Review of The Shift by Warren Ellis

Ayamanatara is a practising shaman in the Los Angeles area. I’m trying to convince her to start solving crimes, for the high-concept logline of it, but so far she’s only developed the costume. Her new book is called THE SHIFT, and I put it on the Treo to read — which was just as well, as, true to form, our failing national rail system did its usual and some points died in the no-man’s land beyond Shenfield, where there are train stations with names like Lickey End and Doom Vale but no signs of habitation.

The Shift refers to the perception, popularised at the end of the last century by the likes of Terence McKenna and John Major Jenkins, that we’re accelerating towards something, a mode shift, a Singularity, the wrench of the end of the Mayan Calendar in late 2012. The Supercontext, in Grant’s INVISIBLES. But, per ‘Natara, 2012 is not a sudden finish line. The Shift has already begun, and it’s an ongoing process. There are some lovely ideas in here. Anyone who’s read THE INVISIBLES — ultimately, a work of religious faith, wherein Space Dad babysits us safely into the magical Hip Rapture where Everything Is Going To Be All Right (and I love and cherish that book, “Is AllNow Love” almost broke me up, this is no attack on a masterful work, just an atheist’s discomfort) — may find ‘Natara’s notion of the mode shift as an ongoing, developing process rather than a finish line in late 2012 interesting:

It is not a sudden event, it is not going to cause some people to simply disappear, or die, or gain superpowers. It is not something to fear. In fact, the more one embraces it, the more benefits one gains… We are currently going through a Shift, and things are speeding up, so the concept is impacting us at a core level. You are being asked to let go of that which no longer serves you fairly quickly. Some people find this disconcerting or unsettling and resist the process, which is counterproductive and potentially harmful, because your Higher Self wants to release anything that is holding you back, so you’re probably going to lose those things anyway.

The best way to go through this Shift is in willingness, gratitude and grace. Understand that anything or anyone moving out of your life at this time simply frees you up to progress on your journey.

The Shift is accelerating, can you feel it? There is a tension in the air, a general malaise. Those who are not consciously working to move forward are even further out of their bodies, uncomfortable, combative, depressed.

It is time. All of your old tools and coping mechanisms that have allowed you to rest on your laurels are going to be taken from you. This is about growth, not stagnation. You no longer get to hang out on your plateau of safety. The water is rising, you must rise with it… You are moving into something bigger and better, and the only resistance is that which comes from you. You have a choice. Where would you like to be?

Even a career atheist and anti-spiritual pig like me can find fascination and worth in these ideas. And while ‘Natara’s resumé, on first glance, can look a little flaky, she still managed to fix my back the other week.

(from STREAMING PT 5 a yearlog of comics and the world BY WARREN ELLIS 29.07.04 )