Phylos the Thibetan from
A Dweller on Two Planets

"First Sacrifice of Self for Love of Another"
Chapter IV from A Dweller on Two Planets

Reverse Spins picks and reviews the best in metaphysical and esoteric literature, from fiction to some non-fiction. The only prerequisite is that the book must be a good read, and if it's non-fiction then it must read like a story. There is a lack of modern Occult fiction here as you will notice. They all seem to be either wishy-washy, opportunistic, dabblers in witchcraft or UFO's or just plain pabulum, lacking the spiritual disciplines of the Path. Sometimes the books on this list are the best medicine for getting back on the Path when one hits a stumbling block and needs an infusion of inspiration.

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A Dweller on Two Planets by Phylos: A classic, the best book ever written on Atlantis. If you want to know what it was like then this is the one book to read because it is a true story. A bit slow for the first 100 pages but then picks up as you follow the life of Zailm as he works his way up the ladder of success. 10,000 years later Phylos poignantly tells the story that perhaps he rose to such lofty heights too fast, working closely with the Rai, ruler of the land and another, the spiritual head and then falling in love with his twin flame, a princess only to succumb to the charms of another from a far off land. The outplaying of karma is fascinating, not until the late 19th century is the karma finally resolved. Note: For those interested in alternative energy, there are several types of devices described that we have yet to (re-)discover.
Brother of the Third Degree by Will Garver. This is a classic of metaphysical literature. A fascinating tale from the early 19th century, a time when Saint Germain circulated around the highways and courts of Europe. Sometimes it's hard to tell if this novel doesn't have some elements of truth in historical events. It's devotion to the truth of cosmic law and initiation is undeniable.
The Three Sevens: A Story of Ancient Initiation, By Dr. and Mrs. W. P. Phelon With notes by Dr. R. S. Clymer
I have a fairly extensive list and reviews of the best metaphysical literature. It's not complete, but I thought I knew about the best of the best. Wrong. This book took me by surprise. It ranks in the top tier of the greatest of all time. It's right up there with the Brother of the Third Degree. The copyright date is 1938 but it says it was written 50 years earlier. It takes place in Spain and the New World during the time of the conquistadors. The main character, rather than following the path of exploitation, enters the world of the Great White Brotherhood through a secret etheric retreat. It's a wonderful tale of initiation, the guru-chela relationship, alchemy, mastery, twin flames and the tugs of the world including intrigue, sex and politics in the Spanish Court. I read the hard bound edition which is best (It's almost worth it just because of the gold embossing on the cover) but they tend to be expensive. The link to the left is a Kessinger Pubs. edition and is actually quite nice, better than some of their other publications. In any case, it will be a welcome addition to anybody's metaphysical library. I can't recommend it enough.
A Romance of Two Worlds by Marie Corelli. I can't do better than this review from a reader at "I had always been turned off from Christianity because of all the things that I knew of the church, and of the bleak end that awaited all who didn't believe in the church. But Marie opened up my eyes and my heart. I came across this book by "chance" and am now sure that it was all ordained by God. Thanks to this book opening up my senses, I now have found my twin soul and we are eternally grateful to God for the gifts he has given us. I highly recommend this book to both those who feel that they have already begun upon their own spiritual journey, and those who feel alienated from God."
The Coming Race by Edward Bulwer-Lytton. Lord Lytton is famous for two things today, his book, The Last Days of Pompeii and a literature prize (named for him) given each year for the worst opening line for a fictional book. The opening sentence in Bulwer-Lytton's Paul Clifford caused such a dubious distinction and really is quite comical. Despite all that, this Victorian fantasy is a fine piece of metaphysical literature. His description of the creation of a robot race is particularly noteworthy. He presaged many technological advancements and coined a word, "vril," later used by Blavatsky to describe the mysterious force used in Atlantis.

Etidorhpa by John Uri Lloyd. This is a strange and fascinating book. Filled with esoteric information and yet it is so strange a tale that you wonder where the author came up with this stuff. It begins with a trip to the inside of the planet through some caves in Kentucky. The protagonists encounters advanced beings and learns of extraordinary ways of harnessing energy among other things. Etidorhpa is Aphrodite spelled backwards.

