Category Archives: Literature

Westworld, Now and Then

consciousnessWestworld, the popular 2016 TV series, is breathtaking in its multilayered presentation of reality and fiction. As the robots who serve as theme park “hosts” gradually gain glimpses of their own condition, they become self-aware. Identifying with these cyber-humans, each with their own engineered backstory and narrative loops, we realize that like them, we are locked within patterns of programmed behavior, interrupted by glimpses of the possibility of freedom.  

now-trip-blueAfter watching two episodes before sleep one night, I awoke the next morning like one of the hosts—“as from a dream”—wondering at my own knowledge of it now, and the capacity to create my own new narrative on the fly.

Commentary at the meta level of story creation interlaces the dialogue of the show, with frequent references to the narrative framing of the theme park’s creators (chiefly Anthony Hopkins, in a role surpassing Hannibal Lecter). As viewers we are encouraged by this ironic device to question our given reality, to see our place in our own repetitive plots and to imagine a wider world beyond our immediate lens.

As with Groundhog Day (or my paranormal adventure novella, Rendezvous at Jumbo Pass), the device of the time loop, or repeated scenes and action sequences, is critical to the growth of the characters’ dawning understanding of their condition, and to our identification with that gradual process of dawning self-awareness.

Westworld (1973)

poster-westworldThe TV series is modeled on the original premise of Westworld, a 1973 screenplay by Michael Crichton. Owing to a shoestring budget, the film’s scene construction is generic in the extreme. Chrichton himself, in notes from the making of Westworld, resigns himself to an array of token machinery merely suggesting scientific advance.

In this memo to his production design team, Michael Crichton explains the look he wants for the Westworld Robot Repair Room.

“I hesitate to state this so bluntly, but this movie is fantasy and in the end I don’t really care if the equipment surrounding each table is ‘appropriate’ or not, so long as the total effect is impressive and organized in some way.  There is a fine line between a thrown-together look, and an organized look.”

From the Robot Repair room we cut to Roman world, stock characters posing in stock sets, static and patently fake—which is perfectly appropriate, since the park itself is fake.

Later the two main characters, park guests, reflect on the simulation while sunning themselves in the desert:

“It’s as real as anything else.”

“Yup, I reckon.”

This brief nod to the central metaphor of Westworld is about as meta as it gets in the 1973 film, which otherwise plays to the one-dimensional nature of the old westerns whose tropes it incorporates, without depth in character, plot or theme.

The more overt theme concerns the darker side of the park (as in the later Crichton work, Jurassic Park). The consumeristic dream, marketed as “fail-safe,” turns to nightmare when the Gunslinger (Yul Brynner) turns rogue. Twenty minutes later, wide-eyed, he discovers fire; in the process becoming more reflective (i.e., more human) and thus, vulnerable.

The death of the Gunslinger at the end of the film illustrates the wide gap in cinematography and viewer attention spans in the forty-three years between productions. The action stops for over a full minute (unthinkable by today’s standards), switching between the smoking robot corpse on the floor, and Richard Benjamin’s florid expression of finality.

Futureworld (1976)

brainwaves2Like the first film, the sequel, Futureworld,  is so cardboard in its presentation, one is tempted to think the intent is ironic, fitting with the nature of the theme park’s simulated worlds. But where is the knowing wink, the stylish contrast, the flash of deeper meaning? In truth, in the absence of any visible framing, one is left to discard the effort as a tawdry genre flop.

As with the original Westworld, descriptors that come to mind include: generic, unimaginative, flat, stock, hackneyed, amateurish, laughable, shallow. Examples abound: the red plastic tape supposedly collecting biometric data on the faces of the clonees; the stultifying dialogue (“Um, yup”); the empty corridors; the computer banks with their flashing lights, whirling data disks, and rudimentary graphics (albeit state-of-the-art in that era).

When Chuck Browning (Peter Fonda) and Tracy Ballard (Blythe Danner) glimpse for the first time the clones of themselves and world leaders, Ballard emotes, “Oh my God. I don’t believe it.”

Browning then deems it necessary to explain the obvious: “They’re duplicates. They’re creating and programming duplicates of real people… politicians and commissars and generals. They’ve all been replaced by these things.” The earthshaking metaphorical implications of such a revelation notwithstanding, the presentation is delivered without nuance.

At the climax of the action, Ballard confronts her own duplicate in a showdown on the street of the deserted Westworld town: “What are you?”


