Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Parallel Worlds

Proofs just came in for the fourth title in my 'Herbie Brennan's Forbidden Truths' series brought out by Faber. The first three books -- 'Atlantis and Other Lost Civilisations', 'Time Travel' and 'Strange Powers of the Human Mind' seem to be doing quite well. (I say 'seemed' because contrary to what many people believe, an author is not kept closely posted about the sales of his/her book. You get the good news or the bad news with your royalty statement, anything from six months to a year after publication... and even then the figures will often reflect only the first few months sales.)

The fourth book, called 'Parallel Worlds', is scheduled for UK publication in January. It's the most speculative one of the series so far -- somebody called it a non-fiction version of 'Faerie Wars' -- but if you like to relax and let your imagination consider some weird possibilities, you'll enjoy it.

In the summer of 2007, Faber are also planning to bring out something very interesting outside of the series I've been writing for them. But I think I'll leave off telling you more about that until nearer the time.

Meanwhile I've started work on the edit of 'Faerie Lord' for Bloomsbury, provisionally scheduled for Autumn next year. Busy days.


kevin said...

So the fourth book is coming... Good luck!

David Lee Stone said...

I've been trying to view YouTube videos for months! I keep getting the old 'You either have JavaScript turned off or an old version of Macromedia's Flash Player. Click here to get the latest flash player' message, but when I pop along to update my Flash player, it simply tells me I've already got the latest version! I much preferred my old electric typewriter.

David Lee Stone said...

Problem solved - what a fascinating piece!

Anonymous said...

Dear Herbie

Not sure if you trawl through your old blog columns. Last week on a long drive (8 hours to Perth, Australia from our sheep station) my husband and I took turns reading to each other from your Parallel Worlds book. The children were also riveted!

So chilling - we could not let the children out of our sight for some days. Would have ADORED some references in there - I know it was for children but we found it fascinating also and had no difficulties staying awake whatsoever!

I grew up on the Reader's Digest Book of Strange Stories and Amazing Facts, so not all the stories were new.

My snap insight of the day is that 'openess to experience' is one of the most important conditions for mental health - books like yours that wake children's minds to the wider possiblities make a big contribution in this way.

Are you familiar with Huna? I believe it is right up your alley - not that I believe you live down such a thing. A nice hobbit hole, or opposite a well-fed river?

Very bits and piecesy comments I'm afraid - back to my own non-fiction which is being referenced heavily in deference to my lack of a PhD and nervousness about criticism by those with same.

Best wishes

Jo Jackson King

Herbie Brennan said...

Hi Jo,

We live in an old rectory now, but there have been a couple of hobbitty places in the past. Thanks for the kind words and apologies for the lack of references: as you say, it was for young readers who (I believe) find the academic style almost as much of a turn-off as I do.

Huna is fascinating: I studied it quite a few years ago now (fancy way of saying I read Freedom Long's books) and was particularly interested in the interaction of psychology and religion/spirituality/magic.

Tell me about The Station at Austin Downs.

Anonymous said...

Dear Herbie

I thought that was the hardest book to autobiography at 34! It was requested by ABC Books (rather than being something I had in mind to do) after I'd done a couple of very successful radio series at a National and State level. The book was an Australian best-selller - but it took me a good year to drag my spirit back out of the past into which I'd travelled.

I'd just finished another radio series called 'Comfort Books' which also was well-recieved, and I knew then that was the sort of book I wanted to write. I think I succeeded as well as I was able to do at that age, and built an abiding relationship with the ABC as a consequence.

In fact, I'd put together so much of my life I rather thought it was, of course, I'm engaged in a whole slice of NEW learning and I have three boys to teach now, not two.

Now I realize THIS is the hardest book to do, which is developing a synthesis of all the diverse child development information for parents. (Also requested by my editor, though she is mercifully also interested in my fiction, but not the fantasy fiction alas!)

