  Once again, it would be vain to adopt a “Neo-Luddite” position as such technological innovation may well be both inevitable and partially beneficial. What is needed rather is a greater re-balancing of the benefits and burdens of technological change with a much more robust “Social Safety Net” for retraining and unemployment effects of technology, as well as a supercharging of the entire educational system to make education free and accessible as a foundational resource for both capital and labor in the new “Knowledge Economy.”

Picketty also emphasizes that human beings are not mere automatons at the mechanical whim of impersonal historical and technological forces, but also shape their societies futures by conscious choices as to political and economic equity, values and justice. Thus he believes a significant portion of the inequality of the last 50 years has been the result not only of such impersonal forces as globalization and high technology, but also the moral bankruptcy of the “greed is good” Reagan/Thatcher tax policies which radically reduced the tax burden of both income and wealth on the top 1% and 10% of the populations of all of the Western nations, including the USA, UK, France, Germany, Japan, the EU and others. He believes also that the free market economy has a natural tendency to lead to a concentration of wealth and income in the top 1% to 10% as a result of rent-seeking and other self-protective actions of the elite to defeat competition, entrench privilege and defend their acquired advantages. Furthermore, in most conditions he would expect, following the general law of R>G, or the tendency for the Return on Capital to be greater than the Rate of Growth, greater and greater concentrations of income and wealth will inevitably result from the natural laws of the free market economy, a result also expected by Marx a century earlier. As a remedy to these harmful tendencies, Picketty prescribes a combination of a sharply progressive tax on incomes, coupled with a new progressive tax on wealth in order to finance a sharply more robust Social Safety Net. (One of the most surprising discoveries is that Donald Trump years ago has advocated such a progressive tax on wealth in order to completely pay down the entire national debt and eliminate the payment of the interest thereon to the 1%——a proposal so radical as not yet to have been advocated by the “democratic socialist” Bernie Sanders!). Many of Picketty’s suggestions have also been seconded in the policy arena by Nobel Prize winning economists such as Paul Krugman.

 

 

The Wizard Gandalf from Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings

 

Who Then is the Knight in Shining Armor to Save the Imperiled American Middle Class and Its Crumbling American Dream and What the Battle Cry Emblazoned Across the Warrior’s Chest?

In this election season many candidates sense the desperate need of the American people and their real despair at the impending loss of their American dream and offer up supposed solutions, many mere panaceas or demagogic illusions that cannot stand the tests of either logical consistency, workability or consistency with reality. In any case, their emotional appeal is inexorably linked to the fear of the middle class and working class of the impending loss of their “American Dream.”

 

Trump, Cruz, Tea-Party and Other Right-Wing Populisms

Huckabee World On Fire

The rise of the Tea Party coincided with the impact of the 2008 Bush Great Recession devastating the lives of the middle class. It’s embodiment in the appeal of such leaders as Ted Cruz, Ron Paul and to a lesser extent Rand Paul promises to erase the impact of economic globalization, technological change, and a predatory financial class with a mythological return to the remote past of 1776 with its imagined purity of Christian belief, “constitutionalism,” and a pristine regime of private property and free markets whose “invisible hand” like that of God himself, would remedy all of the corruption and evils of the modern world if only hearts were again pure and faith unadulterated. All this ignores the fact that it is the very operation of the capitalistic, “free market” economy, with its real world predators, exploiters, “hot money” and nationless speculators rather than its fictively imagined benign “invisible hand” that has in fact produced the very destruction of the middle class aspirations to which it is looked to to act as savior. What is the panacea that the right wing offers to lift the decimated middle class back into viability? It is massively and regressively reduced taxation—-a policy which has produced the problem and is little designed to alleviate it. Why? Because tax reduction as a policy fails to ignore that the economy of the US is a fully globalized international economy and is not contained within its borders any longer. Thus, just as the policy of “Quantitative Easing” on the monetary side only very slowly had any effect because the stimulative force of the policy stimulated growth abroad in China, India and Brazil in the years immediately after the 2008 Bush Recession, so most of the effect of tax cuts, because they are not constrained by borders, again will leak out into the higher return investments in low-wage nations before they gain traction at home in most instances of high job creation investments. Meanwhile budget cuts irrationally prolong the recession, just as they have done since the time of Herbert Hoover, making about as much sense as the doctors who prescribed opening veins and  “bleeding” the patient as a cure three centuries ago.

Ted Cruz

 

The Tea Party program of “back to the free market and cut the budget to the bone” with its dismantlement of the Social Safety Net accompanied by a likely failure of “Voodoo Tax Cut Economics” is thus the policy of throwing half the passengers in the leaky lifeboat to the sharks while making the other half bail twice as fast. It is rather much more likely that it is the “socialistic” and “safety net” oriented government spending so loathed by the right that can be more completely targeted to be spent at home and to create jobs and infrastructure at home, rather than be diverted by hedge funds to be invested and spent abroad, and functioning in an irrevocably globalized economy would in reality be most effective in promoting growth and jobs at home for the middle and working class.

 

“The Leader”

The Leader

 

The phenomenon of Trump with its overlays of nationalism, nativism, protectionism and at its destructive fringe of perhaps unintended neo-fascism, all cannot be understood without connection to the decline and ongoing threat to the middle-class and its aspirational American Dream. Hitler before the Depression of 1929 polled less than 3% of the vote and was an irrelevant nuisance. After the Great Depression of 1929 brought the German middle class to its knees the National Socialist Party became the leading vote getter with vague promises of a great “Leader” who would restore a lost prosperity to the middle class and working class, and in fact Hitler initiated his own version of a state-driven “New Deal” with the massive infrastructure work of constructing the Autobahns and developing the “Volkswagen” or “People’s Car” to allow German workers to enter the Middle Class in their own “German Dream.” The American middle class has found itself on its knees since the Bush Great Recession of 2008 and despite a decade of slow recovery which has affixed a “band-aid” semi-recovery on some of the wounds, the middle and working class know that their full past condition with decent jobs with security and benefits, let alone their aspirations for the future and for their children have not been restored and are unlikely to be restored without some radical changes. Under such conditions the appeal of a “strongman” or tough father figure promising to take tough action on their behalf is strongly appealing and at a minimum a great relief to their feelings of hopelessness, weakness and despair. It provides a “movement” to which the desperate can subordinate themselves and feel vicarious strength and power, as detailed in such classic works as Hanna Arendt’s The True Believer. Need and desperation are strong forces bypassing critical thinking and fostering the acceptance of delusion. Especially many white middle-class Americans, after believing themselves tolerant in accepting a black president and an increasing minority population feel a strong desire to return to the America they grew up in and feel threatened by a possible fall into minority status in their own homeland, a condition that is felt as intolerably exacerbated by the shutting off of their own prosperity and their children’s future with the death of the middle class and economic American Dream for their children. It is little surprise that masses of them begin to feel betrayed and abandoned, and seek a strong “leader” to return a lost past. They, under such conditions are little inclined to open borders to more immigration which may only provide a greater and greater threat to their own economic condition and their children’s perceived future.

Trump’s battle banner “Make America Great Again,” is a powerful one with great appeal to all classes, but especially to the nostalgia of the white middle class for the America of their childhood, secured by strong male authority figures and leaders of the free world from FDR, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, the Bushes, Carter and Clinton and now threatened by a perceived national weakness magnified by the loss of stabilizing white male authority figures and compounded by the objective economic decline of the middle class and the relative demographic decline of the white middle class making them feel as “strangers in their own homes.” Thus, the crusade to “Make America Great Again” is seen to contain beneath its surface a parallel crusade to “Make American Ours Again” where the “Us” is the American middle class majority of the past. For many in frustration and downward mobility the message easily translates into “Make America White Again.” Undeniably, TRUMP IS A MOVEMENT. A similar moment occurred in the movements favoring Prohibition, Women’s Suffrage and the revival of the KKK associated with “Birth of a Nation,” namely when the USA after 1900 tipped from being a nation of farms and small towns to being a nation more than 50% urbanized. Small town America then struck back to “Make America Ours Again” by rejecting the corrupting influences of big cities, immigrants, Catholics, minorities, —–and the corruption of big city money causing the loss of the supposed core American way of life in the Church, Small Town, Farm, and Anglo-Saxon Heritage. Even women’s sufferage was seen as a means of doubling the white middle-class vote likely to actually vote against illiterates and immigrants unlikely to.  It was the threat of this small-town America being swamped by industrialization and immigration and reduced to minority status and powerlessness in its own home that caused the right-wing Populist movements of the early decades of the 19th Century denounced by H.L. Mencken and it is a similar threat of demographic and economic swamping that fuels the right-wing Populist movement of the present day, including the Trump phenomenon.

Trump

Trump himself may not intend the darker side of his appeal but may nonetheless pander to it unconsciously or consciously. Realistically, however, his program has little prospect of functioning in the real world of a globalized economy nor in fact restoring the American middle class and working class to its prosperity or aspirations. Building “a wall,” physically or functionally in terms of economic isolationism or withdrawal from the globalized economy is not a viable option. Almost all of the punitive measures advocated by Trump on the economic front would violate the WTO, GATT and other trade treaties the US is bound by and withdrawal from them would threaten the international economic order and American leadership within it, along with the tens of millions of US jobs dependent upon such international trade. It is unlikely that “bullying” alone will redress the system, though hard negotiation on hard issue such as currency manipulation, labor standards in trade, etc. might produce some results. But it is unlikely that bluster, megalomania, bullying and baloney are enough to reshape the real world and deliver the American middle class and its American Dream from demise.

 

A Manand a Movement

A Man and a Movement

 

Bernie Sanders and Democratic Socialism to the Rescue?

Bernie Sanders and his movement of “Democratic Socialism” was perhaps the most unexpected phenomenon of the year, as the right-wing Tea Party has been causing cataclysms already well since 2012. In a sense the Tea Party right-wing Populist movement did have its twin sister in the left-wing Occupy Wall Street movement which was contemporaneous, but that movement was seemingly willfully stillborn, manifesting no real-world political action movement for realistic change and confined to the status termed by Al Gore of a political “Primal Scream” until the advent, seemingly out of nowhere, of Bernie. True, Socialism had a long and honorable past in the US from the time of Eugene Debs, whose ideas prefigured much of the New Deal innovations of Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, Labor Union rights and collective bargaining, despite being denounced as “Communist” at the time. But once again, there was little appetite for socialist revolution and overturning the capitalist system beyond a few Trots, zanies, eggheads and non-conformists until the Bush Great Recession of 2008 brought home to the middle class and working class that very likely a great part of the middle class would no longer be so and that their children would not enjoy such status without some radical change or fight, cant and clichés about the American Dream and free enterprise system notwithstanding.

Bernie’s appeal has been observed to be tremendous among the young, or the “Millennials” as they are sometimes referred to. Many take this as a never-ending tale of the “innocence of youth” with the Bernie phenomenon explained as a “youthful romanticism” which would soon be dissolved by the later years of experience of such callow youth in the “school of hard knocks” or abandoned as they began to enjoy the rewards of “selling out” at a good price.  But while there might be a thread of truth in such a dismissive narrative it would be fairer to look at the experience of the “Millennials” as closer to the 1930’s Depression Generation inasmuch as they came of age in the lost decade following the Bush Great Recession of 2008 and saw their own futures circumcised and constricted. Many of them are less romantic than cynical or hard-headed. They see themselves coming out of college crippled by student debt before they can even have a shot at the signature indebtedness of middle class life in the form of home buying supported by a high-earning job and income. They see they will need some radical changes if they are really going to make it into the middle class in the same numbers as their parents. Their quest with Bernie is beyond the Quixotic and idealistic—it is also survivalist self-interested.

On the whole, Bernie’s appeal and program is the strongest and most viable for rescuing the decline of the American middle-class and working class. It addresses the hypertrophy of the financial sector and seeks to broaden a new and untapped tax base to support the key portal of entry to the middle class and to the American Dream: College Education——–paid for by a tax on speculative capital and unearned income in the form of a Financial Transactions Tax. It goes directly for the unearned income of the 1% and taps that unearned income stream to provide the financing for the upward mobility of the majority of the middle class through tuition free university education. More importantly, by ending excessive college debt it ensures that college graduates start their new life after graduation with the means to buy houses and cars, thus stimulating the growth of the real economy rather than being crippled by decades of paying into the financial economy through student loan repayments—a major cause of the stalled recovery.

Bernie’s “Medicare for All” Single Payer medical system would give the middle class a system similar to that in the UK, Canada and the EU and remove the corrupting influence of health care on terms of employment, an important contribution in moving the middle and working class back into “real jobs” and away from the part-time and “gig economy” rigged against them to shift the cost of benefits such as health care from employers.

Bernie’s vision of an activist state strengthening the Social Safety Net accords with the European idea of the “Economic Social Contract.” It recognizes that the pressures of Globalization and its intensified international competition have taken away the ability of the employer to be the primary provider of tangential paternalistic social benefits such as health care and retirement income as in the past, while the revolution in the family, with divorce and single-parent households makes the family less and less a workable economic social safety net. Thus the state is the sole actor remaining with the strength, continuity and stability to manage the Social Safety Net at a time when economic and technological change has accellerated to such an extent as to double and triple demands upon it. At the same time it must adapt to a globalized economy.

Bernie’s battle banner, “A Future To Believe In” is excellent as far as it goes, focusing the collective consciousness on a gleaming vision of a fine common future. But Bernie’s program is otherwise still a bit threadbare on how exactly such bare belief will translate or manifest itself into reality or through what practical stages his “revolution” will pass through on the way to realized reality. Otherwise it may remain a mere “Tinkerbell Revolution” in which we are asked to shut our eyes and chant together “I Believe, I Believe.” In the context of Hillary’s gnashing over pronouns and moving from an “I” campaign to a “We” campaign, (She’s Fighting for Us!) Bernie’s slogan does not even mention the “We” or what “We” have to do in the Revolution beyond turning out to vote for him, although it is obvious that he does in fact embody a “We,” or a real movement which comes out to cheer him on and pledge its $27 at every chance. Its trouble is that it needs to be a movement a bit more like the Tea Party in going from the grass roots up, organizing local clubs, putting up candidates in primaries and general elections, cleaning out the statehouses, the Congress, the city administrations, the gerrymandering legislatures and every level of government, culminating with the necessary Constitutional Amendments to roll back Citizen’s United and break the back of money corruption at all levels of government. Otherwise it will remain a “future to believe in” that will be perpetually only “a future” and never a reality. Bernie’s vision also needs to be globalized with a vision of how to deal with a globalized economy on more socialist yet workable internationalist principles to protect the middle and working classes without regression into protectionism and economic isolationism that could lead to global depression. He has opposed free-trade treaties, yet it is unexplained how the US can successfully withdraw from the globalized economy vital to the health of most of its multinational companies and the bulk of the US labor force dependent on international trade.  Unexplained yet is how labor unions will be empowered to effectively bargain collectively on a global basis to restore the share of the market to sustaining the well being of the working class, alongside the role of the government. It is unlikly that the well-being of the middle and working class can be restored by government alone. Some of the gains must be re-won in the market and that means the decimated role of labor unions and collective bargaining must be restored as the “third leg” of worker prosperity and bargaining power in the globalized economy.  Can the world be “unglobalized?” If not, how can it be “re-globalized” on a more balanced basis to make the middle and working classes in the US and elsewhere viable?

Ready for Hillary

 Ready for Hillary?——It’s Saving the American Dream, Stupid!

Into this quagmire and graveyard of the American Dream and the American middle class Hillary Clinton’s campaign brings a good heart and a good resume and asks the nation to answer affirmatively the rhetorical question “Ready for Hillary?” In light of the fact that she provides no sense of the urgency of desperation felt by the sinking masses of the soon-to-be ex-middle classes and working classes, her naive faith that “America has always been great” and that the system with her atop it “is working” it is not surprising that large portions of the public feel they are not ready. Her campaign seems perplexed that BERNIE IS A MOVEMENT as much as a candidate, as could be said as well of Trump on the other side, whereas she is hitherto definitively not. This is reflected in her campaign’s recent urgent felt need for a “Strategic Shift of Pronoun Strategy”——the seeming “genius” of shifting from “Me” to “We.” However, a shift of Pronoun is not the creation of a movement. Bernie’s movement arises from the desperate conditions of millions of people’s lives forcing them to take action or speak out, lest they otherwise lose their lives and futures, and his ability to emody their unexpressed yearnings.  As a candidate he was a complete “nobody,” yet spoke a truth that allowed him to appear as a “Prophet” of even Biblical proportions and ride a wave of human energy emerging also seemingly from nowhere yet miraculously reshaping the landscape. Hillary has a chance to win, but not by complacently insisting she has the best resume, the system is working, it’s a woman’s turn to be President or “stay the course” with the past or the past Administration. She must do as Bernie has done and fight outfront, leading the charge and providing the visionary strategic campaign map for the Campaign to Recapture the American Dream—-and it must be the moral equivilant of war.

To date, Hillary’s campaign message and raison-de-etre has floundered, moving from “It’s my turn” to “My resume is best” to “It’s time for a woman.” Yet none of these messages have anything to do with the hopes and fears of the great mass of voters living in the present moment. The number of voters who will vote for her to secure the first woman president will probably be balanced by the number of men and some women who will vote against her precisely because they don’t want a woman president whether they admit such explicitly or not. Her primary victories look mostly visionless and due primarily to catering to ethnic interest groups, most notably the black vote which has loyally gone 80-90% for her, though in significantly diminished numbers from their vote for Barak Obama, their past standard bearer. It is doubtful that they would turn out in such numbers as they did for their own favorite son Barak Obama, and if the Democratic base does not turn out in massive numbers to match the already mobilized Republican base, Hillary may meet defeat even if she meets an opponent such as Trump with significant negatives.

Her “Superdelegate” predominance would appear to have more to do with politicos jockeying for jobs and favors within the next administration than any substance. To Independents she looks increasingly as a bought-off and compromised machine politician beholden to ethnic special interest groups who will need to be paid off in special programs and crony patronage political jobs on the one hand, and equally beholden and bought off by the Wall Street big money Donors who have funded the Clinton Foundation and her high-paid political speeches on the other. Further, she has gained her ethnic pluralities by clutching Barak Obama and re-emphasizing her role as a loyal member of his team, which also confers significant negative baggage outside the base. President Obama did do a reasonably competent job in dealing with the catastrophic Bush Great Recession while limping back after a lost decade, but unfortunately he has not been perceived as taking the definitive steps necessary to save the American middle class and its American Dream from the mortal threats surrounding it. Many regret that his first “100 Days” was not as comprehensive as FDR’s when he had control of Congress and the Great Recession gave him a true mandate to have taken the more radical steps vis-a-vis Wall Street in the deeper interest of the Middle and Working Class on the scale of the New Deal, rather than narrowing the focus so much on the limited sector of Obamacare. Thus Hillary is in a somewhat dangerous situation of becoming the “Candidate of the Status Quo” or “The Third-Term Candidate” and also “The Candidate of the System,” a system that continued to fail the middle and working class despite all the good work and good intentions of the Obama administration.  If the middle class were solely concerned with recovery from a transient recession, “Four More Years” as was given the Republicans after the Reagan presidency might be a promising goal. But the middle class knows that it’s very continuing existence is under dire threat and ignoring that fact will not induce them to endorse the status quo, or any marginally reformed status quo, other thing being equal.

 

Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc

 

Hillary can yet embody a movement to reshape the future and truly speak as embodying a greater “We” if she substantially changes focus, learns from Bernie and from Bill Clinton’s mentor James Carville and drinks in the wisdom of “It’s Saving the American Dream, Stupid!” as the fighting banner of her campaign, along with taking on the corrupt political system which has allowed the middle class’ demise. She perhaps has greater experience and practical skills and resources to bring Bernie’s vision towards reality than even Bernie himself if only she can be “born again” to the greater cause.

 

In Search of A Movement to Lead

In Search of A Movement to Lead

 

For then, like Joan of Arc, she would embody a movement and a nation and its deepest hopes and fears and be the bearer of needed change to deliver them from those fears and towards the realization of those hopes.  She cannot do so by the cosmetic “Change of Pronoun” strategy, nor by anodyne assurances of “Bring Us Together,” “Make America Whole Again,” or “Break Down Barriers” or “Give a Woman a Chance” which completely ignores and provides no remedy for the urgency of the crisis of the middle class, working class and the impending demise of the American Dream. For without such a makeover, even if she escapes her legal problems, she remains the Candidate of the Status Quo, the Candidate of the System and the Candidate of the Establishment, and even if promising to “Make the Establishment Whole Again,” she would offer little promise to make the middle class or working class whole and hale in the real world again, let alone hold out much promise of restoring to its children its hopeful American Dream of years past.

 

Not A Movement

Not A Movement

 

Not All is Lost Yet!

Not All is Lost Yet!

 

The American Dream

The American Dream

 

The American Dream of Success and Planty

Its Up To You

Robert Sheppard, Editor-in-Chief, World Literature Forum

Robert Sheppard, Editor-in-Chief, World Literature Forum, Author of Spiritus Mundi, Novel

 

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BEYOND THE AMERICAN DREAM—THE SOUL’S GOOD-BYE TO THE BIG SELFIE

BEYOND THE AMERICAN DREAM—THE SOUL’S GOOD-BYE TO THE BIG SELFIE

 

American Yin Yang

 

(Note:  The following is an excerpt from the modern epic novel Spiritus Mundi by author Robert Sheppard in which the concept of “The American Dream” is discussed and re-evaluated from a wider spiritual and psychological perspective.)

#TheBigSelfie, #TheAmericanDream, #The Big Selfie, #The American Dream, #Magellantic, #Magellantic Soul, #Soul, #Spiritus Mundi, #SpiritusMundi, #Robert Sheppard, #RobertSheppard, #SpiritusMundiNovel, #Collective Unconscious,#Myth, #Mythic Dream, #Magellantic Dream, #Wholeness, #Jung, #Soul, #Roots

 

 

3

 

To Sartorius’ mind Günter Gross was a man of paradox. In one sense he was an individualist, a great eccentric. In another sense he seemed to Sartorius a living embodiment of the universal man. He strove to realize in his human life his full potential; but he was determined, at the same time, to live in an uncompromising and unique way, though of course no one could succeed in either completely. If this meant upsetting people, as was often the case, he did not, on the whole seem to mind.

“To be normally successful” he once said to him, “is the ideal aim of the unsuccessful.” He had set aside a promising medical career in a mid-life crisis of the soul, had wandered, decades before it became fashionable and comprehensible, across the globe in inner and outer searching, savouring its many cultures and the products of their diverse minds and sensibilities issuing, as he later conceived it, from the common womb of the collective unconscious of mankind, and turned to writing and literature with amazing success and depth of contribution.

They had met when Gross was a laureate guest professor during a year’s sojourn at the University of California at Berkeley, and Günter befriended him and took him under his wing as a mentor in things cultural, academic and literary. When the young Sartorius was granted tenure as a full professor Günter took him out for an all night bash, toasting his success with a playful, knowing quip, making him kneel and then touching him on both shoulders with the golden Schaffer pen he always kept on his person and with which he had signed the roll as a Nobel Laureate, chanting: “Arise Doctor Professor Sartorius, arise an official member of the Guild of Whores!” Later, when they were on a more equal footing they traveled together and often stayed for extended visits at each other’s homes, occasionally collaborating and always, if sporadically corresponding, in recent times usually by e-mail.

While Günter was residing in Berkeley Sartorius asked him if he would consider staying permanently in America, like others of his countrymen such as Thomas Mann and Albert Einstein, and if he was not attracted to the American Dream. Günter responded: “Well if you talk about Thomas Mann and Einstein I think that while indeed they were attracted by and admired America, the root of their emigration was less the American Dream than the European Nightmare—particularly that of Hitler.

If you ask me about the American Dream though, I would have to confess only an ambivalence towards it—while I think it is a fine dream as far as it goes—a dream of freedom, self-realization and self-fulfillment—your famous “pursuit of happiness”——I think it is an incomplete dream—offering less than is necessary for the deeper life. You see the American Dream is a dream of the future, of a Promised Land, where the country and the individual becomes all that it should be, but is now not. You go forth across the Frontier and conquer the wilderness, leaving behind the old country, and perhaps society and history itself with some kind of new beginning. It assumes that this future to which you are venturing will somehow offer life’s fulfillment.

But to my mind where you come from and where you will return to is more important than where you are going. Making peace with the past is just as important as rushing forward into the dream of a promising future. Where you have come from, your origin, includes those things most fundamental to healthful psychic life—–home, family, your self and your soul, that to leave them out of the dream is to risk having it turn to nightmare.

Your American Dream is a fine dream of the future and the man of the future, as is your science fiction and your eternal cowboy and eternal venturing. I wish to be part of the American Dream, but I am also a man of the Old World as well as a man of the New World. I wish to travel forward through the American New World and reunite again with the Old World. I admire your American Literature, but I am more at sympathy with its T.S. Eliot of the Four Quartets, the old man in the lamplight rediscovering his origins and his true self for the first time, than with your Leatherstocking and John Wayne cowboy hero on the high frontier.

But, don’t get me wrong—-I am not a reactionary who wishes to throw up the great American Dream and the adventure of modernity and return to an ever so flawed past. No, I am not a man of the Old World or of the reactionary old order, rejecting your American New World—-I am rather a man of the Whole World—I want to move through and beyond your New World and your Modernity to reunite with the Old World, the world of origins, of family, of home and of history and of authentic self and psyche and soul—even revisiting the Heart of Darkness, the savage jungle cradle of our so-called African past, and I speak here purely metaphorically, before returning sane to the present to begin anew.

I want to complete the global circumnavigation of our human world, its conscious and unconscious wholeness, and thus I will not settle here in your California, but I will push on to complete the Magellantic voyage. I have a bone to pick with this American Dream. Yes, I think it is a fine and inspiring dream. But I think it is also an immature and incomplete dream.

In a sense the American Dream is an extroverted and youthful dream of a bright and inspiring future. It is the Dream of Morning in the life of man, and a fine dream for inspiring a strong and vigorous life in reshaping the world. But in the larger sphere of life, we must include not only the Morning of Life, but also the Evening of Life. Instead, I am attracted to the Universal Mythic Dream. A man’s life includes success within the world, subduing the world to his will and building a civilization out of the wilderness, yes, but it also includes decline, growing old and death, along with reconciliation with nature and the past, with soul and the spirit.

This also includes and implies the inner or spiritual life, which becomes increasingly important as the high noon of life is passed and we begin to face our own decline and awaiting death.

Today we speak of the Environmentalism, but environmentalism cannot be limited to our relationship to the outer, physical environment. This Mythic Dream is part of the newer movement of what I term “Inner Environmentalism,” a renewal and reformation of relationship and conservation of our most vital spiritual roots and equilibrium within the psychical biosphere, to complement our renewal of relationship and conservation of the physical biosphere.

The Mythic Dream is the dream of the Evening of Life and of Life’s Night, to complement the hero’s dream of success and assertion in this world, the ethos of the Morning and Afternoon of Life contained in the American Dream.

Thus, the Mythic Dream is more complete than the American Dream. It sustains life not only in its growth from strength to strength in the successes of the Morning of Life but also sustains life spiritually and psychologically when individual life comes to its time of decline and death, followed by renewal.

We need a dream valid for both the morning and for the evening of life, for the brightness of success, but also for the darkness of death and dissolution. It addresses not only the promise of a fulfilled future but also the vital life of the present moment and reconciliation with the past, as well as with tradition and eternity.

The American Dream discovers a new continent of the future on which dreams can be built, but the Mythic Dream goes beyond it by completing the global voyage, circumnavigating the human psyche as well as the globe, a Magellantic circumnavigating of the twinned lobed hemispheres of the conscious and unconscious mind, of nature and culture, and of reintegrating them through the never-ending cycle through a return to its vital, archetypal and life-giving origins.

……..And though I do admire the American Dream, particularly as it has given new life and hope to those crushed by the oppressions of Eurasia, I am also forced to observe that it can become easily corrupted. Too often the American Dream shapes the frontier of the future as a realm of unbridled subjugation to the unlimited desires of the Id, or the vanity of the Ego. Too often the American Dream sorrowfully unveils itself as the egocentric dream of a ‘Paradise of Me!’—–‘The Big Selfie,’  blind to either the wider responsibilities or deepest bonds of the individual to human society or to the deeper claims of the inner spiritual life beyond the quotidian ego and the workaday world.”

 

 

SPIRITUS MUNDI BY ROBERT SHEPPARD NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON!

