The irrational has a hold over us. Sure, we might not want it to, but we seem to need a world apart from our own to exist, a world where things are savage, strange, inexplicable, just across the borders of reason.
Sometimes the borders of reason retreat and the irrational becomes part of our lives.
The Age of Miracles is a collection of essays that concentrates on two particular aspects of this obsession we have with the irrational.
The long fall of Rome.
As Roman society collapsed, historical records and myths became intertwined; a people who once had roads, waterworks, central heating and almost daily historical annals entered an age where giants could become Emperor, where entire legions could vanish, where murdered men exonerated the accused from beneath the earth.
The revival of Atlantis.
Over the last 150 years, Plato's parable has become the myth that will not die, as first science and then the new religions that sprang up in the Victorian era grasped hold of the idea of an ur-civilisation that seeded the world. Atlantis has changed the way that we think about the world and about ourselves, and has been the cause of terrible crimes.
Since 2015 I've been blogging about these things online, and you can find the essays here:
And here are some highlights:
- How the stories we tell ourselves about the world are fundamentally irrational.
- How women become invisible for centuries.
- How a mentally ill man's exploitation by a magazine editor led to one of the most enduring twentieth century conspiracy myths.
- How, even though they became saints, women who had sex still get branded with slurs that the men don't.
- A deranged narrative where the founders of the church travel outside the realms of the known and into the uncanny.
- An empire driven mad by institutionalised survivor guilt.
- Neutrino Man.
- The birth of fringe archaeology and the New Age, and why they're inextricably linked.
- Why Mother Theresa's competence is irrelevant to her sainthood.
- An ancient prophet they said was better than Jesus.
If this campaign funds, I will collect and expand these essays into book form, and will be able to pay an editor and cover artist.
Stretch goals will include: more essays not on the blog, translations of Latin texts and other bonus content.
A bit about me
I write poetry, games, fiction and criticism.
I have an MPhil in Late Latin Literature and I've done editorial work for the British Government.
I worked on about forty books for White Wolf; I held down an artist's residency at my alma mater. I recently wrote, illustrated and self-published the postcolonial occult fantasy RPG Chariot, and before that sci-fi corporate satire party game MSG™, which was described by io9.com as "stuffed to the gills with black, black humour." I'm probably the only person whose video game avatar was not only cosplayed by a troupe of Russian strippers but also got to model in a European fashion magazine.
I've been obsessed with Atlantis since I was a kid. The Fall of Rome was the central theme of eight years of academic study.
Risks and challenges
So far, I've written 38 essays and have more planned, amounting to about 55,000 words so far, which is a decent book in its own right. They're blog posts, though, so in synthesising them for print/eBook, I'm going to have to go back and rewrite the awkward bits, check the slippery facts and edit the rough phrasings into something more elegant.
My time depends on my deciding I can put aside my current editorial work (I'm editing academic papers and writing game material, mostly) and working on this will ease the burden. If this is funded, I can put the time to making this a atructured, coherent whole.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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