GATHER, DARKNESS is a science fiction classic It tells the story of Armon Jarles, a man on the edge, living amidst the disputes of two rival powers at large in the worldyears after a nuclear holocaust ravaged mankind, throwing society back into the dark ages, the world is fraught with chaos and superstition The new rulers over the masses of humanity are the techno priests of the Great God, endowed with scientific knowledge lost to the rest of humanity Jarles, originally of peasant descent, rises to become a priest of the Great God He knows the gospel propagated by the priests to be a fraud, based on illusion and trickery Even offensive to him is the paucity of true believers among the priesthood One day he rebels against his priestly training and attempts to incite the peasants to rise up and demand freedom, but they are not ready Jarles is not the only dissenter trying to sabotage and expose the false theocracy of the priesthood witchcraft is slowly gaining strength and support among the populace about to throw him headlong into the middle of the greatest holy war the world has ever seen This book has a fantastic premise centuries ago, after a cataclysmic war that ended the Golden Atomic Age, a group of scientists enshrined their knowledge within a new religion intended to guide humanity through the new dark age Unsurprisingly, this has led instead to a tyrannical theocracy of priests who use their advanced technology in concert with the ignorance of the commoners in order to maintain the status quo through miracles, all the while pushing the promised return to the Golden This book has a fantastic premise centuries ago, after a cataclysmic war that ended the Golden Atomic Age, a group of scientists enshrined their knowledge within a new religion intended to guide humanity through the new dark age Unsurprisingly, this has led instead to a tyrannical theocracy of priests who use their advanced technology in concert with the ignorance of the commoners in order to maintain the status quo through miracles, all the while pushing the promised return to the Golden Age farther and farther into the future They are opposed in this by the New Witchcraft, a renegade sect that, of course, using technology to pretend they have the magical support of the Dark Lord Sathanas As above, so below.I also love that this book starts on page 1 with main character Jarles deciding mid service that he is fed up with the lies of the Hierarchy and launching into a fiery denouncement of the regime After so many modern novels that are littlethan hyper extended prologues,this is a breath of fresh air.It s too bad that pretty much everything else about this book is garbage Over and over, the narrative lurches forward and then halts for long stretches, and the book is only like 200 pages long The characters, such as they are, don t make any sense in their motivations or choices or relationships, and the writing is a textbook example of the bizarrely over eager and earnest prose that golden age pulp sf tends toward Have you wondered where George Lucas got the idea for that light sabre Right here This book That s where he got it This groundbreaking work of dystopian fiction 1950 is an exciting, well plotted novel which has influenced at least three generations of writers It tells of a future dark age brought on by a well meaning group of scientists who, wishing to prevent all further wars, invent a god, offer themselves as a priesthood and present their technological marvels used primarily for socia Have you wondered where George Lucas got the idea for that light sabre Right here This book That s where he got it This groundbreaking work of dystopian fiction 1950 is an exciting, well plotted novel which has influenced at least three generations of writers It tells of a future dark age brought on by a well meaning group of scientists who, wishing to prevent all further wars, invent a god, offer themselves as a priesthood and present their technological marvels used primarily for social control as miracles They choose witchcraft as their bogeyman and persecute witches unmercifully in spite of the fact that witchcraft is virtually non existent, practiced by a few wizened female herb doctors accompanied by their pet cats.As often happens, what we choose to fear and persecute however trivial it may be at the start gains in significance and power over us A new witchcraft arises, with what look to be real magical powers, and its witches possess extraordinarily helpful familiars not cats, but monkey things with uncannily human faces.This is classic science fiction, recommended to everyone who loves the genre Or, for that matter, anyone who loves a good story The light sabre bit is just a little icing on the cake The Religion of Technology If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns This is the persistent message of the National Rifle Association in America Of course what they neglect to say is that if guns are legal, those using them illegally will have the best guns As so it is with all technology of coercion, including thesubtle but highly effective technology of religion Leiber s tongue in cheek allegory speculates on some interesting developments of such technology and its consequen The Religion of Technology If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns This is the persistent message of the National Rifle Association in America Of course what they neglect to say is that if guns are legal, those using them illegally will have the best guns As so it is with all technology of coercion, including thesubtle but highly effective technology of religion Leiber s tongue in cheek allegory speculates on some interesting developments of such technology and its consequences.Before the 16th century, the principal technology of European religion was miracles, or at least the verbal and primitive written reports of miracles, that is, unexplained and therefore unnatural aberrations in natural forces But these were crucially augmented at the end of the Middle Ages by the technology of printing, causing an uncontrolled expansion of non conformist interpretation, heresy and schism The Protestants had the best technology for a time, only to be surpassed in the 18th century by the wily deists and atheists of the Enlightenment with their knack for popular publishing.By the early 20th century the most advanced religious technology was radio as exploited by the likes of the American Father Coughlin who, at the time Leiber was writing his book, had a congregation of over 30 million tuned into his weekly broadcasts Coughlin, however was only the forerunner for an entirely new industry of television and internet media evangelists from the 1950 s Billy Graham and Fulton Sheen to today s Megachurch pastors like Benny Hinn and Kenneth Copeland Most of these have been exposed for practising the sins that they condemn avarice, lust, deceit, etc And the exposure and failure when it comes, is typically down toeffective technology of surveillance, of accounting, and of the inspection of records.Leiber s religious technology is partly organisational as it always is but primarily one that protects those who are part of the religious hierarchy and enhances their physical strength, thus allowing priests to intimidate and control commoners in the name of the Great God But the opposition Satanists, known as the Witchcraft, have an evenpowerful technology, one that works on the intellect and emotions They are able to create illusions and delusions among the priestly hierarchy that effectively neutralise their physical superiority This technology includes moving picture holograms and various forms of stimulative cerebral rays Both sides know that their powers are technological not theological Dogma is a matter of providing theological rationalisation for what appears as miraculous to the populace Neither the hierarchy of the Great God nor the Witchcraft really believe any of the official religious line Nor, interestingly, do they consider the mass of commoners, who are fully indoctrinated in religious beliefs and behaviour, capable of understanding the real game of power being played by the two groups Therefore neither side seeks to promote themselves through propaganda or re education Inevitably, I suppose, the dialectic of the battle between the two technologies the one physical, the other psychological resolves itself not in the victory of either the old religion or the new but in the creation of a synthetic innovation the Religion of Technology This religion worships not a transcendent entity but an immanent system of power and technique This is the book s redeeming feature, a sort of prediction which has come to pass Technology has indeed become a spiritual force, determining and constituting the relationships among virtually the entire population of the planet, and controlled by a remote and mysterious elite The medium is the message There is no need to preach it it spreads itself among a docile and receptive congregation.Or perhaps technology has been considered divine from the beginning After all, tools that enhance human capacity are rather god like John Milton would have understood the situation Poetry, too, is a form of religious technology Arguably Billy Sunday was the last nationally known, conventional revivalist, evangelical preacher who relied solely on physical gatherings Both his popularity and his influence declined in direct proportion to the spread of radio during the 1920 s 5.0 stars Leiber s best novel and a great read Set in a postapocalyptic future Earth, the Hierarchy of the Great God controls all technology and the people with a iron fist The main character, a young priest named Brother Armon Jarles, speaks out against the ruling class and finds an underground movement with sophisticated technology of its own THEN THE BATTLE IS ON A great read Highly recommended.