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The Essay
Show #395
Prophet Karma-Ears
David Gunn

The Raelians are back in the news. If you've been out of the CNN loop, they are a religious sect that, earlier this week, claims to have successfully cloned a baby girl. No proof was initially offered, but a spokesperson said it will be forthcoming. The Raelians believe that life on Earth was created through genetic engineering by extraterrestrials called the Elohim. Besides being masters of the arts of genetics and cell biology, these aliens are big on altruism, and have offered to bestow an unprecedentedly advanced technology upon humanity, on the condition that there is peace throughout the world. A Raelian Movement to meet this condition sprang up led by Claude Vorilhon, a former French journalist, who once met with an Elohim in his spaceship. Vorilhon--or Rael, as the Elohim named him--describes the alien as being "four feet high and having gray-green skin and large, floppy ears." The big ears together with the conviction that this alien held the destiny of humanity in his hands prompted Vorilhon to address him as "Prophet Karma-Ears."

And that's when the ears of the Kalvos & Damian Research Junta--i.e. me--first pricked up. Something about that phrase rang a bell in my memory buffer. Which was further jingled when I learned that the cloning procedure was carried out by Clonaid, "the first human cloning company," that the Raelians formed in 1997. They company based its technique on a scientific primer given to them by the Elohim entitled Clone à la maison du duet vous-même, or "Duet Yourself Home Cloning." By now, bells and whistles were exploding in my head, prompting me to run the alien delegate's name through the Kalv-o-gramster. Sure enough, after some orthographical reprocessing, Prophet Karma-Ears, becomes The Karmora Papers, that most outré of science fiction publications. And "Duet Yourself Home Cloning" prominently appears in its eponymously named "The Twenty-Sixth Chapter" as a tract that's disseminated by a cult of counterculture computer castoffs called the Glookanauts. Thus the aliens, the religion and the cloning technique all derive from a mid-1970s journal of questionable efficacy penned by the more often than not apocryphal Kalvos Gesamte!

Well, that little discovery did help get my ears to prick back down, but they popped right back up again when I explored the Raelian's website and found more of their tenets inextricably tied to The Karmora Papers. The ruler on the Elohim home planet was named (and this is, of course, a transliteration) Iliad Gum. Plug that name into the Kalv-o-gramster and out pops Mad Luigi, one of the more unfathomable protagonists of the story. "Farmlands Need Iron" is an axiom on the planet of the Elohim that reflects a common lack of metallic nutrient among arable tracts of land. The dearth of arable tracts of plants is a key issue at the very beginning of TKP that leads to the timely demise of Melin and Forsander, two characters whose kalvogrammed letters beget "farmlands need iron." The unknowable high priests of the aliens are called the Ancient Mungs, and what should appear in their stead when given a spin in the Kalv-o-gramster?--the Magnetic Nuns, another crucial component of Karmora Paper lore. Boondock, Quand 12, Preserved Entity Imagocasters, wadk-newts: they all make appearances in both TKP and in the International Raelian Movement's manifesto.

So, what does it mean when a religious cult that fosters belief in an alien civilization derives much of its philosophy from a science fiction book intimately affiliated with this radio program? It means that, by hook or by crook, you're listening to Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar, specifically the 395th episode in a series that dates back to the earliest days of Treflin and Bob, of the Curious Carp and the Krafgs, of Dana and Pflud and of numerous other characters who either never were or are yet to come, as is the Gesamte half of the writing equation presently known as Kalvos.