Spiritus Mundi Book Cover.80.1
PUSHCART PRIZE NOMINEE ROBERT SHEPPARD’S SPIRITUS MUNDI NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON! —–INVITATION TO LISTEN TO MAY 17 BLOGTALKRADIO INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR 10:00 AM PST _______________________________________________________________________

We are pleased to announce the launch of SPIRITUS MUNDI on AMAZON , including both Spiritus Mundi, Book I: The Novel (5.0-Star Amazon Rating Average), and Spiritus Mundi, Book II:The Romance (5.0-Star Amazon Rating Average). You can browse and sample both onlline for free now, then purchase immediaetly by clicking on the following Amazon sites:

Spiritus Mundi, Book I: The Novel: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CIGJFGO

Spiritus Mundi, Book II: The Romance http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CGM8BZG

CHECK OUT SPIRITUS MUNDI’S 5.O-STAR GOODREADS RATING AVERAGE & REVIEWS ON GOODREADS:

Book I (5.0-Stars on Goodreads) http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17857619-spiritus-mundi-book-i

Book II (5.0-Stars on Goodreads) http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17857704-spiritus-mundi-book-ii-the-romance

CHECK OUT A FULL SUMMARY OF SPIRITUS MUNDI ON SHELFARI before purchasing at:

http://www.shelfari.com/books/36123188/Spiritus-Mundi—Book-I-The-Novel http://www.shelfari.com/books/36123187/Spiritus-Mundi—Book-II-The-Romance

Spiritus Mundi is also available on SMASHWORDS in ALL FORMATS:

Book I (5.0 Stars on Smashwords) https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/303856 Book II (5.0 Stars on Smashwords) https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/303798

Spiritus Mundi is also now available at the following sites:

Spiritus Mundi: Book I: The Novel https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/303856 http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/spiritus-mundi-robert-sheppard/1115113181?ean=2940044432598&itm=1&usri=2940044432598 http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Spiritus-Mundi-Book-The-Novel/book-vYffC7MUUEyN0wJTQSpgFQ/page1.html https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/spiritus-mundi/id634577546?mt=11 http://www.diesel-ebooks.com/item/SW00000303856/Sheppard-Robert-Spiritus-Mundi-Book-I-The-Novel/1.html

Spiritus Mundi – Book II: The Romance https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/303798 http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/spiritus-mundi-robert-sheppard/1115113152?ean=2940044433182&itm=1&usri=2940044433182 http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Spiritus-Mundi-Book-II-The/book-PlMhvFBI5USTGkLFnO1TQA/page1.html https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/spiritus-mundi-book-ii-romance/id634586781?mt=11 http://www.diesel-ebooks.com/item/SW00000303798/Sheppard-Robert-Spiritus-Mundi-Book-II-The-Romance/1.html

 

Spiritus Mundi, Novel by Robert Sheppard

Spiritus Mundi, Novel by Robert Sheppard

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WILL WWIII RESULT FROM A RUSSIAN INVASION OF THE UKRAINE OR A JOINT RUSSIAN-IRANIAN-CHINA SNEAK ATTACK ON THE MIDDLE-EAST OIL RESERVES?——MI6′S NEW SUPERSPY ETIENNE DEARLOVE IS THE NEW JAMES BOND!——-FREE!——-GET THE SNOWDEN-CLANCY-ORWELLIAN CYBERSPY THRILLER NOVEL THAT DEFINES OUR ERA!—-NSA/CIA/MI6/WWIII CYBERTHRILLER EPIC SPIRITUS MUNDI BY ROBERT SHEPPARD FREE TO YOU DURING THE PUSHCART PRIZE GIVEAWAY CELEBRATION!

WILL WWIII RESULT FROM A RUSSIAN INVASION OF THE UKRAINE OR A JOINT RUSSIAN-IRANIAN-CHINA SNEAK ATTACK ON THE MIDDLE-EAST OIL RESERVES?——MI6′S NEW SUPERSPY ETIENNE DEARLOVE IS THE NEW JAMES BOND!——-FREE!——-GET THE SNOWDEN-CLANCY-ORWELLIAN CYBERSPY THRILLER NOVEL THAT DEFINES OUR ERA!—-NSA/CIA/MI6/WWIII CYBERTHRILLER EPIC SPIRITUS MUNDI BY ROBERT SHEPPARD FREE TO YOU DURING THE PUSHCART PRIZE GIVEAWAY CELEBRATION

 

Spiritus Mundi by R

Spiritus Mundi by R

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Follow the spellbinding Thriller Scenario of a threatened Russian-Iranian-Chinese Pearl Harbor-like sneak attack on the Middle-East Oil Reserves to permanently take away the dominance of the West with a New Eurasian Axis!———-Follow the exploits of MI6′s newest Superspy Etienne Dearlove—The New James Bond—-as he penetrates the closed world of the Chinese Politburo in Beijing to uncover the Secret Geopolitical Conspiracy to fatally change the world’s Balance of Power!——-How will it all end? —-Find out now in the Thriller Geopolitical WWIII Thriller Spiritus Mundi by Robert Sheppard!

World Literature Forum  is honored to announce that Spiritus Mundi, the acclaimed Cyberthriller Action Novel by Robert Sheppard, the defining work of our Snowden-Orwellian Era,  has been included in the nominations for the presitigious 2014 Pushcart Prize. The thriller action of the novel follows a NSA/CIA/MI6 Counterterrorism team’s cat and mouse cyber-pursuit of nuclear terrorists bent on infiltrating a group of global idealists campaigning for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly for global democcracy, then  unearthing a much bigger Apocalyptic conspiracy to start WWIII between a secretly allied China, Russia and Iran to make a Pearl Harbor-like sneak attack on the Middle-East’s oil reserves, severing the energy jugular of the vulnerable declining West. Cutting edge MI6/NSA Cyber-techno-penetration  of  the top-secret communications network of the  Chinese Politburo through the tech-avvy and sexual wiles  of neo-Bondian 21st Century MI6 Superspy Etienne Dearlove gives the West its last chance to head off Armageddon.  Find out the final fate of the world by reading Spiritus Mundi now!

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ACT NOW TO DISCOVER THE WORLD’S FATE!

GET YOUR FREE e-COPY OF PUSHCART PRIZE NOMINATED CYBERTHRILLER  SPIRITUS MUNDI BY ROBERT SHEPPARD (BOOK I)  NOW BY FOLLOWING THIS SMASHWORDS LINK TO DOWNLOAD:

Spiritus Mundi Book I, The Novel (5.0 Stars on Smashwords) https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/303856

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In celebration of the Pushcart Prize Nomination  for Spiritus Mundi a Pushcart Prize  Giveaway Celebration has been declared as an introductory offer in which Spiritus Mundi, Book I will be made available free on Smashwords and affiliated outlets, including Barnes & Noble and many others. It is hoped that readers will be inspired by Book I to purchase Book II, Spiritus Mundi the Romance, either later or at the same time at the discount price of $3.99 (Remember you have to read Book II to find out how the story of Book I ends!).

The Pushcart Prize is an American literary prize by Pushcart Press that honors the best “poetry, short fiction, essays or literary whatnot”published in the small presses over the previous year. Magazine and small book press editors are invited to nominate up to six works they have featured. Anthologies of the selected works have been published annually since 1976.

The founding editors are Anaïs Nin, Buckminster Fuller, Charles Newman, Daniel Halpern, Gordon Lish, Harry Smith, Hugh Fox, Ishmael Reed, Joyce Carol Oates, Len Fulton, Leonard Randolph, Leslie Fiedler, Nona Balakian, Paul Bowles, Paul Engle, Ralph Ellison, Reynolds Price, Rhoda Schwartz, Richard Morris, Ted Wilentz, Tom Montag, and William Phillips.

Among the writers who previously received early recognition in Pushcart Prize anthologies were: Kathy Acker, Steven Barthelme, Rick Bass, Charles Baxter, Bruce Boston, Raymond Carver, Joshua Clover, Junot Diaz, Andre Dubus, William H. Gass, Seán Mac Falls, William Monahan, Paul Muldoon, Joyce Carol Oates, Tim O’Brien, Lance Olsen,Peter Orner, Kevin Prufer, Kay Ryan, Mona Simpson, Ana Menéndez, and Wells Tower.

Included in the Pushcart 2014 Nominations were several of well-known author Robert Sheppard’s “Poems from Spiritus Mundi” including “Moby Dick” and “Zeno’s Paradox” which were published in and nominated for the Pushcart Prize by Poetry Pacific and available here and on their website:

https://robertalexandersheppard.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/poetry-pacific-3-poems-by-robert-sheppard/

INTRODUCING PUSHCART PRIZE  NOMINEE ROBERT SHEPPARD’S EPIC NOVEL SPIRITUS MUNDI
Spiritus Mundi Book Cover.80

 

 

Author’s E-mail:   rsheppard99_2000@yahoo.com

ON SPIRITUS MUNDI

“Read Robert Sheppard’s sprawling, supple novel, Spiritus Mundi, an epic story of global intrigue and sexual and spiritual revelation. Compelling characters, wisdom, insight, and beautiful depictions of locations all over the world will power you through the book. You’ll exit wishing the story lines would go on and on.” May 13, 2012

Robert McDowell, Editor, Writer, Marketer, Editorial Cra, The Nature of Words

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“Robert Sheppard’s novel, “Spiritus Mundi,” has everything. “Spiritus Mundi” is Latin, meaning “spirit” or “soul of the world.” According to the Norton Anthology of English Literature, the phrase refers to “the spirit or soul of the universe” with which all individual souls are connected through the “Great Memory.” This amazing novel is all inclusive and unceasingly riveting. If you are interested in politics, philosophy, human relationships, sex, intrigue, betrayal, poetry and even philosophy — buy and read “Spiritus Mundi”!”November 18, 2012

Raymond P. Keen, School Psychologist, Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DODDS)

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“Robert Sheppard’s new novel “Spiritus Mundi” is a new twist on a well-loved genre. Robert leaves no stone unturned in this compelling page turner you’ll experience mystery, suspense, thrills, and excitement. Robert touches on sexuality and spirituality in such a way that the reader is compelled to ask themselves “what would you do if faced with these trials?” Robert is a master at taking the reader out of their own lives and into the world he created. If you’re looking for a “can’t put down” read pick up Spiritus Mundi!” May 20, 2012

Nicole Breanne, Content Coordinator, Ranker.com _____________________________________________________

“Longing for a thrilling experience of the sexual and spiritual world? Expecting a thorough summoning of your inner heart? Aspiring to find an extraordinary voice to enlighten your understanding heart? Then you can’t miss this extraordinary novel, Spiritus Mundi by Robert Sheppard. The author will spirit you into a exciting world filled with fantasy, myth, conflicts and wisdom from a fresh perspective. Don’t hesitate, just turn to the 1st page and start out enjoying this marvellous journey.”November 17, 2012

Alina Mu Liu, Official Interpreter, Editor & Translator, HM Courts & Tribunal Service, London UK & the United Nations

—————————————————————————— “Robert Sheppard’s Spiritus Mundi is a literary novel for those with an extensive vocabulary, and who believe how you tell a story is as important as what occurs in it. It is as current as today’s headlines.

Jaime Martinez-Tolentino, Writer” November 19, 2012

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“Robert Sheppard’s exciting new novel, Spiritus Mundi, is an unforgettable read and epic journey of high adventure and self-discovery across the scarred landscape of the modern world and into the mysteries beyond. Its compelling saga reveals the sexual and spiritual lives of struggling global protesters and idealists overcoming despair, nuclear terrorism, espionage and a threatened World War III to bring the world together from the brink of destruction with a revolutionary United Nations Parliamentary Assembly and spiritual rebirth. This modern epic is a must read and compelling vision of the future for all Citizens of the Modern World and a beacon of hope pointing us all towards a better world struggling against all odds to be born.” May 19, 2012

Lara Biyuts, Reviewer and Blogger at Goodreads.com and Revue Blanche

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“Robert Sheppard’s “Spiritus Mundi” is a book of major importance and depth. A must read for any thinking, compassionate human being living in these perilous times. I highly recommend this powerful testament of the current course of our so-called life on his planet. April 25, 2012

Doug Draime Writer, Freelance

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“This new novel ‘Spiritus Mundi’ brings together history, politics, future society, and blends with a plausible World War Three scenario. I have read it and find it over the top fascinating. I am very glad to see Robert share his creativity with the world through this work of fiction, and know it will be a huge hit.” April 28, 2012

Jim Rogers, Owner and Director, AXL

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“Robert Sheppard is an exceptional thinker! His work should be read and made the subject of critical study.”May 26, 2012

Georgia Banks-Martin, Editor, New Mirage Journal

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“This novel rocks the reader with its supple strength. You want to say “No, No,” and you end up saying, “Maybe.” Political science fiction at its highest, most memorable level.”November 17, 2012

Carl Macki, Owner, Carl Macki Social Media

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“Robert Sheppard’s Novel Spiritus Mundi confronts politics and philosophies of the world. He’s examined multiple layers of personality in his characters; male, female, Chinese, Arab, English, and American melding them into a story of possible outcomes. How else can I convey the intelligent presentation of fiction woven with sensitivity to our world’s governments, religious influences and sectarian principles? We must not forget the influence of a largely secular world. Robert tirelessly checked, rechecked and triple checked his resources in order to bring a fiction of occurrence, and psychological impact as set forth in his novel Spiritus Mundi.”November 18, 2012

Glenda Fralin, Author, Organization NWG

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“Robert was one of my best guests. His novel is as wide ranging as are his interests and expertise. He can explain his various ideas with great clarity and he does this with compassion. Novel is worthwhile reading.”November 18, 2012

Dr. Robert Rose, Radio Show Host, http://www.blogtalkradio.com/icdrrose

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Related Links and Websites:  Spiritus Mundi, Novel by Robert Sheppard

For Introduction and Overview of the Novel:  https://spiritusmundinovel.wordpress.com/

For Updates on the Upcoming Movie Version of the Novel, Spiritus Mundi & Casting of Actors and Actresses for Leading Roles See: https://robertalexandersheppard.wordpress.com/

To Read Abut the Occupy Wall Street Movement in Spiritus Mundi: http://occupywallstreetnovel.wordpress.com/

For Author’s Blog:  https://robertalexandersheppard.wordpress.com/

To Read a Sample Chapter from Spiritus Mundi: https://spiritusmundisamplechapters.wordpress.com/

To Read Fantasy, Myth and Magical Realism Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi: https://spiritusmundifantasymythandmagicalrealism.wordpress.com/

To Read Sexual Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi: The Varieties of Sexul Experience:  https://spiritusmundivarietiesofsexualexperience.wordpress.com/

To Read Spy, Espionage and Counter-terrorism Thriller Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi:   http://spiritusmundispyespionagecounterterrorism.wordpress.com/

To Read Geopolitical and World War Three Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi: https://spiritusmundigeopoliticalworldwar3.wordpress.com/

To Read Spiritual and Religious Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi: https://spiritusmundionspiritualityandreligion.wordpress.com/

To Read about the Global Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly in Spiritus Mundi:  https://spiritusmundiunitednationsparliamentaryassembly.wordpress.com/

To Read Poetry from Spiritus Mundi:https://spiritusmundipoetry.wordpress.com/

For Discussions on World Literature and Literary Criticism in Spiritus Mundi:   http://worldliteratureandliterarycriticism.wordpress.com/

For Discussions of World History and World Civilization in Spiritus Mundi:  https://worldhistoryandcivilizationspiritusmundi.wordpress.com/

To Read the Blog of Eva Strong from Spiritus  Mundi: https://evasblogfromspiritusmundi.wordpress.com/

To Read the Blog of Andreas Sarkozy from Spiritus Mundi: http://andreasblogfromspiritusmundi.wordpress.com/

To Read the Blog of Yoriko Oe from Spiritus Mundi: http://yorikosblogfromspiritusmundi.wordpress.com/

To Read the Blog of Robert Sartorius from Spiritus Mundi: http://sartoriusblogfromspiritusmundi.wordpress.com/

I write to introduce to your attention  my double novel Spiritus Mundi, consisting of Spiritus Mundi, the Novel—Book I, and Spiritus Mundi, the Romance—Book II. Book I’s espionage-terror-political-religious thriller-action criss-crosses the globe from Beijing to New York London to Washington, Mexico City and Jerusalem presenting a vast panorama of the contemporary international world, including compelling action from the Occupy Wall Street Movement to espionage and a threatened World War Three, deep and realistic characters and surreal adventures, while Book II dialates the setting and scope into a fantasy (though still rooted in the real) adventure where the protagonists embark on a quest to the realms of Middle Earth and its Crystal Bead Game and through a wormhole to the Council of the Immortals in the Amphitheater in the center of the Milky Way Galaxy in search of the crucial Silmaril Crystal, and to plead for the continuance of the human race in the face of threatened extinction from a nuclear World War III, all followed by a triple-somersault thriller ending in which a common garden-variety terrorist attack is first uncovered by MI6 and the CIA  as the opening gambit a Greatpower Game of States threatening World War III and then, incredibly, as the nexus of a Time Travel conspiracy involving an attempt by fascist forces of the 23rd Century to alter a benign World History by a time-travelling raid on their past and our present to provoke that World War III, foiled by the heroic efforts of the democratic 23rd Century world government, the Senate of the United States of Earth, to hunt down the fascist interlopers before their history is irrevocably altered for evil.

When activist Robert Sartorius, leading a global campaign  to create a European Parliament-style world-wide United Nations Parliamentary Assembly presses  the proposal in New York on his old friend the UN Secretary-General and is rebuffed due to the hostile pressure of the conservative American administration, his Committee  resolves to fight back by launching a celebrity-driven Bono-Geldof-Band Aid/Live 8-style “People Power” media campaign and telethon, allied to the Occupy Wall Street movement and spearheaded by  rock superstars Isis and Osiris and former UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali to mobilize global public support and pressure.  The Blogs of Sartorius, activist Eva Strong and Committee Chairman Andreas Sarkozy reveal the campaign’s working struggle, their tangled love affairs, a loss of faith, attempted suicide, reconciliation of father and son after divorce,  and recovery of personal love and faith.

Things fall apart as the idealists’ global crusade is infiltrated by a cell of jihadist terrorists using it as a cover, then counter-infiltrated by CIA agent Jack McKinsey and British MI6 agent Etienne Dearlove. A cat-and-mouse game of espionage and intrigue ensues pitting them against the Chinese MSS espionage network allied with the Iranian Quds Force crossing  Beijing, London, Moscow, Washington and Jerusalem unleashing an uncontrollable series of events which sees the American Olympic Track and Field Team bombed on an airplane in London, uncovers a secret conspiracy of China, Russia and Iran to jointly seize the oil reserves of the Middle-East, and witnesses  Presidents Clinton and Carter taken hostage with Sartorius, McKinsey, Eva and other activists at a Jerusalem telethon rally cut short by the explosion of a concealed atomic device in a loaned Chinese Terracotta Warrior, then flown by capturing terrorists to Qom, Iran as “human shields” to deter a retaliatory nuclear attack.

In Book II, Spiritus Mundi, the Romance they encounter Iran’s Supreme Leader in Qom as the world teeters on the brink of nuclear confrontation and World War III, while mysterious events unfold leading Sartorius and McKinsey from their captivity in the underground nuclear facilities of Qom into a hidden neo-mythic dimension that takes them to a vast ocean and land at the center of the world, Middle Earth, Inner Shambhala, and to involvement in a mysterious Castalian “Crystal Bead Game” linked to the destiny of the human race on earth. They then embark on a quest for the Silmaril, or Missing Seed Crystal to the central island of Omphalos in the Great Central Sea in the middle of the globe, aided by Goethe, the Chinese Monkey King, Captain Nemo, the African God-Hero Ogun, and a Sufi mystic they traverse a ‘wormhole’ at the center of the earth guarded by ‘The Mothers’ and the fallen angel tribe of the Grigori (Genesis 6:1-4) which leads the way to critical meeting of the “Council of the Immortals” at the Black Hole in the center of the Milky Way Galaxy to determine the final fate of the human species. The heroes battle and overcome the treacherous opposition of Mephisto and his satanic subaltern Mundus through their Underworld and Otherworld adventures and successfully plead the cause of the continuation of the human species before the Immortals, returning with the critical Silmaril Crystal. resolving the Crystal Bead Game and thereby inspiring through the Archangel Gabriel a dream in the mind of Iran’s Supreme Leader which brings a new Revelation causing him to release the hostages and an end the crisis. China and Russia stand down from aiding Iran in seizing the Mid-East oil reserves, but in a treacherous blow the Chinese instead utilize their forward-positioned armies to attack their former ally Russia and seize Siberia with its large oil and gas reserves instead. President Barret Osama, America’s newly-elected first black President then invites Russia, Japan and  South Korea to join NATO and together they succeed in expelling the Chinese from Siberia and usher in a new Eurasian and global balance of power and a New World Order.

Rock Superstar Osiris meanwhile, after undertaking a narcissistic Messianic mission in the wake of the Jerusalem atomic blast is dramatically assassinated on live world-wide television on Jerusalem’s Via Dolorosa by a disillusioned follower. His wife and rock-star partner Isis then leads a spiritual movement to reconcile and unite the clashing religions and catalyze a common global spiritual Renaissance through a Global Progressive Spiritual Alliance which seeks to construct an Inter-faith Temple on the ruins of the atomic blast in Jerusalem. In counter-reaction to the cataclysmic events the world finally implements Sartorius’ crusade for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, but not before Sartorius has himself has died, Moses-like of a heart attack while helping to foil a metaconspiracy mediated by Time Travel in which a fascist agent from the 23rd Century who has time-transited back to our time to alter a benign history by causing WWIII and thus preventing the evolution of a democratic world government, the United States of Earth, which follows him through time and nabs him just in the “nick of time” to prevent Aramgeddon.  The book ends with the opening ceremony of the UN Parliamentary Assembly which is attended in Sartorius’ name by his widow Eva Strong, whom Sartorius had fallen in love with and married in the course of the novel, and by their son Euphy, newborn after Sartorius’ death. They are joined in cinematic climax at the ceremony by newly chosen UN Secretary-General Clinton, President Osama and UN Parliamentary Assembly Committee Chairman Andreas Sarkozy who have just received the Nobel Peace Prize for their work in creation of the world’s first world parliamentary assembly within the United Nations, bringing together the representative voices of the peoples of the world in face-to-face assembly and dialogue for the first time in world history.

Highlights:

All the Highlights of the novel cannot be contained in such a short Introduction, but a few of them would include:

1.  Spiritus Mundi is the first novel in world history to portray the creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assemblyon the working model, inter alia, of the European Parliament;

2.   Spiritus Mundi is a prophetic geo-political WWIII novel of the near future forseeing a conflict and conspiratorial surprise attack by a resurgent “Axis” of China, Russia and Iran seeking by a decisive blow in jointly seizing the Middle-East oil fields to radically alter the global balance of power vis-a-vis the West in the world and Eurasia. Like Clancy’s The Bear and the Dragon, it forsees the inclusion of Russia in NATO, and goes far beyond in forseeing the inclusion of South Korea and Japan, following a joint Chinese-Russian occupation of a collapsing North Korea and the Axis strike at the Middle-Eastern oil fields;

3. Spiritus Mundi is an exciting espionage thriller involving the American CIA. British MI6, the Chinese MSS, or Ministry of State Security and the Russian SVR contending in a deul of intrigue and espionage;

4. Spiritus Mundi is a Spellbinding Terrorism/Counterterrorism novel involving a global plot to conceal an atomic bomb in a Chinese Teracotta Warrior to be detonated in Jerusalem;

5. Features the romantic and sexual searching and encounters of dozens of idealist activists, rock-stars, CIA and MI6 agents, public-relations spinmeisters and billionaires with a detour into the bi-sexual and gay scenes of Beijing, New York, California, London and Tokyo:

6.   Establishes and grounds the new genre of the Global Novel written in Global English, the international language of the world,

7. Spiritus Mundi is a novel of Spiritual Searching featuring the religious searching of Sufi mystic Mohammad ala Rushdie, as well as the loss of faith, depression, attempted suicide and recovery of faith in life of protagonist Sartorius. Follows bogus religious cult leaders and the Messiah-Complex megalomanic-narcissistic mission of rock superstar Osiris that leads to his dramatic assassination on worldwide television in Jerusalem, followed by the religious conversion of his wife and rock-star parner Isis;

8.   Features the search for love and sexual fulfillment of Eva Strong, a deeply and realistically portrayed divorced single mother involved in the United Nations campaign, who reveals her tortured heart and soul in her Blog throughout several disastrous sexual affairs and ultimately through her final attainment of love and marriage to Sartorius;

9.   Features Sartorius’ experience of a bitter divorce, alienation and reconciliation with his son, his loss of faith and attempted suicide, his battle against drugs and alcoholism, his surreal and sexual adventures in Mexico City, and his subsequent redeeming love and marriage to Eva Strong;

10.   Contains the in–depth literary conversations of Sartorius and his best friend, Literature Nobel Laureate Günther Gross, as they conduct  worldwide interviews and research for at book they are jointly writing on the emergence of the new institution of World Literature, building on Goethe’s original concept of “Weltliteratur” and its foundations and contributions from all the world’s traditions and cultures;

11.   Predicts the emergence of the institution and quest of “The Great Global Novel” as a successor to the prior quest after “The Great American Novel” in the newer age of the globalization of literature in Global English and generally;

12.   Features the cross-cultural experiences and search for roots, sexual and spiritual fulfillment and authenticity of Asian-American character Jennie Zheng, and  Pari Kasiwar of India;

13.         For the first time incorporates in the dramatic narrative flow of action the mythic traditions of all the cultures and literatures of the world, including such figures as Goethe, The Chinese Monkey King, the African God-Hero Ogun, surreal adventures in the ‘Theatro Magico’ in Mexico City bringing to life figures from the Mayan-Aztec Popul Vuh, Hanuman from the Indian classic the Ramayana, and many more;

14. Book Two, Spiritus Mundi, the Romance is a fantastic Fantasy, Myth and Magical Realism Rollercoaster Ride:   The more mythic Book Two utilizes a Wellsian motif of Time Travel to explore the making of history and its attempted unmaking (a la Terminator) by a hositile raid from the future on the past, our present, and the foiling of the fascist attempt by an alliance of men and women of goodwill and courage from past, present and future generations united in a Commonwealth of Human Destiny; Like Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day and Welles’ Journey to the Center of the Earth it involves a journey to an interior realm of the “Middle Earth;” it also contains a futuristic travel through a wormhole to the center of our Milky Way Galaxy for a meeting with the “Council of the Immortals” where the fate of the human race will be decided;

15.  Is a fantastic read on a roller-coaster ride of high adventure and self-exploration!

C   Copyright 2014 Robert Sheppard   All Rights Reserved

NEW BOOK RELEASE: SPIRITUS MUNDI BY ROBERT SHEPPARD NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON!

Spiritus Mundi Book Cover.80.1

 
PUSHCART PRIZE NOMINEE ROBERT SHEPPARD’S SPIRITUS MUNDI NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON! —–INVITATION TO LISTEN TO MAY 17 BLOGTALKRADIO INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR 10:00 AM PST _______________________________________________________________________

We are pleased to announce the launch of SPIRITUS MUNDI on AMAZON , including both Spiritus Mundi, Book I: The Novel (5.0-Star Amazon Rating Average), and Spiritus Mundi, Book II:The Romance (5.0-Star Amazon Rating Average). You can browse and sample both onlline for free now, then purchase immediaetly by clicking on the following Amazon sites:

Spiritus Mundi, Book I: The Novel: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CIGJFGO

Spiritus Mundi, Book II: The Romance http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CGM8BZG

CHECK OUT SPIRITUS MUNDI’S 5.O-STAR GOODREADS RATING AVERAGE & REVIEWS ON GOODREADS:

Book I (5.0-Stars on Goodreads) http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17857619-spiritus-mundi-book-i

Book II (5.0-Stars on Goodreads) http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17857704-spiritus-mundi-book-ii-the-romance

CHECK OUT A FULL SUMMARY OF SPIRITUS MUNDI ON SHELFARI before purchasing at:

http://www.shelfari.com/books/36123188/Spiritus-Mundi—Book-I-The-Novel http://www.shelfari.com/books/36123187/Spiritus-Mundi—Book-II-The-Romance

Spiritus Mundi is also available on SMASHWORDS in ALL FORMATS:

Book I (5.0 Stars on Smashwords) https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/303856 Book II (5.0 Stars on Smashwords) https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/303798

Spiritus Mundi is also now available at the following sites:

Spiritus Mundi: Book I: The Novel https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/303856 http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/spiritus-mundi-robert-sheppard/1115113181?ean=2940044432598&itm=1&usri=2940044432598 http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Spiritus-Mundi-Book-The-Novel/book-vYffC7MUUEyN0wJTQSpgFQ/page1.html https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/spiritus-mundi/id634577546?mt=11 http://www.diesel-ebooks.com/item/SW00000303856/Sheppard-Robert-Spiritus-Mundi-Book-I-The-Novel/1.html

Spiritus Mundi – Book II: The Romance https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/303798 http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/spiritus-mundi-robert-sheppard/1115113152?ean=2940044433182&itm=1&usri=2940044433182 http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Spiritus-Mundi-Book-II-The/book-PlMhvFBI5USTGkLFnO1TQA/page1.html https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/spiritus-mundi-book-ii-romance/id634586781?mt=11 http://www.diesel-ebooks.com/item/SW00000303798/Sheppard-Robert-Spiritus-Mundi-Book-II-The-Romance/1.html

CELEBRATING SPIRITUS MUNDI’S AMAZON RELEASE DAY WITH MAY 17 BLOGTALKRADIO AUTHOR INTERVIEW WITH DR. ROBERT ROSE 10:00 AM PST __________________________________________________________________________

We also invite you to listen in to the  BlogTalkRadio Interview with Dr. Robert Rose interviewing Robert Sheppard on the topic of “World Consciousness and the Emergencer of World Literature” pre-recorded May 17, 10:00 AM, PST:

How to Tune In: ============ You can tune in by clicking on the following BlogTalkRadio link:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/icdrrose/2013/05/17/robert-sheppard-global-consciousness

or you can listen in anytime to the recorded Podcasts of the May 17 Interview, or past Interviews:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/icdrrose http://www.blogtalkradio.com/icdrrose/2012/08/01/robert-sheppard–spiritus-mundi-a-novel
Spiritus Mundi, Novel by Robert Sheppard: Table of Contents

Spiritus Mundi

Contents

Book One Spiritus Mundi: The Novel Chapters 1-33
1.Departure (Beijing)
2.A Failing Quest (New York)
3.War Council & Counteroffensive (Geneva)
4.New Beginnings (London)
5.Republic of Letters (Berlin)
6.Fathers and Sons (Washington,D.C.)
7.Ulysses: Blogo Ergo Sum (Beijing)
8.Frequently Asked Questions (London)
9.In the Middle Kingdom (Beijing)

10. Past and Present (London-South Africa)

11. Telemachus (Washington, D.C.)

12. The Everlasting Nay (Beijing)

13. My Brother’s Keeper (London)

14. In the Global Village (Beijing-Tokyo)

15. Deceits and Revelations (London)

16. Be Ready for Anything (Beijing)

17. The Obscure Object of Desire (London-Pyongyang)

18. Sufferings (Beijing)

19. Of the Yearnings of the Caged Spirit (London)

20. Cyclops (Washington, D.C.)

21. The Engines of Illusion (Beijing)

22. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (London)

23. The Temptation of the Sirens (Beijing)

24. Truth or Consequences (London)

25. Lazarus Laughed (Beijing)

26. Neptune’s Fury & The Perils of the Sea (The Maldive Islands)

Naval Diaries and Ship’s Logs of Admiral Sir George Rose Sartorius (1780-1875)

27. Penelope (London)

28. The Volcano’s Underworld (Mexico City)

Teatro Magico

29. The Everlasting Yea (London)

30. Paradise Regained (Little Gidding)

31. To the South of Eden (Kenya-to Midrand-Johannesburg South Africa)

32. In a Glass Darkly (London)

33. Spiritus Mundi

Book Two Spiritus Mundi: The Romance Chapters 1-21
1.Gerusalemme Liberata & Orlando Furioso (Jerusalem)
2.In a Glass Darkly (London)
3.Great Expectations (Jerusalem)
4.The Parable of the Cave (Qom, Iran)
5.The Xth Day of the Crisis (London)
6.The Supreme Leader & The Three Messiahs (Qom)
7.Going for the Jugular (London)
8.The Night Journey, Goethe & The Monkey King (Qom)
9.The Central Sea, The Crystal Bead Game & The Quest

10. The Island of Omphalos & The Mothers

11. The Council of the Immortals & The Trial By Ordeal

12. Nemesis

13. Armageddon (London)

14. The Fever Breaks

15. High Noon & Showdown at the OK Corral (Washington, D.C.)

16. Ecce Homo (Jerusalem)

17. Deliverance (London/Lhasa)

18. For Every Action…. (Moscow/Beijing)

19. The Burial of the Dead (London/Little Gidding)

20. Spiritus Mundi (London/Jerusalem)

21. In My End is My Beginning

—-The Convening of the First Meeting of the

United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (New York)

Appendix 1: A United Nations Parliamentary Assembly: Frequently Asked Questions

Appendix 2: Spiritus Mundi: Index of Principal Characters

C  Copyright Robert Sheppard 2014 All Rights Reserved

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HORROR FICTION IN WORLD LITERATURE AND FILM——-FROM THE WORLD LITERATURE FORUM SUGGESTED CLASSICS AND MASTERPIECES SERIES, ROBERT SHEPPARD, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Horror 4

 

HORROR FICTION IN WORLD LITERATURE AND FILM——-FROM THE WORLD LITERATURE FORUM SUGGESTED CLASSICS AND MASTERPIECES SERIES, ROBERT SHEPPARD, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

 

Robert Sheppard, Editor-in-Chief, World Literature Forum

Robert Sheppard, Editor-in-Chief, World Literature Forum

 

By Robert Sheppard, Editor-in-Chief, World Literature Forum

Contents:

  1. Introduction: What is Horror and Horror Fiction?
  2. The History and Development of Horror Fiction: Overview
  3. Awards and Associations for Horror Fiction
  4. The Horror Timeline for Fiction and Film: Chronological History and Development of the Horror Genre
  5. The Essential Works of Horror Fiction

Horror!——–Horror!———–What is horror? A common definition of horror is often given as “a painful and intense fear, dread, or dismay.”  “Horror Fiction” then is fiction that elicits and evokes such emotions in the reader, or viewer when rendered in cinema or television. It is a genre of literature, which is intended to, or has the capacity to frighten its readers, scare or startle viewers or readers by inducing the feelings of terror and horror. It creates an eerie and frightening atmosphere which elicits and magnifies and elaborates such response. The Einsteinesque intuition that “everything is relative” applies equally to horror, as the specific source of such emotion may depend on who we are, what we have experienced and what haunts our subconscious mind, perhaps being supernatural as with vampires or demons to some, or non-supernatural, as with sexual terror, to others. Often the central menace of a work of Horror Fiction can be interpreted as a code or metaphor for the larger or deeper fears of a society. The horror genre undoubtedly has primordial origins in legend and myth originating around the campfires of forests, jungles and caves, but in its modern literary incarnation reformulated in the 18th century as Gothic Horror, the genre in Western Literature traces its origin to the seminal publication of the Castle of Otranto (1764) by Horace Walpole with its myriad progeny.

