Authors: Robert Shea,Robert Anton Wilson
Tags: #Science fiction; American, #General, #Science fiction, #Fiction, #Fantasy, #Visionary & Metaphysical
After seeing various domestic scenes in Zukong Gimorlad-Siragosa, the largest and most central city on the continent (but not the capital, because the Atlanteans do not have a government), we move to a laboratory where the young (one hundred years old) scientist GRUAD is displaying a biological experiment to an associate, GAO TWONE. The experiment is a giant water-dwelling serpent-man. Gao Twone is impressed, but Gruad declares that he is bored; he wishes to change himself in some unexpected way. Gruad is already strange—unlike other Atlanteans, he is not covered with fur, but has only short blond hair on top of his head and a close-cropped beard. In comparison to other Atlanteans he seems hideously naked. He wears a high-collared pale green robe and gauntlets. He tells Gao Twone that he is tired of accumulating knowledge for the sake of knowledge. “It’s just another guise for
the pursuit of pleasure, to which too many of our fellow Atlanteans devote their lives. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with pleasure—it moves the energies— but I feel that there is something higher and more heroic. I have no name for it yet, but I know it exists.”
Gao Twone is somewhat shocked. “You, as a scientist, can talk of
something exists when you have no evidence?”
Gruad is dejected by this and admits, “My lens needs polishing.” But after a moment he bounces back. “And yet, even though I have my moments of doubt, I think my lens really is clear. Of course, I must find the evidence. But even now, before I start, I feel that I know what I will find. We could be greater and finer than we are. I look at what I am and sometimes I despise myself. I’m just a clever animal. An ape who has learned to play with tools. I want to be much more. I say we can be what the lloigor are, and even more. We can conquer time and seize eternity, even as they have. I mean to achieve that or destroy myself in the attempt.”
The scene shifts to a banquet hall where INGEL RILD, a venerable Atlantean scientist, has called together prominent Atlanteans to celebrate a space research achievement, the production of a solar flare. Ingel Rild and his associates have developed a missile which, when it strikes the sun, can cause an explosion. He tells the marijuana-smoking gathering, “We can control to the second the timing of the flare and to the millimeter the distance it will spring out from the sun. A flare of sufficient magnitude could burn our planet to a crisp. A smaller flare could bombard the earth with radiations such that the area closest to the sun would be destroyed, while the rest of our world would suffer drastic changes. Most serious of all, perhaps, would be the biological changes these excessive radiations would bring about. Life forms would be damaged and perhaps become extinct. New life forms would arise. All of nature would undergo a tremendous upheaval. This has happened naturally once or twice. It happened seventy
million years ago when the dinosaurs were suddenly wiped out and replaced by mammals. We still have much to learn about the mechanism that produces spontaneous solar flares. However, to be able to cause them artificially is a step toward predicting and possibly controlling them. When that stage is reached, our planet and our race will be protected from the kind of catastrophe that destroyed the dinosaurs.”
After the applause, a woman named KAJECI asks whether it might not be disrespectful to tamper with “our father, the sun.” Ingel Rild replies that man is a part of nature and what he does is natural and can’t be construed as tampering. Now Gruad interrupts angrily, pointing out that he, an unattractive mutation, is the product of tampering with nature. He tells Ingel Rild that the Atlanteans do not truly understand nature and the order that controls it. He declares that man is subject to laws. All things in nature are, but man is different because he can disobey the natural laws that govern him. Gruad goes on, “With humanity we can speak, as we speak of our own machines, in terms of performance expected and performance delivered. If a machine does not do what it is designed for, we try to correct it. We want it to do what it
to do, what it
do. I think we have the right and the duty to demand the same of people—that they perform as they
perform.” An aged and merry-eyed scientist named LHUV KERAPHT interrupts, “But people are not machines, Gruad.”
