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The Flight to Lucifer: A Gnostic Fantasy

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Bloom's fascination with David Lindsay's philosophical fantasy led him to compose a sequel in 1979. The Flight to Lucifer, his only work of fiction. Though reviews were positive, he disowned it. His self-conscious theoretical interest in the nature of fantasy literature weighed it down too heavily. He's said he'd remove every copy of the book from every library if he could Bloom's fascination with David Lindsay's philosophical fantasy led him to compose a sequel in 1979. The Flight to Lucifer, his only work of fiction. Though reviews were positive, he disowned it. His self-conscious theoretical interest in the nature of fantasy literature weighed it down too heavily. He's said he'd remove every copy of the book from every library if he could. Lindsay's A Voyage to Arcturus, supplied the concept of a voyage thru space to a planet created by a demiurge & other incidental features of the book. However, most of its content derives fairly directly from gnosticism. In Lindsay, the passionate giant Maskull & the thin, intense Nightspore, are taken from Earth to the planet Tormance by Krag, a mysterious figure who's a residue of the true godhead, Muspel, unassimilated by the false creations of Tormance's demiurge, Crystalman. Bloom's novel reproduces this formula with names drawn directly from gnostic history & cosmology. Maskull becomes Thomas Perscors, "thru fire", identified as an incarnation of Primal Man. Nightspore's correlate is Seth Valentinus, a reincarnation of the theologian. Their guide is an Aeon, Olam, an emanation of the true god. Lucifer is controlled by "Saklas", gnostic name for the false creator. Olam has brought Perscors to Lucifer to fight Saklas, & has brought Valentinus so he can remember his true self. This is also drawn from Lindsay. However, the details of their adventures differ & in the end Perscors cripples Saklas & changes the order of things on Lucifer, whereas Nightspore's victory is to escape Crystalman's clutches & see reality as it is, tho vowing to return to Earth to free others.


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Bloom's fascination with David Lindsay's philosophical fantasy led him to compose a sequel in 1979. The Flight to Lucifer, his only work of fiction. Though reviews were positive, he disowned it. His self-conscious theoretical interest in the nature of fantasy literature weighed it down too heavily. He's said he'd remove every copy of the book from every library if he could Bloom's fascination with David Lindsay's philosophical fantasy led him to compose a sequel in 1979. The Flight to Lucifer, his only work of fiction. Though reviews were positive, he disowned it. His self-conscious theoretical interest in the nature of fantasy literature weighed it down too heavily. He's said he'd remove every copy of the book from every library if he could. Lindsay's A Voyage to Arcturus, supplied the concept of a voyage thru space to a planet created by a demiurge & other incidental features of the book. However, most of its content derives fairly directly from gnosticism. In Lindsay, the passionate giant Maskull & the thin, intense Nightspore, are taken from Earth to the planet Tormance by Krag, a mysterious figure who's a residue of the true godhead, Muspel, unassimilated by the false creations of Tormance's demiurge, Crystalman. Bloom's novel reproduces this formula with names drawn directly from gnostic history & cosmology. Maskull becomes Thomas Perscors, "thru fire", identified as an incarnation of Primal Man. Nightspore's correlate is Seth Valentinus, a reincarnation of the theologian. Their guide is an Aeon, Olam, an emanation of the true god. Lucifer is controlled by "Saklas", gnostic name for the false creator. Olam has brought Perscors to Lucifer to fight Saklas, & has brought Valentinus so he can remember his true self. This is also drawn from Lindsay. However, the details of their adventures differ & in the end Perscors cripples Saklas & changes the order of things on Lucifer, whereas Nightspore's victory is to escape Crystalman's clutches & see reality as it is, tho vowing to return to Earth to free others.

