High Wierdness by Erik Davis, reviewed by Ashley Chapman

I have to say that this is one of the best books I have read on mind-altering subjective experiences.

It looks at three 1970s writets or pychonauts, Kenneth McKenna, Robert Anton Wilson and Philip K. Dick.

McKenna is a great subject, but perhaps McKenna is best left to talk for himself, but Robert Anton Wilson is truly an inspired choice for hagiography.

He wrote the Illuminati Trilogy and Cosmic Trigger and others, and goes on what can be described as an epic cosmic mind meander, blasting aside whatever amniotic fluid-like barrier seperates the conscious reasoning mind from the mythological unconscious.

The anecdotes are numerous, the bravery of the psychonauts insane and the sense of one ‘tunnel-reality’ after another being atomised to allow in all kinds of astral madness – palpabal, weird and definitely high.

And I still have Philip K. Dick to enjoy…

The Starmer Project by Oliver Eagleton, reviewed by Ashley Chapman

Sir Keir Starmer as the substance, as well as conclusion of this book details, is a dedicated advocate of the UK’s ‘deep state’ – and as such an authoritarian. Therefore, as the book suggests, supremely unfit to be Labour Leader, let alone Prime Minister.

This is someone who listens only to those in uniforn; those with rank. In The Starmer Project: A Journey to the Right published last month by Verso, Sir Keir Starmer comes across as a priggish individual who is brusingly indifferent to justice.

Voting for this politician and former DPP, after reading sixty pages detailing his rise to power by crushing individuals – time and again and with numbing rapacious indifference – in favour of state institutions; one can only surmise, would be tantamount to endorsing a future Big Brother surveillance state with even harsher legal laws imposed to limit political and economic dissent.

Never has the UK been closer to democratic and social political collapse. Brexit offers such a callous operator the legal and sovereign tools to use the state to oppressively manufacture a regime made in his narrow rightwing Labour image.

Following the lazy, corrupt, disjointed premiership of Bojo and co., Sir Keir Starmer will use his knowledge of the judiciary, especially its internal state machine to resolutely further his authoritarian vision.

With hindsight, Corbyn’s biggest mistake was to allow this ambitious establishment facilitator the room to distract with his shadow Brexit brief, and to not see in 2018 that John McDonnell, as Len McCluskey recently said in an interview with Aaron Bastani on Novara Media, and which has been confirmed by Eagleton, was compromised in his conviction that Remainers would split the Labour party. The Labour party conference endorsement of a second referendum, The People’s Voice, on Brexit was a ploy. Remain in Labour was simply an opportunistic divisionary rightwing tactic to regain control of the party – and it worked!

What they and we, especially on the left, should instead have feared is the deep state creation that Sir Keir Starmer represents and what the implications are for the UK should the prevailing historical circumstances allow him to come to power.

Brexit could then unfold into a nightmare of Owellian proportions, and all because Labour party factionalism betrayed its own processes. When Labour said it had turned toxic, following the New Labour years – it was absolutely correct.

The Murderbot Dieries: Artificial Condition by Martha Wells.

Is it only me? Or do we all like android stories and their unique take on our own ontology? Being in being, in other words.

This is simple, but great science fiction. A murderbot who isn’t quite right with murder.

Like Anne Rice’s ‘Interview with a Vampire’ it does that great thing of providing its central character – the android – with superhuman powers that it is not comfortable with.

Now sympathies engaged, we go on the second adventure in the Murderbot Diaries, eSeries, where our hero makes friends with a super AI transporter bot ART, running its own ship; then finds itself allowing  its own physical transformation under ART’s sculpel-weilding intelligence; before regressing us to its own dark pit of ‘inspiration’, providing a perspective on being one enternal step removed from ever being wholly human.

And aren’t we all, at times, not feeling quite sentient enough?