TagThe Invisibles

Critique of The Invisibles

Philip Sandifer wrote a sharp critique of The Invisibles. Here’s a bit about the role of chaos magic in the book and how it, although as he notes it has been around since the 70s, rose to prominence in the 90s:

Chaos magic is magic for libertarians. It sprung up, unsurprisingly, in the late nineties because it was a flavor particularly suitable for the techno-libertarians who disproportionately dominated the early Internet. And it was, in hindsight, a complete and utter bust. It’s just another flavor of the Heinlein-style science fiction that animated Babylon 5 and space opera in general. It amounts to Robert Heinlein in fetish gear, which is mostly just redundant.

Full Story: TARDIS Eruditorum: Pop Between Realities, Home in Time for Tea 52 (The Invisibles)

I’m not sure if he’s referring to chaos magic or The Invisibles as “Robert Heinlein in fetish gear,” but either one seems appropriate. It hits on one of the paradox’s of Morrison’s work, which is that on the one hand he dismisses the idea of individuality as silly Western Thoughts, but simultaneously spouts individualist and libertarian rhetoric.

He adds in the comments:

I thought about dealing with Lord Fanny. But that involves getting into Grant Morrison’s frankly shameful engagement with transgender issues, and that’s really far afield. And just makes me angry. [...]

It’s not even that Fanny herself is bad. It’s that she fits into a larger and virulently transphobic context on Morrison’s part in which he casually deploys offensive slurs and appropriates trans experiences. It’s really astonishingly vile, and gets at the almost sociopathic narcissism that I find so infuriating about him. I think it’s very rare that Morrison manages an ounce of humanity in his work.

Sandifer wrote more on what was good and bad about The Invisibles in his piece on Lawrence Miles’ Dead Romance. He also wrote about Grant Morrison’s Doctor Who comics, which also touches on the rivalry between Morrison and Alan Moore.

All of this is part of Sandifer’s massive ongoing critique of Doctor Who, which he promises to follow in a few years with an in-depth look at the Morrison/Moore.

See also: Invisible Sexuality: Lord Fanny and the Gender Question

Invisibles Fan Film: Pavlov’s Dogs

Pavlov’s Dogs is an Invisibles fan film edited by Trevor Blake and starring Nabil Shaban as the voice of Mister Quimper.

Shaban is an actor and filmmaker who in addition to having appeared in several films has worked with the Crass Collective and appeared as a Doctor Who villain. Trevor wrote an essay on Skin Horse, Shaban’s documentary about the sex lives of the disabled here.

Full credits:

Grant Morrison: creator and writer.
Chris Weston: penciller.
Ray Kryssing: Inker.
Daniel Vozzo: color and separation.
Todd Klein: letterer.
Shelly Roeberg: editor.

Nabil Shaban: Mr. Quimper.
eph.zero: Jolly Roger.
Trevor Blake: sound and tremendous gratitude to all of the above.

Queen of England Names Grant Morrison a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire

Invisibles author Grant Morrison has been officially inducted into the Outer Church:

Every year for her Birthday, Queen Elizabeth II names a bunch of people (well, it’s not her, but it’s done through her, she’s the middle man) to honour with various orders of chivalry, she basically dubs them with a sword and gives them a medal.

The Outhouse: GRANT MORRISON GIVEN AN MBE BY THE QUEEN!

(thanks Cat Vincent)

Invisible Babies = Codename: Kids Next Door

Codename Kids Next Door = The Invisibles

Danny Chaoflux on the similarities between The Invisibles by Grant Morrison and the Cartoon Network show Codename: Kids Next Door.

1: The leader, bald, wears shades, really into spy stuff.

2: Inventor/Shaman, always cracks jokes, “the weird one”, overweight [ie: Future Fanny].

3: Shes nuts.

4: Street thug with thick accent and hoodie.

5: Cool headed, laid back tomboy, specialty is stealth and investigation.

