Karellen was a homosexual



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Also on this website:


Toby Johnson's books:

Toby's books are available as ebooks from smashwords.com, the Apple iBookstore, etc.


Finding Your Own True Myth - The Myth of the Great Secret III

FINDING YOUR OWN TRUE MYTH: What I Learned from Joseph Campbell: The Myth of the Great Secret III


Gay Spirituality

GAY SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness


Gay Perspective


GAY PERSPECTIVE: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe


Secret Matter


SECRET MATTER, a sci-fi novel with wonderful "aliens" with an Afterword by Mark Jordan


Getting Life

GETTING LIFE IN PERSPECTIVE:  A Fantastical Gay Romance set in two different time periods


The Fourth Quill

THE FOURTH QUILL, a novel about attitudinal healing and the problem of evil




Two Spirits
TWO SPIRITS: A Story of Life with the Navajo, a collaboration with Walter L. Williams



charmed lives
CHARMED LIVES: Spinning Straw into Gold: GaySpirit in Storytelling, a collaboration with Steve Berman and some 30 other writers


Myth of the Great Secret


THE MYTH OF THE GREAT SECRET: An Appreciation of Joseph Campbell



In Search of God


IN SEARCH OF GOD IN THE SEXUAL UNDERWORLD: A Mystical Journey



Unpublished manuscripts


About ordering


Books on Gay Spirituality:

White Crane Gay Spirituality Series


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  Toby has done five podcasts with Harry Faddis for The Quest of Life

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  Articles and Excerpts:

Review of Samuel Avery's The Dimensional Structure of Consciousness


Funny Coincidence: "Aliens Settle in San Francisco"


About Liberty Books, the Lesbian/Gay Bookstore for Austin, 1986-1996


The Simple Answer to the Gay Marriage Debate


A Bifurcation of Gay Spirituality


Why gay people should NOT Marry


The Scriptural Basis for Same Sex Marriage


Toby and Kip Get Married


Wedding Cake Liberation


Gay Marriage in Texas


What's ironic



Shame on the American People


The "highest form of love"


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Gay Consciousness


Why homosexuality is a sin


The cause of homosexuality


The origins of homophobia


Q&A about Jungian ideas in gay consciousness


What is homosexuality?


What is Gay Spirituality?


My three messages


What Jesus said about Gay Rights


Queering religion


Common Experiences Unique to Gay Men


Is there a "uniquely gay perspective"?


The purpose of homosexuality


Interview on the Nature of Homosexuality


What the Bible Says about Homosexuality


Mesosexual Ideal for Straight Men



Varieties of Gay Spirituality


Waves of Gay Liberation Activity


The Gay Succession


Wouldn’t You Like to Be Uranian?


The Reincarnation of Edward Carpenter


Why Gay Spirituality: Spirituality as Artistic Medium


Easton Mountain Retreat Center


Andrew Harvey & Spiritual Activism


The Mysticism of Andrew Harvey


The upsidedown book on MSNBC


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Enlightenment


"It's Always About You"



The myth of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara


Joseph Campbell's description of Avalokiteshvara


You're Not A Wave



Joseph Campbell Talks about Aging



What is Enlightenment?



What is reincarnation?



How many lifetimes in an ego?



Emptiness & Religious Ideas



Experiencing experiencing experiencing



Going into the Light



Meditations for a Funeral



Meditation Practice



The way to get to heaven



Buddha's father was right



What Anatman means



Advice to Travelers to India & Nepal



The Danda Nata & goddess Kalika



Nate Berkus is a bodhisattva



John Boswell was Immanuel Kant



Cutting edge realization



The Myth of the Wanderer



Change: Source of Suffering & of Bliss



World Navel



What the Vows Really Mean



Manifesting from the Subtle Realms



The Three-layer Cake & the Multiverse


The est Training and Personal Intention



Effective Dreaming in Ursula LeGuin's The Lathe of Heaven


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Gay Spirituality


Curious Bodies


What Toby Johnson Believes


The Joseph Campbell Connection


The Mann Ranch (& Rich Gabrielson)


Campbell & The Pre/Trans Fallacy


The Two Loves


The Nature of Religion


What's true about Religion


Being Gay is a Blessing


Drawing Long Straws


Freedom of Religion


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The Gay Agenda


Gay Saintliness


Gay Spiritual Functions



The subtle workings of the spirit in gay men's lives.