To my suprise, this book is taking me to some very strange places - perhaps even as strange as some the journeys you must make - which I didn't expect. I have a feeling this is what every book probably does.

Please let me try my proof of God theory out on you, sparing the references!

In the first three years of life it is mostly baby's right brain that grows. And it is the right brain that is important for empathy, finding meaning and richness in sensation and events, the pattern finding half of the brain. It also is the side that learns to manage emotion so that feelings and behaviours don't get in the way of achieving goals. (You would be very strongly right brained, though the word-smithing also suggests a good left brain too.)

The latest neuroscience tells us that a baby's right brain does not grow unless it is in intimate contact with another good right brain. But then, the baby's brain is transformed, 'catching' a sense of self from it's mother, growing empathy and the ability to manage emotions so they serve the baby's goals. The mother's brain is also transformed by this process. So important!

This can happen at any time in life, by the way. A mentoring relationship also transforms the right brain of BOTH individuals.

So here comes the then do people have transformative (ie. brain changing) religious experiences in the absence of a person with a good right brain or even a book (in which that is stored)? Such events are well-documented throughout history.

How is it possible that they all by themselves radically reshape and grew new neural tissue in the part of the brain that normally requires a 'contagious' element to trigger off growth? The neuroscience suggests strongly that this is not possible.

It seems to me that this is very good evidence for a non-corporeal mind or minds. (I tend to think the God spot research doesn't prove or disprove anything.)

Added to this is the epigenetic research - the way that the genome has a memory. (This is all very new, so I'm really speculating.) When someone is 'cured' overnight of a disorder where genes are involved - and this is most cancers, as you'd realize - what has happened? Their genes that were switched on by some event to express the disease have 'switched off'. Much of this happens in early life - maternal care switches on and off the genes which tell us how well we will cope with stress. Again, can a strong right brain experience be so transformative that these genes are switched off by this event? Is this the basis for a 'miracle cure'?

What do you think?

I've not found that reasoning duplicated on the internet as yet, but I'm sure there are Attachment researchers who'd have put this together also. And, declaring my hand, I'm not conventionally religious but I've had my share of experiences like these.

The old rectory sounds delightful - and, actually, I believe you mention it in parallel worlds, along with the fairy above your gate. Out here we have the tiny little men whose footprints are sometimes found as they track humans for long distances - they are all through the mythologies of Australia. My husband is a Torres Strait Islander with a very traditional Mum, so we also hear these stories (and others) from her. My Dad has regular meet-ups out on his mill-runs (to check the waters on the station) with a Medicine Man the rest of us have never seen and have concluded is not alive anymore. These were not stories that made the book, mind you!

I haven't read Freedom Long, but some Sergei Kahili King and listened a lot to a podcast called Huna Trainer.

Back to the heartbeat and the high needs baby!

Great to hear back from you,


Anonymous said...

Dear Herbie

I see Jacquie is a psychotherapist - right brain transformation is her bread-and-butter...what does she think of my argument? Probably there long before me!


Herbie Brennan said...

Autobiography is very tricky emotionally. I've just written a Magician's Memoir (which nobody shows any sign of wanting to publish yet!) and I know what you mean about getting stuck in the past. And, spookily, old friends I haven't heard from for years have started to get in touch since I wrote it.

I've passed your theory on to Jacks for comment: she's much better qualified than I am. Meanwhile, get hold of Anthony Peake's 'The Daemon' (just published) which you will find hugely useful.

jacquie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jacquie said...

Hi Jo,

Jacquie here (herbie's wife). i was really interested in your right brain/ proof of God theory - would you like to chat via this blog or by email? If you want to email me direct it's

All best wishes

Anonymous said...

My head hurts after just a little exposure to his website...!

I will desist for now and go and injure my head in a more immediately book-directed manner...though, of course, it all connects. I will order Anthony's book.

Three chapter in four weeks...can I do it? We will see.

I had terrible sinusitis (due to Candida I believe) after finishing my autobiography.