Anugyan speaks of the creation of his first Novella in a series of seven, just recently published in the UK.
The God of New York
by S D Anugyan
In a comic I once read, the protagonist found himself in a bizarre world with a bewildering array of different beings, entities and shapes. His guide explained to him that he was in The Place That Ideas Come From. In the classic channelled book, More Alive Than Ever…Always, Karen by Jeanne Walker, Karen explains that ‘In your world you seldom tap pure thought. You absorb even your most significant thoughts from entities in our [the discarnate] world.’ Similarly, Gurdjieff told Ouspensky, ‘Out of himself a man cannot produce a single thought, a single action. Everything he says, does, thinks, feels – all this happens. Man cannot discover anything, invent anything. It all happens.’ (In Search of the Miraculous)
So, it is, I cannot really take credit (or blame!) for the idea of combining my x-dimensional research into seven novellas. All I knew was that I was confronted with an astonishing amount of material to convey. Workshops, meetings, lectures, could only do so much, and writing essays remained largely cerebral. Somebody once labelled me Professor of the Romance of the Beyond, which isn’t bad as far as labels go, but these days I tend to see myself more as a Geographer of the Hinterlands of Consciousness. Ironically, these hinterlands are impossible to pin down with exact locations or labels. I needed something more full-blooded, and fiction had always served me well. D H Lawrence argued that the novel was superior to all other art forms because of its comprehensiveness. Something in me resonates with that, however controversial.
The difficulty was the vastness of the material being presented. How could I write a novel encompassing a multi-dimensional New York, Bronze Age nomads, horny deities, an ancient African civilisation, alien intervention, Shambala, enlightened masters in early Taoist China…and sentient robots?
The truth was, I couldn’t. Then as the chaos started to form into something tangible, I realised that rather than looking at one huge novel, I was looking at seven novellas under one cosmic roof. This became much more manageable, so much so that three of the books have already been written, the first of which has just been published.
Entitled The God of New York, it is set eight years after a benign apocalypse when most of the world’s population vanished, and other realities started to intrude on our own. Esoterically, it is an illustration of when six dimensions become active within our limited, mundane four. Story-wise it is about a detective who is part of the Truth and Reconciliation task force, seeking to clear up past mysteries and atrocities. Forms are nebulous in this new world, and he himself shifts randomly from one ethnicity to another.
There are mysteries within mysteries though, and his particular focus on disappearing aircraft of the past two centuries soon becomes dwarfed by other investigations, including why the world is how it is. As an atypical physics professor explains, the strangeness is not that the world is strange, it’s just that it should be even more so. It is, she says, as if the universe is holding its breath, before making the full revelation.
Certainly, one of the delights of x-dimensional theory is that it encompasses all the different aspects of us, including the mind. One can experience deathlessness in many ways, particularly via meditation naturally, but the mind can still apply the brakes – ‘That didn’t really happen,’ ‘It doesn’t make sense’ etc. With XDT, that one doesn’t actually die becomes not just experiential but also completely logical. Death simply doesn’t make sense.
Thus, while the later novellas may focus on love, or spiritual matters, The God of New York homes in on the science of it all. Hopefully, the characters exploring this are fascinating enough to deliver the information in as entertaining a way as possible. Indeed, one chapter where the detective and the professor debate the new (admittedly bonkers) physics, is designed to be revelatory on the personal as well as the academic level.
The essence of a good story is always in the characters themselves. While this short book, with twists and shouts on every page, continually segues into a chaos of new information and mysteries, it is at its heart a detective story, and there are certain expectations from the genre. The insightful film analyst Blake Snyder in Save the Cat, explains that Whodunnits are badly named, because nobody really cares whodunnit. What we really need to know is why they dunnit. It is the dark side of human nature we are exploring in detective stories, because we want to understand not just the perpetrator(s) but the society that spawned them. All the classics accomplish this, with the detective as our guide through the darkness. Think Chinatown, think Farewell, My Lovely, just for starters.
The God of New York adheres to this formula, exploring not just the dark side of the previous hundred years of civilisation and that of the new world, but also what is within the protagonist himself.
‘Controlling the narrative’ is a phrase one commonly hears these days, whether to control how people perceive vaccination, a war, a controversial mystic, anything that reaches the collective consciousness. But how can you control narratives when they constantly shift, contradict each other and make little sense to a linear world?
Another role of the detective’s journey is that of bringing order into chaos, accomplished in no small way through understanding.
Whether that extends effectively to a multi-dimensional universe that is constantly in flux, only the reader can decide. Fortunately they can do so without the necessity of leaving home, allowing the story to take them where it will, which remains one of the joys of reading even in our modern age.
Without leaving the door one may know the course of the world.
Without looking through the window one may see the law of nature.
– Lao Tzu
Part of the inspiration for the story was a documentary about what would happen to the Earth if the human species disappeared overnight. (Entitled Life After People, it is now available on YouTube.) I was moved by the beauty being presented, and the revelation just how quickly the planet would recover from the damage we have inflicted upon it. In this tale, there are still plenty of humans, but mostly those prepared to make amends, clean up their act and work at creating a proper civilisation.