The Sinfulness of Homosexuality


Proposal for a study of gay nondualism


Priestly Sexuality


Having a Church to Leave


Harold Cole on Beauty


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Marian Doctrines: Immaculate Conception & Assumption


Not lashed to the prayer-post


Monastic or Chaste Homosexuality


Is It Time to Grow Up? Confronting the Aging Process


Notes on Licking  (July, 1984)


Redeem Orlando


Gay Consciousness changing the world by Shokti LoveStar


Alexander Renault interviews Toby Johnson



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Mystical Vision


"The Evolution of Gay Identity"


"St. John of the Cross & the Dark Night of the Soul."


Avalokiteshvara at the Baths


 Eckhart's Eye


Let Me Tell You a Secret


Religious Articulations of the Secret


The Collective Unconscious


Driving as Spiritual Practice


Meditation


Historicity as Myth


Pilgrimage


No Stealing


Next Step in Evolution


The New Myth


The Moulting of the Holy Ghost


Gaia is a Bodhisattva


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The Hero's Journey


The Hero's Journey as archetype -- GSV 2016


The  Gay Hero Journey (shortened)


You're On Your Own


Superheroes


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Seeing Differently


Teenage Prostitution and the Nature of Evil


Allah Hu: "God is present here"


 
Adam and Steve


The Life is in the Blood



Gay retirement and the "freelance monastery"


Seeing with Different Eyes


Facing the Edge: AIDS as an occasion for spiritual wisdom


What are you looking for in a gay science fiction novel?


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The Vision


The mystical experience at the Servites'  Castle in Riverside


A  Most Remarkable Synchronicity in Riverside


The Great Dance according to C.S.Lewis


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The Techniques Of The World Saviors

Part 1: Brer Rabbit and the Tar-Baby


Part 2: The Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara


Part 3: Jesus and the Resurrection


Part 4: A Course in Miracles


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The Secret of the Clear Light


Understanding the Clear Light


Mobius Strip


Finding Your Tiger Face


How Gay Souls Get Reincarnated


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Joseph Campbell, the Hero's Journey, and the modern Gay Hero-- a five part presentation on YouTube


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About Alien Abduction


In honor of Sir Arthur C Clarke


Karellen was a homosexual


The D.A.F.O.D.I.L. Alliance


Intersections with the movie When We Rise


More about Gay Mental Health


Psych Tech Training


Toby at the California Institute


The Rainbow Flag


Ideas for gay mythic stories


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People


Kip and Toby, Activists


Toby's friend and nicknamesake Toby Marotta.


Harry Hay, Founder of the gay movement


About Hay and The New Myth


About Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, the first man to really "come out"


About Michael Talbot, gay mystic


About Fr. Bernard Lynch


About Richard Baltzell


About Guy Mannheimer


About David Weyrauch


About Dennis Paddie


About Ask the Fire


About Arthur Evans


About Christopher Larkin


About Mark Thompson


About Sterling Houston


About Michael Stevens


The Alamo Business Council


Our friend Tom Nash


Second March on Washington


The Gay Spirituality Summit in May 2004 and the "Statement of Spirituality"


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Book Reviews



Be Done on Earth by Howard E. Cook


Pay Me What I'm Worth by Souldancer


The Way Out by Christopher L  Nutter


The Gay Disciple by John Henson


Art That Dares by Kittredge Cherry


Coming Out, Coming Home by Kennth A. Burr


Extinguishing the Light by B. Alan Bourgeois


Over Coffee: A conversation For Gay Partnership & Conservative Faith by D.a. Thompson