Theme : Worldwide loose knit cells operate in secret to protect and encourage freedom from tyranny.

The Antagonists : ‘The Old Gods’ and their lesser manifestations.

This has been brought up a number of places on the internet, but I wanted to shop an image to go along with it paired with a breakdown.

Sure you could say its a blatant rip off, but I think its more interesting to think of it as a starter set of key memes.

Stop Making Sense: Invisible Babies = Codename: Kids Next Door

Official Codename: Kids Next Door website.

Lost and the Supercontext – Guest Post

Lost and the Supercontext
by Edward Wilson

There does seem to be different rules involved when it comes to death and the island. It reminds me of both Donnie Darko and The Invisibles. In Donnie Darko dying in the time loop allowed someone to step out of regular time as Frank the Bunny does. From this new position he is able to effect events. Similar effects are in play in The Invisibles comic series by Grant Morrison.

Many characters in Lost seem to stick around and influence events even after death. For the most part they are not shown as physically interacting with the world but guiding people’s actions and it is
implied there is manipulation of probability.

Christian Sheppard, Jack’s father, is the clearest example of afterlife hijinks. He was dead when he arrived on the island but has been influencing events ever since. He was the first mysterious apparition and lead Jack to the fresh water source. He’s never been shown physically interacting with anyone or directly effecting the environment. It is implied that Christian also has a probability
manipulation ability that was being used to Keep Michael alive until he completed his usefulness to the island.

There is also the tendency of the smoke monster to appear to people in the forms of, and with the knowledge of, people who are deceased, such as Eko’s brother or Ben’s daughter Alex. Whether these are truly examples of people existing past their death or just trickery on the part of the smoke monster needs further examples to determine.

Then there are the various deceased characters who interact with Hurley. While the show leaves us the option of believing that his just crazy I think that these apparitions are more like the various forms the smoke monster takes or Christian’s on going actions. Hurley is just more sensitive than normal, this is why he was able to see Jacob’s cabin. The island itself seems to be outside of normal time, as evidenced by the time differential involved in traveling to the boat.

This is to say nothing of John Locke’s return from the dead, which may be a completely different matter. Suffice to say Ben is a little mistaken when he says “Dead is dead.”

Perhaps anyone encountering the island imprints their awareness and form on it along the lines of a back-up drive. That the island functions as a kind of afterlife computer and the smoke monster
screens the bad souls out? An ancient egyptian virus scanner.

Interesting living as magic

This is an old article I wrote for the now defunct Key 23/Key 64 web site. It’s old piece of writing that I don’t stand by any more, but it does provide some background for the concepts I’ll be exploring here. The archive.org version contains the original comments, which are also worth reading.

From hypersigils to hyperstition or even Michael Moore’s claim that we’re living in fictitious times, the life as fiction meme seems stronger than ever.

Grant Morrison often talks about hypersigils, which to him seem to represent one of the highest workings of magic. In his “Pop Magic!” chapter of the Disinfo Book of Lies, he writes “The hypersigil can take the form of a poem, a story, a dance or any other extended artistic activity you wish to try.” His own famous hypersigil, the Invisibles, came in the form of a comic book serialized over six years. He’s been inconsistent about the intent and the effects of this hypersigil, but I think he sums it up when he says it “enveloped me in a shiny, global sci-fi lifestyle I was really only dreaming of when I started writing the book in 1994” (CBR interview).

In other words, it made his life more exciting. For Morrison this is one of the most important aspects of magic (though he also says “… if you’re going to be a magician at all it’s not about wanting to be scary and wearing a robe or something, what you have to do is you have to do things for people” [Disinfo interview]).

