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Join My Cult! Paperback – November 1, 2004
Top Customer Reviews
form or pattern to make sense of the chaos. The meticulous geometries
often accompanying psychedelic hallucination are one example of this
phenomena, as are the covoluted Jesus complexes of some schizophrenics.
The brain, it seems, is an organizing device that recoils
at disorder and attempts to subdue it with it's own imposed
sensibilities. Such is the experience of reading James Curcio's
mindwarping novel, Join My Cult!
Alexi and Ken are two teenagers in suburbia trying to cut through all
the normalcy and order of their lives by investigating the arcane and
occult. Their deepening investigations into the nature of reality and
the hive mind begins to reveal the seeming existence of an enigmatic
cult: The Mother Hive Brain Syndicate. Johny, another teen trying to
sort his way through a world increasingly inconsistent with what he's
been raised to believe, also discovers the fiendish machinations of
MHBS. Meanwhile, Agent 139 and Jesus (and later, Agent 506) are
clearly agents of MHBS hell-bent on completely eradicating the status
quo consensual reality through an increasingly severe rash of pranks
and thoughtcrimes, culminating in the destruction of a Lenny's diner.
Behind them all looms the mysterious mystic Aleonus de Gabrael - sort
of a younger, more vital Alan Moore, or a more overtly revolutionary
Aleister Crowley - guiding and educating the whole lot, possibly as
the head of MHBS and it's affiliates.
What are the aims of this counter cultural eso-terror organization?
Curcio never makes it quite clear and it's uncertain whether or not
they even exist, but that's all part of the game. The narrative is
fractured and hallucinogenic, veering from coherent tales of Alexi and
Ken's experiences guiding their group into uncharted waters, then
diving into unhinged dreams, alien/entity encounters, psychedelic
journeys, schizophrenic agitprop confrontations by Jesus and Agent
139, then swinging back into deeply revealing and compelling
thoughts on magick and reality. Indeed, the most astounding current
within Curcio's work is the depth and practicality of his
understanding of those technologies commonly referred to as The
Occult. Within the more sober dialogues Curcio presents an ontology
that reaches into the soul and reveals to the reader the error of
history and the path to its redemption. These insights are the
unshakable foundation of a house that's quickly falling into the
The work, above all, is Abyssal. It's fractured like the mirror of Self
that recurs throughout the novel, plunging into the depths of madness.
The sober voice of Aleonis is the only light through the dark night,
impelling us to break the mirror but also telling us how to put it
back together again. Solve et coagula. The characters are at once
illusory and amorphous, difficult to pin down and understand, then
suddenly and surprisingly rich with inner turmoil and suffering,
deeply human and alive against the howling wind. Amidst the chaos, the
heartfelt moments of confession and intimacy anchor the characters and
remind us that they're human too, in spite of the extremity of their
divorce from the consensus. And it's this intimacy, this thirst for
community and a sense of one's tribe, that Curcio is begging us to
acknowledge within ourselves and to make manifest in an increasingly
lonely and fragmented world.
At times the story hints at science fiction or some alien technology
wielded with possibly sinister motives by the Mother Hive Brain. As
all visions do, the narrative continuously fades from dreamscape to
hallucination to schizophrenia, so any real attempt to follow some of
these literary devices ultimately fails. In other words, don't expect
Join My Cult! to answer as many questions as it raises. Seemingly
important elements of the story that are introduced early on are
completely abandoned in the later half. Diverse characters begin to
overlap and appear to be the same, possibly all of them only a single
being reflected through multiple selves. Maybe it all happened, or
maybe it was all a hallucination of Alexi's. Like Wilson & Shea's epic
Illuminatus! (to which Cuciro's work has already been compared by
Peter Carroll) the
journey is more important than the destination.
Join My Cult! will surely baffle many readers and annoy others, but it
should nevertheless be standard reading for anyone questioning the
world they've been told is real when their experiences plainly
contradict it. Consume it like a drug or a hypersigil. Just take it
in, don't get too caught up in finding patterns, and let it seep into
your blood and work it's magick. Join the cult, but know that, as
Gabrael says, "the real order that doles out initiation, that creates
the kind of synchronicities that brought you here and will carry you
on to the next step of your mission, is the Universe itself."
The novel opens with the introduction of Gabrael, one of the most realistic portrayals of an illuminated adept or `Invisible Master' that I've read in a while. Shortly after we are introduced to the hero, Alexi, constantly tossing flashes of insight over his shoulder, and his best mate Ken. There is large cast of other characters, most of which seem to be direct reflections of Alexi and Ken in various shades, deliberately giving it a sort of kaleidoscope effect.
Any attempt to summarize the plot would be futile: there isn't one. At least not in the traditional sense. There are bits of story, and each scene is layered with characters and images with often profound occult significance, and it moves from one to another with no obvious thread to tie them together.
Densely packed with occult, philosophic and paranoid conspiratorial references this is not a book to be rushed through. It barely makes sense as it is. It's a kind of Cosmic Banditos meets The Illuminatus! Trilogy meets disillusioned teen angst lit, and none of these.
Join My Cult! is a clever, insightful and daring adventure into the surreal depths of the subconscious mind, and, if you'll forgive the pun, it has all the makings of a cult classic.
with cancer. I had also been re-reading Joseph Cambell, and
reading both Timothy Leary and Terence McKenna for the
first times. Extremely tired and dealing with satori-like small
seizures, I began reading this book at night as a dalliance.
An amusement with which to end the day.
As it turned out, the book was instead a compendium of
every single thing that was going on in my life. The information
in the book is dense and the effects were profound. I'd read a paragraph or three a night, and just go to sleep thinking about them.
It was as if I'd stumbled on a primer for chaos theory, hidden in
a mirror passing itself off as a book. It is not possbile for me to recommend this book highly enough to psychonauts, cyberpunks, and misfits of all shapes and sizes. It's a real hoot. A great trip.
Tune in, turn on, abandon hope, and welcome to the Mother
Hive Brain. Enjoy!!!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If I had to characterize the tone, it's like Grant Morrison meets Samuel Beckett.Read more
It's a must-read for anyone venturing into the 21st century!
I do agree with the previous review though, there are a LOT of occult and philosophical references...Read more