Dark Knowledge by Kenneth Low


Janet Planet by Eleanor Lerman


The Kairos by Paul E. Hartman


Wrestling with Jesus by D.K.Maylor


Kali Rising by Rudolph Ballentine


The Missing Myth by Gilles Herrada


The Secret of the Second Coming by Howard E. Cook


The Scar Letters: A Novel by Richard Alther


The Future is Queer by Labonte & Schimel


Missing Mary by Charlene Spretnak


Gay Spirituality 101 by Joe Perez


Cut Hand: A Nineteeth Century Love Story on the American Frontier by Mark Wildyr


Radiomen by Eleanor Lerman


Nights at Rizzoli by Felice Picano


The Key to Unlocking the Closet Door by Chelsea Griffo


The Door of the Heart by Diana Finfrock Farrar


Occam’s Razor by David Duncan


Grace and Demion by Mel White


Gay Men and The New Way Forward by Raymond L. Rigoglioso


The Dimensional Stucture of Consciousness by Samuel Avery


The Manly Pursuit of Desire and Love by Perry Brass


Love Together: Longtime Male Couples on Healthy Intimacy and Communication by Tim Clausen


War Between Materialism and Spiritual by Jean-Michel Bitar


The Serpent's Gift: Gnostic Reflections on the Study of Religion by Jeffrey J. Kripal


Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion by Jeffrey J. Kripal


The Invitation to Love by Darren Pierre


Brain, Consciousness, and God: A Lonerganian Integration by Daniel A Helminiak


A Walk with Four Spiritual Guides by Andrew Harvey


Can Christians Be Saved? by Stephenson & Rhodes


The Lost Secrets of the Ancient Mystery Schools by Stephenson & Rhodes


Keys to Spiritual Being: Energy Meditation and Synchronization Exercises by Adrian Ravarour


