A few days ago, the mastermind behind Civilian Reader (hello, Stefan!) generously invited me to write a guest post for the blog. I was even told I could write on any topic of interest—a very brave invitation indeed! Especially given my fascination with crackpot science…
I’ve written in other venues about the origin of the Milkweed books several times, and the strange confluence between the fictional technology of the books and real-world brain-stimulation research, and even about the linguistic/demonological magic system employed by the warlocks. But I haven’t said much about the actual inspiration for the mad Doctor von Westarp, or about the notion of the Götterelektron.
But, thanks to Stefan’s very kind invitation, I’ve taken the opportunity to fill in that corner of the Milkweed backstory. Because there was a real-life inspiration for von Westarp, and, strange as it may seem, I didn’t invent the term “Götterelektron.”
I lifted it from the occultist ravings of a seriously bent defrocked Cistercian monk.