Unveiled Mysteries by Godfre Ray King. This, and the one below, are the two best books on the list. They weren't included in the box above because that's a list of classics from the 19th century. These two books are unsurpassed in unveiling spiritual truths while being an engrossing read at the same time. Filled with exciting stories e.g., the life long quest of David Lloyd. He was told as a boy by an Indian adept, that a man on a North American mountain would help him make his Ascension. In one of the most thrilling passages in all of esoteric literature, David Lloyd nearly jumps out of his skin when he finally finds the man on Mount Shasta who offers him the cup of elixir that will accelerate him beyond the bounds of gravity, time and space.
The Magic Presence by Godfre Ray King. A continuation of Unveiled Mysteries following the exploits of Guy Ballard as he interacts with Masters, spiritual adepts and seemingly normal people but with a great deal of attainment, throughout the U.S. and Europe.
The Lives of Alcyone, Vol 1 & 2 by Annie Besant & C.W Leadbeater. I am currently reading this great book. For an excerpt from the introduction go here. I have excerpted all of Chapter 13 also. Until I write my own review, here is one from a reader at Rishi from Allahabad, These accounts of the past lives of Alcyone (J Krishnamurthy in the latest incarnation) are lessons in the working of karma life after life, full of instruction for the student and helpful for the realisation of the continuity of human life. We see the interrelations of individuals, the results of benefits and injuries, the links that draw the egos together, the repulsion that drive them apart. We notice the epochs in which great grooups of related egos are formed, there scattering for centuries, millenia, their reunions and fresh scatterings. And out of the whole grows a sense of security, of an ever-ruling guidance, of Wisdom that plans, of Power that executes, of the certain working out of a great purpose, of agents chosen, tested, accepted or dropped, opportunities offered, utilised, rejected, of a sure onward evolution amid complexity of ebbs and flows. A single life is seen into proportion, preceeded and succeeded by many others. ...
The Masters and the Path by C. W. Leadbeater. While not exactly a linear story line, there is enough of a narrative that demanded it's presence here, mostly because of the stupendous teachings. I picked it up recently and opened to this: "He (the Master) answered to the following effect: 'You must find work for yourself; you know what we are doing. Throw yourself into your work in any way you can. If I gave you a definate piece of work to do you would do it, but in that case the karma of what was done would be mine, because I told you to do it. You would have only the karma of willing obedience, which, of course, is very good, but it is not the karma of initiating a fruitful line of action. I want you to initiate work for yourself, because then the karma of the good deed will come to you.'" Ch. 3, p. 52.
The Boy Who Saw True by Cyril Scott. Simply a charming book. The diary of an 11-12 year old English boy assisted by his tutor around the turn of the century or before. The lad is able to see elementals, elder brothers, lamas, and a strange and wonderful collection of people from the other side, most of whom bring valuable messages and understandings of cosmic law. The Masters brought forth a broader message over a hundred years ago. They started with Spiritualism and Theosophy, then moved on. They obviously used this boy whose third eye was opened.
Life and Teachings of the Masters of the Far East by Baird Spalding (six volumes). An undisputed classic and the first vehicle for many on the Path who learn for the first time that there are adepts helping the planet just beyond the veil. My fondest memory of these books is a scene where Jesus and Buddha appear hand and hand before some surprised guests at a retreat in the Himalayas. A sixth volume has recently been published. Excerpt from Volume 1, Chapter 10: Emil on America.
Quest for the Lost Name by George Makris, The Lost Name is not lost. It's been copyrighted. I jest, but there is always some truth in a good joke. As the title of the book implies, there are mysteries out there that have been hidden. They have been for a very long time. Sometimes it is by necessity, the populace or the initiate may not be ready. Other times we're ready but the priests have decided to hold on to these secrets because 'they know best.' The author has pried open the vaults of the priest class and released the inner teachings. It's a Masonic thriller on guarana/acai juice. And most of all it's a guidebook to the Path of Initiation and the Journey of the Hero. Lots to be gleaned from in this book which is not only for the neophyte but also for the advanced soul. Released just in time for 12/21/12, the hero has to pass a series of tests so that he can muster the spiritual power to stop the karmic hammer that is starting to descend upon an unsuspecting populace. The initiations come fast and furious, almost to fast. But the initiate capably meets every challenge. ... More >>>
The Initiate by Cyril Scott, a writer steeped in theosophy. What I like about books of this type including many others on this list, is the notion that there are adepts walking among us in the west. They go about their business doing tremendous but unnoticed works for God. Adepts aren't just hiding out in Himalayan caves, they're pursuing and becoming the mystical teachings of Christ. There are two sequels to The Initiate: 2. Initiate in the New World : A Sequel to the Initiate and 3. Initiate in the Dark Cycle : A Sequel to the Initiate in the New World
An Earth Dweller's Return by Phylos the Thibetan. This is the sequel to the exceptional book, A Dweller on Two Planets. I'm not sure if it's as authentic or accurate, but it is interesting. Two main characters (Phylos and Mainin) from the previous story reminisce about many previous embodiments stretching back to Lemuria.