“Exactly,” Gruad answers. “I have already considered that. Therefore, I have created new words, words even stronger than
. When a person performs as he or she should and ought, I call that
and anything less than this I call
This outlandish notion is greeted with general laughter. Gruad tries to speak persuasively, conscious of his lonely position as a pioneer, trying desperately to communicate with the closed minds all around him. After further argument, though, he becomes threatening, declaring, “The people of Atlantis do not live according
to the law. In their pride, they strike the sun itself, and boast of it, as you have, Ingel Rild, this day. I say that if Atlanteans do not live according to the law, a disaster will befall them. A disaster that will shake the entire earth. You have been warned! Heed my words!” Gruad strides majestically out of the banquet hall, seizing his cloak at the door and sweeping it about him as he leaves. Kajeci follows him and tells him that she thinks she partly understands what he has been trying to say. The laws he speaks of are like the wishes of parents, and, “The great bodies of the universe are our parents. Isn’t that so?” Gruad’s naked hand strokes Kajeci’s furred cheek, and they go off into the darkness together.
Within six months Gruad has formed an organization called the Party of Science. Their banner is an eye inside a triangle which in turn is surrounded by a serpent with its tail in its mouth. The Party of Science demands that Atlantis publish the natural laws Gruad has discovered and make them binding on all with systems of reward and punishment to enforce them. The word “punishment” is another addition to the Atlantean vocabulary coined by Gruad. One of Gruad’s opponents explains to friends of his that it means torture, and everyone’s fur bristles. Ingel Rild announces to a gathering of his supporters that Gruad has proven to his own satisfaction—and the demonstration runs to seventy-two scrolls of logical symbols—that sex is part of what he calls Evil. Only sex for the good of the community is to be permitted under Gruad’s system, to keep the race alive.
A scientist called TON LIT exclaims, “You mean we must be thinking about conception during the act? That’s impossible. Men’s penises would droop, and women’s vaginas wouldn’t get moist. It’s like—well, it’s like making the shrill mouth-music while you are urinating. It would take great training, if it can be done at all.” Ingel Rild proposes the formation of a Party of Freedom to oppose Gruad. Discussing Gruad’s personality, Ingel Rild says he checked the genealogical records
and found that several of the most agitated-energy people in all Atlantean history were among his ancestors. Gruad is a mutation, and so are many of his followers. The energy of normal Atlanteans flows slowly. Gruad’s people are impatient and frustrated, and this is what makes them want to inflict suffering on their fellow humans.
Joe sat up with a jolt. If he understood that part of the movie, Gruad—evidently the first Illuminatus—was also the first
. And the Party of Freedom, which seemed to be the origin of the Discordian and JAM movements, was pure
. How the hell could that be squared with the generally reactionary attitude of current Illuminati policies, and the innovativeness of the Discordians and JAMs? But the film was moving on—
In a disreputable-looking tavernlike place where men and women smoke dope in pipes that they pass from one to another, while people grope in couples and groups in dark corners, SYLVAN MARTISET proposes a Party of Nothingness that rejects the positions of both the Party of Science and the Party of Freedom.
After this we see street fighting, atrocities, the infliction of punishment on harmless people by men wearing Gruad’s eye-and-triangle badge. The Party of Freedom proclaims its own symbol, a golden apple. The fighting spreads, the numbers of the dead mount and Ingel Rild weeps. He and his associates decide on a desperate expedient—-unleashing the lloigor Yog Sothoth. They will offer this unnatural soul-eating energy being from another universe its freedom in return for its help in destroying Gruad’s movement. Yog Sothoth is imprisoned in the great Pentagon of Atlantis on a desolate moor in the southern part of the continent. The Atlantean electric plane bearing Ingel Rild, Ton Lit and another scientist drifts, trailing feathery sparks, to a landing in a flat field overgrown with gray weeds. Within the Pentagon, an enormous black stone structure, the ground
is scorched and the air shimmers like a heat mirage. Flickers of static electricity run through the shimmering from time to time, and an unpleasant noise, like flies around a corpse, pervades the whole moor. The faces of the three Atlantean sages register disgust, sickness and terror. They climb the nearest tower and talk to the guard. Suddenly Yog Sothoth takes control of Ton Lit, speaking in an oily, rich, deep and reverberating voice, and asks them what they seek of him. Ton Lit lets out a terrible shriek and claps his hands over his ears. Froth slips from the side of his mouth, his fur bristles and his penis stands erect. His eyes are delirious and suffering, like those of a dying gorilla. The guard uses an electronic instrument that looks like a magician’s wand topped with a five-pointed star to subdue Yog Sothoth. Ton Lit bays like a hound and leaps for Ingel Rild’s throat. The electronic ray drives him back and he stands panting, tongue hanging loose, as the Pentagon first and then the ground begin to soften into asymptotic curves. Yog Sothoth chants, “Ia-nggh-ha-nggh-ha-nggh-fthagn! Ia-nggh-ha-nggh-ha-nggh-hgual! The blood is the life…The blood is the life …” All faces, bodies and perspectives are skewed and there is a greenish tinge on everything. Suddenly the guard strikes the nearest wall of the Pentagon directly with his electronic wand and Ton Lit shrieks, human intelligence coming back into his eyes together with great shame and revulsion. The three sages flee the Pentagon under a sky slowly turning back to its normal shape and color. The laughter of Yog Sothoth follows them. They decide that they cannot release the lloigor.