In Walt We Trust by John Marsh


Solomon's Tantric Song by Rollan McCleary


A Special Illumination by Rollan McCleary


Aelred's Sin by Lawrence Scott


Fruit Basket by Payam Ghassemlou


Internal Landscapes by John Ollom


Princes & Pumpkins by David Hatfield Sparks


Yes by Brad Boney


Blood of the Goddess by William Schindler


Roads of Excess, Palaces of Wisdom by Jeffrey Kripal


Evolving Dharma by Jay Michaelson


Jesus in Salome's Lot by Brett W. Gillette


The Man Who Loved Birds by Fenton Johnson


The Vatican Murders by Lucien Gregoire


"Sex Camp" by Brian McNaught


Out & About with Brewer & Berg
Episode One: Searching for a New Mythology



The Soul Beneath the Skin by David Nimmons


Out on Holy Ground by Donald Boisvert


The Revotutionary Psychology of Gay-Centeredness by Mitch Walker


Out There by Perry Brass


The Crucifixion of Hyacinth by Geoff Puterbaugh


The Silence of Sodom by Mark D Jordan


It's Never About What It's About by Krandall Kraus and Paul Borja


ReCreations, edited by Catherine Lake


Gospel: A Novel by WIlton Barnhard


Keeping Faith: A Skeptic’s Journey by Fenton Johnson


Dating the Greek Gods
by Brad Gooch


Telling Truths in Church by Mark D. Jordan


The Substance of God by Perry Brass


The Tomcat Chronicles by Jack Nichols


10 Smart Things Gay Men Can Do to Improve Their Lives by Joe Kort


Jesus and the Shamanic Tradition of Same Sex Love by Will Roscoe


The Third Appearance by Walter Starcke


The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight by Thom Hartmann


Surviving and Thriving After a Life-Threatening Diagnosis by Bev Hall


Men, Homosexuality, and the Gods by Ronald Long

An Interview with Ron Long


Queering Creole Spiritual Traditons by Randy Conner & David Sparks

An Interview with Randy Conner


Pain, Sex and Time by Gerald Heard


Sex and the Sacred by Daniel Helminiak


Blessing Same-Sex Unions by Mark Jordan


Rising Up by Joe Perez


Soulfully Gay by Joe Perez


That Undeniable Longing by Mark Tedesco


Vintage: A Ghost Story by Steve Berman


Wisdom for the Soul by Larry Chang


MM4M a DVD by Bruce Grether


Double Cross by David Ranan


The Transcended Christian by Daniel Helminiak


Jesus in Love by Kittredge Cherry


In the Eye of the Storm by Gene Robinson


The Starry Dynamo by Sven Davisson


Life in Paradox by Fr Paul Murray


Spirituality for Our Global Community by Daniel Helminiak


Gay & Healthy in a Sick Society by Robert A. Minor


Coming Out: Irish Gay Experiences by Glen O'Brien


Queering Christ by Robert Goss


Skipping Towards Gomorrah by Dan Savage


The Flesh of the Word by Richard A Rosato


Catland by David Garrett Izzo


Tantra for Gay Men by Bruce Anderson


Yoga & the Path of the Urban Mystic by Darren Main


Simple Grace by Malcolm Boyd


Seventy Times Seven by Salvatore Sapienza


What Does "Queer" Mean Anyway? by Chris Bartlett


Critique of Patriarchal Reasoning by Arthur Evans


Gift of the Soul by Dale Colclasure & David Jensen


Legend of the Raibow Warriors by Steven McFadden


The Liar's Prayer by Gregory Flood


Lovely are the Messengers by Daniel Plasman


The Human Core of Spirituality by Daniel Helminiak


3001: The Final Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke


Religion and the Human Sciences by Daniel Helminiak


Only the Good Parts by Daniel Curzon


Four Short Reviews of Books with a Message


Life Interrupted by Michael Parise


Confessions of a Murdered Pope by Lucien Gregoire


The Stargazer's Embassy by Eleanor Lerman


Conscious Living, Conscious Aging by Ron Pevny


Footprints Through the Desert by Joshua Kauffman


True Religion by J.L. Weinberg


The Mediterranean Universe by John Newmeyer


Everything is God by Jay Michaelson


Reflection by Dennis Merritt


Everywhere Home by Fenton Johnson


Hard Lesson by James Gaston


God vs Gay? by Jay Michaelson


The Gate of Tears: Sadness and the Spiritual Path by Jay Michaelson


Roxie & Fred by Richard Alther


Not the Son He Expected by Tim Clausen


The 9 Realities of Stardust by Bruce P. Grether


The Afterlife Revolution by Anne & Whitley Strieber


AIDS Shaman: Queer Spirit Awakening by Shokti Lovestar


Facing the Truth of Your Life by Merle Yost


The Super Natural by Whitley Strieber & Jeffrey J Kripal


Secret Body by Jeffrey J Kripal


In Hitler's House by Jonathan Lane


Walking on Glory by Edward Swift


The Paradox of Porn by Don Shewey


Is Heaven for Real? by Lucien Gregoire


Scissors, Paper, Rock by Fenton Johnson




Toby Johnson's Books on Gay Men's Spiritualities:




Gay
Perspective cover
Gay Perspective

Things Our [Homo]sexuality
Tells Us about the
Nature of God and
the Universe


Gay Perspective audiobook
Gay Perspective is available as an audiobook narrated by Matthew Whitfield. Click here







Gay
Spirituality cover
Gay Spirituality

Gay Identity and 
the Transformation of
Human Consciousness



gay-spirituality-audiobook
Gay Spirituality   is now available as an audiobook, beautifully narrated by John Sipple. Click here








charmed lives
Charmed Lives: Gay Spirit in Storytelling

edited by
Toby Johnson
& Steve Berman







secret matter
Secret Matter

Lammy Award Winner for Gay Science Fiction

updated







Getting Life
Getting Life in Perspective

A Fantastical Romance





Getting
Life in Perspective audiobook
Getting Life in Perspective is available as an audiobook narrated by Alex Beckham. Click here 






The Fourth Quill

The Fourth Quill

originally published as PLAGUE




johnson-the-fourth-quill-audiobook
The Fourth Quill is available as an audiobook, narrated by Jimmie Moreland. Click here






Two
Two Spirits: A Story of Life with the Navajo

with Walter L. Williams




Two Spirits
audiobookTwo Spirits  is available as an audiobook  narrated by Arthur Raymond. Click here






Finding Your Own True Myth - The Myth of the Great Secret III
Finding Your Own True Myth:
What I Learned from Joseph Campbell

The Myth of the Great Secret III








In
Search of God in the Sexual Underworld
In Search of God  in the Sexual Underworld










The Myth of the Great Secret II

The Myth of the Great Secret: An Appreciation of Joseph Campbell.

This was the second edition of this book.




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Toby Johnson's titles are available in other ebook formats from Smashwords.



Sometimes I think everything I believe about the nature of life,
the universe and God, I learned from Arthur C. Clarke.

