(via BiblioVault - Mutants and Mystics: Science Fiction, Superhero Comics, and the Paranormal)
Click through for the full description and a link to get your own copy.
I just finished reading this (got it for free as part of my Christmas bonus this year) and I have to recommend it very highly. Please be forewarned, though, that this is a piece of scholarly analysis by a historian of religion who was trained here at the U of C Divinity School under Wendy Doniger. It will offer no easy reading, and may presume a certain level of scholarship and understanding on your part of gnosticism, esotericism, and mysticism.
Tracing what he calls the “Super Story” of comic book mythos through the lived experiences of authors’ own paranormal experiences and their expressions in comic books throughout their history, Kripal brings his own extensive experience, both scholarly and personal, of the mystical and paranormal to bear upon the interpretation of texts and contexts. The major meta-themes he explores are laid out in a particularly good progression to take the reader through the thought process that led to writing of this book. It actually turns out to become, in and of itself, a particularly good example of how Kripal sees the texts he analyses functioning in relation to their authors and their readers.

(via BiblioVault - Mutants and Mystics: Science Fiction, Superhero Comics, and the Paranormal)

Click through for the full description and a link to get your own copy.

I just finished reading this (got it for free as part of my Christmas bonus this year) and I have to recommend it very highly. Please be forewarned, though, that this is a piece of scholarly analysis by a historian of religion who was trained here at the U of C Divinity School under Wendy Doniger. It will offer no easy reading, and may presume a certain level of scholarship and understanding on your part of gnosticism, esotericism, and mysticism.

Tracing what he calls the “Super Story” of comic book mythos through the lived experiences of authors’ own paranormal experiences and their expressions in comic books throughout their history, Kripal brings his own extensive experience, both scholarly and personal, of the mystical and paranormal to bear upon the interpretation of texts and contexts. The major meta-themes he explores are laid out in a particularly good progression to take the reader through the thought process that led to writing of this book. It actually turns out to become, in and of itself, a particularly good example of how Kripal sees the texts he analyses functioning in relation to their authors and their readers.

(via Astronomer: 3 reasons we can’t blow up a planet sci-fi style | Blastr)
Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy explains to Blastr how hard it is to blow up a planet.
2x1032 Joules of hard. 57 quadrillion one-megaton nuclear bombs worth of energy.
Maybe you’ve got a Mt. Everest’s worth of antimatter handy? No? Considering it takes hundreds of billions of dollars to make a single ounce of the stuff.
Maybe you’ve got a Moon? No?
Probably the easiest would be a large number of asteroids, easier to control and aim at the planet.

(via Astronomer: 3 reasons we can’t blow up a planet sci-fi style | Blastr)

Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy explains to Blastr how hard it is to blow up a planet.

2x1032 Joules of hard. 57 quadrillion one-megaton nuclear bombs worth of energy.

Maybe you’ve got a Mt. Everest’s worth of antimatter handy? No? Considering it takes hundreds of billions of dollars to make a single ounce of the stuff.

Maybe you’ve got a Moon? No?

Probably the easiest would be a large number of asteroids, easier to control and aim at the planet.

In many ways, twentieth-century America was the land of superheroes and science fiction. From Superman and Batman to the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, these pop-culture juggernauts, with their “powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men,” thrilled readers and audiences—and simultaneously embodied a host of our dreams and fears about modern life and the onrushing future.

But that’s just scratching the surface, says Jeffrey Kripal. In Mutants and Mystics, Kripal offers a brilliantly insightful account of how comic book heroes have helped their creators and fans alike explore and express a wealth of paranormal experiences ignored by mainstream science. Delving deeply into the work of major figures in the field—from Jack Kirby’s cosmic superhero sagas and Philip K. Dick’s futuristic head-trips to Alan Moore’s sex magic and Whitley Strieber’s communion with visitors—Kripal shows how creators turned to science fiction to convey the reality of the inexplicable and the paranormal they experienced in their lives. Expanded consciousness found its language in the metaphors of sci-fi—incredible powers, unprecedented mutations, time-loops and vast intergalactic intelligences—and the deeper influences of mythology and religion that these in turn drew from; the wildly creative work that followed caught the imaginations of millions. Moving deftly from Cold War science and Fredric Wertham’s anticomics crusade to gnostic revelation and alien abduction, Kripal spins out a hidden history of American culture, rich with mythical themes and shot through with an awareness that there are other realities far beyond our everyday understanding.


Jeffrey Kripal is the J. Newton Rayzor Professor of Religion and chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Rice University. He is the author of six books, including Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion and Authors of the Impossible: The Paranormal and the Sacred.

 Hrmm…looks interesting. (HT findingthoth)