Laying the Foundations of a new Visionary Fiction Sub-genre – Guest Post by Gordon Keirle-Smith

Authors writing in the realm of Visionary Fiction are tremendously privileged in that they are only limited by the scope of their own creativity – or by their ability to connect with a source of inspiration beyond themselves. They also have a tremendous responsibility, for our shifting world desperately needs their unfettered vision and the catalytic catharsis they can bring about by communicating that vision to a wider audience.

The goal

Simply stated, we can say that Visionary Fiction has the power to open up readers’ awareness of broader dimensions, stimulate their imaginations, and create a much-needed relief from the pressures and challenges of our frenetic, “connected” epoch.

One step beyond

Let us imagine for a moment how we could take this further and devise a technique capable of blurring the line between fact and fable sufficiently to suspend disbelief more completely. We would then be free to draw readers into an ethos of meta-reality (transcending normal awareness) so that fiction can morph into perceived truth long enough to cross the threshold of rationality and sow the seeds of visualization. At which point doors can open to even more fascinating possibilities.

Getting there

Noble principles. But how can we reach such a goal? Is it really achievable? The only way of being sure we are making our mark is to closely monitor readers’ feedback and reviews, hoping we can excite comments like these:

Once you have turned the last page, you can return to your linear world, to the safety of those physical or metaphysical explanations for our existence you have always taken for granted. But if you have just read this book, they will never be the same.”

“The book created many questions, which is great. It stretched my mind beyond what I knew. Who can say it is not based on real facts? What it made me do was research other religions, past lives, the in between and lost cities, to name just a few…”

This “extension” of Visionary Fiction, exploring a world that transcends reality, may be further defined as a combination of “True Fable” and “Crafted Facts.” The fable is the ongoing story, with its paranormal, ancestral, metaphysical components and inspirational essence, while the crafted facts provide solid contemporary corroboration of these archetypal events, giving them an aura of believability. These ancillary elements can take many forms; press cuttings, advertisements, radio or TV interview transcriptions, diary entries, e-mails, scientific papers, web pages and even vehement criticism from opponents to the fundamental principles being expressed!

For example, if your fable features unicorns, you can include a paper on the discovery of a unicorn hind’s skull in Pennsylvania in April 2012 (backed by photographic evidence) or an article about a young deer spotted in an Italian nature reserve with a single, central antler… If these components are presented convincingly enough, the original “fable” gains much more credibility than it could possibly command otherwise. Readers can get a very long way into such a book before fully realising that everything is part of a multi-layered parallel reality demonstrating the highly subjective nature of “perception” and “truth.” The variety in layout, typefaces, and presentation of these various elements also gives this kind of book added credence, and may even make printed versions more attractive, since many readers perceive them as being more “collectable” than text-only or e-books. Our illustration demonstrates the potential diversity.

 

Defining the sub-genre

Gordonpostresized

 

This multi-layered invention designed as a means of giving authority to the impossible has been dubbedmeta-realist allegory.”

Wikipedia defines the allegory as a “literary device, in its most general sense an extended metaphor. It has been used widely throughout history in all forms of art, largely because it can readily illustrate complex ideas and concepts in ways that are comprehensible or striking to its viewers, readers, or listeners.”

“Writers or speakers typically use allegories as literary or rhetorical devices that convey hidden meanings through symbolic actions, imagery, and/or events, which together create the moral, spiritual, or political meaning the author wishes to convey.”

It would be fair to say that most Visionary Fiction has an allegorical aspect. By adding the meta-realist elements described above with their added symbolical connotation and “irrefutable” assertions, the whole visionary message comes alive, making it really possible to stimulate visualization and everything that implies.

Dangers of disenchantment

Like everything else, this approach does have a downside and must be carefully managed. Since the suspension of disbelief is so compelling, different readers experience their “Epiphany Moment” (realizing all is invention) at different times. Naturally, some fully understand the genre from the outset, particularly if they have noted the Visionary Fiction Alliance Association or see through the carefully worded disclaimers. This audience is likely to relish the way the various elements and intrigues are orchestrated, although being fully aware of how the allegory is structured does not prevent many from still wistfully thinking, “Yes, but what if?”

Others are completely drawn into the ethos and have faith in the veracity of what they are reading. On average, readers in this category will have their “EM” about 25% into a work of this kind, probably when they try to find some corroborative information from independent sources on the Internet. By this point, the crafted facts and true fables are so intricately intertwined that most of them willingly continue to suspend all disbelief. Readers in this category are most likely to follow through into visualization and ultimately contribute to manifestation.

There is a third category consisting of those who refuse to acknowledge the allegorical nature of the genre, subscribing wholeheartedly to the authenticity of both “fable” and “facts” until the very end. An “EM” at this point, or later, can result in total disenchantment or even resentment leading to feelings of having been duped; a dangerous scenario that could result in disparaging reviews. Authors should therefore make every effort to handle this type of situation with great care.

