Vril: The Power of The Coming Race
by Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton
|Publisher:||Edda Publishing Stockholm (2012)|
Reviewed by Frater U.I.F.
In 1871, two years prior to the author's death "the Coming Race" was published anonymously. though the author's name did not appear on the work it was well known that the man who penned this fantastical work was Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton. He was no stranger to the written word, having penned more than twenty novels along with several plays and poems before this work. this was all done alongside his political career having been in and out of Parliament, the House of Lords and eventually being named Baron in 1866. Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton was well known for his dabbling in esoteric thought and study which both reflected and inspired many occult themes which rose to precedence amongst Rosicrucian groups, the theosophical Society and others. the recent edition, titled Vril: the Power of the Coming Race was published by Edda in Stockholm Sweden.
The volume itself does justice to the content of the novel and Legacy of it's author. Presented in a handsome jacketed hardcover format, and peppered with stunning custom color illustrations by Christine Ödlund, it is clear that the publisher presents the work as an art form physically in addition to the creativity abound in the story.
Vril: the Power of the Coming Race is the fictional tale of a man who finds himself far underground and then stumbles upon a subterranean race of man-like creatures. Our hero discovers that these humanoids are significantly far advanced to our own with a very unique and balanced social and political structure and philosophy. Through conversations with his hosts he learns about the structure of this race, called the "Vril-ya". Most astounding about the Vril-ya, putting aside a harmonious but powerful individualism is their level of technology. Having their bodies tuned to the use of a Vril Sta! the Vril-ya can perform magickal feats with pure intent. These range from instantaneous combustion, healing, levitation, mind control and a litany of other occult powers. The source of this power is not the staff, but the liquid substance at it's interior. This is Vril. This fluid substance is the primary achievement of the underground society and powers all of their advancements.
This story is told in a very similar style and feel to the novels of Jules Verne. Being a huge fan of period science fiction, reading Vril inspired in myself the wonder of reading Journey to the Center of the Earth as a child once more. It is the type of story that immediately dispenses with any reliance on belief or realism, and transports you into the vast imagination of the author. Beyond interest in the esoteric content and inspiration for the work it is simply a pleasure to read.
There were those who held this book to be more that fiction due to it's adherence to themes parallel to occult concepts such as the Elixir of Life. The writings of Louis Jacolliot, Helena Blavatsky and other prominent Theosophists have since made mention of Vril as an actual substance. In the Morning of the Magicians it is alleged that there was a society in control of the Vril substance in Berlin. This secret Vril Society was purported to be the inner circle of the Thule society with close ties to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. All of these speculative myths are an homage to a wonderfully written and fantastical science fiction work that is well worth being back upon the shelves of modern readers.