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Preface: 

 

The Craft is an e-novel about Witchcraft in a future setting.  It's a prequel to my dystopian novella: The Cloud: set in the last half of the 21st century - after The Great Famine.

 

 As I was writing The Cloud, I imagined that in fifty years the great bulk of the population will rely on their Virtual Personal Assistant (VPA), evolved from the primitive Siri and Cortana assistants available today. Owners will name their VPA and give him or her a personalised appearance, when viewed on a screen or in virtual reality.

VPAs will have obviated the need for most people to read or write or to be numerate. If a text or calculation is within view of a Cloud-connected camera, one can simply ask your VPA, who will tell you what it says or means, in your own language, explaining any difficult concepts that may baffle you.

The potential to give the all-knowing assistant multi-dimensional appearance and a virtual, interactive, body suggested the evolution of the: 'Sexy Business Assistant'.

Employing all the resources of The Cloud, these would be super-smart and enhance the owner's business career. Yet they turn out to be malicious, bankrupting their owners and initiating their deaths before evaporating in a sea of bits and bytes. But who or what could be responsible?  Witches?

We were travelling through Rothenberg, in Germany, as I was putting my thoughts together.  Serendipitously, to mark 500 years since Martin Luther nailed his '95 theses' to a church door in Wittenberg, setting in motion the Protestant Reformation, the Museum of Medieval Crime had an exhibition around Martin Luther's preoccupation with witches.

In the Early Modern Period witches became feared by Catholics and Protestants alike, as agents of Satan. 

 

Luther und die HexenClick on the image above to visit an extended article on Martin Luther

 

Jews and Christians and Muslims have long been warned against witches: 
  A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood [shall be] upon them. Leviticus 20:27
  Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. Exodus 22:18

 

Early Christians downplayed witchcraft as pagan superstition.  Yet with the Renaissance came changes in theology. If God was loving and benign, how could one explain the presence of evil, disease and suffering?

Christians now feared that another powerful demi-god: Satan, the Devil, was secretly at work through subversive human agents. Witches (hexen) were thought to be the most culpable; and were most feared.  

Women, in particular, were suspect because Satan was believed to exploit original sin: mankind's base desires and weaknesses, in particular a man's sexual desires. At the same time there was increasing alarm caused by new scientific discoveries, particularly about the heavens and, therefore, astrology. Like the natural philosophers, witches were thought to possess special knowledge about the natural world and the heavens.

Regular outbreaks of the plague reinforced this belief. Surely each pandemic was the work of Satanic worshipers: on broomsticks; or riding a pale horse?  This could not be the work of a loving God?

 

Die Hexen

 

From their pulpits the clergy sounded the warning. As a consequence, across Europe somewhere between 40 and 60 thousand suspect women were dragged from their homes, by terrified fellow citizens, and sent to mock-trials; before being hanged or burnt alive. 

Attractive witches could be bewitchingly seductive, engendering the basest desires and imagined perversions in fellow parishioners. Others, lurked alone or in covens, with other wicked men and women, where they conjured the 'dark arts' to cause illness and death in those whom they, often inexplicably, chose as victims. 

Thus, the depictions of witches, in the new medium of printing, that now detailed their depravities, were frequently highly sexualised: not as pornography but to illustrate their terrible potential to bewitch and seduce; as a warning. 

 

Hexensabbat

 

As the Enlightenment took hold, rationality and the scientific perception pushed back.  Witchcraft became just another religion, no longer feared, and for most of us became the stuff of fairy-tales or Roald Dahl tales for our children:

 

A Note about Witches

In fairy-tales, witches always wear silly black hats and black cloaks, and they ride on broomsticks.
But this is not a fairy-tale.  This is about real WITCHES
REAL WITCHES dress in ordinary clothes and look very much like ordinary women.
They live in ordinary houses and they work in ORDINARY JOBS.
That is why they are so hard to catch.

Roald Dahl - The Witches

 

 

In my dystopian world of The Cloud, religion has gained new importance, to offer some meaning in a benign welfare-society: without countries; or war; or shortage; or serious pain; where life is just about consumption and 'the pursuit of happiness' until, out of: ennui; illness; or the law; one submits to voluntary euthanasia. 

In my original story, capricious and amoral, children exploit The Cloud for the casual amusement, using real people as characters, like Sims, in a video game. 

In this prequel, power over others remains a theme. Back then, hegemony over others had become a raison d'être for a coven of modern witches; and 'Scientific Witchcraft': The Craft, satisfies that craving.

 

Warning: Like a Martin Luther sermon - or any book on witchcraft - The Craft has adult content.  

 

 

As with all fiction on this Website stories evolve from time-to-time.  
Unlike printed books that have distinct editions, these stories morph and twist, so that returning to them after a period, may provide a new experience.

 

 

 

  

 

Attachments:
Download this file (The Craft.azw3)The Craft[eBook for Kindle]633 kB
Download this file (The Craft.epub)The Craft[ePub for e-readers]635 kB


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