Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Charles Fort

Paraview is reprinting turn of the century anomalist extraordinaire Charles Fort's books. And they want me to provide two paragraphs of commentary on "Lo!" that will appear on the back cover (along with a plug for my own Fortean book, "After the Martian Apocalypse"). Sweet.

Here's what I came up with:

Fort's third book, "Lo!," is a classic work of studied iconoclasm, a restless ensemble of anecdotes that produces a singular sense of unease mingled with awe, gape-jawed amazement -- and a pang of existential fright. Fort's parade of scientific anomalies frames the larger anomaly that is human existence. "Lo!" is a book with the capacity to rewire brains and sculpt new lenses for seeing the unexpected, the unexplained -- and perhaps for glimpsing our own role in Fort's mystifying cosmic scheme.

This book is a singularity, a focal point so rich with heretical memes that it's infected an entire century with its bizarre implications and sense of the inexplicable. Perhaps if Charles Fort had never existed, we would have been forced to invent him, or someone like him. But it's doubtful we could have improved on him. "Lo!" is something new and correspondingly startling: a crack in the veneer of orthodoxy and an impassioned plunge into the deep black waters of a most enigmatic planet. Go with Fort, with new eyes, and revel in what you discover.

(Coming to bookstores near you.)