Yogi of High Hopes
"A Journey to the Center of the Earth Story"
Rush gazed at the cyclopic stones that hemmed them in on their journey to salvation or damnation. Beside him sat Everett, looking as worn and beat-up as he probably did. Ahead and to the side stood Rowlf.
Our original mission to find the source of the The Big One, a gigantic earthquake that killed billions and uprooted our civilization forever. One that had devastated most of the upper earth, sending it to hell in a hand basket, handing us a lot of sour grapes to eat.
We had pried a hot rock from the lava river before us and slid it back into the curve away from all the dreaded heat, allowing ourselves a few minutes, maybe hours of warm comfort to while away time, which we seemed to have more than our share of as we sought a way back home, or at least to the source of the destruction. We were hoping at that time to at the very least get home, but as the miles wore on and the days and nights, our hope began to falter, so we took times like these to bolster our courage and give us enough stamina to face another day deep beneath the earth we once lived upon.
So I had begun a short story about my younger, more reckless days.
I was young then, maybe even younger than my years, or perhaps older. You tell me. I looked out at my friends through bloodshot eyes, and they looked back at me with the same. We were getting loaded. High on pot. It was the sixties. All my college friends were trying it, except for a few who didn't inhale.
I had Beatle length hair and a John Lennon beard that made me look like something out of the Yellow Submarine, a popular cult film that the Beatles lent songs to. "We all love a Yellow Submarine."
Love, not live.
I propped myself up on my elbow and looked at my friends there, all zoned out, listening to the Rolling Stones and "I can't get no satisfaction."
Neither could I, but I couldn't put my finger on it.
Then like a might god of the past a very tall friend of ours stepped into our living room, his face blazing with a smile that told us he was stoned. But as it turns out, he wasn't.
I've just met this crazy guru." He told us.
He sat down and enthralled us with a tale of a fat old man with long gray hair who closed his eyes and floated about three feet off the carpet he had been seated on in a lotus position.
"No freaking way!" My best friend, Henry, snapped.
He didn't disbelieve him; he just didn't think it was possible to be that cool.
We all got up and said to our friend, whose name was Dig. "Show us the way, brother."
He took us in his psychedelic van to a home on the fringes of Sacramento, hidden by tall Walnut trees and spreading acres of brush and flowers. We were all excited. Not one of us was stoned then. Dig had told us it wasn't cool to learn the mediation this man taught if we were stoned, so we figured it made him high, what did we have to lose, and it cost nothing. Or so we thought at the time.
"Here we are!" Dig announced as he damped his headlights, and got out.
We all piled out and followed him to a door with a huge OM symbol on it.
"Cool." Henry cooed.
I didn't know. Why did he have to advertise that way?
I followed Dig inside and we walked into a huge room with an older man, a long gray beard and dreadlocks, seated in a lotus position speaking to a rapt crowd of Hippies and Straights.
"Within each of us is something so powerful, so simple that if we but acknowledge it, but tap into it, we become like gods."
Then he began to float up off the floor.
Everyone gasped, including me, that is until I saw for a brief moment the pneumatic device that was pushing his body upwards, and then his long white dhoti fell back into place, hiding the metal thrusting him upwards. He smiled at everyone in a benign sort of way as they began putting dollar bills, fives, tens and twenties into a bowl that was in front of where he sat.
He nodded his head, as if doling out blessings to each of them as they did so. "God be with you." He said to each, as they raised, dumped money in, and then headed for the door.
When the last had left, Dig introduced us.
When my turn came he said. "This is Russ. He's an adventurer. I think this is the kind of adventure he needs more than climbing trees and mountains."
I disagreed with those words, but respected him enough to mum myself, even though I was burning like a ticking bomb inside myself about the fraud I had seen.
The old yogi descended to the floor, then nodded to us each to sit in front of him. I remained standing.
"I can see by your faces that all of you seek something greater than yourselves." He told us with a smile that would warm up an iceberg.
I wasn't buying it.
I edged closer to him as he spoke. He didn't notice, he was so caught up in his dialogue.
"We are all divine creatures, waiting but for the right touch to ignite our souls and send us to our flaming glory with God, the Invisible Father."
