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[SF/Fantasy] "A Voyage to Arcturus" by David Lindsay

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Rhett Bassard Post time 13-1-2018 02:08:42 | Show all posts |Read mode

Author Bio:
Born: London, UK, March 03, 1876
Died: July 16, 1945
Genre: Literature & Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Religion & Spirituality
Influences: Schopenhauer, Nietzsche

David Lindsay was a Scottish author now most famous for the philosophical science fiction novel A Voyage to Arcturus.
Lindsay was born into a middle-class Scottish Calvinist family who had moved to London, tho growing up he spent much time in Jedburgh, where his family was from. Altho awarded a university scholarship, he was forced by poverty to enter business, becoming a Lloyd's of London insurance clerk. He was very successful but, after serving in WWI, at age forty, he moved to Cornwall with his young wife, Jacqueline Silver, to become a full-time writer. He and his wife opened a Brighton boarding house. They did not prosper and their marriage underwent considerable strain. The house was damaged by the first bomb to fall on Brighton in WWII. In his bath at the time, Lindsay never recovered from the shock. His death from infection caused by a tooth abscess was unrelated to the bomb.

The secret of Lindsay's apparent strangeness lies in his metaphysical assumptions. A gnostic, he viewed the "real" world as an illusion which must be rejected in order to perceive genuine truth. Lindsay's austere vision of reality may have been influenced by Scandinavian mythology. After being out of print for decades, his work has become increasingly available. He is now seen as being a major Scottish fantasist of the 20th century, the missing link between George Macdonald and modern writers such as Alasdair Gray who have also used surrealism and magic realism.

"A Voyage to Arcturus"

First published 1920, 187 pgs.
One of the most original and acclaimed science fiction novels of the twentieth century, yet it sold 596 copies before being remaindered. This extremely strange work was not obviously influenced by anyone, but further reading shows links with other Scottish fantasists (e.g., Geo. MacDonald). It was in its turn a central influence on C. S. Lewis's Out of the Silent Planet.

This landmark work of speculative fiction follows the adventurer Maskull as he travels to Tormance, the lone planet revolving around the double star system Arcturus. Each new land that Maskull visits is ruled by a different philosophy, and he must navigate each in succession as his body changes in response to the varying environments in which he finds himself. Never sure of his surroundings, Maskull must determine what we will and will not do to survive—a metaphysical inquiry that propels him toward an unforgettable final realization.
A major influence on C. S. Lewis's Space Trilogy, A Voyage to Arcturus is a surreal and masterful investigation into the meaning of good and evil, the nature of God, and the origins of the universe. Arcturus was produced as a 35mm feature film by William J. Holloway in 1971. It was the first film funded by a National Endowment for the Arts and has recently been re-released.







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