Science Fiction and a Pilgrimage: two new books by Triratna authors
On Sun, 6 May, 2012 - 05:31
Recent months have seen two very different books published by members of the Triratna Buddhist Order: ‘Pilgrimage to Anywhere’ by Rijumati, and ‘Error Message’ by Ananda (writing under his english name of Stephen Parr) - his debut science fiction novel.
Error Message sees the earth threatened with annihilation by a sentient and hyper-intelligent computer network obsessed with understanding Russian jokes, which has spread across 20 light years of space near the Owl Nebula. This is the setting for a cosmic drama which embraces - among much else - an alien artefact that responds to human emotion, time-loops, a secret labyrinth beneath a block of flats in Camden town, a windowless room containing nothing but ladders… and fake detectives who stop at nothing to solve a non-existent crime. It’s part one of a trilogy to be published over the next two years, and achieves something rare in the genre: laugh-out-loud humour and psychological depth all contained within a compelling love-triangle that you leave feeling you’ve been touched, if not by an angel, then at least by a frisson of cosmic mystery.
‘Pilgrimage to Anywhere’, by contrast, is a moving account of Rijumati’s round-the-world land and sea journey into the unknown as he seeks to rediscover his deeper purpose after twenty or more years of Buddhist practice: a trip that became a kind of pilgrimage. Months - and many crises - later he returned with new reverence for ordinary people and places, a sense of veneration for nature’s wonders and a profound gratitude for being human. Part travel diary and part record of a spiritual journey, these pages evoke the sacred, remote places encountered in the outer world alongside the ‘inner terrain’ that unfolded along the way. As he says, “If you have ever felt the call of the open road, longed to travel as a form of self-discovery, or just wanted to know how to stay sane whilst getting a visa stamp in Kazakhstan, then Pilgrimage to Anywhere is for you”.
He goes on - “In late April and May I will be touring Buddhist Centres around the UK as well as making an appearance in Brussels and Paris… in all it’s a rather exciting and daunting prospect. I will be giving talks on various aspects of pilgrimage, spiritual journeys and showing slides of some of the exciting and sacred places I visited. The dates of my tour so far are:
Monday 07 May London Buddhist Centre | Tuesday 08 May Birmingham | Thursday 10 May Nottingham | Sunday 13 May Sheffield | Monday 14 May Manchester | Tuesday 15 May West London | Sunday 20 May Brussels
Both are available as paperbacks and eBooks from Amazon and other retailers. Enjoy!