Anastasia and The Rining Cedars of Russia, A friend of mine told me about these books about two years ago. I didn't pay much attention. However, if she had said: "You have to read these books, it's about a beautiful blond 25 year-old hermit/mystic who runs semi-naked through super-charged, prana-filled ringing cedar forests in Siberia, and by the way, she has the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit, including healing, prophecy, teleportation etc.," —hello, I'm dropping everything and reading those books. But alas, I didn't understand who Anastasia was. However, much later, another friend told me he got the whole set for Christmas. I paid attention this time. ... More >>>
Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda. Just read this for the second time in twenty years. It happens to be a tremendous book and a great read. One of the most important concepts of the book is that one can be an advanced yogi like Lahiri Mahasaya, Sri Yukteswar and Yogananda and still live in the world with a spouse and other worldly concerns and duties.
Chronicles of the Tao by Deng Ming-Dao; If you liked Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, I think you'll like this book. It follows the life of Kwan Sai Hung in the first part of the twentieth century as he follows the path of Taoism taught to him by the Grand Master himself, in the Huashan Mountains of China. China's most turbulent time in its history provides a dramatic backdrop. Nationalist forces, communists, foreign powers, renegade monks and triads are all vying for a piece of a wide open China. Kwan Sai Hung navigates his way through by being true to the Tao. Whether it is true or not does not matter. It is a great story. You will not put it down.
Return from Tomorrow, by George Ritchie. This is a small little paperback that you will not be able to put down. It could be a one sitting book. This book doesn't fit the criteria for this list. It really belongs in a NDE category. It takes place in WWII, when the author was taken out of his body and shown things by Jesus. The bar scene with the alcohol entities is unforgettable but the most amazing revelation is one man's ability to transcend his imprisonment in a Nazi concentration camp.
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. This modern thriller deserves a place on this list. Go to the link to read the full review: Believe all the hype. This is a brilliantly conceived book, as well written as any thriller out there, only better. Why? Because it's not a mystery about spies, corrupt corporations, or hi-tech weapons. It's about Divine mysteries that have been kept from us by the permutations of time and and by corrupt individuals in high spiritual places. The action starts in the Louvre with the murder of a man who is desperate to pass on secret information but has to do it through codes and ciphers so the information does not fall into the wrong hands. ... more ...
A Stranger Passed
A Stranger Passed by Catherine Christian. An excellent and well written story by an author with roots in theosophy. It takes place during the last days of the French Royalty. The Count de Saint Germain is known in select circles and esoteric groups giving guidance to aspirants on the path and assistance in trying to stem the tide of chaos. There is a wonderful love story between the main character, Anthony Karsdale, and one who can only be his twin soul. A remarkable book especially since it is nearly impossible to find. The can be found at Amazon in the UK for about half the price in the U.S.
Prince of Our Dreams by Deslie McClellan, A Book on the intertwining lives of the youthful Francis Bacon and William Shakespeare. There has been a vast conspiracy for over 100 years, starting with Mark Twain, Ignatius Donnelly, Alfred Dodd, Dr. Orville Owens and others. It's continued at a casual pace until recent times. Now it threatens to explode like a comet on the horizon thanks to the investigative powers of people and websites like Peter Dawkins, Virginia Fellows, Mather Walker, —and now the innovative and wonderfully descriptive writing of Deslie McClellan. It's time once and for all for the mask to come off the hidden player in a masque so grand that it's like has never been seen before or since. ... More >>>
Beasts, Men and Gods by Ferdinand Ossendowskil, (May 27, 1876 - January 3, 1945). Amazon Reviewer, New Age of Barbarism: Beasts, Men and Gods is Ferdinand Ossendowski's fascinating account of his adventures and travels in northern Asia; Siberia, Mongolia, Tibet, and China, in an effort to flee the Red army of the Russian revolution. Dr. Ossendowski was a scientist and writer who lived for a time in Siberia when the Russian revolution broke out. It came about that he became suspected of being a counter-revolutionary and thus had to flee his home one day into the forests. ... Much of the book is spent relating the various political events that occur in the "heart of Asia" involving Russia, China, Mongolia, and Tibet, and the relations between these nations. The book becomes interesting however when Ossendowski begins to relate the tales of the Buddhist religion of Mongolia. He encounters many of the Lamas, holy pontiffs, and doctors of this religion and relates tales of the Dalai Lama in Lhasa in Tibet, as well as tales of various fortune tellers, poisoners, and soothsayers. Ossendowski also encounters "the Living Buddha", the King of Mongolia, who has become blind through excessive drinking. The Living Buddha is chosen from among the peasants as the incarnation of the Living Buddha in a child (his soul having passed into another body after the death of the previous Living Buddha) and this child is taken to be reared by the Lamas. The Living Buddha relates a special prophecy for all of Asia, which Ossendowski records. In addition, Ossendowski becomes fascinated with tales of a mysterious subterranean kingdom called Agarthi ...
New: The Forbidden Book by Joscelyn Godwin and Guido Mina di Sospiro; A lot of notable people gave this book very good reviews. It did move along nicely and held your attention, kind of in the Dan Brown mode. A little too much focus on the dark forces for my taste. The authors definately know their stuff regarding alchemy and the occult. Worth reading.