Postscript: PsyBot (2014)

coverAt first glance the chapters of virtual reality experienced by Joe Norton in the novel PsyBot (originally titled Future.Net, then Future.Con) appear like those of the Delos theme park, Futureworld.  The various modules generated by the PsyBot virus are analogous to the Delos theme offerings (Westworld, Romanworld, Medievalworld, Futureworld, and Spaworld)—with the key difference that programmer Joe Norton is unwitting victim instead of paying guest. Both presentations serve to cast ironic light on the glitzy promises offered by such escapist fantasies.

biometric_visaIn such a light the transparent artificiality of characters, setting, and plot within the virtual reality modules themselves is, to use Crichton’s term, “appropriate.” The viewer/reader is invited to understand the nature of the illusion and to apply such discrimination in one’s “real” life, so permeated as it is with confident claims of happiness deliverable for a price.

Tellingly, Michael Crichton the writer explains his preference for dealing with this kind of theme in film instead of in a novel, his usual forte:

The actual detailing of these three worlds—and also the kinds of fantasies that people experienced in them—were movie fantasies, and because they were movie fantasies, they got to be very strange-looking on the written page. (

virtual-reality-220mainStrange indeed, then, are the scenes encountered by unwilling volunteer Joe Norton in PsyBot, as he navigates the alien Hookup Room, the Saragossa Space Station, the virtual planetoid Desertia, and the cartoonish nightmare known as Witch Bay. Patently unreal—except to the poor schmuck whose brain has been co-opted to experience them as all too real.

Further Reading…

Rendezvous at Jumbo Pass: A Twisted Tale of Wilderness Adventure9780981143132

PsyBot: A Novel of Virtual Reality

Mind Control: Fiction or Nonfiction

All My Relations: Reflections on Home

On December 4 in Victoria, I joined local writers paulo da costa and Heidi Erhardt in presenting an evening of poetic essays, music and photographic reflections on home, our connection to place in the natural world. Each steeped in communion with natural places (rural Portugal, Maui, BC interior rainforest), we shared stories of listening and tending to the earth, wildlife, and the human generations in a living culture. Fabrizio Alberico offered music with his handcrafted guitar and banjo.

Download transcript of reading (Nowick Gray and Heidi Erhardt only) – PDF file

Medicine Moves Studio:

Heidi Erhardt,

paulo da costa

Fabrizio Alberico:

Anathema: The Narrowing Window of Content and Style

Writers face increasing challenges from the ruling forces of political correctness. One straitjacket enforces uniformity of thought in content; the other enforces conformity of style. Buy into these new prescriptive norms and you can continue to play the popularity game with the big boys. Those of us who stick to our dissenting guns face banishment by the gatekeepers of government and industry.

The War on “Fake News”

flagUS President Obama and the mainstream news elite have launched a paper crusade against “fake news” that, were it not a serious threat of Orwellian censorship, would be laughable on two counts: the absence of evidence that “the Russians” are behind all political narratives beyond the party line of the White House, New York Times and Washington Post; and the double standard that promotes as “real news” such blatant and admitted fakery as Iraq’s phantom WMD or the events of 9/11 (along with a long historical litany of other “false flags”). The purveyors of “official truth” may well satisfy a sheepish audience cowed to accept the mass-media fairy tales of government-designated good and evil. For the rest of us—free thinkers, advocates of informed debate, empowered democratic citizens—a single top-down narrative is anathema.


The Google Algorithm for “Readability”

Also troubling, for the writer concerned with style and freedom of expression, is the trend of Google, the ultimate gatekeeper in the Internet-driven world, to funnel traffic toward prose of the lowest common denominator. The dominant search engine now weights rankings to favor short sentences, short paragraphs, short sections. Standards are in place to reward transition words (to be used in 30 percent of sentences) and penalize passive voice (above 10 percent). While all of the above may be commendable guidelines for attracting a wide readership, what is repugnant is the enforcement of such rules from above instead of letting readers decide on a case-by-case basis what they enjoy. It may be true that 70 percent, or even 95 percent, of a poorly educated populace prefer digesting plain vanilla prose at a grade six reading level. Those with more eclectic tastes, however, will be harder pressed to find nourishment in wildcrafted fare.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines anathema as “a formal ecclesiastical ban, curse, or excommunication.” What is emerging today, in the form of the above overt and implied forms of censorship, is precisely such a witch-hunt against all deviations from official prescriptions of acceptable written expression. As a proponent of freedom of thought and creative choice, I would characterize that very trend itself using definition 3 of anathema: “one that is cursed or damned.”

further reading: “Manufacturing Normality” (CJ Hopkins, Counterpunch)

‘Then We Will Fight in the Shade’ – A Guide to Winning the Media Wars (Mike Krieger, Liberty Blitzkrieg)


Mind-Control: Fiction or Nonfiction?

biometric_visaThe daily news repeats episodes of bizarre shootings, with “lone nuts” killed outright or consigned to the psych ward for their zombie-like behavior. Political thrillers like The Manchurian Candidate give us a glimpse into the dark world of brainwashed assassins, programmed to shoot on command. Less known is the long, true history of military and intelligence research and experimentation into such techniques.