I didn't disbelieve a word he said, only his motives. I had been aware for some time that the drug scene was a dead end, I just didn't want to admit it to myself yet. I didn't want to lose my friends, which I knew I would. I knew that if I left and came back thirty years later, they would still be smoking grass and saying, "Cool Man."
So I did the only thing a rational young man could do, who was impulsive, sometime hot headed and adventurous.
Rush kicked at the small heated stone in front of him and Everett. Rowlf stood behind them, his insectile eyes hooded by the thick carapace eyelids that veiled them, but listening to the tale as well.
"So what happened next?" Everett asked expectantly. They used their down time to regale each other with tales of their past and both were becoming more and more close as they did so, realizing how much they had both gone through in their struggle to grow up as they saw it into human beings worthy of the status of being human.
"Wried!. Rowlf snapped.
Rush looked at his tall friend, thankful to have the powerful being as a friend. "No. Not died. Exposed."
"Rowlf nots undestand."
"I was a naughty boy. I peeked."
"I plucked the hem of the dhoti and threw it up, exposing the platform the yogi sat on. He was so flustered that I had done so that he accidentally activated it and shot up towards the ceiling even higher than before."
Everett burst into laughter, as did Rowlf."
Rush grinned. "I was exiled by Dig for doing that. None of my friends liked me after that."
"That's kind of harsh." Everett said.
"Yeah. But not because I exposed the yogi, but because I quite doing drugs."
Rush grinned. "I realized on that night that you don't need drugs or alcohol or anything else to be happy."
"Sounds like the end to a Disney fairy tale." Everett pointed out.
"Yeah, except in this case, there were drugs."
"Yeah. There's that."
"Twat shish dwugs?" Rowlf asked, his face turned askance in curiosity.
"You don't want to know." Rush answered.
"Dwo." Rowlf answered.
Rush sighed. "Very well. They are chemicals that people use to make themselves feel like someone else."
Rush gave him a surprised look.
"Why are you laughing?"
"Rowlf fweel wike shomeone else shonely twin say eat him." He said, then laughed again even more so.
Rush smiled. "Then let's hope no one ever does eat you."
Rowlf hiked himself to his full height and pounded his chest. "Eat dem fwirst!"
He laughed and laughed.
Everett and I looked at each other.
All Cats Are Gray
by Andrew North (alias for Andre Norton)
When Alice began her life long career as a writer, women were considered less than equal to men, basically baby factories and child providers, so it's no wonder she head her gender. And of course, it also explains the sensitivity of her writing, which was imbued with a warmth that wasn't always found in her male competitor's works.
Yay for her to have the bravura to go against the waves women had to go against in those days and stand up and be read!
Andre Alice Norton (born Alice Mary Norton, February 17, 1912 – March 17, 2005) was an American writer of science fiction and fantasywith some works of historical fiction and contemporary fiction. She wrote primarily under the pen name Andre Norton, but also underAndrew North and Allen Weston. She was the first woman to be Gandalf Grand Master of Fantasy, first to be SFWA Grand Master, and first inducted by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.
After graduating from high school in 1930, Norton planned to become a teacher and began studying at Flora Stone Mather College of Western Reserve University. However, in 1932 she had to leave because of the Depression and began working for the Cleveland Library System, where she remained for 18 years, latterly in the children's section of the Nottingham Branch Library in Cleveland. In 1934, she legally changed her name to Andre Alice Norton, a pen name she had adopted to increase her marketability since boys were the main audience for fantasy. Her first book was published by D. Appleton–Century Company that year, with illustrations by Kate Seredy, titled The Prince Commands, being sundry adventures of Michael Karl, sometime crown prince & pretender to the throne of Morvania (cataloged by the U.S. Library of Congress as by "André Norton").
During 1940–1941 she worked as a special librarian in the cataloging department of the Library of Congress. She was involved in a project related to alien citizenship which was abruptly terminated upon the American entry into World War II. In 1941 she bought a bookstore called Mystery House in Mount Rainier, Maryland, the eastern neighbor of D.C. The business failed, and she returned to the Cleveland Public Library until 1950 when she retired due to ill health. She began working as a reader for publisher-editor Martin Greenberg[a] at Gnome Press, asmall press in New York City that focused on science fiction. She remained until 1958, when she became a full-time professional writer—with 21 novels published. Kirkus had reviewed 16 of them and awarded four starred reviews.[b]
Norton's first published science fiction was a short novella, "The People of the Crater", which appeared under the name "Andrew North" as pages 4–18 of the inaugural 1947 number ofFantasy Book, a magazine from Fantasy Publishing Company, Inc. Her first fantasy novel, Huon of the Horn, published by Harcourt Brace under her own name in 1951, adapted the 13th-century story of Huon, Duke of Bordeaux. Her first science fiction novel, Star Man's Son, 2250 A.D., appeared from Harcourt in 1952. She became a prolific novelist in the 1950s, with many of her books published for the juvenile market, at least in their original hardcover editions.