 The Red Lion by Maria Szepes. A tale of reincarnation, alchemy and intrigue. Although a little off base in delving into the dark side of life, a good read never the less. It even has the great alchemist Saint Germain although the portrayal could have been on a higher plane. One friend whose opinion I respect, liked it better than "The Brother of the Third Degree." I can't go that far, but definately worth checking out.
The Romance of Atlantis by Taylor Caldwell. She wrote this at the age of 12. Even then she had the ability to reach across time and space to picture how life might have been. There are subjects here that makes one wonder how a twelve year old would know these things. It reads a little like a romance novel which probably helps the story move along. There are episodes that ring true, like the invasion from the north and a Noah type figure warning the people of Atlantis to change their ways or prepare for cataclysm.
Zanoni: A Rosicrucian Tale by Edward Bulwer-Lytton. (no picture was available). The second metaphysical book by Lytton, is a thriller, set in the backdrop of the French revolution. A tad slow here and there but made up with wonderful descriptions elsewhere. Zanoni Online. Lord Lytton short Bio
Winged Pharaoh by Joan Grant. The English author, Joan Grant wrote seven well written books in the 50's, tuning into previous lifetimes. Several of these books show the rigors of the Path and how a society based on true Spiritual principles positively affects daily life, a city and an entire Nation. The converse is apparent as well, a religion devolved to empty ritual drags a society down. While some of her other books are sometimes short on esoteric teachings, they do offer a good view of other time periods from the first person. Here are her other titles, 3 of which take place in Egypt:

