In many ways, twentieth-century America was the land of superheroes and science fiction. From Superman and the X-Men to the Fantastic Four these pop-culture juggernauts, with their "powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men," thrilled readers and audiences - and simultaneously embodied a host of our dreams and fears about modern life and the onrushing future. But that's just scratching the surface, says Jeffrey J. Kripal. In "Mutants and Mystics", he offers a brilliantly insightful account of how comic book heroes have helped their creators and fans alike explain a wealth of paranormal experiences ignored by mainstream science. Delving deeply into the work of major figures in the field - from Jack Kirby's cosmic superhero sagas and Philip K. Dick's futuristic head-trips to Alan Moore's sex magic and Whitley Strieber's communion with visitors - Kripal shows how creators turned to science fiction to convey the reality of the inexplicable and the paranormal they experienced in their lives.
Expanded consciousness found its language in the metaphors of sci-fi-incredible powers, unprecedented mutations, vast intergalactic intelligences-and the themes from mythology and religion they drew from; the wildly creative work that followed caught the imaginations of millions. Moving deftly from Cold War science and Fredric Wertham's anticomics crusade to gnostic revelation and alien abduction, Kripal spins out a hidden history of American culture, rich with mythical themes and shot through with an awareness that there are other realities beyond our everyday understanding. A bravura performance, beautifully illustrated and brimming over with incredible anecdotes, "Mutants and Mystics" is that rarest of things: a book that is guaranteed to broaden - and maybe even blow - your mind.
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Number of pages: 376
Weight: 993 g
Dimensions: 216 x 156 x 41 mm
"Mutants and Mystics chronicles the emergence of a complex and startlingly dangerous energy in our world. Because we don't know what it is, we identify it as paranormal. But perhaps what it should really be called is 'abnormally powerful,' for, as Jeff Kripal reveals with satisfying skill in this book, it has come to define the very essence of the popular imagination. Instead of fairies and sylphs and gorgons, our rationalist world is defied by a folklore of superheroes, supervillains, and dangerous strangers, and, as I know all too well, can be shattered by them in some very real ways. Mutants and Mystics is the first book that shines the light of reason and insight into this swarming forest. As a wanderer here, I found the light that poured from these pages as blessed as it is breathtaking." -Whitley Strieber"