essene :    an overview


essene is a theological treatise cunningly disguised as slick science fiction.  It is about subjective dementia, the inner mysteries of gnostic Christianity, and the problems that arise when you and the afterlife fail to meet each other’s expectations.


For those who either skipped or slept through Sunday School, the Essenes were a sect of Judaism active between 200bc-70ad.  They didn’t like how “mainstream” Judaism was running The Temple and observing The Laws, so they moved into the desert to do things their own way.  The oldest known copies of the Old Testament are of Essene origin, and occasionally they do not match the text of the Old Testament as we have it today.  The Essenes also wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls, and there is compelling evidence that John the Baptist and even Jesus had contact with them, if not actual membership.  The Essenes seemingly met their end at the hands of the Romans during the disastrous Jewish Revolt of 64-70; this is typified by the last stand/mass suicide at Masada, which was apparently an Essene stronghold.  Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, seemingly met a similar end, and the sect of Essenes effectively vanished.


However, this is slick science fiction, where I have rewritten the past and the future with artistic license to ill.  The book assumes a faction of gnostic Essenes survived the Roman purge and continued on, well into the future.


That future is as shady as my old nom de plume1.  The date is deliberately unspecified, but it is at least a thousand years from now.  Earth is a distant memory about which little is accurately remembered.  Humans have migrated to new space, and have met three other, distinct alien races. My vision of the future is like being at a bad carnival on good acid.  Things are described with sardonic subjectivity.  I leave it up to the reader to laugh, cry, or groan.


essene starts off, after some pretentious quotes and an eerie “dream” sequence, with a man named Corcey hunting/stalking a woman named Sophia.  What at first seems to be a simple missing person bounty hunt quickly becomes more complex as we learn about the two of them.  They used to be married, and both were heavily involved in an unorthodox religious sect.  The more that is revealed, the murkier things become.  Clues are planted and hidden, and each answer raises two more questions.  At first the reader will probably think Corcey is crazy.  Half way through, keen readers up on their Bible might alternately suspect he is the, or at least a, Messiah out of a really twisted Old Testament.  The eerie dream theme suggests both observations could very well be true, but the dream itself is suspect: half way through it becomes unclear if it is a dream, or if the plot is the dream and the recurring “dream” is the only fixed point of “Real Time.”  It all ties together in the end, though in a deliberately ambiguous way so that each reader will get a different meaning out of it.  Knowing how it ends also gives a completely different view on re-reading it; sort of like re-reading a murder mystery knowing the butler did it.  But a lot creepier.

essene is at turns disturbing, violent, funny, and thought provoking.  There’s a lot going on underneath the surface, and different readers will pick up on different references and aspects.  There’s a little something inside for everyone.  Or not.  Admittedly, this book is not for everyone.

essene is one of four novels that I have written.   While each of the four can stand alone, they are inter-referenced and have recurring characters and continuity.  This means that no matter which of the four you read first, you’re coming in at the middle of the overall plot.  But if the reader pays attention and uses some imagination, they can follow the context with no problems except those I intentionally create.


Spelling errors (vidio, qomputer) are intentional, and are to help jar the reader into the theme of something familiar presented in a mangled form.


One last thing: I do not agree with the central premise behind this novel.  Corcey does.  And see what that gets him.



back to the essene front end



1 In its earliest incarnation, this was written under the pen name Thomas Saint Shade.  It was also called Warpaint.