Computer programmer Joe Norton, the protagonist of PsyBot, is given a scope rifle and elusive instructions for a mission in what appears to be a dream. Progressively his grip on sanity slips, under the influence of his monitor screen, virtual reality hardware, big-screen TV, and a local float tank. As the mechanism of control is not immediately obvious, like most of us he is slow to pin blame on a hidden agenda.

While the premise of this psychological thriller—a human infected by a virus-like computer program—may seem far-fetched at first, the context of ongoing research and news-breaking evidence makes it alarmingly plausible. Most recently in the news, the cases of murder suspects Rohini(e) Bisesar (charged in a Toronto stabbing), Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis, and Vince Li, who beheaded a passenger on a Greyhound bus, are linked to possible use of covert mind-control technologies.

Particularly pertinent to the mechanism of infection in PsyBot is a passage describing U.S. patent number 5,159,703: “It is therefore possible to manipulate the nervous system of a subject by pulsing images displayed on a nearby computer monitor or TV set. For the latter, the image pulsing may be imbedded in the program material, or it may be overlaid by modulating a video stream.” By happy (or unhappy) coincidence, the above patent was approved in 1992—the very year in which this novel takes place.

The new appendix to PsyBot outlines known research in neuro-experimentation spanning decades. That material is reproduced below with live links to follow for further reading.

First, take note that the VR technology is trending high right now with the recent acquistion of Oculus by Facebook for $2 billion. In 2014, CEO Mark Zuckerberg confidently declared that VR would be “the next major computing platform.”


neuro-experimentation, nanotechnology, Artificial Intelligence, covert micro-chipping, mind hacking, cybernetic mind-control, weaponized neuropsychology, bio-communication controls, remote-control electronic brain links, cerebral cortex cloning, mind hiving, Neural Linguistic Programming (NLP), microwave radiation weaponry, synthetic telepathy, bio-communications technology, brain entrainment of frequencies, Radio Hypnotic Inter-Cerebral Control/Electronic Dissolution of Memory–RHIC/EDOM, hypnotically entrained forced speech, neuroscience, BRAIN (Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative (DARPA program), weaponized neuroscience, Silent Sound, brainwashing, Manchurian Candidate, HAARP, MKULTRA, hypnosis, Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD), mind control, lone nuts, assassinations, Brain-Machine-Interface (BMI), Neurocrime, Predictive Policing, neuroweaponry, microchip, hypno-programming, memory implantation, Synthetic Telepathy, Neural Imaging.

Selected excerpts from Bisesar case study

Rohini Bisesar: Psychiatric Illness, or Long-Term Covert Neuro-Experimentation and a “Manchurian Candidate”? – by writer/researcher Ramola D. at The EveryDay Concerned Citizen

(With information reported in the Toronto Sun, National Post, Toronto Life, City News, and other media)

archived at:

Synthetic Telepathy: “also known as Voice to Skull or Voice of God or Microwave Hearing technology, where voice signals are modulated onto microwaves and transmitted into the back of a person’s head, inducing within his or her brain the clear auditory sensation of externally-produced voices, in a phenomenon of hearing voices inside one’s head, which psychiatrists may unknowingly or knowingly mis-diagnose as a symptom of schizophrenia.”

brainwaves3Dr. Robert Duncan has come forward to describe DOD/CIA projects in cybernetic mind-control, weaponized neuropsychology, and bio-communication controls, which include the integrated use of Artificial Intelligence, biophysics, and behavioral science in the creation of remote-control Electronic Brain Links, cerebral cortex cloning, Mind Hiving, Neural Linguistic Programming. and more. Dr. Barrie Trower has spoken extensively of microwave radiation weaponry that has been developed by the UK Navy, for whom he has worked…. the prime objective seems to be absolute control of the human mind, and absolute control of populations, even as other, Globalist and eugenicist objectives also play out. Microchips may not be needed for remote mind hacking. ‘In a direct mind-hack, spoofing is done with synthetic telepathy, a bio-communications technology. Sounds and voices can be forced into a target’s perception.’ [Duncan] discusses various techniques shared with his research group by whistleblowers, including brain entrainment of frequencies, recurring hypnotic states induced in an individual’s brain by radio control–Radio Hypnotic Inter-Cerebral Control/Electronic Dissolution of Memory–RHIC/EDOM, hypnotically entrained ‘forced speech,’ and programming ‘to perform certain actions or maintain certain attitudes by radio signal.’”