By this relativistic definition, horror can deal with the mundane or the supernatural, with the fantastic or the normal. It doesn’t have to be full of ghosts, ghouls, and things to go bump in the night. Its only true requirement is that it elicit an emotional reaction that includes some aspect of fear or dread. Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones is therefore just as much a horror novel as Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot. Tim LaHay’s Left Behind series is just as full of horror as Dan Simmons’ A Winter Haunting. We could even maintain that the bestselling book of all time, the Bible (or runner-up Koran), especially as interpreted by the “fire and brimstone” threatening tradition of retributive Fundamentalism could easily be labeled horror (fiction?) with its fallen angels, demonic possessions, Antichrist and an Apocalypse absolutely terrifying in its inexorability and inescapable scope.

In his horror anthology Prime Evil, author Douglas Winter stated, “Horror is not a genre, like the Mystery or Science Fiction or the Western. It is not merely a kind of fiction, meant to be confined to the ghetto of a special shelf in libraries or bookstores. Horror is an emotion”—-perhaps the deepest and oldest in human consciousness. He was correct and his words have become a rallying cry for the modern horror writer.

Horror

One of the defining traits of the genre of horror is that it provokes a response: emotional, psychological and physical. One of H.P. Lovecraft’s most famous quotes from his celebrated essay “Supernatural Horror in Literature” about the genre is that: “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”

Horror takes us back to where we came from. The old “fight or flight” reaction of our evolutionary heritage once played a major role in the life of every human. Our ancestors lived and died by it. It lay at the root of our struggle for survival. Then someone invented the fascinating game of civilization, and things began to calm down. Development pushed wilderness back from settled lands. War, crime, and other forms of social violence came with civilization and humans started preying on each other, but by and large daily life calmed down. Something of primal life was lost. We began to feel restless, to feel something missing: the excitement of living on the edge, the tension between hunter and hunted. So we told each other stories through the long, dark nights…when the fires burned low, we did our best to scare the daylights out of each other. The rush of adrenaline feels good. Our hearts pound, our breath quickens, and we can imagine ourselves on the edge. Like sexuality, with which it is often linked, horror is one of the pathways that leads us back to primal life.

Yet we also appreciate the insightful aspects of horror. Sometimes a story intends to shock and disgust, but the best horror intends to rattle our cages and shake us out of our complacency. It makes us think, forces us to confront ideas we might rather ignore, and challenges preconceptions of all kinds. Horror reminds us that the world is not always as safe as it seems, which exercises our mental muscles and reminds us to keep a little healthy caution close at hand.

In a sense similar to the reason a person seeks out the controlled thrill of a roller coaster, readers in the modern era seek out feelings of horror and terror to feel a sense of excitement. Horror makes us feel primally alive. Additionally, horror fiction is one of the few mediums where readers seek out a form of art that forces themselves to embark on a foray of reconnaissance into the unknown, confronting ideas and images they might rather ignore and to challenge preconceptions of all kinds.

 

Horror 3

 

What makes horror literature so pervasive is that its need to evoke the necessary atmosphere and sense of emotional dread is utterly dependent on who we are as readers — as people. As children, we might be afraid of the shadows looming from a half-closed closet door or of the monster we believe lies under the bed. Terrors of the imagination run wild at that age. The fiction of R.L Stine perhaps takes us a step further as we grow towards adolescence. As adults, our fears become more sophisticated, more grounded in worldly events. They become the death of a loved one, the terminal illness of a small child, the fear of our lives running out of our control. Horror peels away the thin and often unreal veneer of our daily lives and “civilized” environment, derailing our lives and sending us careening into the abyss. Horror, by nature, is personal–an intrusion into our comfort levels. It speaks of the human condition and forcibly reminds us of how little we actually know and understand, let alone control.

Horror fiction is radical. As accomplished horror writer Robert McCammon said, “Horror fiction upsets apple carts, burns old buildings, and stampedes the horses; it questions and yearns for answers, and it takes nothing for granted. It’s not safe, and it probably rots your teeth, too. Horror fiction can be a guide through a nightmare world, entered freely and by the reader’s own will. And since horror can be many, many things and go in many, many directions, that guided nightmare ride can shock, educate, illuminate, threaten, shriek, and whisper before it lets the readers loose.” Horror is thus that which cannot be made safe—-because it is about our relentless need to confront the unknown, the unknowable—a rendezvous with a seductive impalpable menace from the darkness beyond our experience which may also embody some hidden beckoning towards a potentially deeper life, and the emotion we experience when in its thrall.

Sometimes a distinction is made in the types of emotional response to horror fiction. In 1826, the gothic novelist Anne Radcliffe published an essay distinguishing two elements of horror fiction, “terror” and “horror.” Whereas terror is a feeling of dread that takes place before an event happens, horror is a feeling of revulsion or disgust after an event has happened. Radcliffe describes terror as that which “expands the soul and awakens the faculties to a high degree of life,” whereas horror is described as that which “freezes and nearly annihilates them.” Both are intrinsic to the genre.

Edgar Allen Poe---Master of the Horror Short Story and Detective Fiction

Edgar Allen Poe—Master of the Horror Short Story and Detective Fiction

The History and Development of Horror Fiction: Overview

 

Horror fiction has its roots in oldest primordial collective consciousness of mankind, folklore, ritual, shamanist exorcisms and religious traditions, focusing on the eternal unresolved fears of death, afterlife, evil, the demonic and the principle of the thing embodied in the person. These were elaborated over eons in stories of witches, warlocks, vampires, devils, ghosts and demonic pacts such as that of Faust.

Gothic horror in the 18th century

 

Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto---Where It All Began

Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto—Where It All Began

Eighteenth-century Gothic horror drew on these sources branching out from the seminal and controversial The Castle of Otranto (1764) by Horace Walpole. This marked the first time a modern novel incorporated elements of the supernatural instead of striving after pure realism. In fact, the first edition was published disguised as an actual medieval romance from Italy discovered and republished by a fictitious translator. Once revealed as the contemporary work of the son of a powerful Prime Minister, Robert Walpole, many found it anachronistic, reactionary, or simply in poor taste – but it proved to be immediately popular. That first novel, however, established the seed elements and foundations of the genre in evolution of Gothic Horror, inspiring such follow-on works as Vathek (1786) by William Beckford, the Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) and The Italian by Anne Radcliffe and The Monk by Matthew Lewis. A significant amount of horror fiction of this era was written by women and marketed at a female audience, a typical scenario of horror fiction being a resourceful female protagonist menaced in a gloomy and mysterious castle.

Horace Walpole: Son of a Prime Minister and Father of the Gothic Horror Genre

Horace Walpole: Son of a Prime Minister and Father of the Gothic Horror Genre

Horror in the 19th century

Mary Shelley: Wife of Percy Shelley and Mother of Frankenstein

Mary Shelley: Wife of Percy Shelley and Mother of Frankenstein

Mary Shelley

The Gothic tradition blossomed into the genre modern readers call Horror Literature in the 19th century. Influential works and characters that continue resonating with film, television and cinema today saw their genesis in such works as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818), the short stories and related works of Edgar Allen Poe, the works of the Irish master of the genre Sheridan Le Fanu, Robert Louis Stevenson’s classics such as The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886), Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray (1890), and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897).  Each of these novels or novellas created an enduring icon of horror which would in turn be translated and rendered in modern re-imaginings on the stage and screen.

Frankenstein's Monster

Frankenstein’s Monster

Horror in the 20th century

The proliferation of cheap periodicals, as early as the turn of the century, led to a boom in horror writing. One writer who specialized in horror fiction for mainstream pulps such as All-Story Magazine was Tod Robbins, whose fiction dealt with themes of madness and cruelty. Later, specialist magazines and publications emerged to give horror writers additional outlets, including Weird Tales and Unknown Worlds.

H.P. Lovecraft: The Father of Cosmic Horror

H.P. Lovecraft: The Father of Cosmic Horror

Influential horror writers of the early 20th century broadened and deepened the medium. Most particularly, the venerated horror author H.P. Lovecraft, modern Dean of the genre, with his monumental Cthulhu Mythos pioneered the genre of Cosmic Horror featuring cruel and inscrutable quasi-deities indifferent to human suffering, and M.R. James, grandmaster of the ghost story are credited with redefining that era.

Cthulhu R’Lyeh Rising---by Horror Grandmaster H.P. Lovecraft

Cthulhu R’Lyeh Rising—by Horror Grandmaster H.P. Lovecraft

Early cinema was inspired by many aspects of horror literature, and early Horror Cinema started a strong tradition of horror films and subgenres based on horror fiction that continues to this day. Up until the graphic depictions of violence and gore on the screen commonly associated with the 1960s and 1970’s slasher films, splatter films, and weird comic books such as those published by EC Comics (famous for series such as Tales From The Crypt) satisfied readers’ quests for horror imagery that the Big Screen could not provide.

Many modern novels claim an early description of the living dead in a precursor to the modern zombie tale, including H.P. Lovecraft’s stories such as “Cool Air,” (1925) “In The Vault,” (1926) and “The Outsider,” (1926). Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel I Am Legend would also influence an entire genre of apocalyptic zombie fiction epitomized by the classic films of George A. Romero.

Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel I Am Legend  becomes a Will Smith Cinema Classic

Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel I Am Legend becomes a Will Smith Cinema Classic

Contemporary horror fiction

The crowning master of contemporary horror writers is Stephen King, known for writing Carrie, The Shining, It, Misery and many more, raising the horror genre to Bestseller status.  Beginning in the 1970s, King’s stories have managed to attract a huge audience, for which he was prized by the U.S. National Book Foundation in 2003.

Stephen King: The "King" of Contemporary Horror Fiction

Stephen King: The “King” of Contemporary Horror Fiction

Stephen King

Indeed, Stephen King’s influence over the Contemporary Horror genre is so pervasive that he is often regarded, apropos of his name, as the “King of Contemporary Horror.” But as with other kings his impact has been regarded with deep ambivalence. Some have credited him with virtually creating the contemporary genre, others with destroying it. Neither judgment is wholly appropriate.

The root of this conundrum lies in the nature of the publishing industry and its emulating sister, the “Hollywood” of the film industry. Back in the seventies, an unknown writer burst onto the scene with a novel called Carrie. The work went on to be made into a wildly successful film, and a new genre was born. That author, Stephen King of course, set the stage for what horror was to become in the eighties and early nineties.

Almost overnight, King’s brand of fiction became a multi-million dollar industry. Publishers saw the dollar signs looming before them and charged full speed ahead, making horror into a mass-consumption product. They gave it a specific identity, a specific formula. Writers responding to the laws of supply and demand then popped out of the woodwork, eager to embrace and attempt to duplicate the stunning success of Mr. King.

According to King’s harsher critics, it was at this point that horror literature lost its identity. Instead of “evolving, ever-changing,” horror became defined — typecast if you will — forced to conform to a certain method and a certain manner for both publishers and film producers.  Publishers flooded the market with books that matched this formula, giving readers more and more of what they demanded. Hollywood got into the act, making movie after movie with the same basic themes, the same old scares, so much so that today we have horror films that parody these very elements. Before we knew it, horror novels and horror movies had become synonymous. Even worse, it was difficult to tell one horror novel from another, so important had the formula become. A market glut swiftly followed. Horror’s originality, its vital essence degraded.

At this point horror seemed to lose its stature and legitimacy in the realm of high and respectable literary art, becoming regarded by many in the literary establishment as hack work. As the horror boom of the eighties turned into the drought of the nineties, horror went underground. In order to save itself, it became a chameleon, masquerading as other genres, hiding itself in other styles. And perhaps by this process it attained a measure of regeneration and renewal. Horror once again focused more fully on emotion; it once again began to delve deep inside and force us to confront who we are, to examine what we are afraid of, and to wonder what lies ahead down the road of life.

Thus ironically, those writers whose works perhaps define the quintessential essence of horror are not considered horror writers. Millions of people read Stephen King, but the average King reader doesn’t read other horror writers. Dean Koontz’s books are filled with the strange and fantastic, yet he vehemently argues against being labeled a horror writer. John Saul thinks of himself as a writer of thrillers; Clive Barker a master of the fantastic. Robert McCammon stopped publishing altogether to avoid being trapped in a box not of his own choosing when the publishing world demanded more horror instead of the historical novel he had so desperately wanted to produce.

The Erotic Gothic Bestsellers of Anne Rice

The Erotic Gothic Bestsellers of Anne Rice

Thus Best-selling book series of contemporary times often exist in related genres to horror fiction, such as Werewolf Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Kitty Norville Books from Carrie Vaughn and the Erotic Gothic Fiction of Anne Rice. Elements of the horror genre continue to overflow and expand outside the channels of the genre. The Alternate History of more traditional historical horror in a novel such as The Terror exists on bookstore shelves next to genre Mashups such as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and the Historical Fantasy and Horror Comics epitomized by such works as Mike Mignola’s Hellboy. Horror serves as one of the central genres in more complex modern works such as Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves, a finalist for the National Book Award. Popular contemporary horror authors include Brian Lumley, James Herbert, Dean Koontz, Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell and Peter Straub.

Awards and Associations for Horror Fiction

The Horror Writers Association Issues the Bram Stoker Awards for Excellence in Horror Fiction

The Horror Writers Association Issues the Bram Stoker Awards for Excellence in Horror Fiction

Achievements in horror fiction are recognized by numerous awards. The Horror Writer’s Association presents the Bram Stoker Awards for Superior Achievement, named in honor of Bram Stoker, author of the seminal horror novel Dracula. The International Horror Guild presents its own annual awards, as do organizations such as the Australian Horror Writers Association with its annual Australian Shadows Award. Other important awards for horror literature are as subcategories included within general awards for fantasy and science fiction in such awards as the Aurealis Award.

Bram Stoker, Author of Dracula

Bram Stoker, Author of Dracula

The History and Development of the Horror Genre: The Horror Timeline for Fiction and Film

Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter in Hannibal and The Silence of the Lambs

Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter in Hannibal and The Silence of the Lambs

The following is a Chronological Precis of the Development of the Horror Genre in Literature, Film, Music and Television from Earliest Times to the Present:

600 BC to 200 AD—- The bestselling book of all time, the Bible, Old and New Testaments, along with its sequels including the Koran, could easily be labeled horror, for where else can you find fallen angels, demonic possessions, and an apocalypse absolutely terrifying in its majesty, inclusive of the lives of all of us, all in one volume?

The Bible as Horror Fiction?

The Bible as Horror Fiction?

1235

An order comes out of the Vatican, authorizing the commencement of an Inquisition to re-establish the orthodoxy of the faith. The charge of heresy soon becomes entangled with the charge of witchcraft, and in this form took until the seventeenth century to die away.

1307 – 1321

La Comedia, or The Divine Comedy as it came to be known, of Dante Alighieri is written in Italy. This semi-autobiographical poem sets forth one of the most influential descriptions of Hell in the literature, though Dante’s vast and intricate plan has, in the public eye, been superseded by Milton’s vision 1667. Even less well-known are the two sections after Inferno that complete the poem, Purgatorio and Paradiso.

Nothing ere I was made was made to be
Save things eterne, and I eterne abide;
Lay down all hope, you that go in by me.
— trans. Dorothy L Sayers

Dante's Inferno:  Greed

Dante’s Inferno: Greed

1456

Vladislav Basarab of Transylvania gains the crown of Wallacia for the first time (until 1462, and again briefly in 1468). From his father he earned the nickname ‘Dracula’, son of the Dragon, but he earned for himself the name Vlad the Impaler, for his favorite method of execution, the precise details of which you don’t want to know about. Despite a large amount of slander by his political opponents, many of the tales of his cruelty were true (he is said to have killed over 40,000 people in his reign). He was also a staunch defender of Christendom from the Turkish threat. O’ Religion!

1470 – 1516

The Dutch artist Hieronymus Bosch in this period produced paintings of religious theme and nightmarish impact — the best known is The Garden of Earthly Delights. They came to the attention of the Inquisition after his death, but powerful patrons protected the collection.

1485

The first edition Danse Macabre is published in Paris by Guyot Marchant, inspired by the Black Death, or Plague. The verses and illustrations are taken from the murals adorning the Cemetery of the Innocents. The first set of couplets, by an unknown author, deal with death coming to the forty stations of men. The matching verses for women are credited to Martial d’Auvergne.

1486

The first edition of the Malleus Maleficarum is produced in Germany by the Dominican inquisitors Hienrich Institoris (aka Henry Kramer) and Jakob Sprenger. Literally ‘the Hammer of Witches’, it codified the form of belief in witchcraft that spread, through fourteen editions by 1520, throughout Europe. It contributed enormously to the witch craze of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth centuries in which thousands of people were tortured and killed.

1538

Hans Holbein the Younger, in his lifetime regarded as one of the greatest and most productive artists of Northern Europe, publishes forty-one ‘Dance of Death’ woodcuts in Les simulachres & historiees faces de la mort.

The Damnation of Dr. Faustus

The Damnation of Dr. Faustus

1580s

An incredible series of gruesome plays jostle each other on the stages of England. The first is traditionally Thomas Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy (1585) followed by Christopher Marlowe’s Tamburlaine (1587), Dr Faustus (1587) and William Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus (1594). Shakespeare’s Hamlet (1600) and Macbeth (1605) are also morbid little pieces of some note. Cyril Tourneur’s The Revenger’s Tragedy (1607) and John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi (1613) are the latter examples, and indeed the last examples of death portrayed in front of an audience in European theatre until Victor Hugo’s Hernani in 1730.

1587 – 1589

A semi-fictional biography of a Johannes Faustus, scholar and reputed magician, is published in Germany. Christopher Marlowe reads the English translation and creates his play The Historie of the Damnable Life, and Deserved Death of Doctor Iohn Faustus. This is the prototype of the Mad Scientist, later echoed in such characters as Dr. Frankenstein, who sells his soul for knowledge (1818).The tale was more or less directly retold by Goethe in 1808 and Charles Maturin in 1820. Goethe’s version was adapted as an opera by Charles Gounod, libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carre, in 1859.

1667

Paradise Lost is John Milton’s epic poem of the fall from Heaven, the English poet dictating his work to his daughters after being left blind in 1652. A strict Puritan, Milton still questioned Christian orthodoxy, and it is his depiction of Satan, his realms and his struggle against omnipotence that give the poem its power. Paradise was regained in 1671.

1692

Not the largest or most gruesome of the witch trials (Bamberg, Germany, 1623-1633 comes to mind), the events in Salem, Massachusetts are definitely the most famous. A group of young girls began to claim local women were bewitching them. The first arrest was a slave Tituba who provided all the details that could be wished to capture the imagination. Prominent theologians such as Cotton Mather provided legitimization, and things ran on from there.

1714

The first major work of what became known as the Graveyard Poets is published with Thomas Parnell’s A Night-Piece on Death. The group focused on the melancholy and mortality of man, an introspective style that finally led into the wilder fantasies of the Romantics. Other examples include Robert Blair’s The Grave (1743), Thomas Warton’s The Pleasures of Melancholy (1747) and Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard, by Thomas Gray in 1752.

1720 – 1740

The heyday of Bach, during which he writes his massive Toccata and Fugue in D minor, little realizing that this gloomy little organ piece will appear as the sound-track to a James Caan movie (Rollerball in fact, Norman Jewison, 1975). Even without this filmic application, this piece is quite capable of evoking funereal atmosphere within the first few notes of that ominous central motif.

1731

The Austrian Government commission a report on various peasant customs, prompted by mass hysteria in the village of Medvegia. The report, supervised by Johannes Fluckinger, goes into great detail about vampire activity in the area, and is quickly spread through international journals and fashionable society. It caught the public imagination, and the attention of scientists and philosophers, for decades to come, in both England and the Continent.

1765

The Castle of Otranto is written by Horace Walpole — considered the first Gothic novel. It was followed by such creations as (the tedious) Vathek (William Beckford, 1786), The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794), and certain satires, notably ‘Gothic’ was heavily influenced by the excesses and writings generated by the ‘Inquisition.’ ‘The Gothic is a literature of decay. This is a moral judgment; for after all, the matter of the Gothic tale is a great structure succumbing, crumbling, sinking into all perversions of the architectural, human, vegetable and animal’

1773

Gottfried August Bürger writes the poem Leonore, a popular treatment of the folk tale motif of the lover who comes back from the grave; ‘And now are you afraid?’ and, incidentally, ‘Denn die Todten reiten schnell.‘ It was translated into English by William Rosetti in 1844 under the title The Hunt.

Ugetsu Monogotari

Ugetsu Monogotari

1776

The Japanese student of literature and critic Uneda Akinari, publishes Ugetsu Monogatari, or Tales of Moonlight and Rain. Drawing inspiration from popular myth, this collection of romantic and chilling stories includes ‘The House Amidst the Thickets’, ‘The Chrysanthemum Trust’ and ‘The Carp that Swam in my Dreams’. ‘The House’, in which a soldier comes home from the war to find everything exactly as he left it… exactly, formed the basis for the 1953 film Ugetsu, by Mizoguchi Kenji.

1781

Henry Fuseli, the then professor of painting at the British Royal Academy, paints The Nightmare. He was considered insane by most of his contemporaries.

1784

Donatien-Alphonse-François de Sade, better known as the Marquis de Sade, writes Les 120 Journées de Sodome, ou l’Ecole du libertinage (The 120 Days of Sodom), ‘the most impure tale that has ever been told since our world began’ whilst incarcerated in the Bastille — though the uncompleted novel wasn’t properly published until 1931. The combination of his (hardly unusual) licentious ways and love of literature produced an extraordinary fusion that saw him persecuted throughout life, and beyond. If nothing else, he certainly had a philosophy (and no, he never met Sacher Masoch). Other novels include his most readable, Justine, ou les Malheurs de la Vertu (Justine, or the Misfortunes of Virtue, first version in 1791) and its sister volume, l’Hisoire de Juliette, sa soeur (ou les Prospérités du vice) (Juliette, or the Triumph of Vice) in 1797. He has featured as a character in various, usually bad, novels and films such as ‘The Skull of the Marquis de Sade’ by Robert Bloch (filmed by Freddy Francis in 1965); and there are an almost surprising number of adaptations of his work. Most are somewhat obscure, and only Pier Paolo Pasolini’s masterly adaptation of Sodom, released under the title Salòo le centoventi giornate di Sodom in 1976, has risen to any public attention.

1790 – 1825

For a brief thirty years horror flourished again on the British stage. Three theatres, Drury Lane, Covent Garden and the Haymarket, played host to such dramatisations as Fitz Ball’s The Devil’s Elixir, Matthew Lewis’ The Castle Spectre, James Planche’s The Vampire (1819) (introducing a new form of stage machinery, ‘the vampire trap’), and Milner’s Frankenstein, or The Man and the Monster (1818). These productions were ‘expensive, spectacular and decidedly bloody’, but none were staged after 1825 when ‘the devil was no longer in fashion.’

Anne Radcliffe's Mysteries of Udolpho

Anne Radcliffe’s Mysteries of Udolpho

1794

Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho is the most famous work from one of the most prominent Gothic authors. A prose poet, she proved to be a great influence on Lord Byron [1816] and Walter Scott, in contrast to both Matthew Lewis [1795] and Horace Walpole [1765] who were ‘ancestors of a whole school, finding its culmination, perhaps, in the supernatural and macabre stories of Poe [1833] and Charles Brockden Brown.’ Radcliffe introduced the ‘poetical landscape’ into the modern novel, and her popularity was immense. Other works include The Italian, or the Confessional of the Black Penitents (1797) and The Romance of the Forest (1791).

1795

The Monk, ‘charged with all the adolescent sexual intensity of the 19-year-old who wrote it.’ is published anonymously. It is the most readable of the Gothic novels to the modern reader and, as the Marquis de Sade puts it, ‘is superior in all respects to the strange flights of Mrs. Radcliffe’s imagination’ [– Reflections on the Novel (1800)]. There were calls for the book to be banned, particularly once the author’s identity was made known, one Matthew Lewis, playwright and member of parliament. Ann Radcliffe [1794], whose work in part inspired it, was so horrified she wrote The Italian (1797) in reply. A film was made in the early seventies by Ado Kryou, and Paco Lara’s version came out in 1990. It wasn’t very good.]

1797

The many men, so beautiful!
And they all dead did lie:
And a thousand, thousand slimy things
Lived on; and so did I.

— The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

‘His genius had angelic wings, and fed on manna’, said William Hazlitt of Samuel Taylor Coleridge though opium would have been closer to the mark. Other works by this British poet include Kubla Khan (1798, the famous (if not necessarily actual) interrupted transcript of a drug-induced dream) and Christobel (1801) [1872]. Coleridge is also known for being one of the premiere critics of English literature, and is credited with the ‘rediscovery’ of the original, unbowdlerised Shakespeare.

1800

‘Wake Not the Dead’, by Johann Ludwig Tieck, becomes the first known English vampire story when it is translated from the German.

1816

Between the 15th and 17th of June Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and Dr. John Polidori stay at a villa by Lake Geneva. Quite possibly under the influence of laudanum, they declare they will each write a ghost story. From this meeting both the Vampire sub-genre and science fiction itself are created in English [1818], [1819]. The story of that night has been told a number of times on film, most notably in Ken Russell’s Gothic (1986).

E.T.A. Hoffman: Master of the Uncanny

E.T.A. Hoffman: Master of the Uncanny

1817

Ernst Theodor Willhelm Hoffmann (known as ETA for his regard for Amadeus Mozart) publishes Nachtstücke (or Night Pieces), containing his best known grotesque tales, such as ‘Der Sandmann’ and ‘Tale of the Lost Shadow’. He was a great influence on the German Expressionists of the early twentieth century [1910s].

1818

Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein — or the Modern Prometheus is published, the first science fiction novel [1816]. It will also have a great influence on horror though the popular image of the monster is taken from the multitude of films [1910], [1930s], [1948]. Like much of the contemporary literature it was quickly adapted for stage [1790-1825] but it wasn’t until 1991 that it became an opera, with Richard Meale and David Malouf’s Mer de Glace.

1818

Nightmare Abbey is written by Thomas Love Peacock, a send-up of the genre the author saw as an ‘encroachment of black bile.’ It contains caricatures of Mary and Percy Shelley, Byron and Coleridge, and is extremely funny.

1819

Dr. Polidori’s The Vampyre is published in the New Monthly Magazine, ‘the first vampire tale of any substance in the English language.’ Originally attributed to Byron, the lead character is in fact a caricature of the poet. A theatrical adaptation by Charles Nodier appeared in 1820, and this was further turned into an opera by Heinrich Marschner, with libretto by Wilhelm Wolbrucke, in 1828. In 1992 Charles Hart provided substantially different lyrics for The Vampyre: A Soap Opera.

