By David Drexler
(Note, this took way too long to write, and I still don't think it's that good a review. Scroll down to look at the pictures at least. Click on them to see bigger versions.)
How do you review a zine by someone who seems completely insane? This is a question I have been wrestling with since about midway through this massive (70 pages!) zine that is, as the cover says, about parasites and the blind idiot god.
Since I'm not sure how to review this, I'll just start at the beginning: with parasites. The zine opens with quotes from a variety of sources about parasites, and how humans are filled with them. Lovely stuff. Then Drexler actually starts writing his own stuff, and he begins with something that might as well have been ripped from the first Matrix movie, namely that humans are an INFESTATION.
He continues, questioning our very ideas of consciousness, suggesting that computers are using us, and then changes tack and begins page after page about parasites. Drexler discusses different types, how they've evolved, how they feed, how they breed (some of them can lay up to two million eggs a day), how they survive, and how to define what a parasite even is. It's kind of gross to be totally honest, I never need to be told about botflies ever again.
"Let us linger here a while on the subject of tapeworms."
Up to now it all seems fairly straight forward, it's just a zine by a guy who's really interested in parasites and kind of hates humanity (which is fair enough to be honest). There are diagrams copied from books, and lots of scientific facts, backed up by references, and footnotes. How accurate all this stuff is I don't know (for some reason Drexler seems to believe echinoderm's lack parasites), but most of it seems reasonable enough, if not something I'm usually into reading (and there are a few references to Egypt and India that seem a bit racist).
There are even some bits that are pretty amusing. Drexler refers to a type of tapeworm with hundreds of thousands of sets of genitalia as "the sexiest animal on the planet". At least I hope that was supposed to be amusing. If not this zine just got a whole lot stranger.
"...but I should expect, even hope, that most readers would baulk to accept this heretical divagation into occult territory."
But it was about to get strange anyway, as then the discussion about unseen psychic entities begins. Drexler's ideas here remind me a little of Arthur Conan Doyle, someone who seemingly wanted to believe in supernatural agencies, but knew that most people who claim such connections are absolute charlatans. Yet, like Doyle, Drexler eventually embraces these things that most people think of as nonsense. Sure he outright dismisses every claim of ectoplasm and levitation reported by various people, yet at the same time he claims that poltergeists exist because look! There’s all this anecdotal evidence from around the world.
To be honest, I kind of enjoy Drexler's ideas about poltergeists; namely that they are insectoidal sub-intelligences that are just flailing around at random. It's kind of fun, and I think it would work well in a piece of fiction.
However, Drexler doesn't dwell on this; instead he heads off to another idea: astral projection. Drexler begins by saying that it's feasible to dismiss the concept as lucid dreaming, but that it is a real thing, despite the fact that he recounts that during one his own personal experiences he "floated downstairs and saw cats driving cars in the street in front of our house". That’s not really something I would take as proof that what you experienced wasn’t a dream. Drexler also dismisses the idea that information gained from astral projection is "just" information gained from some sort of ESP. That's crazy talk.
"...thuggish minions of the parasitic astral megafauna"
Continuing on, Drexler discusses the strange entities that he believes exist on the psychic plane: shadowy monsters, old hags, and things with insect-like intelligence. It is at this point that Drexler makes an observation that I found fascinating. When commenting on another writer's experiences with astral projection and the astral denizens who are preventing you from progressing spiritually he notes that "All these phenomena are strangely reminiscent of the harassing delusions of schizophrenics, suggesting the possibility that the consciousnesses of those sufferers may have bled into the astral."
The idea that the maybe the schizophrenics are right (or at least that just because you have similar experiences to those claimed by crazy people does not make you crazy) reminded me of Philip K. Dick's struggles dealing with his own sanity after his experience with VALIS. I wonder if it ever crossed Drexler’s mind that perhaps the people experiencing these psychic phenomena are also suffering from schizophrenia.
Drexler then goes off on an attack against the Christian church, claiming that it strives to keep its followers in the dark so as to be better able to control them. (Hey! That sounds pretty reasonable.) But we haven't even gotten to the really crazy part yet.
"...humanity has all the appearances of a farmed animal."
As well explained as that quote may be (we're confined into small structures, our waste goes everywhere, there's too many of use, we're dead stupid), it leads up to the idea that we're farmed by drone-like astral drudges to be used by "unimaginably bloated demonic overlords" or "gods" as Drexler explains them to be.
Of course Drexler is quick to point out that we shouldn't think of divine beings as superior to us. Instead he goes on to explain that the ones we encounter are primitive parasites that cluster around us because we have what they need (some sort of psychic energy presumably, it wasn’t explained that well), and that there are lots of other more "pure" entities out there that we never interact with. I kind of liked this bit as it countered an earlier comment about Egypt, and made Drexler less of a racist jackass.
Drexler then segues into a discussion of Gnosticism, an area I will admit I know almost nothing about, but which seems to be based around the idea of an imperfect god (though whether totally, amorally evil, or just not all-knowing is up to the sect). Drexler again makes some pretty good criticisms of modern religion and society here ("In our physical plane, there also exist beings desiring to be worshiped. Down here we call them assholes.")
"I can just see this titanic committee of high-ranking astral parasites, reclining in thrones worn smooth by the bulging of flesh, the chitinous plates of their exoskeletons now mere islands in a burgeoning sea of fat. The faint, satisfied clacking of their mandibular orifices alone mars the regal silence of the vast halls, where the withered and disjected husks of their most devoted acolytes are swept up by timorous minions."
Drexler believes that religion (mainly Christianity, though most Western writers will think solely of this when writing about religion) is destroying civilization, yet clearly a lack of belief (atheism) won't counter the horrible monstrous things either, because they can feed on us even better when we don't know they're there. So what can you do? Well, we're back to analogies of The Matrix, as Drexler claims that spiritual progress forms a type of "revolt against the very basis of our reality", and that we must fight to expand our awareness.
Oddly, perhaps, the last page drops the ideas of the supernatural vampire beings, and instead questions the idea that morality only comes from religion and obedience. Drexler continues to say that we must rid ourselves of parasitical religious and political systems, and do good ourselves. And then it just ends.
"But let me restrain for a moment these delightful spasms of vitriolic hyperbole."
Unlike some zines, this one is full of pictures, with almost every page featuring at least one. From scientific images that fill the section on biological parasites, to the bizarre and wonderful collages that Drexler creates from combining Victorian images with tentacles and other monstrous appendages, to Troy Hansen's rune covered drawings of horrifying cthuloidesque tentacle monsters, this zine is filled with interesting images, even if you don't bother reading the text.
But the text is the main thing here, and it creates one of the strangest (and longest) zines I have ever read. It mixes up complete nonsense with things that can make sense, combines scientific facts with paranormal ideas, and ends up with a result that is both fascinating and depressing. The page of sources at the end (including everything from William S. Burroughs to Richard Dawkins to Friedrich Nietzsche) makes you realize how much work was put into this thing, and fuck, I don't know what else to say.
I have written almost 1500 words, and I’m still seriously unsure what to write about this. Either it is completely serious and the author seems to be suffering from some sort of mental issues, or it’s the greatest satire I have ever read.