Summary

All the components of the “meta-realist allegory” are woven together in a fabric designed to draw readers little by little into an enveloping ethos that blurs the line between fact and fable. Readers find themselves so totally convinced by the compelling, fully documented ancillary material that the original “fable” gains greatly enhanced credibility. It can take readers some considerable time to fully realize that everything is part of a multi-layered invention demonstrating the highly subjective nature of “perception” and “truth.” Making everything – and anything – possible.

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Author Bio

Gordon VFA picInitially a compulsive writer of poems, dramatic monologues and radio plays, from 1967 – 1973, Gordon Keirle-Smith was a visionary artist, producing highly symbolic paintings. Everything changed when he met Johfra and Ellen Lorien, two founder members of the Dutch meta-realist visionary art movement. He desperately wanted to emulate them… but lacked the formal training needed to come anywhere near their technical mastery…

He therefore decided to start painting with words rather than oils and brushes. In 1973, he moved to France, where he drafted the first version of “Zandernatis” incorporating all the symbolic and visionary images he would never have had the time – or the skill – to paint.

After a series of contrasting careers, Gordon founded his own communications coaching, copywriting and transcreation business in 1994, allowing him to hone his journalistic, creative writing and copy editing skills in an incredibly diverse range of fields. Perfect grounding for what came next. In 2013, he unearthed the original typescript of “Zandernatis” and began updating it, adding the innovative aspects of the work he was now able to introduce. Two years later, all three volumes of “Zandernatis – Where Legends Were Born” – a definitive “meta-realist allegory,” had been published with translation into French underway.

 

 

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7 Responses to Laying the Foundations of a new Visionary Fiction Sub-genre – Guest Post by Gordon Keirle-Smith

  1. tuilorraine says:

    Just yesterday a reader (a complete stranger) on the other side of the world from where I live, wrote to me to tell me her life story, which described how she had seen captive dolphins in a tank and thought they had sent her some kind of message telepathically. It happened when she was very young, back in 1973. Ever since she often stood in public places and waved "Save the Whales" placards and became an activist to save whales, thinking "If only people knew the truth about these beings the would never kill another HUMAN being again." It proved to me that she had discovered within herself some truth about these beings but could not quire articulate it.
    Then she went on to say that my dolphin fable "gave language to something she had never been able to find words for."

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  2. Yes, we are finding that discoveries in science are indeed substantiating, as you name it, 'true fable' and 'crafted facts' – things the spiritual ancients already knew and we as VF authors write about in our novels. The door is open for incredible discovery and inspiration.

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  3. I've had readers ask me about doing rituals like the ones in my book. Many readers understand fables tell the truth about reality.

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  4. As visionary fiction writers, yes, I believe it is part of our job "to give authority to the impossible that has been dubbed "meta-realist allegory."

    I'm willing to bet that most VF writers have shelves filled with books used to research and "craft" facts to make their visionary messages come alive with "an aura of believability."

    I have hundreds of nonfiction books that I've studied to back up my fictional stories, including "The Holographic Universe," by Michael Talbot, "The Field," by Lynne McTaggart, and "When the Impossible Happens," by Stanislav Grof, to name just a few.

    Thank you for putting into words this process VF writers go through — combining “True Fable” and “Crafted Facts.” The fable being the ongoing story, "with its paranormal, ancestral, metaphysical components and inspirational essence," and the crafted facts providing "solid contemporary corroboration of these archetypal events, giving them an aura of believability."

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  5. tuilorraine says:

    Yes, I am often accused of writing "fantasy." To me true fantasy involves imagined settings created by the author. I think we VF authors often use realistic settings that are RESEARCHED – not created.I had a scientist read my story to ensure my dolphins were biologically real dolphins – not humans in dolphin skins. I wanted every detail to be factually correct. It took research – not imagining. I kept the imagining for the stuff that happened in the dolphins' minds.

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  6. Thank you, Gordon for articulating the "meta-realist" aspect of visionary fiction. As my reincarnation novels are usually historically based, I do tons of research, as mentioned by many, including travelling to the sites where the novel is set and steeping myself in its environment with an all-encompassing form of psychometry. I have learned to intuit aspects of my story but then research to verify those intuitions, loving the rush I get from "Aha, I knew that's what really happened." I get the benefit of developing my own psychic abilities by writing meta-realistic or just plain realistic VF.
    I've also discovered by observing synchronicity at work that truth can be much stranger than fiction, especially in the paranormal realm, but it gets across better if told as fiction. The reverse of "meta-realism," I guess, where fact is disguised as fiction for easier consumption by the skeptic.

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  7. Admin - Eleni says:

    Great post. I think you make some excellent points. As a reader of sci-fi and fantasy VF, I find it easier to disappear into a story when the foundation is built upon elements of truth. Disenchantment also comes when a writer fails to conclude a story. I had the problem with the television series, “Lost.” The episodes were riveting, and I was able to suspend my imagination…up until the final episode. All the questions about the island itself were left unanswered. Most of the final episode dealt with the metaphysical aspect of the story, e.g., people all meet up again in heaven to tie up loose ends. It was all very poignant…and VF. But I felt duped! What were the mind experiments about? How about the smoke monster? What was the point of any of these plot devices? You can say I left the series disenchanted.

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