Chandos Ring

Chandos Ring is a science fiction epic poem of Mark Chandos (writing also under the pen-name Mark Staber Kobo), a modern American poet, famous for his best-selling poetry book Greatest Living Poet: Strange Gods, Bulk Prophecies.
The strangness of Chandos Ring
Chandos Ring fits into no other known genre of modern American poetry. The first half of the book, titled Chandos Grid, consists of essays on western literature, seeking to establish a new world philosophy. The priciple half of the book, titled Chandos Ring, is an epic poem. No other contemporary author has written a book combining philosophy with an epic poem. What makes Chandos Ring interesting is that it is not like any other book in the modern world.
Chandos Grid - Thesis
The collection of philosophic essays, Chandos Grid, serves as an introduction to the poetry (the second half of the book - Chandos Ring). The author introduces to the reader his thesis that all of perceived human reality is a function of human story-making. He insists that each reader can prove the Story Theory by his or her own experience. Consciousness, he explains, is inseparable from story-making. Therefore the human, a creature of conscious being, is inseparable from story-making. When the human attempts to describe his consciousness, even in the first syllables, he cannot avoid making a story of his consciousness. Mark Chandos suggests that it would be impossible to find two persons whose account of consciousness is the same. This is the key discovery of how the human mind actualy works - it makes story. These are just a few readily discernable phenomena that prove the validity of Story Theory as an honest philosophy of the human condition. The author makes the statement that he is the only thinker, concerning the discussion of what is human, to have made an advancement on Plato. He continues a ten-volume discussion showing the implications of Story Theory for the future state of humanity.
Chandos Ring - Thesis
Chandos Ring is a projected ten volumes of science fiction epic poem telling the story of future men that have left Earth to continue the human race at the moons of Jupiter. Each book is divided into ten cantos containing, in turn, ten stand alone poems. The reader is therefore not forced to read long pages of unbroken lines of poetry that never seem to have an end - as are found in the traditional long poems in classic literature by Homer, Virgil, Milton.
Chandos Ring attempts to make innovations in areas of American literature that no other long poem has ever attempted. First, it is a poem of science fiction. Most traditional long poems are an account of an event, such as a battle, from the distant past. Chandos Ring is projected into the future. Second, it is one of the first poems, ever, that have found a way to make poetic descriptions of technology. Most poems, even modern poems, either avoid modern technology, or mention it briefly. Third, Chandos Ring is an epic poem in an age where long poems telling a narrative story are rare in the extreme. Any one of these achievements of Chandos Ring would be enough for any poet seeking to make an innovative contribution to American literature. To perform all three is daring, and perhaps, in the mind of most contemporary poets, an impossible task.
The following is an exerpt from Chandos Ring demonstraiting the poet's mastery of language of technology in a modern narrative poem.
(Here he is describing how Talons giant machines are breaking up the surface of the moon to create a Ringworld in the skies above the moon.)

Our particle beams made a channel of spears,
ten times in each degree we placed these rays
a ring of pulsing force culled Callisto stunned,
drew up a funnel weaved with mineral storm

from death below. As with a shatter of glass,

a grid of ice snaps, gathers inertia and force,
fractures down a treeless pitch, so at this ring
we draw from planets well ordered elements,
terrain for ribbon farm and circle cloud.

A circus ring as world, thin bands above

the giant’s sky; a land above, a land below; this
barbaric planet by scaffolds framed
a hundred mining satellites, like a black
mosquito sucks blood from an arm,

a needle set between two hungry eyes
to pierce the juice beneath the membrane crust

six particle accelerators, twelve beamed funnels,
till tronic rings crown the planet mined, and make
a greener earth from any hell, where heaving
monsters dream in sleeping states. We are still

that same generation leaving out of Egypt.

Chandos Ring - argument. The main character is Aaron, the last living member of a ruthless political dynasty responsible for the extinction of many non-western nations on a dying Earth. His intent is to create a race of men able to live without a carbon and oxygen base. Ultimately this will be the race of humans that colonize the galaxy without limitations of carbon-based life. Aaron feels he has no choice since the earth atmosphere has been made toxic by the release of radiation and the carbon-dioxide of an over-industrialised India and China. Earth was already finished before Aaron was forced to reduce the populations of these countries.
Aaron’s companion in this voyage to Jupiter is Talon, the greatest scientific mind of his age. Talon has already secretly set in motion his plans to translate his own broken body into a new powerful life form based on methane and ammonia. Aaron and Talon have channeled their learning and science into the minds of their new race of men. They begin their lives at Callisto moon by building giant factories that funnel up the minerals from the broken moon below. With these minerals Talon’s factories produce an artificial ring-world around the small moon. Though dangerous, their audacious project is the best hope for the further survival of the mind of men beyond the nursery of the Earth. But things don’t go as planned.
The crews of the thirty space ships become desperate after three years and the men are unable to support the pressures of space flight that never ends and never offers the hope of returning to Earth. The Earth was finally destroyed by Aaron’s last military commander, Vargus. Vargus arrives at Aaron’s station at Callisto moon after this last extinction on Earth. The conditions of life at Jupiter contain a new astrology and manifestation of life. The strangeness of new life is explored as Aaron faces the strangeness of his own being and the horrible acts he has committed on Earth. Facing this new condition of man at the edge of the solar system creates a space for new language and new poetry. Earth had long lost the possibility for new language and poetry. In an age of machines, only men create poetry, and men again make poetry after the Earth is put away in memory.
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