She wrote more than a dozen speculative fiction series, but her longest, and longest-running project was "Witch World", which began with the novel Witch World in 1963. The first six novels were Ace Books paperback originals published from 1963 to 1968. From the 1970s most of the series was published in hardcover editions. From the 1980s some were written by Norton and a co-author, and others were anthologies of short fiction for which she was editor. (Witch World became a shared universe).[c] There were dozens of books in all.
Norton was twice nominated for the Hugo Award, in 1964 for the novel Witch World and in 1967 for the novelette "Wizard's World". She was nominated three times for the World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement, winning the award in 1998. Norton won a number of other genre awards and regularly had works appear in the Locus annual "best of year" polls.
She was a founding member of the Swordsmen and Sorcerers' Guild of America (SAGA), a loose-knit group of Heroic Fantasy authors founded in the 1960s, led by Lin Carter, with entry by fantasy credentials alone. Norton was the only woman among the original eight members. Some works by SAGA members were published in Lin Carter's Flashing Swords! anthologies.
As Norton's health became uncertain, she moved to Winter Park, Florida in November 1966, where she remained until 1997. In 1976, Gary Gygax invited Norton to play Dungeons & Dragons in his Greyhawk world. Norton subsequently wrote Quag Keep, which involved a group of characters who travel from the real world to Greyhawk. It was the first novel to be set, at least partially, in the Greyhawk setting and, according to Alternative Worlds, the first to be based on D&D. Quag Keep was excerpted in Issue 12 of The Dragon (February 1978) just prior to the book's release. She and Jean Rabe were collaborating on the sequel to her 1979 Greyhawk novel Quag Keep when she died. Return to Quag Keep was completed by Rabe and published by Tor Books in January 2006.
She moved to Murfreesboro, Tennessee in 1997 and from February 21, 2005, she was under hospice care. She died at home on March 17, 2005, of congestive heart failure.
Her final complete novel, Three Hands for Scorpio, was published on April 1, 2005. Besides Return to Quag Keep, Tor has published two more novels with Norton and Rabe credited as co-authors, Dragon Mage (Nov 2006) and Taste of Magic (Jan 2008).
LegacyOn February 20, 2005, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, which had earlier honored her with its Grand Master Award in 1983, announced the creation of the Andre Norton Award, to be given each year for an outstanding work of fantasy or science fiction for the young adult literature market, beginning with 2005 publications. While the Norton Award is not a Nebula Award, it is voted by SFWA members on the Nebula ballot and shares some procedures with the Nebula Awards. Nominally for a young adult book, actually the eligible class is middle grade and young adult novels. Unlike Nebulas, there is a jury whose function is to expand the ballot beyond the six books with most nominations by members.
Often called the Grande Dame of Science Fiction and Fantasy by biographers such as J. M. Cornwell and organizations such as Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America,Publishers Weekly, and Time, Andre Norton wrote novels for over 70 years. She had a profound influence on the entire genre, having over 300 published titles read by at least four generations of science fiction and fantasy readers and writers. Notable authors who cite her influence include Greg Bear, Lois McMaster Bujold, C. J. Cherryh, Cecilia Dart-Thornton,Tanya Huff, Mercedes Lackey, Charles de Lint, Joan D. Vinge, David Weber, K. D. Wentworth, and Catherine Asaro.
Recurring motifsThis section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (March 2013)Norton started out writing juvenile historical fiction and adventure, and then moved into fantasy and finally science fiction. Again and again in her works, alienated outsiders undertake a journey through which they realize their full potential; this emphasis on the rite of passage continued her association in many readers' minds with young adult fiction, although she became a best seller to adults.