1819

In Spain the court painter Francesco Goya produces a series of eighteen frescos known as the Black Paintings, including Saturn Devouring His Children, as a response to the French invasion. He had always tended towards dark subjects, exemplified in an earlier series satirising witchcraft beliefs, and the engraving The Sleep of Reason (Produces Monsters).

1820

Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique. Titanic and shocking in the extreme to the listeners of his day, Berlioz’s masterwork retains the ability to conjure up just the grotesque and frightening images of nightmare and death he had in mind when he named movements of the symphony March to the Scaffold and Dream of a Witch’s Sabbath. Robert Schumann described ‘malformed creatures of all sorts… lamentations, howls, laughter, cries of pain… demoniac orgies… death bells’ in the final movement (with not a little discomfort)’.

1831

Notre Dame de Paris (with its perhaps more descriptive English title The Hunchback of Notre Dame) lurches on to the scene, along with the bells and gargoyles, courtesy of Victor Hugo, a French author noted for his human dramas such as Les Miserables. [1923].

1832

The German folklorists, Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm publish the fruits of their research in Kinder und Hausmarchen. It includes ‘Hansel and Gretel’, ‘Snow White’ and ‘The Bone Flute’.

1833

The Baltimore Saturday Visitor publishes MS Found in a Bottle by the unknown author Edgar Allan Poe. Between here and his death in 1849 he publishes many short stories, including ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ (1839), ‘The Masque of the Red Death’ (1842), ‘The Pit and the Pendulum’ (1843) and ‘The Cask of Amontillado’ (1846). He has some claim to be the father of the detective story, and has described himself as ‘insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.’ He was the first significant proponent of the fiction that would dominate the next century. [1960].

1835

The Danish writer Hans Christian Anderson publishers his first anthology, Tales Told for Children, including such delights as ‘The Red Shoes’ (with a haunting pair of severed feet), ‘The Little Mermaid’ (Disney gave it a happy ending) and ‘The Snow Queen’.

1840s

With the Industrial Revolution and a suddenly-educated (and over-crowded) public, horror adapted into a more visceral and immediate field. The result was the Penny Blood (known as Penny Dreadfuls to their critics) and the stage equivalent, the Penny Gaff. The earliest and most influential of the publishers was one Edward Lloyd, who started with Thomas Prest’s The Calendar of Horrors in the ’30s, and then evolved the more recognisable form. Prest was also responsible for Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber (first published as The String of Pearls in 1847, and performed on stage in the same year. [1980s])—-(Don’t eat that pie!), the only character created in the period still being used. Varney the Vampire, or, the Feast of Blood, by James Malcolm Rymer, 1845, has had some influence on the vampire sub-genre and a possible companion piece, Wagner the Werewolf was written in 1846 by George Reynolds. ‘It was thought at the time that “Penny Dreadfuls” were the origin of all youthful crime, and parents not only banned them, but, when discovered, burned them without mercy.’

1865

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is published by Lewis Carroll (actually the Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson), followed by Through the Looking Glass in 1872. Not horror in themselves, the novels have had some influence on the genre, particularly in the 1980s.

1867

A depressive and alcoholic young composer, Modest Mussorgsky, produces his masterwork. Ivanova Noch’ na Lïsoy gore, popularly known as A Night on Bald Mountain, describes the adventures of a man who, stranded on St John’s Mountain on Walpurgisnacht, observes the witch’s sabbath.

1868 – 1869

Robert Browning writes The Ring and the Book, a macabre study of a Duke killing his wife, all based on a yellowing legal paper he had come upon in 1860. It is still the longest narrative poem in English literature. Browning is most noted for his dramatic monologues dealing with madness and obsession, including Childe Rolande to the Dark Tower Came [1974] and Porphyria’s Lover (1842).

Sheridan Le Fanu---Irish Master of the Horror Story

Sheridan Le Fanu—Irish Master of the Horror Story

1872

Sheridan Le Fanu publishes ‘Carmilla’ in Through a Glass Darkly, in some ways similar to Christobel [1797]. An influential story, it has also been filmed a number of times, under many different names (including Karl Dreyer’s Vampyr [1931] and Roy Ward Baker’s The Vampire Lovers (1970)). ‘Le Fanu was more revolutionary than Poe, for he began the process of dismantling the Gothic props and placing the supernatural tale in everyday settings.’

Sheridan Le Fanu

Sheridan Le Fanu

1880s

This decade saw a movement in France known successively as L’Esprit Décadent and Symbolisme. The writers that typified it, the earlier Charles Baudelaire, Joris Karl Huysmans (A rebours (Against the Grain), 1884), La Bas (Down Here), 1891) and Guy de Maupassant (La Horla, 1886), produced some of the finest works of the European macabre. The movement was violently opposed to the restraint of resemblance in art, and of morals or religion in anything that would prevent the experience of l’horreur et l’extase de la vie, as Baudelaire wrote in Les Fleurs du Mal (The Flowers of Evil), which upon printing in 1857 was seized, and six of the poems banned. Extremes were sought, of terror, pleasure and pain. Huysman’s A rebours appears by implication in Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Grey, as the symbol and instrument of ultimate foreign corruption. To explain, the poet Paul Verlaine said “It is made of a mixture of the carnal spirit and the sad flesh, and of all the violent splendours of the declining (La Bas) Empire.”

Oscar Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray

1885

After an initial set-back Robert Louis Stevenson publishes The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde. It was often filmed, usually badly — though [1908] and [1931] are worth noting. The earliest stage adaptation was T. R. Sullivan’s in 1887.

1888

One of the world’s most infamous crimes occurs with the murder of at least five London prostitutes. While the police received hundreds of letters purportedly from the killer, only one is believed genuine, signed Jack the Ripper. His identity remains unknown, though theory’s abound [1913].

1890s

In this decade, and into the next one, the Grand Guignol flourished on the Paris stage (and was still around a lot later). The term originally referred to a puppet (possibly the work of one Laurent Mourquet a century before), but came to refer to brief plays based around violence, murder, rape, ghostly apparitions and suicide. There was indeed a Théâtre du Grand Guignol, but the art-form was most prominent in Montmartre. London also played host to several seasons over the next fifty years, in a less intense form, notably in 1920-22. [1930s].

1893

A popular and transitional author in the move from historical to contemporary settings for horror stories was Ambrose Bierce. This year saw the publication of Can Such Things Be?, a collection of ghostly tales following on from his grimly realistic war stories. He was also known for his black humour, as demonstrated by The Devil’s Dictionary (1906, under the original title The Cynic’s Word Book).

1895

The King in Yellow collects two series of linked stories by Robert W. Chambers, and H. P. Lovecraft [1923] was a fan. As well as several names taken from Chambers’ work (some taken in turn from Bierce), the direct ancestor of The Necronomicon can be found in the linking element ‘The King in Yellow’, a play which brings a strange doom on those who read it.

1896

Herbert George Wells publishes The Island of Doctor Moreau, not his first work, but his most macabre. The two succeeding years see The Invisible Man and The War of the Worlds, novellas of science horror. The latter has been adapted many times, the most notable being Orson Welles’ memorable radio play [1938] and the [1950s] movie.

Bram Stoker's Dracula

Bram Stoker’s Dracula

1897

Abraham ‘Bram’ Stoker publishes Dracula, or The Un-Dead. [1456], [1922], [1925], [1927], [1930s], [1960s], [1970s], [1990s]. ‘Dracula’s Guest’ is a related short story, and not necessarily a missing chapter as is widely thought. Other works by this Irish stage manager are not as memorable, and include The Lady of the Shroud in 1908, and The Lair of the White Worm in 1911, which desperately needed Ken Russell [1986].

1898

The American writer Henry James publishes the novella The Turn of the Screw, ‘the favourite ghost story of people who don’t like ghost stories’ an early presentation of the evil child tale. It was adapted memorably as both opera (by Benjamin Britten in 1954, libretto by Myfanwy Piper), and film (Jack Clayton’s dead creepy The Innocents in 1961).


1902

Joseph Conrad’s Heart of   Darkness is published. As an exploration of the darker side of the soul   it deserves mention, and is also considered the first twentieth century   novel. Francis Ford Coppola moved the premise into Vietnam to see what would   happen in 1979, whereas Nicholas Roeg’s telemovie (1994) was set in the   original’s time period.

1902

‘The Monkey’s Paw’ is W. W.   Jacobs’ contribution to the genre, and a significant one it is — probably   the most famous short horror story, certainly of those written this century.

M.R. James--Grandmaster of the Ghost Sory

M.R. James–Grandmaster of the Ghost Sory

1904

The first collection from M. R.   James, Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, is published, heralding one of   the most respected of this century’s horror authors, particularly in his   speciality of the quiet but creepy ghost story.

1907

The Listener is published, a book of short stories   by Algernon Blackwood containing his best-regarded work, ‘The Willows’.   Blackwood was only one of a number of successful authors belonging to the   Order of the Golden Dawn, an occult society created in 1888 by Samuel Liddell   MacGregor Mathers, and whose most infamous member was Aleister Crowley. Other   notable members were William Butler Yeats, Arthur Machen (debuting with ‘The Great God Pan’ in 1894), Lord Dunsany and the incredibly popular (in his   time) Sax Rohmer who gave the world Dr Fu Manchu. This group represented not   only most of the weird fiction originating in the UK at the time (one report   lists Bram Stoker as a member), but is the last flourishing of English horror literature till James Herbert and Clive Barker [1984].

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde---Movie from the Story by Robert Louis Stevenson

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde—Movie from the Story by Robert Louis Stevenson

1908

Among the first experiments   with film there were a number of gruesome and fantastic scenes, but the first   real horror movie was probably William N. Selig’s 16 minute version of   Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde [1885].

1910s

A number of German films were   made in this decade using the premise of artificial creatures. They include Der   Golem (Heinrich Galeen, 1914), Der Golem (Paul Wegener and Carl   Boese, 1920, ‘its splendid sets, performances and certain scenes all being   clearly influential on later Hollywood films, especially Frankenstein.Homunculus (Otto Rippert, 1916) (actually a serial   totalling 401 minutes — ‘the most popular serial in Germany during WW I,   even influencing the dress of the fashionable set in Berlin’ and Alarune   (filmed at least three times, firstly in 1918 by Eugen Illes). Metropolis   [1931], of   the next decade, also fits the pattern and gives us Rotwang the Inventor,   perhaps the earliest, and certainly a still effective, cinematic mad   scientist. A variation (and an incredibly influential one at that) was provided by Robert Wiene in 1919 with The Cabinet of Dr Caligari. In this case the entire landscape was artificial, created in the mind of a   madman.

Horror Film Classic---The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

Horror Film Classic—The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

1910

The first Frankenstein   movie is made, directed by J. Searle Dawley and with the involvement of the   innovator Thomas Edison [1818], [1930s].

Gaston Leroux's Phanthom of the Opera

Gaston Leroux’s Phanthom of the Opera

1911

Le Fantôme de l’Opéra, by Gaston Leroux, is published.   Although every Gothic novel had its midnight prowlers and deformed relatives   kept under the stairs, this introduced sympathy for the devil on a, dare we   say, operatic scale [1925], [1986].

1913

The Lodger, by Belloc Lowndes (filmed in 1926 (by   Alfred Hitchcock), 1932 and 1944, and done twice as an opera), is an early   notable example of many, many works based on Jack the Ripper though Robert   Bloch’s ‘Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper’ (1962) [1959] may be better known. However Alan   Moore and Eddie Campbell’s still incomplete From   Hell (issue 1, 1991) will become the definitive work of fiction on the   subject, we suspect [1984].

1914

Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du   Printemps, or The Rite of Spring, a tale of the simultaneous   triumph and cruelty of spring, nearly caused a riot at its initial   performance due to its unconventional and disturbing use of rhythm. The   program concerns a primitive ritual in which a girl dances herself to death, eminiscent of “The Red Shoes.”

1922

The German director Friedrich   Murnau shoots Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Gravens and is immediately   sued by the Stoker estate [1897] (who probably hadn’t heard of the 1921 Hungarian Drakula   — and that’s all we know as well). This is despite substantial changes to   the source (a habit taken up by later screen-writers), enough to count as a   different story. It was remade with lots of rats in 1979 by Werner Hertzog.

1922

Howard Carter and his patron Lord Carnarvon open the tomb of Tut-ankh-amon. Carnarvon died soon after,   starting rumours of a curse [1930s].

1922

And I will show you  something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you,
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

The Waste Land, ‘The Burial of the Dead’
Published by T. S. Elliot

(not just a cat fancier)

1923

The first issue of Weird Tales is published, the first all-fantasy magazine in the world, it   survived thirty-two years without ever showing a profit. The inaugural editor   was one Edwin Baird, soon succeeded by Farnesworth Wright and, much later, by   Seabury Quinn. The magazine attracted a still-famous plethora of authors ([1923], [1939] and [1942]) and a   small but dedicated audience. Indeed the attempts by public officials of   various cities to ban the November ’24 issue over C. M. Eddy’s story ‘The   Loved Dead’ only increased sales. It was later joined by Famous Fantastic   Mysteries in ’36 and Amazing Stories, and was revived in 1974 and   again in 1984.

1923

Among WT‘s (Weird Tales) first   contributors (and who was later offered the editorialship after Wright, but   declined) was one Howard Phillips Lovecraft with ‘The Nameless City’. In   succeeding works such as ‘The Rats in the Walls’ (1923), ‘The Call of   Cthulhu’ [1927]   and ‘The Shadow Over Innsmouth’ (1931) he developed ‘the Cthulhu Mythos’, a   cosmos of insane and unknowable gods with little regard for humanity. [1939]. His work is in essence the culmination and logical   extreme of the traditional horror tale, concerned with foreign lands and   beasts, yet his meticulously detailed locations, particularly of his home   state, bridge the gap towards the modern style.

Lon Chaney as The Hunchback of Notre Dame from Victor Hugo's Classic

Lon Chaney as The Hunchback of Notre Dame from Victor Hugo’s Classic

1923

Universal Studios produce a silent Hunchback of Notre Dame (Wallace Worsley) starring Lon Chaney   Snr, ‘the man of a thousand faces’ [1831].

1925

The unfinished novel The   Trial is released against the wishes of the (deceased) Franz Kafka (and   indeed the actual trial was never written). Kafka has captured the essence of   waking nightmare in an ever-shifting dream-scape of bureaucracy gone mad, and   ‘at least indirectly influenced much of modern horror fiction.’   Orson Welles made a good-looking movie of the novel in 1962, starring Anthony   Perkins as Josef K.

1925

In America, Universal Studios   foreshadow their later successes with Rupert Julian’s The Phantom of the   Opera. Many subsequent versions have been released, but few have the   restraint and style, and none have Lon Chaney Snr, in his most famous role [1911], [1986].

1925

The first ‘performance’ of Dracula   was a reading in 1897 (to protect stage rights), but it is actor Hamilton   Deane who writes and stars in the first proper stage version [1897], [1927].

1927

Bela Lugosi, a Hungarian actor and former cavalry officer, appeared in the American version of the Dracula   stage-play (written by John Baldeston) [1925], [1930s], [1970s].

Cthulhu R’Lyeh Rising---by Horror Grandmaster H.P. Lovecraft

Cthulhu R’Lyeh Rising—by Horror Grandmaster H.P. Lovecraft

1927

The Call of Cthulhu was written by H. P. Lovecraft [1923], [1981].

1929

Followed immediately by The Great Depression. In the economic down-turn of the next decade radio plays   and pulps took people’s mind off their problems and saw the creation of such   as the hugely popular The Shadow (1930) and The Spider (1933), both dark   vigilantes, wreaking havoc on the underworld. The former started as a radio   narrator of the ‘Detective Story Hour’, leading into success in magazine   (edited by Frank Blackwell) and novel (the first written by stage magician   Walter B. Gibson) formats, with over 280 novellas detailing his exploits. In   early 1932 the Shadow appeared in his own radio show, and was portrayed by   Orson Welles in 1937-8, and Lynn Shores directed the first movie in ’37,   followed by two serials. The Spider first appeared in The Spider Strikes,   written by R. T. M. Scott, but was soon the work of ‘Grant Stockbridge’, a   pseudonym for several writers, most frequently Norvell Page, totalling 118   novellas (and yes, the first movie serial appeared in 1938, the sequel in   1941). Both of these characters can still be found today, mostly in reprints   and comics (and the lacklustre 1994 version of The Shadow), but the   best preserved of the group appeared in 1939 and is just as well-known as   ever. The adventures of Batman have been published continuously since his   inception, and have had many interpretations, but the recent portrayals of   Tall, Dark and Moody (notably Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns   (1986) and Tim Burton’s cinematic version of 1989 and 1992) are simply a   return to Bob Kane’s original conception. Then there’s Batman Forever,   which was too messy for words.

1930s

This was the decade of the   Universal monster movies, where ‘the impossible took place in a tight, false   world of studio-built landscape, where every tree was carefully gnarled in   expressionistic fright, every house cunningly gabled in gothic mystery, every   shadow beautifully lit into lurking terror’]. Tod Browning’s Dracula   started it all and became the money-spinner of 1931 for the studio [1927]. 1932 saw James   Whale’s Frankenstein [1910],   introducing the man who ousted Lugosi as the studio’s resident ghoul, Boris   Karloff (whose much-repeated make-up was created by Jack Pierce) [1974]. Frankenstein was also the year’s top grosser,   whereas Karl Freund’s The Mummy in ’33, also starring Karloff, did not   do so well financially. However, the plethora of sequels kept them busy for   quite some time. The Wolf Man (George Waggner) blitzed the box-office   in ’41, introducing Lon Chaney Jr. in his most famous role [1933]. [1948], [1939-1945].

1930s

It was also the last decade of   the pulps, by this stage there were titles for just about every taste, and   the ‘Spicy’ — read mildly erotic — range was introduced. Inspired by a   visit to the Grand Guignol Theatre in Paris [1890s], Henry Steeger, president of Popular   Publications, revamped the Dime Mystery Magazine, adding Terror   Tales and Horror Stories in the next two years. The horror pulps   would last till 1941 — typical content being described as ‘sex-sadism with   luscious females on the covers suffering the usual ignominies: whippings,   roastings and mad-virus inoculations.’

1930s

As mentioned with regards to The Shadow and ilk, radio plays were also popular at the time, with a number   dedicated to the supernatural. This debuted the soon-to-be-familiar format of   the anthology play (a consequence of the number of horror short stories). One   of the first was Lights Out in 1934, broadcasting Arch Oboler to a   national audience, but it wasn’t till the [1940s] that the dedicated late-night horror   show took off.

Fritz Lang's Metropolis

Fritz Lang’s Metropolis

1931

Fritz Lang’s M is released, the first serious movie based on a serial killer (played brilliantly by Peter Lorre), its impact for the modern audience is still   considerable. The German director had already made the classic Metropolis   five years earlier. Lang’s The Testament of Dr Mabuse (1933), a Gothic  thriller, pitted the police protagonist of M against an insane scientist. Joseph Losey remade M in 1951.

1931

In France, ‘Julian West’ —   actually the Baron Nicholas von Gunzburg — financed the Karl Dreyer film Vampyr,   on the condition he played the lead role]. Not much of an influence (except   possibly on Francis Ford Coppola [1963]), it is still a wonderful movie [1872].

1931

The classic Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde movie is released (Rouben Mamoulian). It won its lead, Fredric   March, an Academy Award [1885].

1932

Charles Addams first appearance in The New Yorker. He quickly became a regular, and by 1935 his   cartoons had evolved into his immediately recognizable   style. His darkly comedic visions of death and the macabre lasted until 1989,   and spawned The Addams Family television show [1964] and a more recent   movie double, in 1991 and 1993. ‘…if the cartoon needed a caption, he felt   he had failed in some way, even if the caption was brilliant.’

1933

The Werewolf of Paris is published, a novel by Guy Endore,   and is notable for providing the basis for The Wolf Man [1930s]. Guy Endore also   wrote the screenplay for what may have been one of the fascinating early   vampire films Mark of the Vampire (Tod Browning, 1935) — if the   studio had left it alone.

1935

The Carmina Burana has been   around since the twelfth century, a group of songs concerning morality,   religion and, most of all, drinking and gambling — collected from over   Europe by the residents of a Bavarian monastery. However, it is only here   that it becomes relevant to us, when the composer Carl Orff sets it all to   music and creates the quintessential horror sound-track. O fortuna…

1938

Panic was caused across America   by the broadcast of Orson Welles’ report-style radio dramatisation, Invasion   From Mars, based on The War of the Worlds. Many people tuned in   from another popular radio show and missed the opening explanation, believing   it to be a real invasion [1896].

1939

The Arkham House publishing   company is founded by August Derleth and Donald Wanderi. Admirers of Lovecraft’s work, they were determined to ensure it survived both the author   and Weird Tales [1923]. Derleth and other authors such as Robert Bloch [1959] and Robert E. Howard began to utilise the mythos in   their own stories, with mixed success.

1939 –   1945

The British Board of Film   Censors banned the screening of horror films, both local and imported, for   the duration on the grounds they would affect war morale.   The movies they did let through were generally edited out of all recognition.   It is interesting that during this period, one of the most popular British   radio serials was John Dickson Carr’s Appointment with Fear (1943); a   weekly short dramatisation with a host known as the Man in Black (played by   Valentine Dyall). While some Americans had similar sentiments (Variety   regarded The Wolf Man [1930s] as ‘dubious entertainment at this particular time’) the   public proved them wrong.

1939 –   1945

It was a time of atrocity. The   Nazi Movement in Germany, under the leadership of Adolf Hitler, attempted the   genocide of the Jewish people, creating one of the enduring symbols   of the Bad Guy. Meanwhile, on August the 6th and 9th of 1945, America showed   the world a new type of Horror; its canvas: Hiroshima and Nagasaki [1954].

1940s

After the popular radio plays   of the Thirties, often incorporating horror motifs, or at least dark and   shadowy heroes [1930s], horror on radio came into its own in this decade.   Examples were programs such as Dimension X, Inner Sanctum, I   Love a Mystery (1939) and Suspense (1942). By 1950 however, the   more visual mediums were taking precedence, and the programs fell by the   wayside. Individual shows can be found in later years, for example CBS   Mystery Theatre, but they are few and far between.

1942

Ray Bradbury publishes ‘The Candle’, his first short story, in Weird Tales. He would go on to   write The Martian Chronicles (originally The Silver Locusts) in   1951 and Something Wicked This Way Comes in 1963 (admirably filmed by   Jack Clayton [1898] in 1963). Carnivals were never the same again. Other   achievements include the fascist future of Fahrenheit 451 (1953) and   his collections of poetically macabre short stories such as The October   Country (1956).

1942

‘Kiss me and I’ll claw you to death’ ran the publicity tag for Val Lewton’s Cat People (directed by   Jacques Tourneur), produced, as all his work, to a list of titles provided   for him by his superiors at RKO. What RKO wasn’t expecting (and wasn’t sure   it wanted) was a series of movies of subtle horrors and meticulously   maintained atmosphere. Examples include Isle of the Dead (Mark Robson,   1945) and I Walked with a Zombie (Jacques Tourneur, 1943) and the   mostly unrelated sequel Curse of the Cat People (Robert Wise and   Gunther Fritsch, 1944). Cat People was also remade with lots of sex,   Nastassja Kinski and a rather nice panther in 1982 (and Robert Bloch also   wrote a comic version for TV in 1973).

1947

William Gaines takes over his   father’s publishing business and changes the name from Educational Comics to   Entertaining Comics. As well as SF and action titles they would also produce   America’s first and most famous horror comics, the likes of Tales from the   Crypt, Haunt of Fear and Vault of Horror, all edited by Al   Feldstein. EC became a cult sensation — until 1954, that is, when Dr.   Fredric Wertham’s infamous The Seduction of the Innocents: The Influence   of Comic Books on Today’s Youth saw print. The backlash was incredible,   EC was brought under the scrutiny of a US Senate Subcommittee and business   went downhill fast. Mad Magazine remains the only survivor of the   publishing house, though several of the old titles are seeing reprint. As   Gaines said in the nationally televised court case: ‘It would be just as   difficult to explain the harmless thrill of a horror story to a Dr. Wertham   as it would be to explain the sublimeness of love to a frigid old maid.’   Tributes to the EC tradition include the excellent Tales From the Crypt   television series and Creepshow (George Romero, 1982).

1948

The first of the Abbot and Costello movies using the trappings of horror — A&C Meet Frankenstein   (not too mention Dracula and the Wolf Man), directed by Charles Barton. A   ‘fairly lively spoof which put an end to Universal’s monsters for a while’, [1930s].

1949

One of the most successful   portraits of a futuristic totalitarian regime is presented in George Orwell’s   Nineteen Eighty-Four. The other main contender in this field of   political nightmares is Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1932).

1949

This is the magic year for horror on television, when everybody decided to convert their radio series   into a more visual medium. Lights Out had started as a series of   specials in 1946, and became a regular series, and Appointment with Fear and Suspense also made the transition. A less successful show of ’49   was Starring Boris Karloff, which turned into Mystery Theatre Starring   Boris Karloff, and then hit pay-dirt as Thriller. [1960s].

1950s

The main action this decade, in the cinema at least, was science fiction, but most of it fits snugly within   this assembly. It hadn’t taken long after World War II for another conflict   to appear and these films were a telling indication of Cold War tension (and,   by the way, of the rush of UFO sightings that began in earnest in 1947), in a   decade ‘in which anxiety, paranoia and complacency marched hand in hand.’   The themes were internal invasion, corruption and paranoid fantasies. The classic Invaders From Mars (William Cameron Menzies, 1953) and It   Came From Outer Space (Jack Arnold, 1953) are early examples (though,   really, the first sign was Spencer Gordon Bennet and Fred Brannon’s The   Purple Monster Strikes (1945)), and The Thing [1951] and Invasion of   the Body Snatchers [1956] are probably   the best of the breed. Only in War of the Worlds (Byron Haskin, 1953 [1896]) and Earth versus the Flying Saucers (Fred F.   Sears, 1956) were large scale invasions portrayed. Naturally enough,   post-holocaust movies started to appear, and it was also the decade of the   monster movie, giant ants, silly robots, hairy beasts (and mixtures of the   two), Neanderthal men, lizard-skin girl-lusting critters and on and on (Jack   Arnold’s The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) is the best   example), mostly the product of science gone wrong. Mind you, the Japanese   had their own thoughts on that subject [1954].

1951

Acclaimed British writer John Wyndham produces The Day of the Triffids, his best known work along   with 1957’s The Midwich Cuckoos. The books had reasonable film   adaptations in 1963 (Steve Sekely), 1977 (Wolf Rilla) and 1995 (John   Carpenter, the latter two known as The Village of the Damned).

1951

The Thing is released, directed by Christian Nyby   (really under the control of Howard Hawks). It was an adaptation of J. W. Campbell’s ‘Who Goes There?’ (1938) and ‘contains the first space monster on   film, and is quite nimbly made.’ The story was re-adapted by John   Carpenter in 1982 (it looked real good, but did anyone understand it?).

1953

The first performance of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible is given, and while its events are a metaphor   for contemporary American politics, it is also a fascinating look at the hysteria   of the witch hunts [1692]. Miller is the highly regarded mainstream writer, Death   of a Salesman (1949) possibly being his most famous play.

1953

And Vincent Price appears in the film that truly established his horror reputation, André de Toth’s House of Wax. Price specialised in playing exquisitely evil villains, ranging   from the intermittently possessed Charles Dexter Ward (The Haunted Palace,   Roger Corman, 1963) to the Abominable Doctor Phibes (Robert Fuest,   1971 — the 1972 sequel’s pretty good too). Although very fond of camping it   up, he is the genii of some truly chilling moments in movies such as he   produced with director Corman [1960].

1954

Gojira was the highly impressive start of a   long line, and if you don’t recognise Inoshiro Honda’s film, perhaps its   occidental title will give you a hint: Godzilla: King of the Monsters.   Well over twenty films have been devoted to the exploits of Godzilla, mostly   the product of Honda and Eiji Tsuburaya, and other examples followed:   Baragon, Ghidorah, Gaos, Gamera, Rodan, Manda, Mothra… All followed a   strict ritual of killer breath and city-destroying tendencies (Tokyo suffered   many ignominious deaths). And the reason for all this isn’t too hard to find   [1939-1945].   The US version added Raymond Burr as a reporter to the original, released in   1956. [1998]

1954

The first modern vampire novel   is published — Richard Matheson’s I am Legend. This would have a   great influence on the horror writers of the seventies, and was filmed twice   (L’Ultimo Uomo della Terra (aka The Last Man on Earth, Sydney   Salkow and Ubalda Ragona, 1964) and The Omega Man, (Boris Sagal,   1971). I am Legend is perhaps the best resolved of the many looks at   Man Alone in the City. As well as a novelist Matheson has had great success   with short stories and writing for movies and television, including the   original Night Stalker (1972) and [1960].

1954

Lord of the Flies by William Golding appears, and   proceeds to win the Nobel prize for literature, impressing and shocking with   the veneer of civilization slipping away from a group of   shipwrecked children. And a pig’s head. It’s had a couple of adaptations,   none of which we really want to mention.

1954

Roald Dahl produces his first   collection of twisted tales, Someone Like You. Kiss Kiss followed   in ’59. This prolific author is also known for his children’s stories, Charlie   and the Chocolate Factory (1964) and Witches (1983), both having   been adapted into successful films. The word ‘revolting’ best sums up his   fiction (in the nicest possible way).

1956

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Don Siegel),   is a nicely written and complex tale (based on Jack Finney’s 1954 novel),   interrogating rather than reflecting the fears of its decade [1950s]. It was remade in   1978 by Philip Kaufman, and again by Abel Ferrara in 1993. ‘Invasion of   the Bodysnatchers is one of the worst titles imaginable created by the   pods that ran Allied Artists… McCarthy came up with a very good one which   he stole from Shakespeare. That title fit our picture perfectly: Sleep No  More‘ — Don Siegel (in Fangoria #4). The studio also had their   hand in downplaying the original powerful last scene.