**See Toby Johnson's comments about the 2015 Syfy Channel movie**

Karellen was a homosexual

Childhood's End

The main character of Arthur C. Clarke's classic sci-fi novel Childhood's End is the Overlord commander Karellen. Readers of the novel will recall that the book is divided into three parts, each separated by about 50 years. The first section, titled "Earth and the Overlords," features the arrival of the aliens. A quirk of the story is that they do not allow themselves to be seen. They want the people of Earth to be accustomed to them before they reveal their appearance.

The second section, titled The Golden Age, begins with the Overlords coming down from their spaceships and showing themselves. Suddenly everyone understands why they wanted the 50 year getting-to-know-you time. Those 50 years have brought on a Golden Age for humankind; peace on Earth at last; the Overlords have brought boons in technology and culture that have dramatically improved human life. BUT it turns out they look all the world like devils: leathery wings, little horns, black scaly skin and a little tail. This section ends with the human protagonist, a young black man from South Africa named Jan Rodricks, stowing away on an Overlord ship in order to visit their planet. By the time he returns home, for the third section, another some fifty years has elapsed because of Einsteinian time-dilation caused by the speed of interstellar travel.

The third section, "The Last Generation" then recounts the marvelous but frightening transformation of the Last Generation of human children into spiritual beings who escape the bonds of matter entirely and are absorbed in a great mystical apocalypse into the Overmind, the collective consciousness of the Cosmos itself, "God."

One of the themes of the novel is that the Overlords themselves do not expect ever to be similarly absorbed into the Overmind. Though they are its servants who go about the galaxies overseeing the transformation of biological species into spirit, their race is not evolving in that direction. They forever remain barren.

Here's the ending:
In a soundless concussion of light, Earth's core gave up its hoarded energies. For a little while the gravitational waves crossed and re-crossed the Solar System, disturbing ever so slightly the orbits of the planets. Then the Sun's remaining children pursued their ancient paths once more, as corks floating on a placid lake ride out the tiny ripples set in motion by a falling stone.

There was nothing left of Earth. [The transformed children who were leaving Earth to become one with the Overmind] had leeched away the last atoms of its substance. It had nourished them through the fierce moments of their inconceivable metamorphosis. as the food stored in a grain of wheat feeds the infant plant while it climbs towards the Sun.

Six thousand million kilometers beyond the orbit of Pluto, Karellen sat before a suddenly darkened screen. The record was complete. the mission ended: he was homeward bound for the world he had left so long ago. The weight of centuries was upon him, and a sadness that no logic could dispel. He did not mourn for man: his sorrow was for his own race, forever barred from greatness by forces it could not overcome.

For all their achievements, thought Karellen, for all their mastery of the physical universe, his people were no better than a tribe that had passed its whole existence upon some flat and dusty plain. Far off were the mountains, where power and beauty dwelt, where the thunder sported above the glaciers and the air was clear and keen. There the sun still walked, transfiguring the peaks with glory, when all the land below was wrapped in darkness. And they could only watch and wonder; they could never scale those heights.

Yet, Karellen knew, they would hold fast until the end; they would await without despair whatever destiny was theirs. They would serve the Overmind because they had no choice, but even in that service they would not lose their souls.
 
Understanding that Sir Arthur was a gay man helps explain Karellen and the Overlords. I childhood's end - first covercorresponded for a while with Clarke, in the late 1990s, when I sought his permission to acknowledge him as a sort of gay wise man/prophet in one of my books on gay spiritual sensitivity. I learned that he was quite fascinated with the role homosexuals have played in history as leaders of culture. C.A. Tripp's book, The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln, on Lincoln as gay had just been published and Clarke was enthusiastic about this revelation as evidence.

It is said Clarke has left a collection of his writings--called the "Clarkives"--with the instruction they not be made public until 30 years after his death. I suspect the Clarkives are going to include those writings about homosexuality as cultural leadership.

So those 30 years correspond with the 50 years the Overlords kept themselves in hiding. And their "barrenness" corresponds with the homosexual experience of being excluded from the procession of the generations. Homosexuality has taken some getting used to in modern society. Old ideas have been shown to have been false, misleading and misguided. The Overlords' appearance as devils who turn out to be "angels" as midwives of Earth's planetary mind parallels the recognition of the role homosexuals play in human evolution.