Eyes of Horus , Scarlet Feather, Life As Carola, Return to Elysium, Lord of the Horizon, So Moses Was Born

The Star Rover by Jack London. This book is unlike any other London wrote. He wrote it at the end of his life when his thoughts turned to Jung and other spiritual questions. It's an adventure story of reincarnation, soul travel and prison reform, based on a true story. Perhaps the most amazing aspect of this book is that the man famous for "the white silence," wolves, sea tales, and political change wrote it at all. Surprisingly, London actually read Blavatsky's The Secret Doctrine, so he knew a little about esoteric teachings.
Initiation by Elisabeth Haich. Yet to be read and reviewed by the editor, but I'm told it's excellent and it looked good glancing at it in the bookstore. Maybe more esoteric teaching than the Joan Grant books.
 The Wonderful Adventures of Phra the Phoenician by Edwin Lester Arnold. (out of print, available used only) The son of Sir Edwin Arnold, wrote this book about reincarnation. He was obviously influenced by his father and his time spent in India as a youth. It is more a book about the concept of immortality as the soul is suspended between embodiments. There is a lack of spiritual truths that keeps it from being a classic but it is interesting for the genre. It influenced Jack London and Edgar Rice Burroughs. I've seen it listed on ABE Search for about $7.50.
Om, the Secret of Ahbor Valley, by Talbot Mundy: Read it. Liked it. Going to defer to these two reviews from Amazon: 1. An English Secret Service agent stationed in mysterious India wants to find his long-lost sister. He has little to go on but he stretches his talents to the breaking point to find her. Little does know that he is not actually the pursuer, but the pursued. He is being secretly led by his guru with an inner love and wisdom that is matched by a personality that puts the lie to the stereotypical image of the reticent, desiccated spiritual high and mighty swami. ... 2. This is one of Mundy's best tales. A British secret service agent penetrates Tibet disguised as a Hindu actor in order to locate his missing sister. Along the way he joins with a Lama and his disciple who are the quintessential image of Tibet's mysteries. Peter B. Ellis (see Research Bibliography) has identified Katherine Tingley as the model for the Lama, while other members of the Point Loma group were models for other characters in the novel. Mundy's Tibetan background probably came from Sven Hedin, a Swedish explorer who was one of the first Europeans to travel extensively in Tibet. Hedin was also associated with the Point Loma Theosophists, for a while.
The Magnificent Khan by Theresa McNicholas; This is a charming, well-written book that fills a void: that being, bringing the metaphysical and higher concepts of the spiritual life into the mundane for the modern reader. It's a novel about a young woman who is a high initiate on the Path. We know this because a Master known as "The Khan" appears to her from time to time. This kind of experience doesn't happen willy-nilly. You have to have some mastery from past lives. It's also a story about true love and the inner turmoil this causes a young woman not ready to face these feelings. If you have a teenage daughter then she might find this more palatable then other metaphysical novels. I say that because the world in which the main character lives is kind of like Lake Wobegon: "where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average." Only in this case, it should read, "where all the women are beautiful and accomplished and all the men are strong and good looking." The Magnificant Khan is a welcome addition in the pantheon of metaphyhsical novels that has created it's own niche for the young at heart.
