Visionary Fiction

     “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 (see Interview 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 minds)
  • meta-telepathy (controlling other people’s minds)
  • 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 away from)
  • after-death and after-life experiences
  • visitations from “spirits”
  • channeling
  • 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 to freedom.
     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 contained, worlds.
    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 already.
    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 fiction.”
     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. 

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