In most Norton books, whether science-fiction or fantasy, the plot takes place in the open countryside, with only short episodes in a city environment. Protagonists usually move about singly or in small groups, and in conflict situations they are more often scouts, spies or guerrillas rather than regular soldiers in large military formations.
As could be expected of such characters, they tend to be resourceful and capable of taking independent initiative. In some books, protagonists are introduced already in possession of such characteristics. In others the protagonists (often young) are thrust into situations where they must develop them quickly, and invariably succeed at it.
Many planets in the books are Earth-like places, where humans can live without special protection, and have extensive flora and fauna which are described in considerable detail and often have substantial bearing on the plot. Airless planets and ones with unbreathable atmospheres are sometimes mentioned in passing, but are virtually never the main scene of a Norton book (an exception is Night of Masks). In many of her books, especially her mid-period and later fantasies, such as most of the Witch World series, there are settings described similarly, with ancient stone highways left by unknown civilizations, flanked by half-fallen walls overgrown with vines, and often studded with tall pillars topped by mythical shapes. These vistas are universally presented as almost vibrating with magical power. Another common setting, in both fantasies and science fiction, is of a room filled with alien super-scientific equipment, often where something evil (such as experimentation on humans or other living creatures) has gone or is going on.
A common theme in the books is the presence of sympathetically presented feudal and tribal cultures. In several books Native American tribes and their various analogues are given a chance to be more successful than they were in actual American history. (Norton often told friends that she was proud of her little bit of Native American ancestry.) Nonhuman creatures and cultures are usually presented sympathetically, with human protagonists sometimes supporting them against oppressive human authorities. In contrast, several books present technological and mechanized cultures as negative or even positively evil.
With her 1965 book Year of the Unicorn (third in the High Hallack spinoff of her Witch World series), she used a young woman as the protagonist, which was at the time uncommon for American works of fantasy.
An important role in Norton's books is often given to animals — both ordinary terrestrial ones, such as cats (with whom she had much personal experience — see List of fictional cats#Andre Norton) and exotic fictional ones, whose characteristics are meticulously worked out. Many of Norton's animals are highly intelligent without being anthropomorphic, acting as virtually full partners to the human protagonists and in many books forming telepathic links with them.
Cover of Voodoo Planet by Andrew North, artist Ed Valigursky; half of Ace Double#D-345 (1959)Some background elements, such as the use of "Credits" as a unit of currency and of the lethal "Blasters" and the non-lethal "Stunners" as the main hand-weapons, are common to many of Norton's science fiction books, even when they are not set in precisely the same future.
A fictional board and counter game called "Stars and Comets" appears in many Norton science fiction books. However, only fleeting hints of the rules are revealed. Counters styled as either "stars" or "comets" move across the board taking opponents' pieces. The rules of movement and capture seem to be very complex allowing hidden strategies and sudden reversals of fortune. It may be that there are both elements of skill and chance. Often, it is not the game being played itself which features, but references to it as an analogy of some plot situation. Its use helps to reinforce the alien culture being portrayed, and also gives the reader a sense of continuity between books portraying differing people and places.
Equally, an interstellar refugee camp turned slum of dubious reputation called the Dipple provides the starting point for a number of planet stories, as the number of desperate young people seeking any escape from its poverty is high.
She also developed the concept of traveling through alternate worlds in The Crossroads of Time. In the Time Trader series, she explored Celtic Europe, and Ice Age Baltic region, synthesizing anthropology, archeology, and hard science fiction, and this series must also be seen as a pivotal exploration of time travel, as a method of fictionally exploring lost cultures. The second book in the Time Trader series, Galactic Derelict, features the use of recovered alien technology, to enable human travel to the stars, and this theme is also very recurrent, with definite features developed by Andre Norton.
High Hallack LibraryThe High Hallack Library was a facility that Andre Norton was instrumental in organizing and opening. Designed as a research facility for genre writers, and scholars of “popular” literature (the genres of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, western, romance, gothic, or horror), it was located near Norton’s home in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
The facility, named after one of the continents in Norton's Witch World series, was home to over 10,000 texts, videos and various other media. Attached to the facility were three guest rooms, allowing authors and scholars the chance to stay on-site to facilitate their research goals.
The facility was opened on February 28, 1999, and operated until March 2004. Most of the collection was sold during the closing days of the facility. The declining health of Andre Norton was one of the leading causes of its closing.
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