James Milton Smith has just finished a new manuscript titled, Descartes Before The Horse. It was his good fortune to have been granted a U.S. Copyright for the title.
The novel revolves around events and experiences with Metempsychosis. It is about the Transmigration of Rene Descartes and his boss, The White-Haired Oracle into the lives of eight people of varied backgrounds. The story starts posing one eternal question.That wondering has held the interest of humanity for many thousands of years. Haven’t most of us wondered one time or other -
“What would I do If I Could Do It All Over Again?”
Now, how might that find congruence and balance with Descartes famous proclamation,
“I Think Therefore I Am" ?
This story, of seeming supernatural intervention will help make that interdiction. Plausible, probable, improbable? You decide.
Many philosophers have researched, analyzed and debated that famous proclamation. Some concluding that some of Descartes dictums deserve a reading between the lines. Owen O'Brien said no to that. He thought that the most famous Descartes four centuries old expression needed to be read between the words.
Owen O’Brien, under his breath said – “Therefore - I am comfortable with questioning Descartes dictum by his own invitation.”
“If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.”
Rene Descartes (1596-1650)
Principles of Philosophy (1644)
Brief Synopsis of Descartes Before The Horse.
There are eight characters in the story. All with diverse backgrounds, but all have this in common, they are all troubled by their one recurring dream. The dream is a result of all their wondering about what they would do if they could do their lives, or parts of their lives over again. One of the characters is the first to meet Rene Descartes in his dream. That main character, Owen O'Brien is then required to meet the seven others within their dreams. He is taught how to materialize in front of them in a hologram, much the same as Descartes approached him. The goal of all this transmigration is to have all join in a surrealistic banquet for these troubled eight, all doubting mightily what is intended for them in the grand scale of life, or any afterlife. Each of the eight wondering about Descartes famous quotation, and if they could make up for their own perceived sins and shortcomings by doing their life, or parts of it over again. All that leading to a surrealistic, make that supernatural, banquet attended by all eight in the wilds of the Oregon mountains. Then, and there they became what they could not have imagined.
James (Jim) Milton Smith's other manuscript—The Fourth Pillar—is a story about the secret war in Laos. This piece of history is still considered "Classified" and written as fiction. Our Government conducted the war in Laos and it still remains virtually unknown to the American public. It is a propitious time for this book to be published. Documentaries and film by Ken Burns, Steven Spielberg, and Mark Boal about the Vietnam War are all coming out in 2017. The Fourth Pillar describes the lead up to the war and the interdiction of the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
The story is about a veteran coming to grips with his wartorn memories. His psychiatrist begins the arduous process of getting him to open up upon his return to civilian life. The story will leave the reader engrossed in combat missions, counseling sessions and stunned by an unexpected and improbable ending that left the bystanders stunned.
The following is a review of The Fourth Pillar by four time Emmy Award winner Terry Irving.
The Fourth Pillar.
First, James Milton Smith is very much the Real Deal. He gets both essemtoa; of writing about war; riveting descriptions of the fear, joy, terror, and exhaustion of real combat and the years of internal battle with the “invisible wounds” that all of those who have truly been on the front lines. His writing was wonderful and my job, as editor, was like that of an archeologist—clearing away the undergrowth. Once that was done, there were vivid descriptions, crisp dialog, and a wonderful sense of humor. Sort of an Angkor Wat of a book. Again, the sequences where he opened his veins and described the painful process of coming to terms with PTSD, there is an honest and wonderfully human story of the “push pull” process of seeking help when all his conditioning fights against it.
There is another way that Jim is the real deal. Sure, this is a novel (wink wink) but I’m here to say that this man knows way too much about the Secret War in Laos—a conflict that the US Government still continues to deny ever occurred—for this to be considered Fiction. I have to assume that Someone is still out there trying to keep this secret and mandated the label of “fiction.” This is about as fictional as an After-Action Report and a hell of a lot more interesting. From the fleshpots of Thailand, to the ludicrous “secrecy” of a war everyone but the American public knew was being fought, to the Hmong and Thai soldiers who fought alongside, to the horror and misery of killing. Jim has nailed this story.
With all that, it’s not a simplistic diary of one man’s time in combat, it’s a meditation on the meaning of life and death (particularly when death is a matter of centimeters and a Ka-Bar knife) the constant process of thought, meditation, and reconsideration that Jim has gone through, and the sharp intelligence that flashes through on every page. All that and a surprise ending.
It was an honor to work on this book and I would like the reader to understand that “The Fourth Pillar” is very much the work of James Milton Smith alone.
Four Time Emmy Award-Winning TV journalist
Along with his novels, Jim has completed eight manuscripts of prose and poems that are available for publishing in 2018.
Jim Smith has published four books of poetry.
Clumsy Love expresses humorous and thoughtful observations on love, romance and relationships—from a man’s point of view. If you enjoy thoughtful and at times, tongue in cheek humor you will find Clumsy Love enjoyable. Whose Nature? Yours, Mine, Its? and Second Nature – Yours, Mine, Its? are collections of poems inspired by James’ outdoor experiences in the Pacific Northwest and his nefarious travels around the world. Places such as Nepal, South America, Asia and Europe to name but a few of his worldwide peregrinations. Jim has completed a haiku collection titled - Stone Deaf Sound Waves - which embodies his appreciation of the Orient and the joining of the Western mind into these subtle haiku expressions.
A graduate of Cal Poly and Thunderbird School of Global Management, Jim, is a former Marine, entrepreneur, and international businessman. A good part of his professional life was spent living overseas in Europe and South America. He has traveled extensively in the Orient as well.
At the moment, Jim is considering representation, marketing and placement of an extensive collection of his stories, poetry and prose. A screenplay has been finished for his novel titled The Fourth Pillar as well.