The Overlords in some very real way in Arthur C. Clarke's consciousness, I believe, represent gay people as service providers and culture leaders. And religion, mystical phenomena, and the "mysterious world" (as Clarke's TV shows about fringe phenomena was called) represent the evidence and form of the evolution of human consciousness into "God," i.e., the Overmind, the consciousness of the Cosmos itself. Gay people are the shamans and gatekeepers who work for the development of planetary consciousness and reveal the real meaning of religion.

Read Toby Johnson's essay on Arthur C. Clarke

Read Toby Johnson's suggestions for the Best Gay Science Fiction novels


An updated, revised and expanded edition of Toby Johnson's classic soft sci fi romance novel
SECRET MATTER -- with its quirky and mystical spin on what it means to be gay. Click on the title for info.
The novel begins with an homage to Clarke in the form of aliens arriving in great flying saucers over all the major cities of Earth.



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Another "crypto-gay" character in Arthur C. Clarke's opus is the Jester Khedron in The City and the Stars.  Clarke's first novel was Against the Fall of Night which he later rewrote as The City and the Stars.

In the both versions of the story, the protagonist is a teenage boy, named Alvin, living in a future domed city called Diaspar that the inhabitants of believe is the only vestige of human life left on Earth.

The character of the Jester appears in the second novel. The Jester is a role that the Central Computer gives in each generation so that something will happen different from what has always happened.
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Alvin also is a new being, a creation of the Central Computer who will help lead Diaspar into the future by revealing what really happened in the past.

Khedron the Jester is a guide and helper for Kevin in his heroic quest.


Being such a "jester" and malcontent and goad for change is one of the roles gay men have always played--for better or worse. Khedron, I think, is an example of the gay man as guide for youth.

Alvin saves the world by discovering that most of what the inhabitants of Diaspar believe—and live in fear of—was myth and made-up legend. He discovers there is a whole universe beyond Diaspar. Isn't this the lesson gay men have to teach the youth of every generation?




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About the 2015 Syfy Movie


In December 2015, the Syfy Channel played a three-part mini-series "based on" Childhood's End.

I was relatively accepting of the needs of a movie to keep the same characters throughout, so it made sense to collapse the fifty years in Clarke's novel to a mere fifteen, and to have featured characters from the end of the book appear in the opening--that's specically Milo/Jan Rodricks. In the novel, he is a black South African named Jan; maybe that was a little too Afrikaans and Milo was more appropriate for a citizen of the new South Africa today. In the novel Rikki Stormgren who is the liaison between Earth and the Overlords is the Secretary General of the United Nations. That makes sense. The movie has him an anonymous farmer named Ricky, chosen, apparently, at random. The character of the Christian counselor, the disillusioned and disaffected suicidal mayor of New Athens and the emotionally fragile girlfriend of Milo are all new additions to the plot. I don't think they help; I think they muddle the message.

The book is so much simpler, and so much more realistic than this miniseries. It is science-fiction, not horror. It is about the next step in human evolution. In a way, it is about the true nature of God, not as a human myth, but as a reality in the cosmos at the level of consciousness.

It is a scientifically sensible version of the Christian myth of the Second Coming and the Millennium of Peace. In Clarke's retelling the story, the Savior arrives in a spaceship and bestows technological and scientific boons to usher in The Golden Age, and then assists the Earth through a final stage of evolution into pure spirit. The irony Clarke adds to the familiar story is that the angels who come to prepare the way turn out to look like "devils." But they have come to do good, indeed, the best possible good—to usher humanity into oneness with God, the consciousness of the Cosmos.

In the book, several of the main characters have come to the party at Rupert Boyce’s in Africa, but as a matter of their social lives, not because of sinister "invitations." It's a housewarming party for old friends and an introduction to Rupert's new wife. This is how Jan Rodricks and the Greggsons are introduced. Boyce has a huge collection of books about unexplained phenomena, psychic powers and mystical material and religion. In the novel, there are numerous Overlords, not just Karellen. One of them named Rashaverak is at Boyce’s studying his library when the party happens. As the party is winding down, some people, including Rupert, the Greggsons, and Jan, who is Rupert Boyce's new brother-in-law, are playing with an old-time ouija board. Rashaverak also comes to watch. The ouija board—as they usually do—begins to spell out meaningful sentences. But after a while they seem to be about the Overlords: Man is not alone Near Man is Country of Others. Then Jan speaks up from the group and asks “Which star is the Overlords’ sun?” And the ouija board answers "NGS549672," an astronomical address of a star in the constellation Carina. This is how Jan/Milo discovers the Overlords’ star.