1957

Det Sjunde Inseglet, or The Seventh Seal, is Ingmar   Bergman’s classic about a knight (the ubiquitous Max von Sydow) playing chess   with Death during the plague. Inspired by paintings in the churches of   Bergman’s childhood, it is unsubtle but powerful, and not a little   disconcerting (the hacksaw was certainly a surprise). Not to be confused with   The Seventh Sign, a strange little flick with Demi Moore in it.

1957

Wisconsin farmer Ed Gein is   arrested on suspicion of the murder of one Bernice Worden. His farmhouse is   duly checked and the remains of approximately fifteen women were found in   various small pieces. Dominated by his mother, her death led him to exhume   and dissect corpses, fashioning crude clothing from their skins. Whilst   talking candidly about his cannibalism and desecration, he was indignant   about a charge of theft [1959], [1974].

1958

The magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland first appeared, edited by the ever-punning Forest J. Ackerman   and influencing an incredible number of later horror stars. It lasted 190   issues under Ackerman’s reign and didn’t last long without him — it now   appears as the occasional retrospective by the Ackerman himself.

1959

Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, ‘perhaps the most critically respected genre   novel of the last fifty years has influenced just about everybody,   really. If they only knew it, for she is perhaps the opposite of the   archetypical horror author — both popular and critically acclaimed during   her life, but too soon forgotten. Other novels such as We Have Always Lived in the Castle (1962) and various short stories such as The   Summer People form a body of work both quiet and profoundly disturbing.   In 1963 Robert Wise created an extremely successful adaptation of Hill   House with The Haunting.

The Shower Scene from Alfred Hitchcock's Horror Thriller Psycho

The Shower Scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s Horror Thriller Psycho

1959

Robert Bloch’s novel Psycho is released, featuring an obese Norman Bates and his mother, all based on the   life of Ed Gein [1957]. The author has had innumerable successes with both   novels and short stories as well as television and movie work, and was the   first person to win the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement in 1975.   Bloch also wrote Psycho 2 in 1983 (unrelated to Richard Franklin’s   film) and Psycho House in 1990. [1939]

1959

The first of the Pan Book of Horror Stories is released, edited by Herbert van Thal, becoming one of   the most well-known and influential of anthologies. The series became annual   in 1962, and concentrated on new fiction from number five on. Van Thal   continued till his death in 1983, and was replaced by Clarance Paget. In 1990   Pan put out Dark Voices, a best of the series, and it is now   continuing under that name.

1959

From the sublime to the ridiculous. William Castle obviously wanted people to come and see his   movies. Or did he? In The Tingler he wired the seats in the theatre   and delivered mild electric shocks to the audience. The King of Gimmicks (but   by no means the only one), his quest was to scare the pants off America, and   is also known for devising a system whereby the audience vote between   alternative endings. The film was Mr. Sardonicus (1961) and the choice   was to punish the villain or not. The unpunished version was never filmed. House   on Haunted Hill (William Malone, 1999) was the first movie from Dark   Castle Entertainment, a production company specifically created to remake   Castle’s Films.

1960s

Where Universal [1930s] had left off,   across the Atlantic, Hammer’s House of Horror took over. The small British   studio had existed since WWII, but gained its name with treatments of all the   old favourites, updated for modern audiences and more lenient censorship   laws. Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee hit the screens in The Curse of   Frankenstein in ’57, as the doctor and monster respectively; the double   act was repeated in Dracula in ’58 and The Mummy in ’59; all   directed by Terence Fisher, who added Curse of the Werewolf in ’61.   Sequels followed until both producers and audience ran out of steam, though   the studio produced a great variety of product, including effective   psychological horror and the dark SF of the Quatermass films. Considered the   last gasp, The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires (’74), was a   co-production with a Hong Kong studio and involved martial arts. In 1990 the   British band Warfare released Hammer Horror, an authorised Hammer concept   album. ‘With Universal one had always known that nothing ghastly would   assault the eye. With Hammer, one was constantly in danger from the sight of   dripping blood, rotting corpses and bits of brains, all in vivid color; to   say nothing of well endowed young women falling victim to the monster in various   stages of undress.’

Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone

Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone

1960s

Rod Serling creates a modern   legend. Starting in 1959, The Twilight Zone lasted five seasons, and   was renowned for the care taken with its production. While the best-known of   its type, the Sixties had a number of successful anthology shows of more   interest to the horror fan. Tales of the Unexpected (1960), Thriller   (with Boris Karloff, 1960) and The Outer Limits (1963 — remade in   1996), which followed on from the success of Alfred Hitchcock Presents   [1960] in   1955. ([1949].

1960

Alfred Hitchcock ‘apparently   had the time of his life’ directing his most successful film, Psycho,   based on [1959]   and forevermore typecasting Anthony Perkins. It was followed by various   sequels (number 2 is rather good) and a telemovie, Bate’s Motel   (Richard Rothstein, 1987). An incredibly prolific director, Hitchcock is   regarded as possibly the master, and definitely unique, in the field of   psychological horror. His distinctive style can be found as early as 1926 (The   Lodger) and as late as 1972 (Frenzy, ‘a closed and coldly negative   vision of human possibility’).   Other works include Vertigo   (1958, adapted from D’entre les Morts by Pierre Boileau and Thomas   Narcejac, though the book was written specifically for Hitchcock) and ‘The   Birds’ (1963, based on Daphne du Maurier’s story. People still haven’t   stopped using Hitchcock’s imagery in their own films [1960s].

1960

And just to give Hammer a run   for their money, horror auteur Roger Corman shoots the first of his   adaptations of Poe [1833]. House of Usher stars Vincent Price [1953] and was written for the screen by Richard Matheson [1954], and combinations of the three proceeded through The   Pit and the Pendulum (1961), The Premature Burial (1961) and The   Masque of the Red Death (1964), among others. This cult figure was the   master of the cheap budget and the quick shoot, but was also responsible for   discovering Francis Coppola [1963], Joe   Dante, and Martin Scorsese. Corman had already directed such delights as Attack   of the Crab Monsters in 1957 and the original Little Shop of Horrors   in 1959. He was still happily doing what he does best in 1991, with an   adaptation of Brian Aldiss’s Frankenstein Unbound, ‘pure Corman’.

1960

The release of Peeping Tom (just preceding Psycho [1960]) causes fear and consternation among the viewing   public, and effectively ended director Michael Powell’s film career in   England. The reason is the film’s always surprising, intelligent and nasty   look at an innocuous young man who takes voyeurism to new lengths. Similar   ground was covered in Britain later, to critical success, in William Wyler’s   classic The Collector (1965).

1961

Mondo Cane (also known as A Dog’s Life),   the brain-child of Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi, is a key   precursor to the cannibal film [1979], showing a montage of bizarre and sometimes horrific   events from around the world. Not only a commercial success, it   garnered an Oscar nomination for best song.

1963

Dementia 13 is the first major movie of Francis   Ford Coppola, a powerful and varied director. Other genre outings include the   wonderful Apocalypse Now (1979), and don’t we wish he’d kept the same   style for Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)?. Dementia 13 itself is   a strange creation, and quite effective. Influenced by Psycho [1960] it also contained   elements that makes it one of the embryo slasher flicks [1974].

1964

America enters the Vietnam war   in earnest, President Johnson receiving permission from Congress to take ‘all   necessary action’ against the Communist regime in North Vietnam [1970s].

1964

John Astin and Carolyn Jones are the stars of a new TV show, The Addams Family, based on the   cartoons of Charles Addams [1932]. Unlike The Munsters, ‘essentially a straight-forward   Stupid Dad comedy,’   which also premiered in the   same year, as well as numerous cartoons featuring the trappings of horror   that would follow, The Addams Family was a truly macabre program,   maintaining the essential dignity of its characters in their naïve   interactions with the outside world. It contained sixty-four episodes,   running in American prime-time till September 1966. A guest appearance on Scooby-Doo   lead to an animated series between ’73 and ’75 (with a young Jodie Foster as   Pugsley) and movies were made in 1991 and 1993, directed by Barry   Sonnenfield. They were purportedly based on the original cartoons and not the   TV show, but there is some disagreement.

Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby

Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby

1967

Ira Levin publishes Rosemary’s Baby. This is the first prominent sign of a more introspective form of   horror, building on the paranoia of the 1950s – fear of self and invaders within society (referred to   by various sources as ‘Watergate Horror’). A faithful film adaptation follows   in [1968].

1968

George Andrew Romero invents the   Zombie movie (or at least gives it life), with Night of the Living Dead,   a claustrophobic, effective and really cheap movie. Direct sequels are the   classy Dawn of the Dead (1979) and Day of the Dead (1985),   whereas the film was remade in 1990, written by Romero and directed by the   original FX creator, Tom Savini. Dan O’Bannon continued the tradition in Return   of the Living Dead (1985) (with one dire sequel, and then the   encouragingly straight ROTLD3). Still not content, the prolific Skipp,   and Spector have edited short story anthologies roughly set in Romero’s   universe (The Book of the Dead 1 and 2, 1989 and 1990). Other less   official follow-ups abound. Romero’s ability to realistically portray   less-than-realistic subjects is also shown in one of the great vampire films,   Martin (1977).

1968

Rosemary’s Baby is Polish director Roman Polanski’s   best regarded movie, winning an Academy Award for Ruth Gordon as Supporting   Actress [1967].   A controversial figure, Polanski has left a large mark on his chosen medium,   showing great variety in subject matter and style — from black humor to   commercial thriller. Other credits include Repulsion in ’65, The   Fearless Vampire Killers, or Pardon Me, Your Teeth are in My Neck in ’67,   Le Locataire (or The Tenant, 1976) and the more recent Death   and the Maiden (1995). The director has also shown some skill in front of   the camera, including Guiseppe Tornatore’s Une Pure Formalite‘ (1994).   ‘An entire generation has forgotten the debt modern horror films owe to Roman   Polanski, the man who dragged the beast from the depths of collective   unconsciousness to the surface where it has festered successfully ever since.’

1970s

This is the decade where film really started to see how far it could go in terms of gritty and sordid realism as America reeled from the images and their eventual loss of the Vietnam War. As Robert de Niro so prosaically put it: ‘Each night… I have to clean the come off the back seat. Some nights I clean off the blood.’ Outside the genre, violent movies were drawing the crowds, the like of Taxi Driver, The Godfather and The Deer Hunter, following on from 1967’s Bonnie and Clyde. It was also the decade of the (s)exploitation movie, though for the horror fan the most notable of these is Spermula, by its title alone (we’re not sure if The Sexorcist counts).

1970s

While there are certainly individual novels of great merit in the genre up to this point, horror fiction had been dominated by the short story since the demise of the Gothic Novel in the previous century. That all changed in this decade, and the novel would soon be the dominant form. Preceded by such successes as Levin [1967], Fred Mustard Stewart’s The Mephisto Waltz (1969) and Blatty [1971], the deluge began in 1973, soon finding Stephen King [1974] as a champion.

1970s

The re-growth of the popularity of horror on the stage started slowly this decade, the first real indication being Don Taylor’s The Exorcism (1975), playing at London’s Comedy Theatre, starring Honor Blackman and Brian Blessed. The show didn’t last long due the death of another lead, Mary Ure, but received rave reviews. The Rocky Horror Show [1973] and other successes had already occurred, including major adaptations of Blithe Spirit (originally by Noel Coward in 1942) and Sherlock Holmes (1974), with America taking the hint with The Crucifer of Blood (Paul Giovanni) three years later. Another American version of Dracula (1979) [1927] was a ‘miracle of production design and barely concealed eroticism’, though the English tour somehow turned high drama into comic absurdity. This all set the stage, so to speak, for greater things to come, in the [1980s]

1970

A critical year for all death and speed metal, gloom and doom rock fans with the release of Black Sabbath’s first album. Make all the cracks you want about their imbecility, their inability to play their instruments beyond the most rudimentary of levels, their pretentiousness, whatever — the fact remains that there could have been no satanic/death/end of the world/crazed killer from beyond the pale metal without these Birmingham lads.

1971

Getting the whole gritty-film-thing off to a fine start was Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, based on Anthony Burgess’ novel of 1962. With its alienating view of rape, ultra-violence and Beethoven, it engendered a rather large amount of controversy, but also carried its own message about the rights of the individual. Not strictly a horror story, excess pushes it into the genre. Stanley Kubrick’s other major horrific foray was The Shining (1980). ‘At 14 [David Duchovny] saw A Clockwork Orange “which didn’t necessarily make me want to be an actor, but did make me want to be a criminal!”‘ [interview in The Sun-Herald, 21/1/96].

The Exorcist

The Exorcist

1971

William Peter Blatty publishes his thoughtful and theological novel The Exorcist [1973]. It ‘is as superior to most books of its kind as an Einstein equation is to an accountant’s column of figures.’ A rather good sequel, Legion, was written in 1983.

1972

Wes Craven’s Last House on the Left was loosely based on Ingmar Bergman’s Jungfraukallan (1959, aka The Virgin Spring, winner of a Best Foreign Film Oscar), but became a notorious film in its own right, detailing an intricate revenge on three rapists. It created a tradition followed by Mario Bava’s LHonL II (1972, really Twitch of the Death Nerve (or Carnage, or Bay of Blood…)), House by the Lake (William Fruet, 1977), the ‘wildly misanthropic’ Last House on Dead End Street (Victor Juno, 1977), The New House on the Left (Evans Isle, 1978) and Don’t Go in the House (Joseph Ellison, 1980). Yes, House (Steve Miner, 1986) is theoretically another example (it even shared Sean S. Cunningham as Producer with the original), but is just embarrassing. Wes Craven has directed a number of films in the genre including The Hills Have Eyes I (’77) and II (’85), and with other successes such as [1984] and [1996] has a popular reputation. ‘Director Craven now considers [The Last House on the Left] so grim that it even shocks him.’

1973

The Exorcist is made into a movie, written by Blatty and directed by William Friedkin. It becomes the top grossing movie up to that date (so to speak), and won Blatty an Oscar, along with Best Sound (and eight other nominations) and was a wonderful movie. It was followed by an expensive but somewhat silly sequel in 1977, then Blatty returned in top form for Exorcist III in 1990. A re-edit of the original appeared in 2000.

1973

Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show opens for 50p a ticket at the Royal Court Theatre, quickly becoming a hit and ultimately achieving true cult status. The camp production is a send-up of [1950s] SF and horror movies. The Rocky Horror Picture Show, a celluloid version with the same director (Jim Sharman) and most of the cast of the original was a commercial failure in 1975, but has since also achieved a cult standing. The sequel, Shock Treatment (Sharman, 1981) has done less well, but is worth checking out.

Stephen King's Carrie Ushers in a New Era in Contemporary Horror Fiction and Film

Stephen King’s Carrie Ushers in a New Era in Contemporary Horror Fiction and Film

1974

A Maine author gives up trying to write science fiction and suspense novels and tries again by padding one of his horror novellas to double size. Carrie becomes an instant best-seller, and launched a career that would see Stephen King become one of the most widely read modern authors (‘whatever he writes is mainstream fiction.’) Other novels include ‘Salem’s Lot (1975), The Stand (1978/1990) and It (1986), and he has also had considerable success with short fiction (for example Skeleton Crew in 1985), novellas (Different Seasons in 1982) and non-fiction (Danse Macabre in 1981), as well as more experimental forms — the serial novel The Green Mile (1996) and the e-book Riding the Bullet (2000). His sharp eye for detail and character have proved somewhat resilient to being adapted for the screen, though there are notable exceptions [1990]. A more spectacular flop, however, was the 1988 stage musical of Carrie which lost its producers some eight million dollars. Because of its popularity King’s fiction has become centre stage in the American debate over censorship, particularly within schools, though Omni Magazine says on the matter his works are ‘almost simplistically humane and moral.’ Some of the pre-Carrie novels were later published under the name of Richard Bachman.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Ushers in the "Splatter" Horror Genre

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Ushers in the “Splatter” Horror Genre

1974

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Tobe Hooper) is perhaps the most notorious of the slasher genre. This is the second important work to be based on the case of Ed Gein [1957] (other examples are Three on a Meathook (William Girdler, 1973) and ‘probably the most clinical and closest to the truth’ Deranged (Jeff Gillen and Alan Ormsby, 1974 — not to be confused with 1987’s twisted study of trauma shock directed by Chuck Vincent)). Halliwell says of Massacre, it is ‘nothing but shocks and gore, but the beginning of the wave of such deplorable movies…’ whereas McCarty reckons that ‘rather than gobs of graphic gore, it’s the pervading atmosphere of violence and depravity… that makes it seem so relentless.’

1974

Harlan Ellison is awarded the Edgar award for his short ‘The Whimper of Whipped Dogs’ (a story unlikely to have been commissioned by the New York Tourist Bureau). The enfant terrible of the modern era has had great success in a multitude of forms and mediums, proving himself ‘one of the field’s most controversial yet talented writers.’

1974

Young Frankenstein combines Mel Brooks’ usual silliness with a reverent recreation of the mood (and actual sets) of the [1930s] Frankenstein with a rather strange and popular result. Indeed, from a list compiled in 1983 it was the fourth most popular horror film made since 1950 (behind Jaws [1975], The Exorcist [1973] and Jaws II (1978)). Mel Brooks is possibly more interesting for being the Executive Producer for David Lynch’s The Elephant Man [1990].

Jaws

1975

Jaws, written by Peter Benchley from his own novel, saw the coming-of-age of the monster movie, and became the top-grossing movie of the seventies. It is director Steven Spielberg’s purest entry into the horror genre, though Duel (1971), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) and Minority Report (2002) are pretty damn funky. Jaws won Oscars for John William’s music, Sound and Editing. As at least somebody in Hollywood believes, when you’re on a good thing, stick to it: various sequels followed. ‘Depending upon how you look at it, this is either a poor man’s Moby Dick or a rich man’s Creature from the Black Lagoon.

1975

The album Welcome To My Nightmare is released, including Steven and the title track, possibly rock musician Alice Cooper’s best known work (particularly as it was succeeded by his stint in an asylum). This was succeeded by the From the Inside album (1978). Cooper makes the occasional cameo in movies such as John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness (1987) and as Freddy Krueger’s dad (not necessarily one of the hundred maniacs).

Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice Ushers In a New Era in Eroticized Vampire Lore

Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice Ushers In a New Era in Eroticized Vampire Lore

1976

Interview with the Vampire is released by Anne Rice. Adding far more to the mythos than ‘Salem’s Lot, it heralded the new direction of Vampire fiction, portraying a vibrant and truly alive community of the undead. Anne Rice became a prominent horror author, her work including a number of direct sequels to Interview, including The Vampire Lestat (1985). She has also had success with historical fiction, and soft and hard-core pornography. Meanwhile the historical vampire novel was also being successfully treated with series from Les Daniels (starting with The Black Castle) and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro (starting with Hotel Transylvania) both from 1978. Neil Jordan directed a successful version of Interview in 1994, and Michael Rymer took on The Queen of the Damned in 2002.

1976

Dario Argento releases perhaps his best movie, Suspiria, though Profundo Russo, aka Deep Red (also 1976), is another contender, and we’re personally fond of Phenomena (1983) and Opera (1990). A master of style and occasionally substance, Argento moves from realistic crime fare, such as his earlier work and Tenebrae (1982), to the ultimate in baroque slasher movies. He is one of the best-known of a large number of European film-makers who explored the boundaries of horror in the Seventies and Eighties, along with the like Mario Bava (for example Black Sunday, 1960) and the amazingly prolific Jesse Franco. ‘It’s like when you come out of your apartment in the morning, and the sky’s just so blue you have to roll your head around to look at it. That’s the way [Argento’s] films make you feel.’

They Came From Within, aka Shivers (among others), is an early work of Canadian director David Cronenberg, one of the best modern directors of understated psychological horror (well, and overstated…). This and his Rabid (1977) take Romero’s premise [1968] and add a healthy dose of sexual release. His unique visions continued in The Brood (1979), Dead Ringers (1988, an adaptation of Bari Wood and Jack Geasland’s 1977 Twins, at least for legal purposes), The Naked Lunch (1991, sort of an adaptation of the controversial William S. Burroughs’ 1959 novel), and Crash (1996 — even more controversial, from Ballard’s novel), though he is possibly best known for his remake of The Fly (1986 — winning an Oscar for make-up). Cronenberg also made a convincing psychiatrist/psychopath in Clive Barker’s Nightbreed (1990), [1987].

1976

The young child as evil being has another success — David Seltzer’s The Omen is released (directed by the prolific Richard Donner). Seltzer has a widely quoted, and over-rated, remark about only doing it for the money. It won an Academy Award for its music. A series of novels detailed the cinematic plans for the series, which evaporated due to falling returns after number three (which at least let us see Sam Neill as the Anti-Christ). There was also a competent if unambitious fourth entry.

1976

And in the master’s chambers
They gathered for the feast
They stab it with their steely knives
But they just can’t kill the beast
Hotel California, The Eagles

1978

The Swiss artist Hans Rudi Giger opens his ‘Necronomicon I’ exhibition in Europe. It is banned in France and Germany for the supposedly pornographic contents of his ‘landscapes’. However, it was their quality of horrific inhumanity and macabre industrialism that attracted international attention and landed him a particularly successful design contract [1979]. In 1984, the American punk group The Dead Kennedys included a Penis Landscape as a poster in their album Frankenchrist; to have it also banned. ‘Necronomicon II’ was exhibited in 1985, and he also did design work for the film Species (Roger Donaldson, 1995).

1978

Halloween introduced the world to Michael Myers, one of the classic slashers, and indeed it was the first popular indication of the shift from sordism to more mainstream or less serious works as characterised by [1980]. It was the work of talented director/writer/musician John Carpenter, whose other genre outings include The Fog (1980), The Thing (1982) [1951], and Village of the Damned (1995) [1951]. Halloween was designed to be the first in a series of movies unrelated apart from their date, but after (currently) six sequels following the exploits of Michael Myers, only Halloween III: Season of the Witch (Tommy Lee Wallace, 1982) remains of the plan.

1979

Alien, ‘nothing less than a gigantic “Boo!”‘ They were trying to film Dune but ended up with the most Lovecraftian movie ever made (certainly more so than any of the adaptations), with no small thanks to Mr. Giger [1978]. And the actors were just as surprised at the chestburster scene as everybody else was. It was directed by Ridley Scott, who also gave us Blade Runner (1982) (not to mention a couple of non-horrific but nonetheless wonderful movies on the side). Alien was followed by the very different, but still influential, Aliens (James Cameron, 1986); Alien3 (David Fincher, 1992) was good-looking but disappointing, and that goes double for Alien: Resurrection (Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 1997). The original won Best Visual Effects for its year. Dark Horse Comics gave the acidic critters their own title, including the cross-over Aliens Vs Predator (1990).

1979

Also released was Mad Max, an independent Australian movie that created a genre. It was the first feature of George Miller, a former doctor who had became interested in the mentality of using cars as a weapon whilst working in casualty (as opposed, he says, to the machinations of a gun culture). While at heart an action movie, this post-apocalyptic melee contains elements of horror not present in the two sequels (1981 and 1985). As well as these, Miller went on to more mainstream successes (including Witches of Eastwick (1987)), but isn’t the George Miller who directed Man From Snowy River.

1979

Another sub-genre was brought under scrutiny this year with Cannibal Holocaust (Ruggero Deodato), one of the first films banned in Britain in the ‘video nasty’ cases [1982]. Though cannibalism had been a part of the movies almost since its inception, the Cannibal Movie is of a specific type, involving primitive tribes, displayed as filthy and almost sub-human, with explicit savagery and often the undercurrent of soft porn. As well as [1961], other examples include Deep River Savages (Umberto Lenzi, 1972), Emmanuelle and the Last Cannibals (Joe D’Amato, 1976) and Prisoner of the Cannibal God (Sergio Martino, 1978).

1979

A new fantasy magazine, Fantastica, is sued by Fantastic Films and forced to change its name. After four issues of the original concept that simply wasn’t being read, the format was changed to fit in with the title. Originally edited by Bob Martin, Fangoria is currently the best-selling horror ‘zine, and with a predilection for lurid images, snappy captions and well-written articles it’s still going strong. There were other film-orientated ‘zines, like GoreZone and the British FEAR, but Fangoria has outlasted them all.

1980s

This is when ‘the tide ebbed’, certainly in the genre’s biggest crowd-puller, the cinema. Horror was losing a lot of its mainstream appeal, becoming the domain of the teenager, whereas the grittiness of the seventies became the cartoon violence and escapism of the eighties. The ever-increasing realism of special effects led in one direction to movies where watching flying bits of body became the point, though there are more than a few examples of the power of the medium in capable hands. Despite this, the horror novel had now become firmly established with both quality work and a plethora of formularized shocks (Dean R. Koontz being a prime example). Along the way the British ‘mature-age’ comic industry came into its own, creating its own cult following [1984].

Sweeney Todd---Don't Eat That Pie!

Sweeney Todd—Don’t Eat That Pie!

1980s

After the re-emergence of horror on stage in the [1970s], producers became more confidant, and we started seeing bigger budgeted shows, starting with Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd in 1980 [1840s], and [1986]; but not everything was a success. We have already commented on Carrie‘s demise [1974], and musical versions of A Clockwork Orange (1988, penned by Anthony Burgess, who later condemned it [1971]) and Metropolis (Michael White, 1989) also failed to draw crowds. The Woman in Black (Stephen Mallatratt, 1989), however, is a big-budgeted and long running-show, a ‘stunning adaptation’ of a novel by Susan Hill (1983).

1980

Friday the 13th, directed by Sean S. Cunningham, is released. The first in an ever-increasing series it is perhaps most notable for not having a hockey-masked killer called Jason. Still, it was a slaughter-spree among teenagers at a holiday camp and ‘propelled the independent, low-budget splatter movie into the big time.’ Jason X in 2001 was the tenth in the series, and since then he’s met Freddy (2003). Frank Mancuso, producer of the series since number 2, is also the force behind the otherwise unrelated Friday the 13th TV series (1987).

1981

Thomas Harris releases Red Dragon, creating Dr. Hannibal Lector, one of the most successful (if non-realistic) portraits of a serial killer, and a precursor of the craze to come. Harris’ success is the combination of a sparse but effective narrative with a chilling eye for detail, a trend continued in the sequels The Silence of the Lambs (1988) [1991] and Hannibal (1999). Michael Mann adapted Red Dragon as Manhunter (1986) masterfully, and Brett Ratner provided a more commercial but still effective version in 2002.

1981

An American Werewolf in London, directed by John Landis, is, um, strange. It also received an Oscar for Best Make-up. ‘Any resemblance to characters living, dead or undead is purely coincidental.’ Landis’ Innocent Blood (1992) didn’t do so well in the US and was retitled A French Vampire in America, in Australia at least. This film almost gets an entry of its own for not feeling obliged to kill the vampire in the final act — but while it’s great fun it simply doesn’t have the same sense of dignity that made the original such a success. An American Werewolf in Paris (Anthony Waller, 1997) didn’t have much bite.

1981

Horror enters the reasonably new field of role-playing games with Sandy Peterson’s Call of Cthulhu, released by Chaosium. Based on Lovecraft’s fiction, and with an emphasis on atmosphere and characterisation, it became one of the most popular (non-D&D) RPGs available [1927]. Other examples of horror in role-playing are Mayfair’s Chill (1990) and White Wolf’s Vampire (1991). Peterson had an even bigger success as designer of the computer game Doom.]

1982

In England several movies were proceeded against by the Director of Public Prosecutions in the first of the ‘video nasty’ cases. The movies were Cannibal Holocaust [1979], Driller Killer (Abel Ferrara, 1979), I Spit On Your Grave (Meir Zarchi, 1980), Eaten Alive (aka Death Trap, Umberto Lenzi, 1980) and SS Experiment Camp (originally Lager SSadis Kastrat Kommadatur, or SSadistic Castration Camp Commander, Sergio Garrone, 1976). The court action was successful, and the videos banned. This is but one indication of the shift in public awareness of horror since the Seventies.

1983

With a little publicity from Stephen King, an obscure film made in 1980 becomes another ‘instant classic’ of horror. In Evil Dead, director Sam Raimi creates a tangible air of menace with some superb camera work, even if the cast are hard to tell apart. The hilarious sequel appeared in 1987, and we wish they had kept the original title of the increasingly separate third entry — Medieval Dead. Sam Raimi was also instrumental in the production of Shaun Cassidy’s American Gothic, and directed The Gift (2000).

1984

Clive Barker, a London playwright, releases his short story collection The Books of Blood. They are the first mainstream success of one of the most prominent and important figures over the next decade, fuelling controversy about the limits horror should abide by. ‘For in spite of his spectacularly warped imagery, deadpan black comedy, and morbidly fetishistic sexuality, Clive Barker is essentially a nihilist.’ The Books are soon followed by the novel The Damnation Game (1985), whereas Weaveworld (1987) is the first of a number of dark fantasy novels, the best of which is Imajica (1991). [1987].

1984

Alan Moore, already an accomplished writer in the British comics scene, takes over the regular Swamp Thing title at issue 20 for DC. Along with his V For Vendetta (with David Lloyd) and Watchmen (with Dave Gibbons), he was able to show a innovative and enormously intricate style, with subjects ranging from Super-Heroes, fascist dictatorships, pure horror and the occasional pirate ship. His popularity led DC to hire more British writers for the mature-age, horror-orientated market and in 1993 Karen Berger grouped this particular style under the Vertigo imprint. Moore had long since left for other things (including From Hell [1913] and his subsequent work in the so-called America’s Best Comics imprint), and Neil Gaiman’s revolutionary Sandman was the star, among notables such as Hellblazer. Gaiman went onto success in other mediums with American Gods.

Nightmare on Elm Street Epitomizes the "Slasher" Sub-Genre

Nightmare on Elm Street Epitomizes the “Slasher” Sub-Genre

1984

Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street is a movie that takes itself seriously, in direct contrast to the cult figure of wisecracking (and teenager-slicing) Freddy that grew out of it [1972]. Strangely, of the currently seven films in the series, only the odd numbered movies are worth watching, though the first and last (Wes Craven’s New Nightmare) are much more than that, perhaps forming a trilogy with Craven’s The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988). Of various strange offshoots (including a TV series), the film Freddy vs Jason (2003) was the most successful, and kind of fun.