30 review for The Flight to Lucifer: A Gnostic Fantasy

  1. 5 out of 5

    M.P. Gunderson

    Bloom’s disinherited work bears some similarities to Lindsay’s Arcturus in its minimalism and cadences that resemble primitive cave paintings with words. Like Arcturus, it also sets up a philosophical dream-like sequence on a distant planet, replete with warring philosophies that faintly echo a Socratic debate. The center of the debate revolves around the Pleroma, a gnostic concept, and the characters’ efforts to find it among a maelstrom of Luciferan forces preventing it from manifesting. Some Bloom’s disinherited work bears some similarities to Lindsay’s Arcturus in its minimalism and cadences that resemble primitive cave paintings with words. Like Arcturus, it also sets up a philosophical dream-like sequence on a distant planet, replete with warring philosophies that faintly echo a Socratic debate. The center of the debate revolves around the Pleroma, a gnostic concept, and the characters’ efforts to find it among a maelstrom of Luciferan forces preventing it from manifesting. Some may not like this several act play or sorts in a bizarre, unholistic environment, since the utterances of the characters are difficult to decipher, but the arcane dialogue shifts so many directions in interesting and profound ways, each page requires multiple re-readings. It was this sort of uncanny dialogue, not its minimalistic narration, that drove Lindsay’s Arcturus to success eventually after a failed start. It’s very nice in a way to see it recaptured in a slightly different way in Bloom’s follow-up.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Risible hooey. At least it's short. One of the worst novels I have ever read. A dull graduate course in gnosticism and hermeticism barely fictionalized. No plot, no characters to speak of, only Symbols and Mystery and a whole lot of Who The Fuck Cares. If possible, even duller than its source material, the intolerable A Voyage to Arcturus. Let this stand as an object lesson to all critics who would write. Risible hooey. At least it's short. One of the worst novels I have ever read. A dull graduate course in gnosticism and hermeticism barely fictionalized. No plot, no characters to speak of, only Symbols and Mystery and a whole lot of Who The Fuck Cares. If possible, even duller than its source material, the intolerable A Voyage to Arcturus. Let this stand as an object lesson to all critics who would write.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Erik Graff

    I found a hardback copy of this book at the old Volume II Bookstore in East Rogers Park, Chicago, and purchased it despite its price because it promised to have something to do with the topic of my undergraduate thesis, Gnosticism, and much to do with one of my favorite novels, David Lindsay's 'Voyage to Arcturus'. Sadly, I must agree with Bloom's own estimation of this, his sole novel. It is terrible, an abortion, far inferior to its model. I found a hardback copy of this book at the old Volume II Bookstore in East Rogers Park, Chicago, and purchased it despite its price because it promised to have something to do with the topic of my undergraduate thesis, Gnosticism, and much to do with one of my favorite novels, David Lindsay's 'Voyage to Arcturus'. Sadly, I must agree with Bloom's own estimation of this, his sole novel. It is terrible, an abortion, far inferior to its model.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Calvin

    I read this book because I'm writing novel based on gnostic myth and want to know how other writers have incorporated the theme into their novel. Unfortunately The Flight to Lucifer is one of the worst novel I have read, it has potential as the writer himself studying gnosticism extensively, but the poor execution made this novel is definitely not a good example of using gnosticism in fiction. I read this book because I'm writing novel based on gnostic myth and want to know how other writers have incorporated the theme into their novel. Unfortunately The Flight to Lucifer is one of the worst novel I have read, it has potential as the writer himself studying gnosticism extensively, but the poor execution made this novel is definitely not a good example of using gnosticism in fiction.

