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Weird Scenes Inside the Godmind
Douglas A. Mackey
Qubik Books, 313 pages

Weird Scenes Inside the Godmind
Douglas A. Mackey

Douglas A. Mackey was born on July 27, 1947, in Evanston, Illinois. After completing a Ph.D. in English from the University of Kansas in 1976, he spent a couple of years in academia, the switched to publishing and edited text and reference books. He later transitioned into software engineering. He is married to Sally Henderson and lives in Fairfield, Iowa, where he currently works as an editor for Pocket PC magazine. He is also an editor for Time Portal Publications, working with Janet Sussman on her New Age physics books Timeshift and The Reality of Time. He is the author of six non-fiction books: The Rainbow Quest of Thomas Pynchon (1980); D.H. Lawrence: The Poet Who Was Not Wrong (1986); Philip K. Dick (1988); The Work of Ian Watson: An Annotated Bibliography and Guide (1989); Doors into the Play. A Few Practical Keys for Theatricians (with Dr. Sydney H. Spayde) (1993); and The Dance of Conciousness: Enlightenment in Modern Literature (1994).

Philip K. Dick
Qubik Books
Author's homepage
Past Feature Reviews
A review by Georges T. Dodds

On the back of Weird Scenes Inside the Godmind, we have Ian Watson telling us that the man, who hosts an Ian Watson tribute site, has written a book which is "wonderfully witty, invigorating, high-spirited, inventive -- and very sexy too. This is a really unique book, and a lot of serious fun! If Philip K. Dick and Rudy Rucker turn you on, read this now." Considering that Douglas Mackey has also published a scholarly analysis of Dick's work, one can assume he knows his Dick. Well I must confess to neither knowing Dick (besides seeing Bladerunner once) or Rucker, but if they are anything like Weird Scenes Inside the Godmind, I'll be sure to steer clear.

Let me first admit a few biases. As a research scientist and atheist, I must confess that all the New Age mumbo-jumbo of Weird Scenes Inside the Godmind, not to mention an author who describes his hobbies as his Dharmic gig, leaves me rather unimpressed. Also, never having read Philip K. Dick's work, I can't claim to even have an inkling of what his work was like, what messages it contained, or what -- from what I'm told -- made him a great writer. So if Douglas Mackey had indeed achieved Dick, I wouldn't have known it. To give you some idea how out of touch I am, when I began reading Weird Scenes Inside the Godmind, I imagined it to be a New Age version of Charles Williams' spiritual threat novels of the 30s. As much as I dislike Williams' theology, at least he was a good writer. However, to show you I'm not entirely unaware of the last 50 years, and for the younger among you, note that the title Weird Scenes Inside the Godmind is no doubt derived from the lyrics from The Doors apocalyptic song "The End" by way of their 1972 "Best of" double album Weird Scenes Inside the Goldmine -- the fact that Jim Morrison appears as a character in the novel is also a bit of hint.

The plot has Ronan doing a Edgar Cayce exercise in channeling a presumably Dick-like author's posthumous masterpiece, Mark getting involved in a play with a woman who is actually a good old fashioned BEM (Bug-eyed Monster), Mary Anna, an unstable therapist who becomes a homicidal whore while possessed by the evil entity Da, and Cora a nouveau-vampire who is reaching new spiritual levels through her Tibetan guru. These four misfits are supposed to unify in some transcendent state when the apocalypse comes and the in-crowd heads for the 5th Dimension (up, up and away in their beautiful balloons?), while the spiritual have-nots end up in the presumably no-so-hot 4th dimension.

Now to get down to the nitty-gritty, this is why I think this book isn't worth reading even if it were revealed to have been channelled from the great Dick himself. No character development or, when there are developments, these seem arbitrary and more a question of getting a bogged-down character up and around and onto another plot thread. The plot, well I guess it's minimal at best, but where is it going? The characters defeat the evil entity Da and a pair of aliens with virtually no effort and reach a transcendent state, big deal; there's zero suspense, zero villain charisma or power. These saviors don't seem very concerned that Earth is being taken over and run by aliens, or that the have-nots are going to be dumped off in some sort of 4th dimensional limbo -- well they are part of the in-crowd, the chosen, so why give a shit about the unenlightened, let's save our own butts. Oh, yeah and they have sex -- yawn! As for deep spiritual concepts being presented, I suppose there may be, but theologians have been coming up with those for millennia, so this isn't like Douglas Mackey is breaking any new ground. About the only redeeming feature is that there's a good bit of humor and observations on the silliness of some people, which will at least put a smirk to your lips.

If you're a big fan of Philip K. Dick, perhaps you might wish to subject yourself to Weird Scenes Inside the Godmind, I'm not in a position to comment on that. However, if your looking for a good, entertaining, coherent story you'll have to look elsewhere. So if you want some weird scenes, turn up The Doors real loud and listen, you'll likely enjoy the experience much better.

Copyright © 2003 by Georges T. Dodds

Georges Dodds is a research scientist in vegetable crop physiology, who for close to 25 years has read and collected close to 2000 titles of predominantly pre-1950 science-fiction and fantasy, both in English and French. He writes columns on early imaginative literature for WARP, the newsletter/fanzine of the Montreal Science Fiction and Fantasy Association and maintains a site reflecting his tastes in imaginative literature.

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