“Neuroscientists outside the military/Intelligence world, from academia and clinical practice, have started to speak openly about the remote accessing of people’s brains, of Neural Imaging wherein everything a person sees, whether physically or electronically, off a screen, can be picked up remotely (as EMF/low frequency radio waves) and reproduced/re-translated into image format via the intermediate use of a computer program functioning as an Electronic Brain Link.”

“Similarly, technologies exist to pick up and record thoughts, ideas, memories—all issuing forth as extremely low frequency (and long wavelength) radiation, in the range of 0.5 to 30 Hertz—even the “voice in your head/your inner voice” can be read now, as pre-vocalized thought. Applications in Neurocrime and Predictive Policing—reading your mind to find out if you are a likely criminal or plotting a criminal act—very much in Minority Report style—are currently being studied, discussed at conferences, and discoursed about in Neuroscience programs. This Youtube playlist  [referenced in appendix] collects many related videos, including the Davos 2016 videos, on current-day neuroethics and neuroscience.”

“[Navy Yard shooter] Aaron Alexis had in fact complained of ELF [Extremely Low Frequency] radiation attacks and had inscribed on his rifle the words ‘My ELF Weapon.’”

See also: Activists Inform Canadian Journalists of Ongoing Neuro-Experimentation & Mind Control Projects While Irregularities in Rohinie Bisesar’s Court Case Mount
archived at:

oculus-riftFurther resources

On the Need for New Criteria of Diagnosis of Psychosis in the Light of Mind Invasive Technology – Carole Smith

Electromagnetic and Informational Weapons: The Remote Manipulation of the Human Brain – Mojmir Babacek

Raising Awareness About the Tragic Assaults on Aaron Alexis, Myron May, and Miriam Carey: An Interview with Tyrone Dew

2016 BRAIN Initiatives: Neuro Crime, Neuro Warfare, DARPA/CIA Brain Experimentation, Neuro Ethics, and Non-Consensual Experimentees

The American Public Informs President Obama’s Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues About Ongoing Non-Consensual Human Experimentation in the USA Today

Covert Operations of the National Security Agency – John St.Clair Akwei

Electromagnetic Frequency Mind Control Weapons – Stephen Lendman

The Mind Stealers/Psychosurgery and Mind Control – Samuel Chavkin

Nonconsensual BrainWave and Personality Studies by the US Government – Welsh

US Electromagnetic Weapons and Human Rights: A Study of the History of US Intelligence Community Human Rights Violations and Continuing Research in Electromagnetic Weapons – Peter Phillips, Lew Brown and Bridget Thornton, Sonoma State University

Information on Technologies –

International Campaign To End Human Rights Violations Involving Classified New Weapons of Mass Destruction: Electromagnetic and Neurological Technologies –Cheryl Welsh, Mind Justice

United States of PsyOps: Call Them Paranoid. Call Them Delusional.

HAARP, Silent Sound, and Mind Control Technologies

0440167558-operationmindcontrolOperation Mind Control – Researcher’s Edition, by Walter Bowart

Topics: mind controlCIAWalter Bowartmental warfareMKULTRA, cryptocracyintelligenceespionagecovert operations’s%20Edition.pdf

Dr. Greenbaum and the Manchurian Candidates

The 6-part documentary Evidence of Revision contains information on Oswald, Ruby, DeMohrenschildt, Sirhan, Ray, mind control, among other topics. Recommended as an introduction to the topics in question and as a means of putting our current political situation into the context it needs.

The information on Oswald comes primarily from The Perfect Assassin: Lee Harvey Oswald, The CIA and Mind Control by Jerry Leonard. Other sources on mind control, including the other ‘lone nuts’ mentioned, include: John Marks’ The Search for the Manchurian Candidate, Walter Bowart’s Operation Mind Control, Colin Ross’s The CIA Doctors, Dave McGowan’s Programmed to Kill. See also, which contains a brief summary of the 18,000+ pages of declassified documents relating to mind control.

Brain-Machine-Interface (BMI) Research

Revolutionary New Brain Chip Allows Monkeys To Grasp AND Feel Objects Using Their Thoughts

Sleeper testimony: alien contact

PsyBot - sci-fi novelPsyBot: A Novel of Virtual Reality

About the book | First chapter | Order from Amazon

PsyBot is every programmer’s nightmare: the bug that gets loose on the user side of the interface. Virtual reality, Joe Norton discovers, is not confined to hardware. Is the only way out, to go further in? A literate cyber thriller about personal transformation. “Surreal, bizarre… fascinating, three-dimensional characters” (Kindle Book Reviews).