Monday, July 27, 2009

Howard L. Myers

A Sense of Infinity collects about half of his total work, including his two novels. Myers himself, judging from the copyrights was a pulp author, mainly Analog, main Sixties and Seventies. The short stories, considered as a light hearted variant of Robert Sheckley, are engaging enough. But they could be considered as less imaginative and less evocative than Sheckley. They share a similar loose regard for the science part of science fiction.

This is not literally true of the novels Cloud Chamber and Ultmo Novo (a fixup of two novellas.) Cloud Chamber takes it titular image from the scientific instrument. But it involves antimatter entities, which are therefore antilife, their machinations against a science hero of our universe and his eventual triumph. The science in this one explicitly avows that thought is prior to matter, that the human soul is eternal and the ascent of humanity culminates in a kind of paradise, called here Avalon. The science here regards openness to metaphysical discoveries as part of science. By a curious synchronicity, I read this in conjunction with an internet discussion with Hal Duncan, wherein he avows the need for such an openness. It was a perfect commentary on the possible consequences. Incidentally, the Lafe in the glimpse of heaven we get, there is a Lafe, coworker with Siggy in the field of the mind, which is surely Lafayette Ronald Hubbard.

Similarly, Ultimo Novo, which centers upon the hero's triumph in true science, holds that the false scientists who rule out the value of psychic powers (as evolutionary regression,) explicitly holds that science must accept the possible validity of metaphysical entities superior to matter. Indeed, even the scientististic scientists are at least advanced enough to accept that the human will affects evolution. Is it Lamarckism if psychic powers are involved? Science demonstrates that materialism is a justified belief. Pragmatically, there is nothing else that could be called truth or knowledge. There is no reason for insisting upon opennes to other metaphysical possibilities except the hope or wish or pretense that such nonsense as Myers', isn't.

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