x51 // book reviews


book rating review
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman **** Quality short story detailing madness as it erupts inside of the narrator—although the ending leave much open to interpretation.
Black Mirror 0: territory by Robert Ansell, et al. *** Introductory issue of the occult art journal. Some quality analysis, but you can tell it's trying to find its footing.
Tartaros: On the Orphic and Pythagorean Underworld, and the Pythagorean Pentagram by Johan August Alm **** Incredible first two parts that detail the likely history, beliefs, and influence of Pythagoreanism. The third part is highly speculative and falls apart in places, but overall one of the best books on Pythagorean mysteries that moves from historical to speculative to practical. Excellent research.
Ancient Mysteries Reader III by R. Christopher Abel, Samuel Langdon, & Edwin S. Potter *** Read for The Pythagorean Brotherhood. Good summary of the history of the Pythagorean society.
Kenneth Grant: A Bibliography by Henrik Bogdan **** You won't likely ever get a full biography of the elusive and private Kenneth Grant, but the man was his written word, and a bibliography is as much a representation of the man as his life history. Bogdan does some truly scholary work here.
Servants of the Star & the Snake by Henrik Bogdan **** A truly well-rounded analysis of the impact of Kenneth Grant by those who knew him and/or studied him laboriously. This collection of essays not only provides something for those well-versed in Grant's Typhonian Tradition, but also acts as an accessible introduction to Grant's work for those stumped by his verbosity.
The Infernal Masque by Richard Gavin **** A strong follow-up to The Benighted Path that details the dream wanderings of the soul and the numerous depths it can travel. Gavin discusses aspects of liminal being that are mostly avoided or forgotten in modern religion, but play a large part in ancient cultures.
The Vodou Quantum Leap by Dr. Reginald Crowsley, M.D. **** Someone on Goodreads summarized it as "completely batshit crazy" and gave it 5 stars. That's accurate. This is 5 star material, but given 4 stars because of a lack of cohesion and flow in some parts.
The Benighted Path: Primeval Gnosis and the Monsterous Soul by Richard Gavin ***** Gavin lends his skill with prose to this wonderful excursion into the dark way that leads with pragmatic exploration while invalidating many misconceptions on night consciousness. The exploration of Medusa is particularly excellent.


book rating review
What Was It? by Fitz James O'Brien **** Entertaining, old school horror that envelopes you in the aesthetic of late 1800's fiction. First in the Miskatonic Literary Society readings.
Woken Furies by Richard K. Morgan *** Entertaining, but semi-incoherent story with a revolving door of characters. Nicely evolves the Martian artifacts theme that persists in the background across all Kovacs books.
Broken Angels by Richard K. Morgan ** Largely forgettable with too many paper characters. Steals a little from Gibson's incorporation of voodoo into cyberspace.
The Faceless God by Tomas Vincente *** A valiant effort to connect Lovecraftian mythology with Egyptian mythology and archetypes in witchcraft. Although short, it is filled with quality research and inferences that help bring another facet of reality to the Lovecraft Mythos.
Echoes from the Primal Grimoire: Kenneth Grant, H.P. Lovecraft and Magical Reality in the Quantum Universe by Richard Ward *** Never quite gets around to the "quantum universe" in enough detail that would warrant a subtitle inclusion, but Ward does provide a very readable expose of the Grant/Typhonian/Lovecraft influence.
Shades in Mauve: A History of the Typhonian Tradition by Edward Gauntlett **** Incredibly lucid "historical" account of the Typhonian Tradition across time. Leans heavily on the incorporation of ideas through a mythological context.
Sounds Beyond Meaning: Kenneth Grant & His Work by Michael Staley, Caroline Wise, Mike Magee, Alaster Aleph, Edward Gauntlett, Richard Ward *** Edward Gauntlett and Michael Staley both have stand-out essays exploring Kenneth Grant's work, with Staley's doing an excellent job of exploring the use of fiction as tool.
Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan ***** Read the book before you watch the first season of the show. Probably the best modern (i.e., published post-2000) cyberpunk book out there.
Mona Lisa Overdrive by William Gibson ***** Each Gibson Sprawl story escalates the pseudo-religious themes, the self exploration, and the merger of humanity and technology. The only natural conclusion is to go outside of humanity.
Count Zero by William Gibson ***** Corporate espionage, vodoun loa, cyberjockey wannabes... Count Zero tells an engaging story among the backdrop of merging artificial intelligence with programmable biology.
Neuromancer by William Gibson ***** The original. Although cyberpunk (or proto-cyberpunk) existed before, Neuromancer defined the genre.
Burning Chrome by William Gibson **** Some stories are okay at best, while others really break through. Rating is based on the excellent stories in the Sprawl universe (e.g., Johnny Mnemonic, Burning Chrome).
The Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet by Ramez Naam *** Three stars for when it was published, but two stars reading it today. Quality, optimistic view of overcoming climate and energy obstacles, but also capitalist apologetics.
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson *** Four stars for the cyberpunk, but loses a star because of the overt satire. The characterization of the metaverse gets all the press, but Stephenson shines with his exploration of Sumerian mythology and viruses.
The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson ** Read it to understand the possible fallout from climate change and to understand potential solutions. Don't read it as a fiction book.
The King in Orange: The Magical and Occult Roots of Political Power by John Michael Greer ** Very little actual occult discussion. Although Greer is correct in his assessment of Clinton's downfall and Trump's appeal, he loses credibility by acting as an apologist for Trump's actions and policies.
The Boy Who Could Change the World by Aaron Swartz *** Collection of blog posts and essays. Not the best read, but offers insight into Swartz's thoughts from different years in this life.
Time Loops by Eric Wargo *** Starts slow. Then ramps up to a mind-blowing hypothesis. Slow again. Then Philip K. Dick. The hypothesis makes a lot of logical sense though.
The Red Web by Andrei Soldatov & Irina Borogan ***** This is the gold standard for the history of Russian telecoms and Internet—the growth of technology through the lens of Russian geopolitics.
The Conspiracy Against the Human Race by Thomas Ligotti *** Introduction into the philosophy of pessimism. Starts and ends strong, but drags long throughout the middle. Ligotti is most comfortable analyzing Lovecraft, Shelley, Conrad, etc., but seems less so in his philosophical arguments.
The STEMpunk Project by Trent Fowler *** Short, blog post-like collection (self-published by the author) of meta-learning techniques that borders on metaphysics, and contains a very small handful of gems.
Time Traveler: A Scientist's Personal Mission to Make Time Travel a Reality by Dr. Ronald L. Mallett **** An emotional biography about one man's attempt to build a working time machine to visit his deceased father in the past.