1985

Video technology for home use had been available since the late Seventies, and started becoming an option for movies not deemed worth a cinema release. This year the obscure Blood Cult claimed to be the first horror film designed explicitly for the video market. The trend caught on, but instead of encouraging a wider variety of less-mainstream work, a deluge of sequels and remakes was the result, perhaps as a result of the monopolisation of the production and distribution companies. Troma and Full Moon studios offered alternatives with their distinctive styles, managing to mix sequels with the distribution of more innovative work, but neither could be said to be producing memorable successes, perhaps the best being Stuart Gordon’s work with Full Moon.

1986

The word ‘splatterpunk’ is invented by David J. Schow at a party, and refers to fiction that pushes the limits of taste into gory and sexual excess, a cousin to the SF cyberpunk movement, both of which were anticipated by John Shirley. The modern trend perhaps dates back to The Exorcist [1973], and Clive Barker kicked it into high-gear with [1984]. Sammon lists three main influences: the splatter movies of Romero [1968], Argento [1976] and the like, punk rock and video pornography. The ‘movement’ caused a great deal of argument in the late Eighties, and led to the erotic horror thing [1989].

1986

Gothic, directed by Ken Russell. It was based on the events of [1816] using, among other things, images from [1781]. This British director has long been known for his vivid film-making, notable examples being The Devils (1971, based on Aldous Huxley’s 1952 The Devils of Loudun), Altered States (1980, from a novel by Paddy Chayevsky (who disowned the movie)), and the hilarious Lair of the White Worm (1989), [1897].

1986

Dan Simmons becomes one of the most powerful new-comers in the field with Song of Kali, ‘quirky, tough-minded, literary horror-fiction’ followed by Carrion Comfort in 1989. As well as success in the horror field his SF is getting him noticed — Hyperion won the 1990 Hugo award.

1986

And all the achievements of [1911] and [1925] pall, on the side of sheer exposure and returns, to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical The Phantom of the Opera. With lyrics by Charles Hart, with Richard Stilgoe, and stage effects one imagines would mirror William Beckford’s wilder dreams, it expresses all the overpowering romanticism of its source.

Clive Barker's Hellraiser---Back to Cosmic Horror

Clive Barker’s Hellraiser—Back to Cosmic Horror

1987

Hellraiser marked Clive Barker’s entry into the movies in a spectacular fashion (well, he was involved in Underworld (George Pavlou, 1985) and Rawhead Rex (Pavlou, 1986), which is why he took up directing. And then there were his much earlier but only recently released efforts, Salome (1973) and ‘The Forbidden’ (1975-8). Oh well). Under all that gore is a very well-made, powerful (and oddly poetic) movie, unfortunately the start of an increasingly irrelevant series. Clive Barker adapted the story from his own Hellbound Heart, and then went on to direct the far more accessible Nightbreed (based on Cabal), and the disappointing Lord of Illusions (1995). Candyman (Bernard Rose, 1992, based on Barker’s The Forbidden) and sequel show the dangers of trying to mesh Barker’s work with more mainstream horror ideas. Resurrected lover indeed.

Clive Barker: Stage and Screen Nihilist?

Clive Barker: Stage and Screen Nihilist?

1988

Peter Jackson succeeds the atmospheric The Quiet Earth (Geoff Murphy, 1985) as the voice of horror from New Zealand with Bad Taste, the first of (currently) three splatter movies (with Meet the Feebles in 1989 and Braindead in 1992) from this popular and cult figure. His claims as his two principle influences George Romero [1968] and Buster Keaton. However, these movies didn’t prepare the world for his excellent treatment of a 1950’s murder case in Heavenly Creatures (1994) — or a movie or three about hobbits.

Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson

1989

The first of the Hot Blood series is released, edited by Jeff Gelb and Lonn Friend. The meshing of explicit sex and sexuality with the horror field came of age, and has become the most obvious trend of written Nineties genre fiction. Still mostly collections of short stories (though, more accurately, it’s the anthologies that are getting the label attached) further examples include Dan Simmons’ Lovedeath (1993), Dark Love, 1995, edited by Nancy A Collins and others, and, perhaps the most successful so far, Ellen Datlow’s 1994 anthology Little Deaths.

1990s

For the horror genre as an entity, the Nineties seemed to be a decade of compromise and self-consciousness. It split into increasingly self-contained factions — the vampire genre, young adult novels, the production-line sequel machine, the indulgent nostalgia market, and even the extreme end of the business seemed to draw in on itself. Even the wonderful successes of the late ’90s ([1996] and [1999]) have seemed to have little effect outside their particular niche.

What did deliver the goods? The best results seem to be come from those who can play with genre, and still keep a straight face: Jeunet and Caro’s marvellous double Delicatessen and The City of Lost Children, Michael Almereyda’s dark comic adaptation of Dracula [1897], Nadja, Gregory Widen’s The Prophecy and M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense all manage some intriguing twists. We also have some favourite authors of our own — David J Schow, Tanith Lee, Joe R Lansdale, even Stephen Donaldson, all take an intelligent and non-restrictive attitude to what horror actually is.

Indeed, what the Nineties did offer was the chance to redefine the genre — present real straight-edged vehemence coupled with an intelligence and knowledge to explore consequences, unbound by convention. It was being shown in the late Eighties, the sort of attitude that gave Simmons’ Song of Kali, Harris’ Silence of the Lambs [1981] and John McNaughton’s Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer their sheer power. It was shown in the likes of Mike Leigh’s Naked, Geoffrey Wright’s Romper Stomper and Metal Skin, Rolf De Heer’s Bad Boy Bubby, and the novels of people like Kathe Koja. With all this, not even Hollywood was immune… [1999]

1990

Twin Peaks, created by David Lynch and Mark Frost, proved that horror can still be successful on television, though it was eventually suspended due to a lack of ratings. The show ran for thirty episodes over two seasons and was followed by a rather good (if not quite as expected) movie in 1992. The show built on a great many sources, including the dramas Laura (Otto Preminger, 1944) and Born to Kill (Robert Wise, 1947 — featuring a victim called Laura Palmer), and has even been seen as a study of Marilyn Monroe’s death. While Mark Frost has since became a successful novelist (starting with The List of 7), David Lynch, remains one of America’s most innovative film-makers, with works such as Eraserhead (1977), Blue Velvet (1986) and Mulholland Drive (2001).

1990

Misery, (nicely directed by Rob Reiner from King’s novel [1974]) wins an academy award for its lead actress Kathy Bates, the first acting Oscar awarded for a horror film since [1931]. Followed by The Shawshank Redemption (Frank Darabont, 1995), Kathy Bates in Dolores Claiborne (Taylor Hackford, 1995) and The Green Mile (Frank Darabont, 1999), the 1990s have started treating King’s plots, and mood, with respect. There has even been some watchable TV mini-series (Mick Garris’ The Stand in particular).

1991

Jonathan Demme’s adaptation of The Silence of the Lambs is released to popular and critical acclaim and much debate. Whether or not a ‘meretricious piece of sleaze,’ it is superbly written and directed (but the book’s better). It won Best Actor, Actress, Director, Film and Adapted Screenplay in the 1991 Academy Awards. It was followed by Hannibal (2001), a brave attempt to film the unfilmable. [1981].

1991

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis is a lovingly detailed look at the world of 1980’s commercialism through the eyes of a psychotic murderer, a book ‘gutted…, becoming a media scandal, at the hands largely of those who had not read it or — worse still — had read excerpts only.’ The book was filmed in 2000. With The Informers in 1994, Ellis introduced a more explicit horror metaphor for his vision of universal soul death.

1992

With a distinct lack of original genre successes in early ’90s cinema, it seems horror fans (among many others) were more than happy to follow the career of Quentin Tarantino, debuting in style with Reservoir Dogs. Powerful and disturbing, it has been followed by a selection of movies, from QT-scripted True Romance (Tony Scott, 1993), Oliver Stone’s enormously fun re-mix of Natural Born Killers (1994) and then the undiluted vision of Pulp Fiction (1994), that are perhaps most notable for having such a wide variety of style and effect. His first official horror entry — Robert Rodriguez’s From Dust till Dawn (1996) — showed he should stick to making gangster flicks. ‘Quentin, I walked out of your movie [Reservoir Dogs], but I want you to take that as a complement. See, we all deal in fantasy. There’s no such thing as werewolves or vampires. You’re dealing with real-life violence, and I can’t deal with that.’ [Rick Baker, in Quentin Tarantino: Shooting From the Hip].

R.L. Stine's Goosebumps---Over 300 Million Copies Sold!

R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps—Over 300 Million Copies Sold!—-Who Said Kids Don’t Read!

1992

Goosebumps, by Robert Lawrence Stine was the publishing phenomena of the decade, shifting an enormous volume of material and generating a number of less successful spin-offs (such as the TV show in 1995). For the first time in a long time, people were reminded that kids do like to read , with the series racking up sales of 300 million volumes. There were many other authors who also rode the wave, perhaps the best being Christopher Pike (who’s Sati and The Last Vampire are excellent novels). The more recent, and more spectacular, success of Joanne Kathleen Rowling’s Harry Potter series (fantasy with a dark edge) shows it hasn’t stopped yet, and there is interesting work for a variety of age groups, from the studied but compelling tragedies of Lemony Snicket, to the grandeur of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series. Various authors’ attempts at adult fiction (Stine’s Superstitions and Pike’s A Season of Passage) did not translate.

1993

Chris Carter’s The X-Files had the ability, at its best, to walk into a cliche and then twist it into something wonderful. Appearing at the tail end of the direct Twin Peaks [1990] influences, it has now started a whole lot more of its own — conspiracies and pseudo-science are all the rage, whilst Carter added his own serial-killer of the week Millennium to the mix [1997]. Meanwhile, the other shows that dared carve out their own niche on our screens didn’t last as well, but did some good things — American Gothic and Forever Knight were the best, and even Kindred had… potential. Then came Buffy. The X-Files movie (Rob Bowman) appeared in 1998.

1996

The Scream series at the cinema and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997) on TV provided the new look of horror — media-savvy, slick, self-referential, hugely popular — and occasionally scary (Buffy season 2-3 in particular contained more than a few chilling moments). They are also significant in providing stardom to their creators and principal writers, Kevin Williamson and Joss Whedon — a rare (and wonderful) thing. A link to the past is provided by Wes Craven [1972] who directed the Scream series, and also the similarly referential New Nightmare in 1994. Despite all this success, most follow-ups, even by Williamson and Whedon (such as I Know What You Did Last Summer and Angel) have been less interesting.

1997

The imminence of millennium’s end was not without its influence, providing a couple of SF-type things about the date itself (the best of which was Strange Days (Kathryn Bigelow, 1995)), but also the return of the religious film in a big way. This was preceded by The Prophecy (Gregory Widen, 1995) and made more obvious with the like of Stigmata (Rupert Wainwright, 1999) and, God help us, Arnold Schwarzenegger in End of Days (Peter Hyams, 1999). Russell Mulcahy’s Resurrection (1999) was another interesting contender. There were various interesting anthologies (Douglas Winter’s Millennium was good reading (renamed Revelations in the States), but why did it only cover 100 years?) and a world-wide multi-billion dollar panic as well. To our mind, the best of the lot started in this year — season two of Chris Carter’s already promising follow-up to The X-Files [1993] called, funnily enough, Millennium. Under James Wong and Glen Morgan, the show explored a multitude of possibilities in an always-fascinating fashion, leading to a spectacular climax (and then there was season three, which we don’t really want to talk about).

1998

Although better known internationally for its giant monster movies [1954], Japanese cinema has a strong tradition of more subtle horrors. This year, Hideo Nakata’s Ringu appeared, achieving great success at home and abroad. Other recent examples are Sogo Ishii’s Enjeru dasuto (aka Angel Dust, 1994), Takashi Miike’s Oodishon (Audition, 1999) and Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Kairo (Pulse, 2001). They are challenging and evocative films, often involving shifting perception, alienation and growing dread. Ringu was based on a novel by Kôji Suzuki, and there is a complex web of alternates, including remakes, sequels and a prequel (Gore Verbinski did the US version). Hideo Nakata has kept busy, including the excellent Honogurai mizu no soko kara (Dark Water) in 2002.

1999

This year, the neo-realism bubbling under the surface of the decade became mainstream, and the results were extraordinary. David Fincher’s Fight Club and Sam Mendes’ American Beauty were non-compromising, non-genre cinema made with clarity. Of course, there has never been a lack of intelligent drama, but these share with horror the sense of danger and wonder in the transgression of limits. There were a number of direct precedents, such as Fincher’s earlier work (in particular Se7en, 1995) and Happiness (Todd Solondz, 1998), and numerous other signs as well [1990s]. US television drama was pushing new boundaries, and works like Being John Malkovich (Spike Jonze) showed a similar attitude with more fanciful fare. The writer of American Beauty, Alan Ball, went on to do the series Six Feet Under (but we prefer The Sopranos).

The Blair Witch Project: New Media in Old Bottles

The Blair Witch Project: New Media in Old Bottles

1999

The Blair Witch Project (Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez) proved that if slick and self-referential weren’t strict requirements for success, then perhaps media-savvy was. Whilst at heart a gimmick, it did not compromise itself, and scores many points for simply doing its best to scare people. The sequel arrived in 2000.

The Essential Works of Horror Fiction

Novels by Year:

1765

The Castle of Otranto – Horace Walpole

1794

The Mysteries of Udolpho – Ann Radcliffe

1818

Frankenstein – Mary Shelley

1886

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson

1891

The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde

1895

The King in Yellow – Robert Chambers

1897

Dracula – Bram Stoker

The Invisible Man – H.G. Wells

1898

The Turn of the Screw – Henry James

1907

The Boats of the Glen Carrig – William Hope Hodgson

The House on the Borderland – William Hope Hodgson

1911

The Lair of the White Worm – Bram Stoker

1920

The Green Eyes of Bast – Sax Rohmer

Claimed – Francis Stevens

1929

The Hands of Orlac – Maurice Renard

1933

The Werewolf of Paris – Guy Endore

1935

The Devil Rides Out – Dennis Wheatley

1939

The Edge of Running Water – William Sloane

1942

The Uninvited – Dorothy MacArdle

1943

Donovan’s Brain – Curt Siodmak

1945

All Hallow’s Eve – Charles Williams

1948

Great Mischief – Josephine Pinckney

1951

Fear – L. Ron Hubbard

Ringstones – Sarban

1952

Conjure Wife – Fritz Leiber

1953

The Dollmaker – Sarban

1954

I Am Legend – Richard Matheson

1955

The Invasion of the Body Snatchers – Jack Finney

1956

The Ka of Gifford Hillary – Dennis Wheatley

1958

The Dreamers – Roger Manvell

A Stir of Echoes – Richard Matheson

1959

The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson

The Monster from Earth’s End – Murray Leinster

1962

Something Wicked This Way Comes – Ray Bradbury

1967

Rosemary’s Baby – Ira Levin

1968

Black Easter – James Blish

1970

Fengriffen – David Case

1971

The Exorcist – William Peter Blatty

Hell House – Richard Matheson

The Other – Thomas Tryon

1973

Burnt Offerings – Robert Marasco

The Night Stalker – Jeff Rice

1974

The Search for Joseph Tully – William H. Hallahan

The Sentinel – Jeffrey Konvitz

1975

Audrey Rose – Frank DeFellita

The Manitou – Graham Masterton

Salems’ Lot – Stephen King

The Killing Gift – Bari Wood

1976

The Fury – John Farris

Interview with a Vampire – Anne Rice

The Omen – David Seltzer

1977

The Howling – Gary Brandner

The Shining – Stephen King

Watchers – Dean R. Koontz

Suffer the Children – John Saul

1978

Dagon – Fred Chappell

The Black Castle – Les Daniels

Fallen Angel – William Hjortsberg

Wolfen – Whitley Strieber

1979

The Dead Zone – Stephen King

Ghost Story – Peter Straub

Hotel Transylvania – Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

1980

The Land of Laughs – Jonathan Carroll

The Vampire Tapestry – Suzy McKee Charnas

Cold Moon over Babylon – Michael McDowell

Bellefleur – Joyce Carol Oates

The Orphan – Robert Stallman

1981

The Jonah Watch – Jack Cady

The Jonah – James Herbert

The Hunger – Whitley Strieber

The Keep – F. Paul Wilson

1982

The Nestling – Charles L. Grant

Fever Dream – George R.R.Martin

1983

The Predator – Anthony John

Christine – Stephen King

Phantoms – Dean R. Koontz

The Armageddon Rag – George R.R. Martin

1984

The Ceremonies – T.E.D. Klein

Usher’s Passing – Robert R. McCammon

The Color Out of Time – Michael Shea

The Witches of Eastwick – John Updike

The Tomb – F. Paul Wilson

1985

Requiem – Graham Joyce

Ghosttrain – Stephen Laws

1986

It – Stephen King

Necroscope – Brian Lumley

The Light at the End – John Skipp & Craig Spector

1987

Valley of Lights – Stephen Gallagher

Flesh – Richard Laymon

On Stranger Tides – Tim Powers

1988

Roofworld – Christopher Fowler

Little Brothers – Rick Hautala

Resurrection Dreams – Richard Laymon

The Empire of Fear – Brian M. Stableford

The Suiting – Kelly Wilde

1989

Ancient Images – Ramsey Campbell

Sunglasses After Dark – Nancy Collins

Beneath Still Waters – Matthew J. Costello

In the Land of the Dead – K.W. Jeter

The Wolf’s Hour – Robert R. McCammon

Carrion Comfort – Dan Simmons

1990

Rune – Christopher Fowler

Good Omens – Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett

1991

Boys’ Life – Robert R. McCammon

Summer of Night – Dan Simmons

Vampire$ – John Steakley

1992

Chiller – Randall Boyll

Bad Brains – Kathe Koja

Anno Dracula – Kim Newman

1993

The List of Seven – Mark Frost

Guilty Pleasures – Laurell Hamilton

Blood of the Lamb – Thomas F. Monteleone

The Golden – Lucius Shepard

1994

Bride of the Rat God – Barbara Hambly

Resume with Monsters – William Browning Spencer

1995

Relic – Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

1996

Crota – Owl Goingback

1997

The Green Mile – Stephen King

The Ignored – Bentley Little

The Chosen Child – Graham Masterton

Reliquary – Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

Fog Heart – Thomas Tessier

1998

The Uncanny – Andrew Klavan

1999

Strangewood – Christopher Golden

The Descent – Jeff Long

2001

Dead until Dark – Charlaine Harris

City Infernal – Edward Lee

Declare – Tim Powers

2002

Prey – Michael Crichton

Demons – John Shirley

2003

Lost Boy, Lost Girl – Peter Straub

2006

Lost Echoes – Joe Lansdale

2007

The Terror – Dan Simmons

Short Stories:

 (Starred names mean the author has produced a significant body of short horror fiction of equivalent interest.)

Aickman, Robert *

Pages from a Young Girl’s Journal

Ringing the Changes

Arthur, Robert*

The Footsteps Invisible

Satan and Sam Shay

Bangs, John Kendrick

The Water Ghost of Harrowby Hall

Barker, Clive*

The Hellbound Heart

In the Flesh

Rawhead Rex

Beaumont, Charles*

The Crooked Man

The Howling Man

Perchance to Dream

The Vanishing American

Benet, Stephen Vincent

The Devil and Daniel Webster

Benson, E.F.

Mrs. Amworth

Bierce, Ambrose*

The Damned Thing

The Incident at Owl Creek Bridge

Bishop, Michael

Seasons of Belief

Bixby, Jerome

It’s a Good Life

Blackwood, Algernon*

The Empty House

Old Clothes

The Wendigo

The Willows

Blish, James

There Shall Be No Darkness

Bloch, Robert*

The Cheaters

Enoch

The Feast in the Abbey

The Hellbound Train

Hungarian Rhapsody

Lucy Comes to Stay

The Opener of the Way

The Skull of the Marquis de Sade

Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper

Bond, Nelson

The Monster from Nowhere

Boucher, Anthony

They Bite

Bowen, Elizabeth

The Demon Lover

Bradbury, Ray*

The Crowd

The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl

The Man Upstairs

The October Game

The Skeleton

The Veldt

Brennan, Joseph Payne

The Calamander Chest

Slime

Broster, D.K.

Couching at the Door

Bulwer-Lytton, Edward

The Haunted and the Haunters

Cady, Jack*

The Night We Buried Road Dog

The Sons of Noah

Campbell, Ramsey*

The Chimney

Cave, Hugh

Stragella

Clark, Curtis (Donald Westlake)

Nackles

Collier, John*

Green Thoughts

Thus I Refute Beelzy

Collins, Wilkie

The Haunted Hotel

The Terribly Strange Bed

Crawford, F. Marion

For the Blood Is the Life

The Upper Berth

Cross, John Keir

The Other Passenger

Dahl, Roald*

The Man from the South

Royal Jelly

William and Mary

De Maupassant, Guy

The Horla

Derleth, August

Logoda’s Heads

Mr. George

Wild Grapes

Dickens, Charles

The Signalman

Disch, Thomas N.

Descending

Du Maurier, Daphne

The Birds

Ellison, Harlan

Croatoan

Etchison, Dennis

The Dark Country

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins

The Yellow Wallpaper

Hartley, L.P.

The Traveling Grave

Harvey, William Fryer

The Beast with Five Fingers

Hichens, Robert

How Love Came to Professor Guildea

Hodgson, William Hope*

Horse of the Invisible

The Thing Invisible

The Voice in the Night

Hopkins, Brian

La Belle Dame Sans Merci

Howard, Robert E.

The Cairn on the Headland

Pigeons from Hell

Skull-Face

Irving, Washington

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Jackson, Shirley*

Charles

The Lottery

One Ordinary Day, with Peanuts

Jacobs, W.W.

The Monkey’s Paw

James, M.R.*

The Ash Tree

Casting the Runes

Count Magnus

Oh Whistle and I’ll Come to You My Lad

Jerome, Jerome K.

The Dancing Partner

Keller, David H.

The Thing in the Cellar

Kersh, Gerald

The Extraordinarily Horrible Dummy

King, Stephen*

Children of the Corn

The Crate

The Mist

The Raft

Sometimes They Come Back

Trucks

Kipling, Rudyard

The Mark of the Beast

The Phantom Rickshaw

Kirk, Russell

The Surly, Sullen Bell

Klein, T.E.D.*

The Events at Poroth Farm

Nadelman’s God

Lansdale, Joe*

God of the Razor

The Night They Missed the Horror Show

On the Far Side of the Cadillac Desert

Tight Little Stitches in the Dead Man’s Back

Lee, Tanith

Elle Est Trois (La Mort)

Le Fanu, J. Sheridan

Carmilla

Green Tea

Leiber, Fritz

The Automatic Pistol

The Girl with the Hungry Eyes

Smoke Ghost

Ligotti, Thomas*

The Last Feast of Harlequin

Long, Frank Belknap

The Hounds of Tindalos

Lovecraft, Howard Phillips*

At the Mountains of Madness

The Call of Cthulhu

The Color Out of Space

Cool Air

The Dunwich Horror

The Lurking Fear

Pickman’s Model

The Shadow over Innsmouth

The Shunned House

Machen, Arthur*

The Bowmen

The Great God Pan

Marryatt, Frederick

The Phantom Ship

Martin, George R.R.

The Pear Shaped Man

Matheson, Richard*

The Doll That Does Everything

Duel

Little Girl Lost

Nightmare at 20,000 Feet

Prey

McCammon, Robert R.*

Night Calls the Green Falcon

Nightcrawlers

Middleton, Richard

The Ghost Ship

O’Brien, Fitz-James

What Was It?

Onions, Oliver*

The Beckoning Fair One

The Rosewood Door

Poe, Edgar Allan*

The Black Cat

The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar

The Fall of the House of Usher

The Murders in the Rue Morgue

The Pit and the Pendulum

The Premature Burial

The Tell-Tale Heart

Priestley, J.B.

The Grey Ones

Quinn, Seabury

(Any sample of the Jules de Grandin stories)

Rainey, Stephen Mark*

Fugue Devil

Rice, Jane

The Idol of the Flies

Russell, Ray

Sardonicus

Saki

The Open Window

Sredni Vashtar

Schow, David*

Pamela’s Get

Serling, Rod*

The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street

The Odyssey of Flight 33

Sturgeon, Theodore

Bianca’ Hands

It

Killdozer

A Way of Thinking

Wakefield, H. Russell*

He Cometh and He Passeth By

Wellman, Manly Wade*

The Devil Is Not Mocked

The Valley Was Still

Wells, H.G.

The Flowering of the Strange Orchid

The Sea Raiders

Valley of Spiders

White, Edward Lucas

Lukundoo

Whitehead, Edward S.

Jumbee

Wilson, David Niall

La Belle Dame Sans Merci

Non-Fantastic Horror Novels of Note

Bloch, Robert – Psycho

Gallico, Paul – Too Many Ghosts

Gilbert, Anthony – Willard

Goldman, William – Magic

Harris, Thomas – Silence of the Lambs

Ketchum, Jack – Offspring

Koontz, Dean R. – Intensity

Leroux, Gaston – The Phantom of the Opera

Lowndes, Marie Belloc – The Lodger

Miller, Rex – Slob

Raven, Simon – Doctors Wear Scarlet

Slade, Michael – Ghoul

Sturgeon, Theodore – Some of Your Blood

Copyright Robert Sheppard 2014 All Rights Reserved

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SCIENCE FICTION IN WORLD LITERATURE: FROM LUCIAN AND IBN AL-NAFIS TO HEINLEIN, ASIMOV, ARTHUR C. CLARKE, URSULA K. LE GUIN AND BEYOND———FROM THE WORLD LITERATURE FORUM SUGGESTED CLASSICS AND MASTERPIECES SERIES, ROBERT SHEPPARD, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

SCIENCE FICTION IN WORLD LITERATURE:  FROM LUCIAN AND IBN AL-NAFIS TO HEINLEIN, ASIMOV, ARTHUR C. CLARKE, URSULA K. LE GUIN AND BEYOND———FROM THE WORLD LITERATURE FORUM SUGGESTED CLASSICS AND MASTERPIECES SERIES, ROBERT SHEPPARD, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

WORLD LITERATURE FORUM

WORLD LITERATURE FORUM

 

Robert Sheppard, Editor-in-Chief, World Literature Forum

Robert Sheppard, Editor-in-Chief, World Literature Forum

 

 

SCIENCE FICTION IN WORLD LITERATURE:  FROM LUCIAN AND IBN AL-NAFIS TO HEINLEIN, ASIMOV, ARTHUR C. CLARKE, URSULA K. LE GUIN AND BEYOND

 

 

H.G.Wells' War of the Worlds---World Classic of Science Fiction

H.G.Wells’ War of the Worlds—World Classic of Science Fiction

 

What is “Science Fiction?” By its terms science fiction is the conjunction of “science” and “fiction,” which is to say the world of what we hold to be the most confirmable “reality” of our lives, or “what really is,” in fruitful union with the richest realm of the imagination, our deepest dreams of that alternative reality of “what could be,” or what might most delight us or be desired to be, or that which is most feared to be.  It is also not incidentally, as is all art and literature, among our deepest conjectures of who we are and who we may dream ourselves to be, or to become.

According to science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein a handy short definition of almost all science fiction might read: “realistic speculation about possible future events, based solidly on adequate knowledge of the real world, past and present, and on a thorough understanding of the nature and significance of the scientific method.” Rod Serling’s definition is “fantasy is the impossible made probable. Science fiction is the improbable made possible.” Lester del Rey wrote, “Even the devoted aficionado—or fan—has a hard time trying to explain what science fiction is,” and that the reason for there not being a “full satisfactory definition” is that “there are no easily delineated limits to science fiction.”

Science fiction is largely based on writing rationally about alternative possible worlds or futures. It is similar to, but differs from pure fantasy in that, within the context of the story, its imaginary elements are largely possible within scientifically established or scientifically postulated physical laws of nature (though some elements in a story might still be pure imaginative speculation).

The settings for science fiction are often contrary to those of consensus reality but most science fiction still relies on a considerable degree of suspension of disbelief, which is facilitated in the reader’s mind by potential scientific explanations or solutions to various fictional elements. Science fiction elements include:

  • A time setting in the future in alternative      timelines or in a historical past that      contradicts known facts of history or the archeological record;
  • A spatial setting or scenes in outer      space (e.g. spaceflight), on      other worlds, or subterranean      earth;
  • Characters that include aliens, mutants, androids      or humanoid robots and other types of characters      arising from a future human evolution;
  • Futuristic or plausible technology such as ray guns,      teleportation machines, and humanoid computers;
  • Scientific principles that are new or that contradict      accepted physical laws, for example time travel, wormholes or      faster-than-light travel or communication      (known to be possible but not      yet feasible).
  • New and different political or social systems, e.g. dystopian,      post-scarcity or post-apocalyptic;      Paranormal abilities such as mind control, telepathy, telekinesis      and teleportation;
  • Other universes or dimensions and travel between them.

Exploring the consequences of scientific innovations is one purpose of science fiction, as is making it a “literature of ideas.” Further, Science Fiction has evolved to be used by authors as a device to discuss philosophical questions of identity, the nature of humanity and the human condition, morality, desire and social structure.

 

 

THE HISTORY OF SCIENCE FICTION: WHO WAS THE “FIRST SCIENCE FICTION WRITER” IN WORLD LITERATURE?

 

Of course, the identification of the first science fiction writer in history is dependent upon our definition of what is science fiction. That in turn will depend on our definitions of what is science and what is fiction. These terms are not constant but vary and shift with historical, intellectual and cultural circumstance. Nonetheless, looking back on all known past literature it is possible to identify writers in the past who approached most nearly the modern themes, subject matter and imaginative intent of the institution we now regard as the modern genre of “Science Fiction.” Various national or individual claimants to the title of the “the first work of science fiction” are proposed from time to time, from the True History of 2nd Century Roman writer Lucian to some of the tales of the 1001 Arabian Nights, to the 10th Century Japanese “Tale of the Bamboo Cutter” to the Robinson Crusoesque desert island tale Theologus Autodidacticus (The Self-Taught Theologist) by 13th Century Arabic writer Ibn al-Nafis. In my judgment, the Roman writer Lucian has the strongest claim to the title of “the father of science fiction.”

