As the reader may or may not be aware, belief in the supernatural
or paranormal is a phenomenon not only found far away
from us in time (in 'the Middle Ages' and earlier), or far away
from us in space (in distant lands with 'primitive' or very different
cultures) but also here, that is, in any region of the
world dominated by religious or superstitious ideas, and now,
that is, up to the present era. It is this important aspect of
the contemporary human condition with which this book deals.
While the short stories of which it consists can be read separately,
Six Warlocks My Age as a whole has its
own temporal and conceptual structure, which gives this collection
an extra dimension (if not an overall plot). The stories are
original with the exception of Warlocks in Power, a tale
based for a large part on a novel famous for the penetrating way in
which it portrayed a totalitarian society. What it did portray,
however, was a party-politically totalitarian society.
Warlocks in Power warns us of the theocratic variant
of the total state.
religionist in the extreme;
there are many other forms of exclusivism on the basis of religion or one
particular religious ideology.
Nor should the various other manifestations
of the supernatural be forgotten, which do not come in so
well-established or organized a shape, such as astrology and numerology.
The present book focuses on those systems of supernaturalism
which are somehow imposed on us by institutions that ought
to be non- or
pan-denominational by their
When its mood is serious this is not without being funny at other times,
or at the same time. Even the use of the term warlock, which
is made to denote supernaturalists of either sex, can be regarded
as anything from etymologically justified and historically
transparent to clearly absurd. But if the latter, it is still
meant to enhance the effects intended; effects which are ultimately
part of a constructive rather than destructive scheme.
As Six Warlocks My Age is a literary work of fiction, none of the
experiences, statements or views of the persons described or describing
themselves in this book is necessarily
Even a first person narrator is no proof of this.
Nevertheless, it is entirely correct — and done with good intent
— that the six tales together definitely paint an unflattering
picture of supernaturalist beliefs and customs.
So far as our present means of communication is concerned the
reader should keep in mind that this is a world language, as
little related to any country in particular as supernaturalism
itself. Especially when the umbilical cord of a language which
once connected it to the people that spoke it first has been cut
it is not nationalist but inherent linguistic criterions which
are to determine what usage is acceptable. True, observant
readers are due to notice that it does not seem consistent to
spell, for example, "neighbour" at one place and "neighbor" two
lines down (or both "though" and "tho").
Even more observant readers, however, will notice, and have noticed long
before, that spelling and pronunciation depend on the writer and speaker,
or — in fiction more than anywhere else — on the character
of the person supposed to be writing or speaking.