  5. 5 out of 5

    John

    Howard Bloom is the old curmudgeonly vanguard of the Western Canon and has written extensively on the Anxiety of Influence. It's clear he fell sway to those neuroses here with his sole novel, The Flight to Lucifer. Bloom paid to have the book go out-of-print and will buy copies of the book when he come across them to destroy them. The Flight of Lucifer is basically a retelling of David Lindsay's Voyage to Arcturus, albeit much more directly and with the Gnosticism more explicit. Very little plot Howard Bloom is the old curmudgeonly vanguard of the Western Canon and has written extensively on the Anxiety of Influence. It's clear he fell sway to those neuroses here with his sole novel, The Flight to Lucifer. Bloom paid to have the book go out-of-print and will buy copies of the book when he come across them to destroy them. The Flight of Lucifer is basically a retelling of David Lindsay's Voyage to Arcturus, albeit much more directly and with the Gnosticism more explicit. Very little plot and character but a ton of veil through Symbols and Mystery. While Voyage to Arcturus is a parable/morality play/dream manifesto/metaphysical Gulliver's Travels about the BIG QUESTIONS, its been a seminal influence on a lot of favorite writers (CS Lewis, Michael Moorecock, Neil Gaiman, Philip K. Dick, Gene Wolfe, Clive Barker, Jim Woodring, There's quite a few reviews here saying that this is the worst book they've ever read. If that's true, they need to read more. While it is perhaps shocking that such a puerile effort would come from Mr. Western Canon, it's also a reminder that regardless of how well-read you are, it doesn't necessarily mean you have the art and the way. This book feels like a dirty little secret (like Voyage to Arcturus is, without being as eccentric as the Worm Ouroborus, Jurgen, House on the Borderland and The King of Elfland's Daughter). It's not a good book, but I'm just so glad it exists.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Michael Joseph

    A total dreamscape. Still have only the faintest idea of what the book was about, but am now acquainted with a bunch of names from the gnostic mythology and with faint impressions of impossible interactions among unimaginable beings with ambiguous outcomes and steep though indecipherable consequences.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mathew

    I thought it was good. I didn't enjoy having to read the name "Perscors" in every other sentence. Strange names, ala a Thomas Pynchon novel, make you constantly pause as you try to pronounce its unusualness. For me this breaks up the reading experience. But the cover is one of the best I own. I thought it was good. I didn't enjoy having to read the name "Perscors" in every other sentence. Strange names, ala a Thomas Pynchon novel, make you constantly pause as you try to pronounce its unusualness. For me this breaks up the reading experience. But the cover is one of the best I own.

  8. 4 out of 5

    David

    I read this years ago and didn't care for it much at the time due to the peculiar execution. Some of the ideas and imagery made a lasting impression on me, though. I'm occasionally reminded of this odd book by odd events in my life, particularly ones in which the contrasting approaches of struggle and transcendence come into focus. I read this years ago and didn't care for it much at the time due to the peculiar execution. Some of the ideas and imagery made a lasting impression on me, though. I'm occasionally reminded of this odd book by odd events in my life, particularly ones in which the contrasting approaches of struggle and transcendence come into focus.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Will

    "Derivative" is a truism. This is a rewriting of A VOYAGE TO ARCTURUS... but with the Gnosticism explicit. "Derivative" is a truism. This is a rewriting of A VOYAGE TO ARCTURUS... but with the Gnosticism explicit.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    Harold Bloom wrote a sequel to David Lindsay's A VOYAGE TO ARCTURUS. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10... What a nut! Harold Bloom wrote a sequel to David Lindsay's A VOYAGE TO ARCTURUS. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10... What a nut!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Chris Feldman

    Odd -- I'm tempted to say Bizarre -- fiction on gnosticism by one of the subject's experts. Odd -- I'm tempted to say Bizarre -- fiction on gnosticism by one of the subject's experts.

  12. 4 out of 5

    R. Michael Duttera

  13. 4 out of 5

    Simon Bucher-Jones

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sean

  15. 5 out of 5

    Natarajan

  16. 4 out of 5

    DoctorM

  17. 5 out of 5

    Alexander

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lance

  19. 5 out of 5

    Micah

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rob Sullivan

  22. 4 out of 5

    Christine

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kevin McManus

  24. 5 out of 5

    SebastienB

  25. 4 out of 5

    david

  26. 4 out of 5

    Will

  27. 4 out of 5

    Barry Hill

  28. 5 out of 5

    H

  29. 5 out of 5

    Menkah

  30. 4 out of 5

    Elliott James

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