Dream Maker: A Mystical Tale by Grigor Fedan. This metaphysical/historical novel about the vagaries of modern life interspersed with a past life recognition was a pleasant surprise. It weaves esoteric and spiritual concepts that I found refreshing—like it's okay to be a warrior and a spiritual person. Another important concept used very effectively—there are highly evolved beings in embodiment and out, that send forth light and energy benefitting and uplifting all whom they contact. Also, the notion that sometimes dreams are directed by higher powers and contain important lessons is also very insightful. There are some aspects of cosmic law that I disagree with, like the need for evil as a learning process. While challenges are necessary to master life's lessons, evil does not need to be part of the equation. I didn't let this metaphysical dilemma dampen my interest however because the author wove the intricacies of karma very cleverly throughout the plot. In fact the story moves along so well, I kind of hoped it would have gone on longer.
The Golden Frog, by Michael Mamas; Amazon Reviewer, Bodhi Speaks: Throughout history, spiritual thinkers have turned to the art of the story to convey their experience. Jesus used parables, the Torah came to us as narration, and THE GOLDEN FROG sings us an aria tuned to the symphony of instruments contained in the orchestra of life. Michael Mamas introduces us to characters so real we can't help but recognize pieces of ourselves in each of them. He takes us on a journey, down a river, where two childhood friends navigate the waters of existence. Though they each tack toward opposite shores, both are driven by the same divine current -- a desire to delve deeper into the understanding of what it means to be human. There are many reasons to read this book, and even more to reread it!
The Wheel of Rebirth: An autobiography of many lifetimes, by H. K Challoneram; An Amazon Reviewer: I'm now reading this book for the second time. It is an amazing book. It would be hard to not believe the writings of H.K. Challoner. This writer is the best! It is one of the most profound books I have ever read and value it greatly in my library. I believe I will be reading several more times over my lifetime for the truth and wisdom found within its covers. Reincarnation is truth to me and Challoner writes so elequently and with heartfelt and "heartknown" reality of the astral plane and life within that I challenge you not to go away without being taken away, literally and figuratively!
The Memorist (Hardcover) by M. J. Rose, This metaphysical novel was a very good read by an accomplished writer. It held my interest all the way through, although I don't recommend reading only a couple chapters at a time because there are many characters introduced in the beginning plus the narrative jumps back in time. I got a little bit lost as a result. From what I gather at Amazon this is her second book in this series. The first was "The Reincarnationist." Most people feel the "The Memorist" is her best. The story revolves around the fictional "Memorist Society" that has been trying to prove reincarnation for centuries. They have in their posssession the clues to find an ancient Indian bone flute that can open up past lives through tones and vibration. The author is skillful at bringing in past life connections and characters such as Beethoven who declares that the flute is dangerous for reasons I'll let you discover for yourself. Some of the plot is a bit over-the-top (e.g. the bomb plot lacks justification.) but it wasn't a major distraction. The author brings together some interesting ideas that are a welcome addition to any metaphysical library.
The Templars, Two Kings and a Pope, by Grigor Fredan. In his second metaphysical novel (and the second on this page), Grigor Fredan has written a fascinating book about a time period that needed an infusion of spirit. Most of the action takes place during the crusades in the late 13th century. The templars and a secret organisation have vowed to protect the pilgrims but they have a deeper, hidden spiritual quest as well. It is this last search, that makes The Templars, Two Kings, and a Pope compelling historical fiction unlike any other. There is attention to detail that most history buffs will appreciate. I was amazed at the research that went into the daily life of the templars even the different kinds of horses they rode. I particularly enjoyed the spectacle of tournaments and jousting in sometimes not-so-merry-old England. But what really sets this book apart is the search for the true teachings of Jesus Christ. It's a mystical quest for both the participants and the reader. Make no mistake you will be drawn in, reliving a time that is still shrouded in mystery, but a little less so thanks to Grigor Fredan.

