Archive for Visionary Fiction

Excerpt of Systems at the VFA

What the title says. :)

The first part of Chapter 4 from Systems has appeared over the the Visionary Fiction Alliance. It’s the first scene in which we are introduced to the serial killer Peter Manner, aka the Peace Man, properly.

Click here to read it.

Do pop over and say hi.

Launch series guest post at the Visionary Fiction Alliance

The Visionary Fiction Alliance website is presently running a series of posts to celebrate its launch, written by its founding members. Today is my turn. The article is titled: Visionary: Fiction of the Future, a slightly edited version of a guest post that I originally wrote for the VF web-ring. Head on over and say hello.

Fiction for the future: VFA launched

VFA Launch Banner

Visionary Fiction Alliance launch: 17 August 2012

 

I’m pleased to announce that the Visionary Fiction Alliance – of which I am a founding member – has gone live today.

Its key aims are to promote and increase awareness of visionary fiction, and to help its authors. According to the site, the characteristics of VF include:

  • Growth of consciousness is the central theme of the story and drives the protagonist, and/or other important characters.
  • Oftentimes uses reincarnation, dreams, visions, paranormal,  psychic abilities, and other metaphysical plot devices
  • Is universal in its worldview and scope

Founding member Jodine Turner has added this thought-provoking line to its definition:

“Visionary Fiction speaks the language of the soul. It offers a vision of humanity as we dream it could be.” 

I like that line because it sums up Iqbal’s belief that art and literature are like collective dreams, as per a recent post here.

Win 7 novels

As part of the launch celebration, the VFA is giving away seven of its founders’ titles to one lucky winner (and that includes a copy of Systems). Come on over and enter for a chance to win!

(Image is copyrighted -Saleena Karim)

Interview at Michelle Gordon’s blog

Today I’m being interviewed at Michelle Gordon’s blog. Michelle’s interest is in all things spiritual, and she is author of The Earth Angel Training Academy. She is also a founding member of the upcoming Visionary Fiction Alliance.

This explains why the questions she asked me were little different from the norm. I was asked about my ‘spiritual’ beliefs rather than just about my writing. Since this kind of stuff is so very fascinating to me, I got on my soapbox at one point. Briefly. :)

You can read the interview here. Do pop over and say hi.

 

Been a while … New visionary fiction site

This is just a quick post to say that though I’ve not posted for a while (and didn’t anticipate being so slow), I’m still around and hope to start blogging regularly again soon. The reasons for my absence are to do with personal and work distractions, but I have lots of news to share, so watch this space.

In the meantime, anyone coming through from today may notice a new banner in the right-hand column of this page, headed: ‘VFA Founding Member’. It stands for ‘Visionary Fiction Alliance’ (sounds grand, doesn’t it?). The web-ring that Jodine Turner, Shannan Sinclair and I started just a couple of months ago has already attracted 12 authors and we are about to launch a whole site dedicated to the promotion of visionary fiction. More to come later.

 

To be or not to be didactic

The Marghdeen Learning Centre’s latest course on Iqbal is exploring the philosopher’s take on art (with a focus on literature). Though he was born in the period when l’art pour l’art was developing as a new movement, Iqbal didn’t believe in art for art’s sake. In fact, he took a dim view of it. In one of his articles published in July 1917, he wrote:

“[Art for art's sake] appeals more to imagination than to will, and on the whole acts as a narcotic on the mind of the reader. … the good in art is not necessarily identical with the good in life; it is possible for a poet to write fine poetry, and yet lead his society to Hell. The poet is essentially a seducer; woe to his people, if instead of making the trials of life look beautiful and attractive he embellishes decadence with all the glories of health and power, and seduces his people to extinction.”

(I should add that in this article Iqbal was talking specifically about poets but his views applied to art in general.)