 

Lucian--2nd Century AD Roman Writer----The First Science Fiction Writer in World Literature

Lucian–2nd Century AD Roman Writer—-The First Science Fiction Writer in World Literature

 

LUCIAN’S “TRUE HISTORY” AS SCIENCE FICTION

 

As most of us are not familiar with Lucian and his True History  or Ibn al-Nafis’ Theologus Autodidacticus I shall take a bit more time and space to outline their contents compared to other modern works presented below with which the reader is presumed to be more knowledgeable.

In his Roman 2nd Century AD classic, True History, Lucian as narrator joins a company of adventuring heroes similar to “Jason and the Argonauts” sailing westward through the “Pillars of Hercules” (the Strait of Gibraltar) in order to explore lands and inhabitants beyond the Ocean. They are blown off course by a strong wind, and after 79 days come to an island. This island is home to a river of wine filled with fish, and bears a marker indicating that Hercules and Dionysius have traveled to this point, alongside normal footprints and giant footprints.

Shortly after leaving the island, they are lifted up by a tornado-like whirlwind and after seven days aloft are deposited on the Moon. There they find themselves embroiled in a full-scale war between the king of the Moon and the king of the Sun over colonization of the Morning Star, involving armies including such exotica as stalk-and-mushroom men, acorn-dogs (“dog-faced men fighting on winged acorns”), and cloud-centaurs. Unusually, the Sun, Moon, stars and planets are portrayed as locales, each with its unique geographic details and inhabitants. The war is finally won by the King of the Sun’s armies clouding the Moon over. Details of the Moon follow: there are no women, and children grow inside the calves of men prior to birth.

After returning to Earth, the adventurers become trapped in a giant 200 mile-long whale where live many groups of people whom they rout in war. They also reach a sea of milk, an island of cheese and “The Isle of the Blessed,” a species of afterworld. There Lucian meets the heroes of the Trojan War from the Iliad, other mythical men and animals, and even Homer himself. They find the historian Herodotus being eternally punished for the “lies” he published in his “Histories.”

After leaving the Island of the Blessed, they deliver a letter to Calypso given to them by Odysseus explaining that he wishes he had stayed with her so he could have lived eternally. They then discover a chasm in the Ocean, but eventually sail around it, discover a far-off continent, prophetic of Columbus’ discovery of America, and decide to explore it. The book ends rather abruptly with Lucian saying that their adventure there will be the subject of following books.

Lucian’s True History eludes a clear-cut literary classification or genre. Its multilayered character has given rise to interpretations as diverse as science fiction, fantasy, satire or parody of such classics as the Odyssey, depending on how much importance scholars attach to Lucian’s explicit intention of telling a story of candid falsehoods. Nevertheless, I feel on the whole that True History may properly be regarded effectively as science fiction because Lucian often achieves that sense of “cognitive estrangement” which Darko Suvin has defined as the generic distinction of Science Fiction, that is, the depiction of an alternate world, radically unlike our own, but relatable to it in terms of continuity of the laws and limits of action. Thus, part of the tale that qualifies it as science fiction, rather than as fantasy or imaginative fiction, involves Lucian and his seamen living out an epic battle for territorial and colonization rights that preserves a field of action, including reality and science-based laws and limitations alongside human and social motivations, continuous of our own world’s realities.

In sum, characteristic of science fiction themes and topoi, Lucian’s True History depicts:

  • travel to outer space
  • encounter with alien life-forms, including the      experience of a first encounter event
  • interplanetary      war and imperialism
  • colonization of planets
  • artificial atmosphere
  • liquid air
  • reflecting telescopes
  • motif of giganticism
  • creatures as products of human technology (robot theme)
  • worlds working by a set of alternate ‘physical’ laws
  • explicit desire of the protagonist for exploration and      adventure

 

Ibn al-Nafis---13th Century Arabic Writer---The First Islamic Science Fiction Writer in World Literature

Ibn al-Nafis—13th Century Arabic Writer—The First Islamic Science Fiction Writer in World Literature

 

IBN AL-NAFIS’ THEOLOGUS AUTODIDACTICUS (The Self-Taught Theologue)

 

Ibn al-Nafis’ 13th Century classic Theologus Autodidacticus and its progenitors were part of “The Islamic Golden Age” that is often overlooked in its contributions to both modern science and science fiction. From the establishment of the Abbasid Caliphate in Baghdad the Arab world took greater care than the Christian West to preserve and build upon the rationalist heritage of the Greek and Roman classical heritage through the works of such renown scholars as Ibn Sina (Avicenna), Ibn Rushd (Averroes), Al-Ghazali, Moses Maimonides and others, who in turn at a later time contributed to the rediscovery of the rationalist Greco-Roman classical tradition through their influence on medieval scholars such as the neo-Aristotelian St. Thomas Aquinas and their successors embodied in the Western Renaissance.

The Theologus Autodidacticus was less a work of imaginative science fiction than a continuation of a philosophical thought experiment deriving from the prior Islamic Golden Age works The Incoherence of the Philosophers by Ibn Sina and its more immediate precursor work by Ibn Tufail (Abubacer), the Philosophus Autodidacticus (Ḥayy ibn YaqẓānAlive, Son of Awake” or “The Self-Taught Philosopher: The Improvement of Human Reason: Exhibited in the Life of Hai Ebn Yokdhan.” These philosophical works sought to explore the relationship of human reason, scientific proof based on individual observation of the world and religious revelation through the thought experiment of placing a feral child on a desert island without human language, society, education or guidance and speculating as to what naked observation of the world and reason would produce in human understanding. Ibn Tufail, like St. Thomas Aquinas seeking to reconcile reason and the creator-God of a rational universe, speculated that the island boy armed only with scientific observation and reason would arrive at the same rational understanding as the most learned philosophers armed with the Islamic and Greco-Roman tradition. Ibn al-Nafis, who was not original but rather copied Ibn Tufail’s desert island feral child motif, sought to take exception with Ibn Tufail and invoke more a process of independent religious revelation which would lead to independent discovery and affirmation of Islam by the feral child, supplementing the role of naked reason and scientific observation. Nonetheless he affirmed that all was reconcilable and harmonious. Both desert island works had far-reaching effects through translation in the West, and Daniel Defoe was known to have read a translation prior to composing Robinson Crusoe, and such speculations informed the reasoning of Enlightenment figures such as Voltaire and the voyage of discovery in Candide, the Cartesian Method of Descartes, and the tabula rasa of Locke, precursors of the rise of science.  

Theologus Autodidacticus thus presents less of a voyage of discovery into an alternative universe than an account of a feral boy’s development on a desert island and his self-education, followed by his discovery and return to civilization by sailors and the attempt to reconcile autonomously-derived understanding with traditional and civilization-derived understanding. The last two chapters of the Theologus Autodidacticus, however, exhibit some characteristics of science fiction as they relate how the feral boy, Kamil, has independently arrived at the Biblical and Koranic prediction of Revelations and the Koran of the Apocalypse, “end of the world” and “Last Judgment” involving the resurrection of the bodies of the dead. He derives this prophetic knowledge scientifically through the study of astronomy, in which he observes a process of the slow destruction of the earth’s ecliptic, or slant relative to the sun from which the seasons arise. Thus in the modern science fiction tradition Ibn al-Nafis in the 13th Century predicts a Climate Change Apocalypse where the slant of the ecliptic will be lost, leading to a destruction of the seasons, the overheating of the equator and freezing of the poles and a consequent forced migration of peoples from now intolerable climates resulting in clashes and a World War of Armageddon which extirpates the human race from the planet. All is not lost however, as the re-tilting of the planet relative to the sun will eventually tilt over in the opposite direction, restoring the seasons, and the benign return of Climate Change will result in a resurrection of the dead bodies and a new cycle of resurgent life.

The other contenders for the title of the first work of science fiction are clearly much weaker. The 1001 Nights Arabian Entertainment, though incorporating some sci-fi motifs is clearly of the fantasy rather than sci-fi genre, with the laws of science not restraining the free play of fantasy and negating the comparability of the fantastic realm with the world of our lived-in reality. The Japanese 10th Century “Tale of the Bamboo Cutter” (Taketori Monogatari) presents a fantasy of a “Tom Thumb” sized princess, Princess Kayuga, discovered and born from a bamboo stalk by a cutter who proves to be a princess of the Moon People. The tale tells of how she grows up on earth in the family of the bamboo cutter and is courted by all the earthly princes and proposed to by the Emperor of Japan. She rejects all these suitors, however, until an embassy from the Moon comes to return her to her lunar home, evocative also of the Chinese tale of Chang’E. Though incorporating the motif of interplanetary travel and civilizations, there is little of science or continuity of the laws of nature as a restraint on pure fantasy and impossibility. Thus, on the whole, the title of “The Father of Science Fiction” and “The First Work of Science Fiction” in history and World Literature is best conferred on Lucian and his “True History.”

 

Gulliver's Travels--Proto-Science Fiction

Gulliver’s Travels–Proto-Science Fiction

 

PROTO-SCIENCE FICTION FROM THE ENLIGHTENMENT TO THE ROMANTIC AGE

Arising from the Age of Reason and the development of modern science itself, Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels was one of the first true science fantasy works, together with Voltaire’s Micromegas (1752) and Johannes Kepler’s Somnium (1620). Isaac Asimov and Carl Sagan have termed the latter work the first science fiction story. It depicts a journey to the Moon and how the Earth’s motion is seen from there. The Blazing World written in 1666 by English noblewoman Margaret Cavendish has also been described as an early forerunner of science fiction. Another example is Ludvig Holberg’s novel Nicolai Klimii iter subterraneum, 1741. Some have argued that Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) was the first work of science fiction.

Following the 18th-century development of the as a novel itself literary form, in the early 19th century, Mary Shelley’s books Frankenstein and The Last Man helped evolve the form of the science fiction novel; later Edgar Allen Poe wrote a story about a flight to the moon. More examples appeared throughout the 19th century as the scientific age took on greater momentum and began to uproot and reform everyday life to a greater and greater extent.

 

THE DEVELOPMENT OF MODERN SCIENCE FICTION—-THE TWO FOUNDING TITANS:  JULES VERNE & H.G. WELLS

 

Jules Verne--Father of Modern Science Fiction

Jules Verne–Father of Modern Science Fiction

 

Most of us grow up with the great classics of Science Fiction, either in books or rendered in movies, with place of honor held by the works of the two great authors of the first age of Science Fiction: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Around the World in Eighty-Days, Journey to the Center of the Earth, The War of the Worlds, The Time Machine and many others. They have now risen to become part of the canon of World Literature, creating a body of work that became popular across broad cross-sections of society, well beyond the smaller sub-culture of sci-fi enthusiasts. They arose out of the enthusiasms and anxieties of the Industrial Revolution and Scientific Revolution as technologies such as the telegraph, steam engine, railroads, steamships, the automobile, the tank, submarine and machine-gun, airplane and electric lighting and power were completely reshaping the human landscape of the modern world. They also confronted the dilemmas and challenges that such scientific developments as Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and Einstein’s Theory of Relativity posed for the understanding of the human condition and its traditional institutions such as religion, the nation-state and the family.

 

H.G. Wells

H.G. Wells

 

Wells’ The War of the Worlds for example (1898) describes an invasion of late Victorian England by Martians using tripod fighting machines equipped with advanced weaponry. It is a seminal depiction of an alien invasion of Earth, and in presenting a collision with a species more advanced than humanity is a profound shock to our geo-centric and ego-centric pretensions of human superiority and privileged uniqueness. Wells in that work also developed the narrative technique of telling the story by an average person as narrator unexpectedly caught up in a technological cataclysm, allowing a focus not simply on astounding technology, but on the human and psychological dimensions of technological upheaval. This focus would be echoed in the later development of the genre from “Hard Science Fiction” to the sub-genres of “Social Science Fiction” and “Soft Science Fiction” epitomized by such later writers as Phillip K. Dick and Ursula K. Le Guin.

Verne also created iconic characters of great psychological depth such as Captain Nemo and questioned such human institutions as the nation-state, as memorable as the technological speculations concerning undersea submarine travel, space ships on interplanetary journeys, time machines and laser weapons. With such great authors the advance of technology elicited not only admiration and awe, but also concern for the ambivalent meaning and potential of such innovations for morality, the exercise of power, society and the human condition.

 

Jules Verne's Science Fiction Classic 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Jules Verne’s Science Fiction Classic 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

 

 

1920’s-1930’s—-EARLY VISIONARIES OLAF STAPLEDON & KAREL CAPEK: LAST AND FIRST MAN, STAR MAKER, THE WAR OF THE NEWTS & ROBOTS

 

Olaf Stapledon---Cosmic Visionary

Olaf Stapledon—Cosmic Visionary

 

OLAF STAPLEDON

Olaf Stapledon, an accomplished Oxford scholar, was a writer of extraordinary depth and breadth of vision who deeply influenced later icons of Science Fiction such as Heinlein, Asimov and Clarke as well as such writers as Borges, H.P. Lovecraft, Priestly, Bertrand Russell and Virginia Woolf. Once again, I shall devote a bit more time and space to Stapledon as he is less familiar to our readers than the better known masters.

Stapledon was a scholar in history at Oxford prior to the First World War and was deeply influenced by Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. During WWI he was a conscientious objector and served in the ambulance service at the front in Belgium and France in lieu of military service. After the war he completed a Ph.D in Philosophy, but the success of his science fiction writing enabled him to give up academia to become a full-time writer instead. His first major success was with the publication of  Last and First Men, a work of immense vision and unprecedented scale in the genre,  describing the history of humanity from the present onwards across two billion years and eighteen distinct human species, of which our own is the first. Stapledon’s conception of history is based on both Darwin and the Hegelian Dialectic, following a repetitive cycle with many varied civilizations rise from and descending back into savagery over millions of years. In this he was also influenced by the historical theories of Oswald Spengler and Vico, following the rise and fall of civilizations as organic but historically determined entities destined to birth, a limited lifespan and inevitable decline and destruction, which is, however, followed by civilizational rebirth. But this process is also one of a general upward spiraling progress, as the later civilizations rise to far greater heights than the first and earlier ones. The book anticipates the science of genetic engineering, interplanetary colonization and migration, interplanetary and inter-species war, conflict between creator and created species, an altered sexuality with evolution of multiple sexes beyond the male and female, and among the later evolutionary reincarnations of humanity is an early example of the fictional supermind:  a super-consciousness composed of many telepathically-linked individuals. Humanity ends with the occurrence of a supernova which destroys the solar system, but not before the final race devises seed-viruses which are capable of surviving journeys to other solar systems and the seeding of life there in the tradition of interstellar “panspermia” in the hope of a newer evolution of life on the planets of distant stars. The course of evolution from the present human species (the First Men) onwards to the final reported species, the Eighteenth Men:

  • First Men.      (Chapters 1–6) Our own species: the rivalry of America and China, leads to formation of the First World      State followed by its destruction as a result of using up all natural      resources, followed by the Patagonia Civilization      100,000 years hence, with its cult of Youth, and its destruction after the sabotage of a mine      which leads to a colossal subterranean atomic explosion and an ensuing intercontinental nuclear holocaust, rendering most of the Earth’s surface uninhabitable      for millions of years save for the poles and the northern coast of Siberia. The only survivors are thirty-five humans stationed      at the North Pole who eventually split up into two separate species,      the Second Men and some sub-humans.
  • Second Men.      (Chapters 7– 9) “Their heads, indeed, were large even for their      bodies, and their necks massive. Their hands were huge, but finely      moulded…their legs were stouter…their feet had lost their separate toes…blonde hirsuite appearance…Their eyes were large, and often jade green, their features firm as carved granite, yet      mobile and lucent. …not till they were fifty did they reach      maturity. At about 190 their powers began to fail…” Unlike our      species, egotism is virtually unknown to them. At the acme of their      highly advanced civilization, a      protracted war with the Martians finally ends with the Martians extinct      and the Second Men gone into eclipse.
  • Third Men. (Chapter      10) “Scarcely more than half the stature of their predecessors, these      beings were proportionally slight and lithe. Their skin was of a sunny      brown, covered with a luminous halo of      red-gold hairs… golden eyes… faces were compact as a cat’s muzzle,      their lips full, but subtle at the corners. Their ears, objects of      personal pride and of sexual admiration, were extremely variable both in      individuals and in races. … But the most distinctive feature of the      Third Men was their great lean hands, on which were six versatile fingers,      six antennae of living steel.” They are deeply interested in music and in the genetically engineered design of living organisms.
  • Fourth Men. (Chapter      11) Giant brains, built by the Third Men. For a long time they help govern      their creators, but eventually come into conflict. After reducing the      Third Men to the status of lab animals, they eventually reach the limits      of their scientific abilities.
  • Fifth Men.      (Chapters 11–12) An artificial human species designed by the preceding brains: “On      the average they were more than twice as tall as the First Men, and much      taller than the Second Men… the delicate sixth finger had been induced      to divide its tip into two Lilliputian      fingers and a      corresponding thumb. The contours of the limbs were sharply visible, for      the body bore no hair, save for a close, thick skull-cap which, in the original stock, was of ruddy brown.      The well-marked eyebrows, when drawn down, shaded the sensitive eyes from      the sun.” After clashing with and finally eliminating the Fourth Men,      they develop a technology greater than Earth had ever known before. When      Earth ceases to be habitable, they terraform      Venus, committing genocide on its marine native race which tries to resist      them – but do not cope well after the move.
  • Sixth Men. (Chapter      13) “Sadly reduced in stature and in brain, these abject beings…      gained a precarious livelihood by grubbing roots upon the forest-clad      islands, trapping the innumerable birds, and catching fish… Not      infrequently they devoured, or were devoured by, their seal-like relatives.” After tectonic changes      provide them with a promising land mass, they fluctuate like the First Men      and repeat all their mistakes.
  • Seventh      Men. Flying      humans, “scarcely heavier than the largest of terrestrial flying      birds”, are created by the Sixth Men. After 100 million years, a      flightless pedestrian subspecies appears which re-develops technology.
  • Eighth Men.      “These long-headed and substantial folk were designed to be strictly      pedestrian, physically and mentally.” When Venus becomes      uninhabitable, about to be destroyed along with the entire inner solar      system, they design the Ninth Men, who will live on Neptune.
  • Ninth Men. (Chapter      14) “Inevitably it was a dwarf type,      limited in size by the necessity of resisting an excessive gravitation… too delicately organized to withstand the      ferocity of natural forces on Neptune… civilization crumbled into      savagery.” From there, savagery sinks further into brutedom.
  • Tenth to      Seventeenth Men. “Nowhere did the typical human form      survive.” Sentience re-emerges from animals on multiple occasions.      The Fifteenth and Sixteenth achieve a great civilization and learn to      study past minds. (These species are essentially Neptunian versions of the      Second and Fifth Men, respectively.) It is not until the Sixteenth Men,      the first of the Neptunian artificial species, that the cycle of rise and      collapse of civilization is finally ended, and steady      progress takes its place. The Sixteenth Men, frustrated by their inability      to improve their civilization,      decide that their nature is insufficiently advanced to produce a truly      perfect community, and create an artificial species, the Seventeenth Men,      to succeed them; however, the Seventeenth Men are “flawed” in      some unspecified way, unimagined by the 16th due to their lesser      awareness, and last only a short period of time before being replaced by      the Eighteenth Men, essentially a more perfect version of their own      species.
  • Eighteenth      Men.      (Chapters 15–16) The most advanced humans of all. A race of philosophers      and artists with a very liberal sexual morality. “Superficially we      seem to be not one species but many.” (One interesting aspect of the      Eighteenth Men is that they have a number of different      “sub-genders,” variants on the basic male and female pattern,      with distinctive temperaments. The Eighteenth Men’s equivalent of the      family unit includes one of each of these sub-genders and is the basis of      their society. The units have the ability to act as a group mind, which      eventually leads to the establishment of a single group mind uniting the      entire species.). This species no longer died naturally, but only by      accident, suicide or being killed. Despite their hyper-advanced civilization,      they practice ritual cannibalism. They are      eventually extinguished on Neptune after      a supernova infects      the sun, causing it to grow so hot that it consumes the remains of the solar system, faster than any means of escape they can devise.      Unable to escape, this last species of man devises a virus to spread life      to other worlds and cause the evolution of new sentient species throughout      the galaxy.

But the process of evolution can also be downward as well as upward. Stapledon on numerous occasions posits the emergence of “subhuman” human successors who descend towards a lower animality:

  • Baboon-like      Submen. (Chapter      7) “Bent so that as often as not they used their arms as aids to      locomotion, flat-headed and curiously long-snouted, these creatures were      by now more baboon-like than human”.
  • Aquatic Seal-like Submen. (Chapter      13) “The whole body was moulded to stream-lines. The lung capacity      was greatly developed. The spine had elongated, and increased in      flexibility. The legs were shrunken, grown together, and flattened into a      horizontal rudder. The arms also were diminutive and fin-like, though they      still retained the manipulative forefinger and thumb. The head had shrunk      into the body and looked forward in the direction of swimming. Strong      carnivorous teeth, emphatic gregariousness, and a new, almost human,      cunning in the chase, combined to make these seal-men lords of the      ocean”. In this they parallel the actual strange but true      history of evolution of the seal, whale and porpoise from an air-breathing      land animal thought to resemble the dog into an aquatic species on Earth.
  • Period of      Eclipse. (Chapter      14) “Man’s consciousness was narrowed and coarsened into      brute-consciousness. By good luck the brute precariously survived.”      Nature succeeds in colonizing Neptune where sentient life fails.      Human-derived mammals of all shapes come to dominate Neptune’s ecosystem before adapting well enough for the vestiges of      opposable thumbs and intelligence to become assets again.

 

Olaf Stapldon's Star Maker--The Ultimate Cosmological Vision

Olaf Stapldon’s Star Maker–The Ultimate Cosmological Vision

 

As if a two-billion year vision of the future of the human species were not enough, Stapledon follows his prophetic masterpiece with an even greater cosmological speculation in Star Maker, transcending the “Big Bang” with a vision of the creation of alternative universes by a Supreme Artist-Quasi-God-Universe Maker, termed the “Star Maker.”

The climax of the book is the “supreme moment of the cosmos”, when the cosmical mind (which includes the psychically-voyaging narrator) attains momentary contact with the “Star Maker” of the title. The Star Maker is the creator of the universe, but stands in the same relation to it as an artist to his work, and calmly assesses its quality without any feeling for the suffering of its inhabitants. This element makes the novel one of Stapledon’s efforts to write “an essay in myth making”.

After meeting the Star Maker, the traveler is given a “fantastic myth or dream,” in which he observes the Star Maker at work. He discovers that his own cosmos is only one of a vast number, and by no means the most significant. He sees the Star Maker’s early work, and learns that the Star Maker was surprised and intensely interested when some of his early “toy” universes — for example a universe composed entirely of music with no spatial dimensions — displayed “modes of behavior that were not in accord with the canon which he had ordained for them.” He sees the Star Maker experimenting with more elaborate universes, which include among others the traveler’s own universe, and a triune universe which closely resembles “Christian orthodoxy” (the three universes respectively being hell, heaven, and reality with presence of a savior). The Star Maker goes on to create “mature” universes of extraordinary complexity, culminating in an “ultimate cosmos,” through which the Star Maker fulfills his own eternal destiny as “the ground and crown of all things.” Finally, the traveler-narrator returns to Earth at the place and time he left, to resume his life there.

 

KAREL ČAPEK---Czech Inventor of the word "Robot"

KAREL ČAPEK—Czech Inventor of the word “Robot”

 

KAREL ČAPEK

Stapledon’s Czech contemporary Karel Čapek is perhaps best known for his coinage of the word “robot” in his early play “R.U.R.—Rostum’s Universal Robots,” which describes the creation of an “android” species of robots endowed with human-like intelligence and consciousness.  Many of his works discuss ethical aspects of industrial inventions and processes already anticipated in the first half of the 20th century. These include mass production, nuclear weapons, and post-human intelligent beings such as robots or salamanders (newts). Čapek also expressed fear from social disasters, dictatorship, violence, human stupidity, the unlimited power of corporations, and greed. Capek tried to find hope, and the way out. Čapek’s literary heirs include Ray Bradbury, Salman Rushdie, Brian Aldiss, and Dan Simmons. From the 1930s onward, Čapek’s work became increasingly anti-fascist, anti-militarist, and critical of what he saw as “irrationalism.”

 

The War With the Newts

The War With the Newts

 

Čapek’s most mature work was War with the Newts (Válka s mloky) sometimes also translated as War with the Salamanders. The 1936 satirical science fiction novel concerns the discovery in the Pacific of a sea-dwelling race, an intelligent breed of newts, who are initially enslaved and exploited by their human masters and owned by profit-seeking corporations. They acquire human knowledge and intelligence, however, and rebel leading to a global war for supremacy between the two intelligent species on earth. Ultimately the Newts triumph due to human mendacity. There are obvious similarities to Čapek’s earlier R.U.R. which also included conflict between humans and their created “android” species of robots, but also some original themes and the fuller development as a full novel.

 

THE RISE OF GOLDEN AGE OF SCIENCE FICTION IN THE LATE 20TH CENTURY—THE “BIG THREE” MODERN GIANTS: HEINLEIN, ARTHUR C. CLARKE & ISAAC ASIMOV

 

In the early 20th century, pulp magazines helped develop a new generation of mainly American science fiction writers, influenced by Hugo Gernsback, the founder of Amazing Stories magazine, after whom the “Hugo” science fiction award for excellence is named. In 1912 Edgar Rice Burroughs published A Princess of Mars, the first of his three-decade-long series of Barsoom novels, situated on Mars and featuring John Carter as the hero. The 1928 publication of Philip Nolan’s original Buck Rogers story, Armageddon 2419, in Amazing Stories was a landmark event. This story led to comic strips featuring Buck Rogers (1929), Brick Bradford (1933), and Flash Gordon (1934). The comic strips and derivative movie serials greatly popularized science fiction.

In the late 1930s, John W. Campbell became editor of Astounding Science Fiction magazine and a critical mass of new writers emerged in New York City in a group called the Futurians, including Isaac Asimov, Damon Knight, Donald Wollheim, Frederik Pohl, James Blish, Judith Marril, and others. Other important writers during this period included E.E. (Doc) Smith, Robert A. Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, and A.E. Vogt. Working outside the Campbell influence were Ray Bradbury and Stanislaw Lem. Campbell’s tenure at Astounding is considered to be the beginning of the Golden Age of Science Fiction, characterized by Hard Science Fiction stories celebrating scientific achievement and progress. This lasted until post-war technological advances, new magazines such as Galaxy, edited by H. L. Gold, and a new generation of writers began writing stories with less emphasis on the hard sciences and more on the social sciences.

All three of the giants of contemporary science fiction were members of the WWII Generation that had seen the genre evolve from its beginnings with the Victorian and Edwardian “scientific romances” of Verne and Wells and, supercharged by the acceleration of technological change, looked forward with prophetic vision and imaginative creativity.

All three of the giants of the Golden Age of Science Fiction were members of the WWII Generation that had seen the genre evolve from its beginnings with the Victorian and Edwardian “scientific romances” of Verne and Wells and, supercharged by the acceleration of technological change, looked forward with prophetic vision and imaginative creativity.

 

Robert A. Heinlein--One of the "Big Three“ Of the Golden Age of Modern Science Fiction

Robert A. Heinlein–One of the “Big Three“ Of the Golden Age of Modern Science Fiction

 

ROBERT A. HEINLEIN

Robert A. Heinlein has been considered one of the founding fathers of Science Fiction for the last half-century. A graduate of the US Naval Academy and an engineer he brought intimate knowledge of science, engineering technology and military affairs into modern science fiction. In addition to numerous short stories published in such sci-fi magazines as Astounding, he published many novels such as Starship Troopers, Strangers in a Strange Land and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress which became classics of the Science Fiction canon. Starship Troopers is emblematic of his early phase and classified as one of the “Heinlein juveniles” or books especially aimed at the youth audience. Drawing on his military background it relates the saga of soldiers and “space marines” in a space army defending earth from invasion by an insect-like, or space-arachnid species. His stories in the 50’s popularized the themes of space travel in advance preparation for America’s successful space program leading to the Apollo landings on the moon. His themes beyond mere technological advance and adventure include social questions such as the defense of individual freedom and individuality against a repressive and conformist society, as well as a vindication of the civic and military virtues associated with military service. His middle phase, including Strangers in a Strange Land and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress include a defense of sexual freedom alongside political freedom, a theme which appealed to the “hippy” counterculture of the 60’s along with libertarians of both the left and right. The latter novel relates the saga of a rebellion on a penal colony of a future society on the moon and the search for liberty in a repressive environment. His late phase, after recovery from serious illness, and include more speculative philosophical and political themes building on his Future History series. His politics swung widely from an early alignment with Upton Sinclair’s leftist campaigns in Depression era California to later support of the libertarian right, including backing the conservative campaign of Barry Goldwater. His concern with individuality and personal freedom remained a common thread throughout, however.

 

Heinlein's Classic Starship Troopers

Heinlein’s Classic Starship Troopers

 

ARTHUR C. CLARKE

 

Arthur C. Clarke with Director Stanley Kubrick at the Making of 2001: A Space Odyssey

Arthur C. Clarke with Director Stanley Kubrick at the Making of 2001: A Space Odyssey

 

Arthur C. Clarke was a British innovator in the science fiction genre of the same generation as Heinlein and Asimov, coming of age before and during the Second World War in which he served as a radar technician with the RAF. He is credited with envisioning several important technological breakthroughs in world history, most notably his first conception of a telecommunications network of orbiting geostationary satellites which came to fruition in reality. His interest in SCUBA diving led him to emigrate to Ceylon-Sri Lanka where he lived most of his later life.