R.U. Sirius describes a rather easier method of achieving a “narrative lifestyle”:

In terms of social engineering, I think that, you know, you think of yourself as being in a story, and life will start to have the kind of dynamics that you would have if you were in a story, rather than if you were part of some dire laborious mechanism, you know… ( Better Propaganda interview)

And, actually, Morrison sort of backs this up:

I’d say to myself or whoever I was with, ‘It’ll look good in the biography.’ and then I’d go ahead and do whatever daft thing it was – like taking acid on the sacred mesa or doing the bungee-jump, getting the haircut, dancing with the stranger, talking to the crowd – whatever I was ’scared’ of mostly, or fancied doing, or never dared before, I’d try it on the basis that it would make for a more interesting read one day. (Pop Image interview)

At the other extreme, hyperstition, a confusing theory getting a thorough discussion on the Hyperstition blog, is more work than hypersigilization. Although loosely defined as “fictions that make themselves real” hyperstitions have more complex characteristics than hypersigils. Anna Greenspan elucidates this in several posts on the blog, but a good starting point is here.

As a completely lazy writer, I’ve had more luck with R.U.’s method. There was a thread on Barbelith a while back asking if your life was written and drawn by comics creators, who would do it? I determined that my life was currently being written and drawn by Peter Bagge, but that I’d like it to be written by Grant Morrison, drawn by Philip Bond, and have a soundtrack by Gold Chains. But I never did any ritual to invoke a creative change in my life. But I did eventually write a statement of intent on my blog, and it seems to have worked. Since then my life’s been a bit more exciting. Among other things I’ve traveled across Europe, taken up rock climbing, and joined this elite band of occulture thinkers.

I’m curious to hear personal experiences of hypersigilization, hyperstition creation, and fiction as life, as well as ideas for furthering the process.

Consciousness time travel: Paul Laffoley, the Invisibles, and the Voudon Gnostic Workbook

“paul laffoley The Time Machine : GEOCHRONMECHANE : From The Earth

Apparently, the way time travel works on Lost is movement of consciousness through time and space to experience “retrocognition of the past and occasions of precognition of the future.” The breathtaking occult art of Paul Laffoley has dealt with this subject for years, most notably in his painting The Time Machine : GEOCHRONMECHANE : From The Earth – the plans to build a working time machine. More info can be found on Paul Laffoley here. He can also be heard explaining his time travel plans in his lecture at Esozone 2007.

I’m also reminded of the occult action comic The Invisibles, which I reviewed here. Characters in the Invisibles use a consciousness projection technique to travel through space and time. The source for the time travel techniques of the Invisibles is the book The Voudon Gnostic Workbook, a collection of materials Michael Bertiaux used to instruct his cult in Chicago.

However, Michael Szul of Key 64 points out that the Invisibles can travel to places in time that they haven’t been and don’t need a “host body.” He suggests that the time travel in this episode is more reminiscent of Slaughterhouse Five. Lostpedia has this to say on the subject:

Desmond, during one of his flashbacks/time travels, speaks to someone else in the military with him. His friend’s name is Billy. Billy Pilgrim is the main character in Slaughterhouse Five. The narration of the story of Billy Pilgrim begins: “Listen. Billy Pilgrim has become unstuck in time.” When Desmond is with Daniel in 1996 and Daniel is about to experiment on Eloise, he says that he is going to unstick her in time. Also, the narrator of Slaughterhouse Five, Vonnegut, says that he likes to call old girlfriends late at night. Desmond calls Penelope at night. When Desmond spoke with Mrs. Hawking, she said that events are structured and that the universe will course correct. In Slaughterhouse Five, Billy Pilgrim explains that , according to the Tralfamadorians, aliens who can see the fourth dimension, time is structured and events cannot be changed (we are like bugs in amber). When asked about the end of the universe, the Tralfamadorians explain that one of their test pilots presses a button that destroys the universe. Billy asks why they cannot stop the pilot from pressing the button, and they reply that the pilot always has and always will press the button. The moment is structured that way. Desmond’s purpose, according to Mrs. Hawking, is to turn the key and he cannot avoid it. The moment is structured that way. Billy Pilgrim sees the future, and even predicts his own death. Desmond predicted Charlie’s death and other events on the island.

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