may not be for every reader, but if you like to feel the intelligence of the author behind a story that addresses contemporary subjects, this one is for you. Alex Shakar's first novel, The Savage Girl
, got glowing reviews and made it onto some "best of" lists, but I found the characters calculating, brittle and soulless. In Luminarium
, the author clearly went looking for some spiritual underpinnings, as does his main character, and was successful in his quest.
Fred Brounian, the seeker in the story, is a twin. He and George grew up with yearnings for a better world and successfully created one virtually. Meanwhile the real world got worse: the attack on the World Trade Center, the resulting fear of terrorism and wars, and the rise of the military in American life. In fact, Fred, George and a third brother Sam suffered their...
Beyond the Book
When Fred puts on the "God helmet" in Luminarium
he is participating in an experiment into Neurotheology, a fairly new scientific field of research into the relationship between the brain and spiritual experiences. The first investigations studied brain wave patterns in the late 1950s. As the technology for brain study advanced, so did neurotheology.
During the 1980s, Dr. Michael Persinger, a leader in the field, set out to demonstrate that stimulation of the temporal lobes could "cause" a spiritual episode. His main tool was the Koren Helmet (named for Stanley Koren of Laurentian University's Neuroscience Department who built it according to specifications provided by Dr. Persinger), which applies complex, irregular magnetic signals to the temporal lobes...