The thing in the movie about the Overlords' alphabet being made up of constellations didn’t really make any sense. They are star-travelers, so the “constellations” would change from every different perspective. And actually in both novel and movie, there's really no need for Jan to know which star they come from for him to want to stow away and go there to see.

But the big reversal in the plot in the movie from the book is the characterization of the Overlords. Karellen is made to be much too sinister in the movie. He wasn’t supposed to be “The Devil,” he was just from a race that looked like what human beings thought of as “devils.” What if they'd evolved from pterodactyls, for instance, flying reptiles? Or from bats?

One of the questions Rikki Stormgren ponders is what must have happened in early Earth history that introduced the image of the Overlords into Earth’s mythology, and especially, why as "devils." In the novel, in a show of affection and trust, Karellen allows Rikki to see him fleetingly through the one-way glass some fifty years before the rest of the world will see. This scene is paralleled in the novel by Ricky the Farmer holding his camera against the mirror as Karellen says, "Goodbye, Ricky."

Playing off Clarke’s idea in 2001: A Space Odyssey, I think maybe we can draw the implication that the Overlords had been to Earth in the distant past and maybe even originally seeded Earth with intelligence or somehow intervened in primate evolution to introduce intelligence—and that is what is mythologized in the Bible and popular legend as the devil’s temptation to eat of the fruit of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They came for good, but it was misunderstood. And that's the irony throughout Clarke's retelling of the Second Coming.

Kareelen as muppetAt the mall recently,  I saw this stuffed doll in the window of Make-a-Bear Workshop. It’s actually Toothless the Dragon from the movie How to Train Your Dragon. But this is what Karellen should have looked more like. This would be a muppet of him, of course. But he wasn't a monster; he was only devil-like in appearance. Think Underwood Deviled Ham.underwood devil

He is the "snake" in the Garden of Eden, of course, but not as the enemy in the war between Good and Evil, but as the bestower of life and consciousness. (This is what Jeffrey J Kripal discusses in the wonderful book The Serpent's Gift: Gnostic Reflections on the Study of Religion.)

In the novel, The Overlords are much more beneficent. They are simply an advanced race who come to earth and bestow boons of technology and knowledge. AND they are interested in the human race’s “mystical” abilities — which they themselves don’t have.

The conflict in the movie over religion is a much more exaggerated expression of this idea about the Overlords’ interest in religion and mysticism. That whole episode in which the crazy Christian woman shoots Karellen is inserted into the plot for the movie. It didn't help.

And the idea that Karellen protected Ricky from the pain of having children doesn’t fit the plot either. What is going to happen to the children is wonderful. They are advancing to the next step in the evolution of spirit.

But in Clarke it is all very straight forward science that explains the mystical phenomena as evolution of consciousness.

The children are not damned; they don't fly off into space. In fact, they are lovable and their psychic traits are lovable. It's sad, of course, when Karellen explains to Humankind that this is the last generation, but it's not horrific. The children love their parents and are tearful to leave when the spaceships come to pick them up and transport them to Australia. But it is understood that this is for their protection and to allow them to continue in their mystical/spiritual/consciousness growth.

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Toby Johnson, PhD is author of nine books: three non-fiction books that apply the wisdom of his teacher and "wise old man," Joseph Campbell to modern-day social and religious problems, four gay genre novels that dramatize spiritual issues at the heart of gay identity, and two books on gay men's spiritualities and the mystical experience of homosexuality and editor of a collection of "myths" of gay men's consciousness. 

Johnson's book GAY SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness won a Lambda Literary Award in 2000.

His  GAY PERSPECTIVE: Things Our [Homo]sexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe was nominated for a Lammy in 2003. They remain in print.

FINDING YOUR OWN TRUE MYTH: What I Learned from Joseph Campbell: The Myth of the Great Secret III tells the story of Johnson's learning the real nature of religion and myth and discovering the spiritual qualities of gay male consciousness.

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