THE SAGE OF AQUARIUS by Julian Cloran is published

Dec. 4, 2006 – This is a black comedy set in the near-future UK revolving around the central character, Snafook Dessy Gleb, a self-acclaimed (fraudulent) prophet. The story details the growth of the bogus seer’s personal wealth and following various characters’ tribulations and parodying many recognisable aspects of contemporary culture – in particular the trend of ‘New Age’ philosophies with their mass-marketed exploitation of the emotionally vulnerable.

Among the techniques Snafook employs are ‘phantom defecation exercises’ and ‘mind tunnel blocking’ exercises, relying on the users’ potential to visualise themselves as dung beetles within their own minds.

Written in the third-person narrative beginning with the principal characters, the book goes on to describe the activities of self-styled guru/prophet Snafook, an enigmatic, warped genius with a talent for self-publicity. His face is surgically created with multi-racial features. Using his charisma, he exploits emotionally vulnerable people he attracts, one of whom dies in an incident that sparks his father’s hatred of Snafook and following a book signing by Gleb, he is driven to assassinate the cult’s leader.

About the Author: Julian Cloran was born in Brighton where he currently lives and works as a creative artist, painting in acrylics and regularly exhibiting his paintings locally and nationally. His artwork has been shown at the Westminster Gallery in London, at The Cherry Orchard Restaurant in Bethnal Green and at Ruskin College in Oxford where he attended as a student of creative writing.

Excerpt from the book: “Suddenly the Association hut’s door was blown off its hinges and a platoon of ‘New Age Creed Spreaders’ (NACS) fired round after round of spontaneity-bullets at the assembled Joiners. NACS acronyms were brilliantly emblazoned on patches with their insignia—the letters on the four points of a star superimposed on a wheel, apparently rotating as suggested by dark curved lines above and below—elaborately sewn using fluorescent cottons. The dazzling patches glinted on the chests and shoulders, covered in black leather, of the self-styled soldiers. It all happened so fast Jake barely knew what had hit him as four bullets sank through his shirt. The bullet capsules entered his chest and stomach in a persuasive tickle of gas delicately widening the pores of his skin, opening his mind to the unpredictable possibilities of lateral behaviour. A fixed grin bestowed his face with a good-natured expression; his eyes betrayed the intoxication of his brain—the direct result of the spontaneity-bullets.

Falling to his knees, laughing as others in the hut attempted break dancing and sexual congress with items of furniture, Jake saw Toby’s inane grin as he tested his own reflexes sitting on a desk. The soldiers, high on ingested petrol fumes and infected butterflies juices, cajoled the confused Joiners with thin prodding-sticks but the atmosphere was light-hearted. Three of them set up a film projector and a screen while others began selotaping Joiners to chairs facing the screen. The indoctrination (number 30742) was about to begin and Jake found himself laughing in a carefree manner. He didn’t seem to mind that his arms were numbing, tightly bound to his sides with selotape also binding his upper body to the plastic seat.

The lights were turned out and a hush fell in the hut as images on the screen flickered into focus moments later.

‘Hail Snafook!’ Intoned a deep, male voice. ‘Watch and learn, Joiners. Watch and learn.’”

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Author: Julian Cloran

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