Clarke and Asimov first met in New York City in 1953, and in an amicable rivalry they traded friendly insults and gibes for decades. They established a verbal agreement, the “Clarke–Asimov Treaty,” that when asked who was best, the two would say Clarke was the best science fiction writer and Asimov was the best science writer. In 1972, Clarke put the “treaty” on paper in his dedication to Report on Planet Three and Other Speculations.

 

Arthur C. Clarke's Classic 2001: A Space Odyssey

Arthur C. Clarke’s Classic 2001: A Space Odyssey

 

Clarke is best known for his works related to 2001: A Space Odyssey, which became an immense success through its embodiment in the epic 1968 Stanley Kubrick film. The works present a spiritual mystery of man’s origins and destiny in the universe, including such iconic scenes as discovery of the black obelisk, the struggle of the protagonist with the homicidal computer “Hal” and the imagery of spiritual rebirth through voyaging through space. It formed the consciousness of a generation decisively convinced that humanity’s spiritual destiny was linked with space exploration. It was followed by numerous sequels.

 

ISAAC ASIMOV

 

Isaac Asimov on His Science Fiction Throne of Honor

Isaac Asimov on His Science Fiction Throne of Honor

 

Isaac Asimov was an American professor of biochemistry who became a leading icon of the Science Fiction world, beginning with his I, Robot series delineating like Karel Čapek’s R.U.R. the relationship of humans and a race of intelligent android robots, followed by his   Foundation series which relates the formation of an interstellar federation and Galactic Empire of civilizations in the future. He also perhaps brought the genre to its greatest literary maturity, writing extensively on Shakespeare and the Bible in relation to science fiction.

 

Azimov's Classic I,Robot

Azimov’s Classic I,Robot

 

He is also remembered for his exploration of “robotics,” a word he is credited with coining, including the formulation of the “Three Laws of Robotics” which he postulated as necessary to the programming of intelligent and autonomous robots for governing their relationship to their human creators. The Three Laws are:

  1. A robot      may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to      come to harm.
  2. A robot      must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders      would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot      must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not      conflict with the First or Second Law.
Isaac Azimov's Foundation Series

Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Series

 

Beginning in 1942 he published the first of his Foundation stories—later collected in the Foundation Trilogy: Foundation (1951), Foundation and Empire (1952), and Second Foundation (1953)—which recount the collapse and rebirth of a vast interstellar empire in a universe of the future. Taken together, they are his most famous work of science fiction, along with the Robot Series. Many years later, due to pressure by fans on Asimov to write another, he continued the series with Foundation’s Edge (1982) and Foundation and Earth (1986), and then went back to before the original trilogy with Prelude to Foundation (1988) and Forward the Foundation (1992). The series features his fictional science of Psychohistory in which the future course of the history of large populations can be predicted.

Heinlein, de Camp & Isaac Asimov Meet During WWII

Heinlein, de Camp & Isaac Asimov Meet During WWII

 

 

LATER DEVELOPMENTS

 

Beyond the “Big Three,” in the 1950s, the Beat Generation included speculative writers such as William S. Burroughs. In the 1960s and early 1970s, writers like Frank Herbert, Samuel R. Delany, Roger Zelazny and Harlan Ellison explored new trends, ideas, and writing styles, while a group of writers, mainly in Britain, became known as the New Wave for their embrace of a high degree of experimentation, both in form and in content, and a highbrow and self-consciously “literary” or artistic sensibility. In the 1970s, writers like Larry Niven brought new life to hard science fiction while Ursula K. Le Guin and others pioneered Soft Science Fiction, including exploration of alternative sexual identities following on the earlier work in this area of Olaf Stapledon.

 

 

Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury

 

 

RAY BRADBURY—POPULARIZER OF SCIENCE FICTION AMONG MAINSTREAM READERS

Ray Bradbury has resisted characterization as a science fiction writer though in the public mind he is closely associated with its rise and popularization outside narrow sci-fi circles in the 60’s. He prided himself on never having gone to a university, closed to him during the poverty of the Great Depression, and declared that the public libraries were his education. It was through his works Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles that many mainstream readers became interested in science fiction. Fahrenheit 451, the temperature at which books burn, gives us an excursion into a future society in which the development of individual consciousness, particularly through the reading of books, is actively suppressed by a totalitarian government which enforces conformity through mass addiction to government controlled electronic media. It tells the story of Guy Montag, who is a “fireman” in a different sense, that is one whose job is to discover the reading of books and other subversive evidence of independent thought and respond to such “emergencies” by burning both the books and the houses of those caught reading them. His disaffection leads to involvement with a counterculture which memorizes and recites books in clandestine meetings. The Martian Chronicles present a collection of interconnected stories telling the saga of successive waves of human conquest and colonization of Mars after society has corrupted and finally destroyed life on earth. Both books were rendered in popular films and achieved high acclaim in mainstream consciousness.

 

Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin

 

 

URSULA K. LE GUIN

Science Fiction has overwhelmingly been a world dominated by men and male technological fantasy, which has caused some to welcome the success of Ursula K. Le Guin as a balancing force in the genre. She has been associated with the “soft science fiction” sub-genre, focusing on the anthropology, sociology and psychology of intergalactic civilizational encounters more than on raw technology. Her two major works, The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed enjoyed the recognition of both the Hugo and Nebula awards for science fiction excellence. The Left Hand of Darkness portrays a universe of relatively isolated intergalactic civilizations who are connected by a loose confederation known as the “Ekumen” which coordinates interactions between them. This allows the author to hypothesize a loose collection of societies that exist largely in isolation from one another, providing the setting for her explorations of intercultural encounter. The social and cultural impact of the arrival of Ekumen envoys (known as “mobiles”) on remote planets, and the culture shock that the envoys experience, constitute major themes of The Left Hand of Darkness.

In the 1980s, Cyberpunk authors like William Gibson turned away from the early optimism and seemingly blind support for progress of traditional science fiction. This dystopian vision of the near future is described in the work of Phillip K. Dick, such as Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? And We Can Remember It for You Wholesale, which resulted in the films Blade Runner and Total Recall. The Star Wars franchise helped spark a new interest in Space Opera, focusing more on story and character than on scientific accuracy. C.J. Cherryh’s detailed explorations of alien life and complex scientific challenges influenced a later generation of writers.

Emerging themes in the 1990s included environmental issues, the implications of the global Internet and the expanding information universe, questions about biotechnology and nanotechnology, as well as a post-Cold War interest in post-scarcity societies; Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age comprehensively explores these themes. Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan novels brought the character-driven story back into prominence. The television series Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) began a torrent of new sci-fi shows, including three further Star Trek spin-off shows (Deep Space 9, Voyager and Enterprise) and Babylon 5. Stargate, a movie about an ancient portal to other gates across the galaxy, was released in 1994. Stargate SG-1, a TV series, premiered in 1997 and lasted 10 seasons with 214 episodes. Concern about the rapid pace of technological change crystallized around the concept of the “technological singularity” or the rise of intelligent computers and androids to power over humans, popularized by Vernor Vinge’s novel Marooned in Realtime and then taken up by other authors.

 

FRANK HERBERT—THE DUNE SERIES

 

Frank Herbert---Author of the Epic Dune Saga

Frank Herbert—Author of the Epic Dune Saga

 

Frank Herbert (1920 –1986) was a critically acclaimed and commercially successful American science fiction author. Though also a short story author, he is best known for his novels,most notably Dune and its five sequels. The Dune saga, set in the distant future and taking place over millennia, deals with themes such as human survival and evolution, ecology, and the intersection of religion, politics and power. Dune itself is the “best-selling science fiction novel of all time” and the series is widely considered to be among the classics in the genre.

 

Dune

 

 

SUB-GENRES OF SCIENCE FICTION

The overall genre of Science Fiction has generated numerous sub-genres, or areas of independent focus and concentration such as Hard Science Fiction, Soft Science Fiction, Social Science Fiction, Cyberpunk, Superhuman, Military Science Fiction and Apocalyptic Science Fiction. Below are short introductions to these sub-genres to guide the reader to his or her areas of greatest interest.

HARD SCIENCE FICTION

Hard Science Fiction, or “hard SF” is characterized by rigorous attention to accurate detail in the natural sciences, especially physics, astrophysics and chemistry, or on accurately depicting worlds that more advanced technology may make possible. Some accurate predictions of the future often come from the hard science fiction subgenre, but numerous inaccurate predictions have emerged as well as technology and scientific theory changes and advances. Some hard SF authors have distinguished themselves as working scientists, including Gregory Benford, Geoffrey Landis and David Brin, while mathematician authors include Rudy Rucker and Vernor Vinge. Other noteworthy hard SF authors who are professionals in science as well include Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Hal Clement, Greg Bear and others.

SOFT SCIENCE FICTION

 

Phillip K. Dick--Blade Runner & Total Recall Films Based on His Stories

Phillip K. Dick–Blade Runner & Total Recall Films Based on His Stories

 

The description “soft” science fiction may describe works based on social sciences such as psychology, economics, political science, sociology and anthropology rather than primarily focusing on technology. Noteworthy writers in this category include Ursula K. Le Guin and Phillip K. Dick. The term can describe stories focused primarily on character and emotion rather than technology.  Science Fiction Writers’ Association Grand Master Ray Bradbury was an acknowledged master of this art, and indeed declined to term himself a “science fiction writer.” The Eastern Bloc produced a large quantity of social science fiction, including works by Polish authors Stanislaw Lem and Janusz Zajdel, as well as Soviet and Russian authors such as the Strugatsky Brothers, Kir Bulychov, Yevgeny Zamyatin and Ivan Yefremov.

Related to social SF and soft SF are Utopian and Dystopian stories, the most well-known of which include George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Satirical novels with fantastic settings such as Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift might also be considered science fiction or speculative fiction.

 

Cyberpunk Dialogue

Cyberpunk Dialogue

 

CYBERPUNK

The cyberpunk genre emerged in the early 1980s; combining cybernetics and punk the term was coined by author Bruce Bethke for his 1980 short story Cyberpunk.  In Cyberpunk works the time frame is usually near-future and the settings are often dystopian in nature and characterized by misery. Common themes in cyberpunk include advances in information technology, especially the Internet, visually abstracted as cyberspace, artificial intelligence and prosthetics, and post-democratic societal control where corporations have more influence than governments. Nihilism, Post-Modernism and film noir techniques are common elements, and the protagonists may be disaffected or reluctant anti-heroes.. Noteworthy authors in this genre are William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, Neal Stephenson and Pat  Cadigan. James O’Ehley has called the 1982 film Blade Runner the definitive example of the Cyberpunk visual style.

 

H.G. Wells' The Time Machine

H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine

 

 

TIME TRAVEL

Time travel stories have antecedents in the 18th and 19th centuries. The first major time travel novel was Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court and  the most famous, of course,  is H.G. Wells’1895 novel The Time Machine, which uses a vehicle that allows an operator to travel purposefully and selectively, whereas Twain’s time traveler is struck in the head. The term “time machine,” coined by Wells, is now universally used to refer to such a vehicle. Stories of this type are complicated by logical problems such as the “grandfather paradox.” Time travel continues to be a popular subject in modern science fiction, in print, movies, and television episodes of Stargate, Stargate SG1and the hit BBC television series Doctor Who.

ALTERNATE HISTORY

Alternate (or alternative) history stories are based on the premise that historical events might have turned out differently. These stories may use time travel to change the past, or may simply set a story in a universe with a different history from our own. Classics in the genre include Bring the Jubilee by Ward Moore in which the South wins the American Civil War, and The Man in the High Castle by Phillip K. Dick, in which Germany and Japan win World War II. The Sidewise Award acknowledges the best works in this subgenre with the name is taken from Murray Leinster’s 1934 story Sidewise in Time. Harry Turtledove is one of the most prominent authors in the subgenre and is sometimes called the “master of alternate history.”

MILITARY SCIENCE FICTION

Military Science Fiction is set in the context of conflict between national, interplanetary, or interstellar armed forces; the primary viewpoint characters are usually soldiers. Stories include detail about military technology, procedure, ritual, and history; military stories may use parallels with historical conflicts. Heinlein’s Starship Troopers is an early example, along with the Dorsai novels of Gordon Dickson. Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War is a critique of the genre, a Vietnam-era response to the World War II–style stories of earlier authors.  Prominent Military SF authors include John Ringo, David Drake, David Weber, Tom Kratman, Michael Z. Williamson, S.M. Stirling, John Carr and Don Hawthorne. The publishing company Baen Books is known for cultivating several of these military science fiction authors.

SUPERHUMAN SCIENCE FICTION

Superhuman stories deal with the emergence of humans who have abilities beyond the present norm. This can stem either from natural causes such as in Olaf novel Odd John, Theodore Sturgeon’s More Than Human, and Phillip Wylie’s Gladiator. Such powers may also be the result of scientific advances, such as the intentional augmentation in A.E. van Vogt’s novel Slan. These stories usually focus on the alienation that these altered beings feel as well as society’s reaction to them. These stories have played a role in the real life discussion of human enhancement. Frederik Pohl’s Man Plus also belongs to this category.

APOCALYPTIC AND POST-APOCALYPTIC SCIENCE FICTION

Apocalyptic fiction is concerned with the end of civilization through war (On the Beach)  pandemic (The Last Man), astronomic impact (When Worlds Collide), ecological disaster (The Wind From Nowhere) or some other general disaster or with a world or civilization after such a disaster. Typical of the genre are George R. Stewart’s novel Earth Abides, and Pat Frank’s novel Alas, Babylon.  Apocalyptic fiction generally concerns the disaster itself and the direct aftermath, while post-apocalyptic fiction can deal with anything from the near aftermath (as in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road to 375 years in the future (as in By The Waters of Babylon) to hundreds or thousands of years in the future, as in Russell Hoban’s novel Riddley Walker and Walter M. Miller, Jr.’s A Canticle for Liebowitz. Apocalyptic science-fiction is also a popular genre in video games. The critically acclaimed role-playing action adventure video game series, Fallout, is set on a post-apocalyptic Earth, where civilization is recovering from a nuclear war as survivors struggle to survive and seek to rebuild society.

 

International Sci-Fi

International Sci-Fi

 

THE INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF SCIENCE FICTION IN WORLD LITERATURE

 

Although perhaps most developed as a genre and community in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, Science Fiction is a worldwide phenomenon. Organizations devoted to promotion and even translation in particular countries are commonplace, as are country- or language-specific genre awards.

 

SCIENCE FICTION IN AFRICA

 

Mohammed Dib, an Algerian writer, wrote a science fiction allegory about his nation’s politics, Qui se souvient de la mer (Who Remembers the Sea?) in 1962. Masimba Musodza, a Zimbabwean author, published MunaHacha Maive Nei? the first science-fiction novel in the Shona language, which also holds the distinction of being the first novel in the Shona language to appear as an e-book first before it came out in print. In South Africa, a movie titled District 9 came out in 2009, an apartheid allegory featuring extraterrestrial life forms, produced by globally renowned Peter Jackson.

Science fiction examines society through shifting power structures (such as the shift of power from humanity to alien overlords). African science fiction often uses this genre norm to situate slavery and the slave trade as an alien abduction. Commonalities in experiences with unknown languages, customs, and culture lend themselves well to this comparison. The subgenre also commonly employs the mechanism of time travel to examine the effects of slavery and forced emigration on the individual and the family.

 

SCIENCE FICTION IN ASIA

 

Indian science fiction, defined loosely as science fiction by writers of Indian descent, began with the English-language publication of Kylas Chundar Dutt’s A Journal of Forty-Eight Hours of the Year 1945 in the Calcutta Literary Gazette (1835). Since this story was intended as a political polemic, credit for the first science fiction story is often given to later Bengali authors such as Jagadananda Roy, Hemlal Dutta and the polymath Jagadish Chandra Bose. Similar traditions exist in Hindi, Marathi, Tamil and English. In English, the modern era of Indian speculative fiction began with the works of authors such as Samsit Basu, Payal Dhar, Vandana Singh and Anil Menon. Works such as Amitav Ghosh’s The Calcutta Chromosome and Salman Rushdie’s Grimus and Boman Desai’s The Memory of Elephants are generally classified as magic realist works but make essential use of science fiction tropes and techniques.

Modern science fiction in China mainly depends on the magazine Science Fiction World.. A number of works were published in installments in it originally, including the most successful fiction Three Body written by Liu Cixin.

Until recently, there has been little domestic science fiction literature in Korea. Within the small field, the author and critic writing under the nom de plume Djuna has been credited with being the major force. The upswing that began in 2009 has been attributed by Shin Junebong to a combination of factors. Shin goes on to quote the Korean science-fiction writer and editor as saying that, “‘It looks like the various literary awards established by one newspaper after another, with hefty sums of prize money, had a big impact.'”  Another factor cited was the active use of Web bulletin boards among the then-young writers brought up on translations of Western SF. In spite of the increase, at the time, there were still no more than sixty or so authors writing in the field at that time.

Chalomot Be’aspamia is an Israeli magazine of short science fiction and fantasy stories. The Prophecies Of Karma, published in 2011, is advertised as the first work of science fiction by an Arabic author, the Lebanese writer Nael Gharzeddine.

SCIENCE FICTION IN EUROPE

 

Melies Film based on Jules Verne's From the Earth to the Moon

Melies Film based on Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon

Moonshot from Le Voyage dans la lune (1902), a silent film by George Melies

Jules Verne, of course the best known French novelist known for his pioneering science fiction works (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Journey to the Center of the Earth, From the Earth to the Moon) is the prime representative of the French legacy of science fiction. French science fiction of the 19th century was also represented with such artists as Albert Robida and Isidore Grandville. In the 20th century, traditions of French science fiction were carried on by writers like Pierre Boulle (best known for his Planet of the Apes) Serge Brussolo, Bernard Werber, Rene Barjavel and Robert Merle, among others.

In Franco-Belgian comics the bande dessinee (“BD”) science-fiction is a well established genre. Among the notable French science fiction comics, there is Valerian et Laureline by Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mezieres, a space opera franchise lasting since 1967. Metal Hurlant magazine (known in US as Heavy Metal) was one of the largest contributors to Francophone science-fiction comics. Its major authors include Jean “Moebius” Giraud, creator of Arzach, Chilean Alejandro Jodorowsky, who created a series of comics, including L’Incal and Les Metabarons, set in Jodoverse, and Enki Bilal with the Nikopol Trilogy. Giraud also contributed to French SF animation, collaborating with Rene Laloux on several animated features. A number of artists from neighboring countries, such as Spain and Italy, create science fiction and fantasy comics in French aimed at a Franco-Belgian market.

In French cinema, science fiction was started with silent film director and visual effects pioneer George Melies, whose most famous film was Voyage to the Moon, loosely based on books by Verne and Wells. In the 20th and 21st centuries, French science fiction films were represented by Rene Laloux animated features, as well as Enki Bilal’s adaptation of Nikopol trilogy, Immortal. Also, Luc Besson filmed The Fifth Element as a joint Franco-American production.

In the French-speaking world, the colloquial use of the term sci-fi is an accepted Anglicism for the word science fiction. This probably stems from the fact that science fiction writing never expanded there to the extent it did in the English-speaking world, particularly with the dominance of the United States. Nevertheless, France has made a tremendous contribution to science fiction in its seminal stages of development. Although the term “science fiction” is understood in France their penchant for the “weird and wacky” has a long tradition and is sometimes called “le culte du merveilleux”. This uniquely French tradition certainly encompasses what the Anglophone world would call French Science Fiction but also ranges across fairies, Dada-ism and Surrealisme.

Germany

 

Metropolis by Fritz Lang

Metropolis by Fritz Lang

 

The main German science fiction writer in the 19th century was Kurd Lasswitz. In the 20th century, during the years of divided Germany, both East and West spawned a number of successful writers. Top East German writers included Angela and Karlheinz Steinmuller, as well as Gunther Krupkat. West German authors included Carl Amery, Gudrun Pausewang, Wolfgang Jeschke and Frank Schatzing, among others. A well known science fiction book series in the German language is Perry Rhodan which started in 1961. Having sold over one billion copies (in pulp format), it claims to be the most successful science fiction book series ever written, worldwide. Current well-known SF authors from Germany are five-time Kurd-Lasswitz Award winner Andreas Eschbach, whose books The Carpet Makers and Eine Billion Dollar are big successes, and Frank Schatzing, who in his book The Swarm mixes elements of the science thriller with SF elements to an apocalyptic scenario. The most prominent German-speaking author, according to Die Zeit, is the Austrian Herbert W. Franke.

In 1920’s Germany produced a number of critically acclaimed high-budget science fiction and horror films. Metropolis by director Fritz Lang is credited as one of the most influential science fiction films ever made. Other films of the era included Woman in the Moon, Alraune, Algol, Gold, Master of the World, among others. In the second half of the 20th century, East Germany also became a major science fiction film producer, often in a collaboration with fellow Eastern Bloc countries. Films of this era include Eolomea, First Spaceship on Venus and Hard to Be a God.

Russia and ex-Soviet countries

Alisa Selezneva, , a popular heroine of Soviet children’s science fiction, created by Kir Bulychov

Russians made their first steps to science fiction in mid-19th century, with utopias by Faddei Bulgarin and Vladamir Odoevsky. However, it was the Soviet era that became the genre’s golden age. Soviet writers were prolific, despite limitations set up by state censorship. Early Soviet writers, such as Alexander Belayev, Alexey N. Tolstoy, and Vladamir Obruchev employed Vernian/Wellsian hard science fiction based on scientific predictions. The most notable books of the era include Belayev’s Amphibian Man, The Air Seller and Professor Dowell’s Head; Tolstoy’s Aelita and Engineer Garin’s Death Ray. Early Soviet science fiction was influenced by communist ideology and often featured a leftist agenda agenda or anti-capitalist satire. Those few early Soviet books that challenged the communist worldview and satirized the Soviets, such as Yevgeny Zamyatin’s dystopia We or Mikhail Bulgakov’s Heart of a Dog and Fatal Eggs, were banned from publishing until 1980s, although they still circulated in fan-made copies.

In the second half of the 20th century, a new generation of writers developed a more complex approach. Social Science Fiction, concerned with philosophy, ethics, utopian and dystopian ideas, became the prevalent subgenre. The breakthrough was started by Ivan Yefromov’s utopian novel Andromeda Nebula (1957). He was soon followed by brothers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, who explored darker themes and social satire in their Noon Universe novels, such as Hard to be a God (1964) and Prisoners of Power (1969), as well as in their science fantasy trilogy Monday Begins on Saturday (1964). A good share of Soviet science fiction was aimed at children. Probably the best known was Kir Bulychov, who created Alisa Selezneva (1965-2003), a children’s space adventure series about a teenage girl from the future.

Soviet film industry also contributed to the genre, starting from the 1924 film Aelita. Some of early Soviet films, namely Planet of the Storms (1962) and Battle Beyond the Sun (1959), were pirated, re-edited and released in the West under new titles. Late Soviet science fiction films include Mystery of the Third Planet (1981), Ivan Vasilyevich (1973) and Kin-dza-dza! (1986), as well as the world famous  Andrey Tarkovsky’s Solaris and Stalker, among others.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, science fiction in the former Soviet republics is still written mostly in the Russian language, which allows an appeal to a broader audience. Aside from Russians themselves, especially notable are Ukrainian writers, who greatly contributed to science fiction and fantasy in Russian language. Among the most notable post-Soviet authors are H.L. Oldie, Sergey Lukyanenko, Alexander Zorich and Vadim Panov. Russia’s film industry, however, was less successful recently and produced only a few science fiction films, most of them are adaptations of books by Strugatskies (The Inhabited Island, The Ugly Swans) or Bulychov (Alice’s Birthday). Science fiction media in Russia is represented with such magazines as Mir Fantastiki and Esli.

 

The Classic Sci-Fi Film Solaris by Russian Director Tarkovsky Based on the Book by Polish Author Stanislaw Lem

The Classic Sci-Fi Film Solaris by Russian Director Tarkovsky Based on the Book by Polish Author Stanislaw Lem

 

Other European countries

Poland is a traditional producer of science fiction and fantasy. The country’s most influential science fiction writer of all time is Stanislaw Lem, author of social science fiction books, such as Solaris, make world famous in the Tarkovsky film, Ijon Tichy and Pirx the Pilot. A number of Lem’s books were adapted for screen, both in Poland and abroad. Other notable Polish writers of the genre include Jerzy Zulawski, Janusz A. Zajdel, Konrad Fialkowski, Jacek Dukaj and Rafal A. Ziemkiewicz. As mentioned above, Czech writer and playwright Karel Čapek is credited for invention of the word “robot” for his play R.U.R. (1920). Čapek is also known for his satirical science fiction novels and plays, such as War with the Newts, and The Absolute at Large. Traditions of Czech science fiction were carried on by writers like Ludvik Soucek, Josef Nesvadba and Ondrej Neff.

Italian science fiction is relatively obscure outside the country. However, Italy gave birth to several science fiction writers, including Gianluigi Zuddas, Giampietro Stocco, Lino Aldana as well as comic artists, such as Milo Manara. Valerio Evangelisti is the best known modern author of Italian science fiction and fantasy. Also, popular Italian children’s writer Gianni Rodari often turned to science fiction aimed at children, most notably, in Gip in the Television.

 

SCIENCE FICTION IN OCEANIA

 

Australia: American David G. Hartwell noted there is “nothing essentially Australian about Australian science-fiction.” A number of Australian science-fiction (and fantasy and horror) writers are in fact international English language writers, and their work is published worldwide. This is further explainable by the fact that the Australian inner market is small (with Australian population being around 21 million), and thus sales abroad are crucial to most Australian writers.

 

SCIENCE FICTION IN NORTH AMERICA

In Canadian Francophone province Quebec, Elisabeth Vonarburg and other authors developed a tradition of French-Canadian SF, related to the European French literature. The Prix Boreal was established in 1979 to honor Canadian science fiction works in French. The Prix Aurora Awards (briefly preceded by the Casper Award) were founded in 1980 to recognize and promote the best works of Canadian science fiction in both French and English. Also, due to Canada’s bilingualism and the US publishing almost exclusively in English, translation of science fiction prose into French thrives and runs nearly parallel upon a book’s publishing in the original English. A sizeable market also exists within Québec for European-written Francophone science fiction literature.

SCIENCE FICTION IN LATIN AMERICA

Although there is still some controversy as to when science fiction began in Latin America, the earliest works date from the late 19th century. All published in 1875, O Doutor Benignus by the Brazilian Augusto Emilio Zaluar, El Maravilloso Viaje del Sr. Nic-Nac by the Argentinian Eduardo Holmberg, and Historia de un Muerto by the Cuban Francisco Calcagno are three of the earliest novels which appeared in the continent.

Up to the 1960s, science fiction was the work of isolated writers who did not identify themselves with the genre, but rather used its elements to criticize society, promote their own agendas or tap into the public’s interest in pseudo-sciences. It received a boost of respectability after authors such as Horacio Quiroga and Jorge Luis Borges used its elements in their writings. This, in turn, led to the permanent emergence of science fiction in the 1960s and mid-1970s, notably in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Cuba. Magical Realism enjoyed parallel growth in Latin America, with a strong regional emphasis on using the form to comment on social issues, similar to social science fiction and speculative fiction in the English world.

Economic turmoil and the suspicious eye of the dictatorial regimes in place reduced the genre’s dynamism for the following decade. In the mid-1980s, it became increasingly popular once more. Although led by Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, Latin America now hosts dedicated communities and writers with an increasing use of regional elements to set them apart from English-language science-fiction.

 

SPIRITUS MUNDI AS SCIENCE FICTION

 

Spiritus Mundi by R

Spiritus Mundi by R

 

My own contemporary and futurist epic novel Spiritus Mundi includes a large component of Science Fiction themes and topoi. Especially Spiritus Mundi, Book II—Spiritus Mundi, The Romance, focuses on the theme of Time Travel in which the 23rd Century War Criminal Caesarion Khannis uses time travel to escape prosecution in his own time in a Terminator-like attempt to return to our time and bring about WWIII to abort the creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, which will lead in the future to the democratic United States of Earth which seeks to incarcerate him for his Crimes Against Humanity. The Chief Prosecutor of the future world government, Senator Abor Linkin uses the same time travel technology to pursue him and bring him back to justice before he can reverse the benign course of history.

Spiritus Mundi in Book II also utilizes the “hollow earth” motif of Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth, whereby the protagonist Robert Sartorius visits a monastic order located in a subterranean “Middle Earth” headed by the Magister Ludi who presides over a Herman Hesse-esque “Crystal Bead Game” in which the great geniuses of human history such as Goethe and Einstein are united across time to alter the “Spiritus Mundi” or the force of the Collective Unconscious of humanity which is linked to human historical destiny to avert WWIII and the nuclear Armageddon which threatens to bring extinction to the human race.

To save humanity the protagonists embark on a Quest to bring back the Silmaril Crystal for use in the Crystal Bead Game which requires that they transit a Cosmic Wormhole to travel to a Black Hole at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy to gain the aid of the “Council of the Immortals” to save humanity. The physics of their transit of the Cosmic Wormhole and the configuration of the Black Hole at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy are consistent with contemporary science and its formulation of the nature of Space-Time. In short, Spiritus Mundi exhibits credible dimensions of Hard Science Fiction, Soft Science Fiction and Social Science Fiction, portraying the possible future evolution of human society and its institutions into the 23rd Century as linked to progressive historical movements in our own time, most notably in the Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly for democratic global governance in our Age of Globalization.

 

2001 c

 

CONCLUSION

Science Fiction is the conjunction of “science” and “fiction,” which is to say the world of what we hold to be the most confirmable “reality” of our lives, or “what really is,” in fruitful union with the richest realm of the imagination, our deepest dreams of that alternative reality of “what could be,” or what might most delight us or be desired to be, or that which is most feared to be.  It is also not incidentally, as is all art and literature, among our deepest conjectures of who we are and who we may dream ourselves to be, or to become. The genre of Science Fiction literature and related cinema is alive and well in our collective imaginations in an age of hyper-accelerated technological change and a search for new perspectives and identities amidst mingled hopes and anomie. It will continue to powerfully inform our imaginations about the human condition in extended Time-Space and in the universal condition of our further evolution as human beings.

 

2001 a

 

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