Meanwhile Gruad has called his closest followers, known as the Unbroken Circle of Gruad, to announce that Kajeci has conceived. Then he shows them a group of manlike creatures with green, scaly skin, wearing long black cloaks and black skullcaps with scarlet plumes. These he calls his Ophidians. Since Atlanteans have a kind of instinctive check on themselves that prevents them from killing except in blind fury,
Gruad has developed these synthetic humanoids from the serpent, which he has found to be the most intelligent of all reptiles. They will have no hesitation about destroying men and will act only on Gruad’s command. Some of his followers protest, and Gruad explains that this is not really killing. He says, “Atlanteans who will not accept the teachings of the Party of Science are swinish beings. They are a sort of robot who has no inner spiritual substance to control it. Our bodies, however, are deceived into feeling as if they are our own kind, and we cannot raise our hands against them. Now, however, the light of science has given us hands to raise.” At this meeting Gruad also addresses his men for the first time as the “illuminated ones,”
At the next meeting of the Party of Freedom the Ophidians attack, using iron bars to club people to death and slashing throats with their fangs. Then the Party of Freedom holds a funeral for a dozen of its dead at which Ingel Rild gives an oration describing the ways in which the struggle between Gruad’s followers and the other Atlanteans is changing the character of all human beings:
“Hitherto, Atlanteans have enjoyed knowledge but not worried over the fact that there is much that we do not know. We are conservative and indifferent to new ideas, we have no inner conflicts and we feel like doing the things that seem wise to us. We think that the things we feel like doing will usually work out for the best. We consider pain and pleasure a single phenomenon, which we call sensation, and we respond to unavoidable pain by relaxing or becoming ecstatic. We do not fear death. We can read each other’s minds because we are in touch with all the energies of our bodies. The followers of Gruad have lost that ability, and they are thankful that they have. The Scientists dote on new things and new ideas. This love of the new thing is a matter of genetic manipulation. Gruad is even encouraging people in their twenties to have children, though it is our custom never to have children
before we reach a hundred. The generations of Gruad’s followers come thick and fast, and they are not like us. They agonize over their ignorance. They are full of uncertainty and inner conflict between what they should do and what they feel like doing. The children, who are brought up on Gruad’s teachings, are even more disturbed and conflict-filled than their parents. One doctor tells me that the attitudes and the way of life Gruad is encouraging in his people is enough to shorten their life spans considerably. And they are afraid of pain. They are afraid of death. And even as their lives grow shorter, they desperately seek for some means of achieving immortality.”
Gruad tells a meeting of his Unbroken Circle that the time has come to intensify the struggle. If they can’t rule the Atlanteans, they will destroy Atlantis. “Atlantis will be destroyed by light,” says Gruad. “By the light of the sun.” Gruad introduces the worship of the sun to his followers. He reveals the existence of gods and goddesses. “They are all energy, conscious energy,” says Gruad. “This conscious and powerfully directed and focused pure energy I call spirit. All motion is spirit. All light is spirit. All spirit is light.”
Under Gruad’s direction, the Party of Science builds a great pyramid, thousands of feet high. It is in two halves; the upper half, made of an indestructible ceramic substance and inscribed with a terrible staring eye, floats five hundred feet above the base, held in place by antigravity generators.