Edgar Allan Poe - public domain image

19th century author Edgar Allan Poe famously called didactic poetry ‘heresy’, but he was also an early pioneer of modern sci-fi

The late sci-fi author and academic Joanna Russ suggested in 1975 that all science fiction is didactic in the vein of medieval fiction. The word ‘didactic’ itself originally meant art with educational or informative content. It was only from the 19th century onwards that it was redefined to mean something ‘burdened’ with this content. It seems that this negative definition of didactic fiction coincides with the onset of modern materialism (as the outcome of the Enlightenment period).

I wonder what Iqbal would have made of visionary fiction. Part of its appeal – for me, at least – is that it isn’t art for the sake of art. And yet funnily enough, over at the Visionary Fiction Goodreads group we all recently agreed that visionary fiction isn’t overtly ‘preachy’. Is this a contradiction? Not really. We can liken it to how non-fiction deals with facts. Whilst non-fiction writers present their facts as they see them and obviously have an opinion of their own, they don’t necessarily claim to having the final word on a subject – at least, not if they’re honest.

Visionary fiction is didactic in the former sense, rather than the latter.  In fact, I’ve always felt that all fiction has something to teach us, whether or not that is the author’s conscious intent. It all has a value. The real question is whether that value is ‘good’ or ‘bad’, that is, constructive or destructive. Iqbal believed the most destructive form of art is pessimistic, nihilistic, and amoral, even if it uses beautiful imagery. It glorifies death. True constructive art, in Iqbal’s view, is optimistic, life-affirming, and encourages us to face life’s challenges – large and small – with courage and dignity.

“The highest art is that which awakens our dormant will-force, and nerves us to face the trials of life manfully.”

In other words, Iqbal believed that art doesn’t just reflect human psychology (collective and individual). It can actually have a hand in shaping our destinies. A huge claim, but it resonates with those who value the power of ‘story’.

The place of visionary fiction in today’s world – introduction

Last week I introduced the Visionary Fiction web-ring. This week, our three founding members – Jodine Turner, Shannan Sinclair and myself – are guest posting at each other’s blogs about the place of Visionary Fiction in Today’s World.

You can find my entry at Jodine’s blog here, and Jodine’s entry at Shannan’s blog here. Shannan’s entry will appear at this blog soon.

Introducing the Visionary Fiction Ring

Recently I wrote a post about the difficulty I was having with defining the genre of Systems. Though I found the elusive ‘metaphysics’ category at Amazon (and no, I haven’t got round to re-classifying Systems there yet), I still felt that it would be good if the novel could be classified in a way that didn’t make it sound like it belonged to a tiny or specialist niche (or conversely placed it in too broad a category such as sci-fi).

Since then I’ve met Jodine Turner and Shannan Sinclair at a Goodreads group dedicated to visionary fiction. We’ve all agreed that since our type of fiction needs a brand awareness campaign, we’re going to make an attempt to do just that ourselves. And so, we’ve started a web-ring for visionary fiction (see the new menu on the right-hand side of this page containing links to Jodine and Shannan’s sites) and we’re brainstorming some other ideas at the moment. I’ve also created a new category at this blog especially for Visionary fiction.

So, what is visionary fiction? In one way it could be described as similar to inspirational fiction; it’s often inspired by a search for a higher truth, but it isn’t always about or aimed at readers of a particular faith. It can be metaphysical, or esoteric, or spiritual in tone. It often involves the paranormal. Of course this means that visionary fiction is most likely to also fall under fantasy, as does Jodine’s Carry on the Flame series. But this is not always the case. Systems (as sci-fi) is a case in point. So is Shannan’s Dream Walker, which she describes as ‘Quantum fiction’ because it explores quantum and string theories.

But what all visionary fiction has in common is that it takes its inspiration from that fascinating creature called humanity and explores its limitless potential. A pioneer of the term ‘visionary’, Michael Gurian, describes it as “fiction in which the expansion of the human mind drives the plot“.

Interested in knowing more? Watch this space for updates. Soon Jodine and Shannan will be dropping in to give us their insights on visionary fiction and its relevance in today’s world.

If you have written a novel and think it might fit into what I’ve described here, say hello here or at Goodreads. We’re looking for more authors to join this ring.