The Traveler and The Dark River, by John Twelve Hawks; I liked these books because they combine three styles and themes all in one book, techno-thriller, science fiction and metaphysical. There are much better books in all three categories. As a techno-thriller it's not quite as gripping and a page turner as say, a Lee Child, Daniel Silva or Tom Clancy book. There are better science fiction writers like Heinlein, Crichton, Orwell and others. And there are quite a few metaphsical books that are more mystical and give meatier teachings, many of which I have listed on this page. But I don't believe I've come across all three in one. It's kind of like Jason Bourne thrown in the Matrix and the astral plane. For those interested in conspiracies and a One World Order, you'll get your fill here. It's got it all even six different planes of existence following a sort of Buddhist concept. The author is pretty adept at bringing concepts and religious themes from across the globe. The second book takes place down in the fourth realm for awhile, where the river is dark indeed. The ones below have descended into lower vibrations—basically Hell. The second book suffers the same fate as all Star Wars movies after the first two by Lucas. All of them lack the spiritual teachings that made the first ones so interesting. Despite that, the first book is so good, you'll want to read the second one.
The Golden City, by John Twelve Hawks; The third book of the trilogy above. If you read the first two then how can you not read this one? Loved the uniqueness of these books. Here's an Amazon description: John Twelve Hawks's previous novels about the mystical Travelers and the Brethren, their ruthless enemies, generated an extraordinary following around the world. The Washington Post wrote that The Traveler “portrays a Big Brother with powers far beyond anything Orwell could imagine . . .” and Publishers Weekly hailed the series as “a saga that's part A Wrinkle in Time, part The Matrix and part Kurosawa epic.” Internet chat rooms and blogs have overflowed with speculation about the final destiny of the richly imagined characters fighting an epic battle beneath the surface of our modern world. In The Golden City, Twelve Hawks delivers the climax to his spellbinding epic. Struggling to protect the legacy of his Traveler father, Gabriel faces troubling new questions and relentless threats. His brother Michael, now firmly allied with the enemy, pursues his ambition to wrest power from Nathan Boone, the calculating leader of the Brethren. And Maya, the Harlequin warrior pledged to protect Gabriel at all costs, is forced to make a choice that will change her life forever. A riveting blend of high-tech thriller and fast-paced adventure, The Golden City will delight Twelve Hawks's many fans and attract a new audience to the entire trilogy.
Erewhon by Samuel Butler; Liked this book but I''m going to defer to this excerpt from an IO9 article titled "May Day, 1871: The Day “Science Fiction” Was Invented" : . . . Erewhon is about the visit of an Englishman to a utopian civilization, Erewhon, which he discovers in the mountains of what is implicitly New Zealand. The civilization is in some ways advanced, but substantially different from our own: besides their absurdities (like their University of Unreason), they have only the simplest machines (the narrator gets in trouble with the Erewhonians because of his pocket watch), because two centuries ago the Erewhonians had banned machines from a fear that they would evolve and eventually rule humanity. The narrator falls in love with the daughter of an Erewhonian and they both escape to England. Erewhon was not overtly influential in the same way that "Dorking" and The Coming Race were. The Lost Race novels written in 1872 and 1873 were modeled much more on Bulwer-Lytton than on Butler. Erewhon's influence was in its raising of the topics of machine consciousness and intelligence and controlled evolution. For a satire–and Erewhon is largely a satire–the novel treats these topics seriously. Erewhon was the first significant work to do so, and was influential on successive works of science fiction, in the 19th and 20th century, although later writers like H.G. Wells and Karel Capek would examine those ideas in a more sophisticated fashion. ...
Sheppard Lee, Written by Himself, By Robert Montgomery Bird; This is a new edition of a book that has been out of print, which I have not read. Here is a review: 19th-century tale of reincarnation had Poe's praise-2/27 Philadelphia Inquirer, Reviewed by Edward Pettit-- Sheppard Lee, Written by Himself, By Robert Montgomery Bird: So, you've been looking for an early 19th-century novel about metempsychosis? Look no further. Robert Montgomery Bird's Sheppard Lee, Written by Himself is back in print. What? You are not an ardent follower of tales of the metempsychotic? Let me explain. Metempsychosis is the transference of the soul or spirit from one body to another after death. Sounds like the kind of story Edgar Allan Poe might write. In fact, Poe himself reviewed Bird's novel when it was first published in 1836: "We must regard 'Sheppard Lee,' upon the whole, as a very clever, and not altogether unoriginal, Jesus d' esprit. Its incidents are well conceived, and related with force, brevity, and a species of directness which is invaluable in certain cases of narration." ...
New: The Breath of God: A Novel of Suspense. by Jeffrey Small; : This is a novel about a grad student who finds Nicholas Notovich's lost texts. The author comes up with an interesting notion, that they ended up in Bhutan. The main character faces initiations at the Buddhist monastery there in order to receive this precious information and then a wacked-out crazed christian fundamentalist opposes him from America. There are more nuances in the Dan Brown books that kept those storylines more enthralling. The mere fact that the lost years of Jesus is the central theme of this book makes this one a worthwhile read. The author misses the main point of the Notovich information however. His point is that it shows the oneness of all religions. It does that no doubt, but one needs to take it a few steps further, and ask: 1.) Why did Jesus go to India and Tibet? 2.) Did he need to teach and learn there? 3.) If he needed to go there for his mission, maybe he wasn't born with the omniscience of God. 4.) And finally, maybe we are all sons and daughters of God needing to walk a similar path of enlightenment. If the author had addressed these issues, the book would have piqued my interest just a little bit more. For the average Joe out there who knows nothing of these things, I'm sure it will be a fine introduction for them. If you go to the Amazon link, you'll see that the book got quite a few good reviews and awards.

Other pages of interest at this site:

Misc. Book Reviews

Varieties of Spiritual Thought

Karma, Reincarnation and NDE

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