Tuesday 9 July 2024

Book Review: Goblin Queens and Qualia Knights

I had to look up what the word "Qualia" meant when I read this curious new book by Phil Smith, author of earlier titles including On Walking and Living in the Mode Magical.

Qualia, I discovered, are qualitative properties of experiences - how it feels to hear a musical note or see a red rose, for example. Goblin Queens and Qualia Knights: A Guide to Xisting in a Time of Catastrophes is a delightful and imaginative call to get out and experience what the real world has to offer. See, touch, and smell those roses. Listen to the sounds of birds singing. It's a kind of magical quest to free ourselves from the wasteland of fake news, click-bait, and online AI.

The quest is framed in the manner of chivalric romances. It suggest  envisaging ourselves as goblin queens sending our knights in search of things magical, spiritual or personal, to save us from sloughs of despond. Phil states that goblin queens and knights are not gendered concepts, and we can find both within ourselves if we want to.

Publisher Triarchy Press says of Goblin Queens and Qualia Knights:

"Repurposing the codes of chivalry and courtly love in an existential crisis, Goblin Queens and Qualia Knights is a little book of comfort for people who are troubled by the way that life is being hollowed out by: social media, life on the phone, climate change, populist politics, banality, hyper-capitalism, AI and so on.

"It suggests clever and simple ways to remain true to yourself, even to be yourself, in the face of a thousand pressures to become someone else. It makes life into a pilgrimage of purpose, humour, awareness and compassion. It offers a contemporary myth and initiation and a range of simple somatic practices that could change your life."

I really enjoyed reading this book. It sent me on my own quest, or pilgrimage, to revisit a country park and feel in touch with the land and nature. You can read that post here. Triarchy Press suggests the book can be used by anyone who wants to lessen their digital dependence and deepen their connection with their surroundings, including therapists, artists, writers and anyone who enjoys getting out and about.

About the Author: 

Dr Phil Smith is a performance-maker, writer and academic researcher, specialising in work around walking, site-specificity, mythogeographies, web-walking, somatics and counter-tourism. With artist Helen Billinghurst, he is one half of Crab and Bee. He is also a member of site-based arts collective Wrights and Sites and an Associate Professor (Reader) at the University of Plymouth.

Where to find Goblin Queens and Qualia Knight

You can view the book on Amazon as well as find it on the Triarchy website

Please note I earn commission from some links.

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