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Blood, Bardos, Bullets, and Buddhism (Appropriation)

Blood, Bardos, Bullets, and Buddhism (Appropriation)

Update: 2020-04-13


Let's set the stage:

The most explosive event of the 20th century has just occurred and it has nothing to do with Nazis or atomic bombs or American blue jeans. In 1917, the world's largest terrestrial imperial power began to rip itself apart and would continue to do so during the next half decade, leading to the only other power with the ability to challenge the United States.

The First World War and the Russian Revolution are both well-tread territory, as is the subsequent Russian Civil War, but what many might not realize is that these events were much more complex than Great Powers destroying one another or  Communists overthrowing the Romanov monarchy. The world had been turned upside down. And not only were there far more interests at play in this new Great Game of the 20th Century--including everyone from Russians to the Chinese to the British to the Japanese--but a vacuum had been created, threatening to suck away and destroy any and all traces of meaning that had been built up over the previous millennium. That vacuum--more of a singularity--was unlike anything that had ever been experienced and it acted as a calling card for all sorts of bizarre and unlikely figures of differing political and religious ideologies, searching for the purpose that they lost. And since their world was no longer one they recognized, they would all become seduced by the legends and real-or-imagined mystique of the lands of Genghis Khan. 

Hardly any of these figures and their followers ever directly crossed paths and hardly any of them could ever be considered allies or fellow travelers of one another, with some being communists, others being religious nationalists, and some even being monarchist reactionaries. However, they all had one thing in common: they had been seduced by "the East" and were all determined to find their place in it, regardless of how ablaze with chaos and violence it had become. This is a story of legend and prophecy, of grand adventure and harsh survival, woo-woo telepathy experiments and communist sexual liberation, brutal theocratic violence and revolution, and a warlord that would fit right in with the world of Apocalypse Now or Blood Meridian: this is Central Asia in the early 20th century and the Europeans who tried to make it their last hope.

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Blood, Bardos, Bullets, and Buddhism (Appropriation)

Blood, Bardos, Bullets, and Buddhism (Appropriation)

Alexander von Sternberg