The Darkening Sky

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THE DARKENING SKY is a book by Henrik Boemer, a Dutch art professor (1918 - 1976), published by The Fourth International Press 1966.

Described as "a new exploration of the philosophy of Fatalism" on its back cover, this short-run paperback combines treatise and fiction in its discussion of cyclical history and its notion that humanity can combine into a perceptual-reality "machine" that can overthrow the tyranny of "time" itself. It's a frequently bizarre, self-sabotaging work that often conflates inevitable, almost Creationist cycles of rise and fall with the Elder Gods of HP Lovecraft, with whom Boemer had something of an obsession. One chapter simply lists the more frightening events in world history that occurred in 1925, the year he estimated that Lovecraft first conceived of his main sequence of horror tales.

Samizdat copies of THE DARKENING SKY have existed into the 21st Century, the few remaining original copies often jealously guarded in private libraries: far outliving Boemer himself, who, after a series of psychotic breaks following the publication of his final book in 1971 (THE EUROPEAN LLOIGOR (Weisen Books), an attack on what he saw as an usurpation of the occult traditions by middle-class European intellectuals like Colin Wilson), hanged himself in a jail cell in Amsterdam on June 6 1976 following an arrest for public indecency.

The Fourth International was an international organisation of Trotskyist communists, founded in 1938 with Trotsky's backing and informed by his theory and program of "permanent revolution" . The Fourth International suffered two serious splits in the 40s and 50s, and a partial reunification in 1963. It's believed that the short-lived Fourth International Press was a small esoteric-minded splinter group that fell away from the main direction of The United Secretariat of the Fourth International sometime in 1964. They published spottily until late 1966, when they reconfigured as the San Francisco publishing house International Echo.

In 1958 Jerry Lapin and his brother Al Lapin, Jr., and financial partners Albert Kallis and Sherwood Rosenberg opened the International House of Pancakes

Forty years later, in 2006 Elvis Costello recorded a song titled International Echo that may or may not be related to the publishing house.

First mentioned by Warren Ellis on his livejournal [1]

--- EXPLICIT PASSAGES: Doktor Sleepless - "There's a passage in there, Sing, that tells us what we all know -- in order to eat, we have to kill plants, fish and animals."

Big - "Gets rid of everything that gets in the way of seeing how the world really is." On the effect of reading The Darkening Sky.

Celia - "It's a really good book. More people should read it. Better than therapy, really."

Celia - "Let's just say, there's a difference between feeling like the world fucked you over, and accepting and understanding why the world fucked you over."

Sarah Berlin confirms that while it is freely available in Heavenside, the book is effectively unavailable anywhere else.

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