“Visionary fiction” is
fiction in which the expansion of the human mind drives the plot.
Carlos Castaneda’s THE TEACHINGS OF DON JUAN, Marlo Morgan’s MUTANT
MESSAGE DOWN UNDER, my own THE
MIRACLE: A VISIONARY NOVEL
, are examples of visionary fiction
Visionary fiction already exists in other genres (science fiction,
fantasy, crime, new age), and now is poised to become its own genre
on this Website). You may recognize visionary techniques in popular
literature already. Think of the telekinesis that Harry Potter and
his friends engage in in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books. Think
of the enhanced mental abilities of characters Stephen King and Dean Koontz
write. In nonfiction such as Neale Donald Walsch's CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD,
there is a powerful visionary element.
In visionary fiction, the following
sorts of things not only happen, but drive the plot and its characters
(i.e. without these experiences, there would be no plot or character):
- mystical experiences (sudden, loving
experiences of mind that transform self)
- visions (seeing ‘God,’ ‘angels,’
‘power’ in dreams or other waking images)
- conversations with God (dialogues
with divine beings, hearing God’s voice)
- clairvoyance (seeing into someone
else’s future or past)
- telekinesis (the ability to alter
the composition or motion of physical objects using mental ability)
- telepathy (reading other people’s
- meta-telepathy (controlling other
- hallucinations and meta-hallucinations
(seeing what is “not there” and seeing what is “not there” many
different times in similar patterns)
- precognitive dreams (dreams that
come true years later)
- clusters of eerie coincidence
- psychic and paranormal experience
(not the dial a 900 number kind of stuff, but the kind that makes
a reader stop and say, ‘I think I had a grandmother who was like
this,’ or ‘I had an experience like this years ago.’)
- “presences,” like ghosts (not exaggerated
horror movie ghosts, but the chill of a presence you can’t turn
- after-death and after-life experiences
- visitations from “spirits”
- feeling safe and utterly one with
the world (whether in a religious context or while out in nature
or, suddenly, in any place at all)
- profound insight that transforms
depression into joy
- remote viewing (seeing what is happening
somewhere else in the world as its happening)
- past life realization (dreams or
visions of oneself as another person long ago)
- uncanny accuracy of personal intuition.
Visionary literature is not religion,
though its subjects do appear as religious experience in our culture’s
sacred texts. The Old Testament is, in large part, driven
by expanded mental abilities (visionary experiences) in Moses and others.
Similarly, the plot of the New Testament is driven by Jesus’ visionary
experiences of God. The same can be said for religious stories
expressed by authors of Mohammed’s story, the stories of the
Hindu prophets, the accounts of Buddha’s life. Visionary fiction
has been integral to human storytelling, whether secular or sacred, since
the beginning of our historical record because the human mind has been
expanding, and sometimes, “fiction” is the only or best way to understand
the new consciousness.
Though it can be argued that visionary
fiction is integral to religious writing, it is not religious literature,
for religious literature is now seen as fact. The Bible, for
instance, is taken literally. For those who read the Bible that
way, fiction is anathema. Fiction is dangerous--it chisels the
truth into oblivion.
For many contemporary readers,
fiction can point to the truth. This is certainly true of
those who read visionary fiction. John Milton wrote, in PARADISE
LOST, “The mind is its own place, and in itself/Can make a Heaven of
Hell, a Hell of Heaven.” Good and evil, life and death, joy and
doubt--all are real because they are perceived and experienced in the
mind, and the mind can change anything into anything else. Visionary
fictions are about how the mind does all that.
Visionary fiction is not science fiction, yet if a
skeptic needs “scientific proof” of the reality of the visionary
landscape, it can be connected to the new neural sciences--neuro-biology,
neuro-psychology, neuro-physics. All visionary fiction is
driven by new and uncanny experiences (mystical, spiritual and paranormal)
in the neural web. The new sciences have shown us over the last
three decades how vast and limitless is the increasing power of the
human mind. As in so many eras of human life, where our science
goes our literature follows. A new genre is developing, one
that parallels the new neural sciences, and helps to chart the vastly
uncharted human mind.
Is it not time for our concerted
support of a new genre in world literature, a visionary fiction?
Dante wrote of his entrance into the Underworld: “I don’t know
how to describe my entering there. I was so sleepy at that point
that I lost track of the actual path.” The best literary fiction,
science fiction and visionary fiction gives us the dreaming sleep that
carries us into a new world. Aren’t we ready to find this dreaming
sleep in a genre devoted specifically to the dreams themselves?
Every book in whatever its genre
has inherent worth. Each book in the world today looks good
with its slightly different cover art. Each has its own genius,
for any book published can be said to bring the human spirit closer
But when you walk into a book
store and say, “Isn’t there more?” this is when you might wish
there were more goods work of literature that were visionary.
You are probably open to pushing the
boundaries of mental and emotional experience into mysterious, not
You are probably not very cynical, but
in fact value innocence as much as skepticism.
You might like to read spiritual or
religious nonfiction already.
You might like science fiction or fantasy
You might like detective novels,
too. You might like literary fiction.
I like all these genres, and more.
You, like me, probably just enjoy reading, for you know that reading
is one of the most freeing experiences in life.
If you’re like me, you’re ready
for a new literature.
If this intrigues you, Email me
and my staff through this website. Tell us the title, author,
publisher and publication date of a book you consider to be “visionary
Over the next few years, I hope
that like-minded writers will create a visionary fiction writers
association. I hope like-minded readers and critics will create
an award for visionary fiction (like the Hugo and Nebula are given
in science fiction and the Pulitzer in literary fiction).
I hope we’ll be able to support
publishers in publishing visionary fiction with success.
If the work can’t find publishers, it can’t find its way to you.
For an example of visionary fiction,
please read THE
MIRACLE: A Visionary Novel
. I hope you’ll enjoy the book itself
(see The Miracle
on this website).
Then I hope you’ll start a dialogue in your own community about
the future of visionary fiction.
to contact Visionary
2003 - 2006 Visionary Fiction.org