Saturday, March 14, 2009

Yet More About Val Jon Farris

Val Jon Farris appears in the center of this photo [wearing an American-flag headband] while distributing items to residents of Tent City. This picture appears in slideshows at both SFGate and MSNBC's webspaces.
A fellow, purportedly from nearby Grass Valley, Val Jon Farris, with his upstart homeless organization, iCare-America, has been successful at making a local-media splash in Sacramento.

He's appeared on KCRA, channel 3, [On Feb 25, here and here.] and the ABC affiliate, News10 [on Mar 13]. He's also gotten the attention of the San Francisco Chronicle in its online source, S.F. Gate.

Farris is the author of a 1999 book Inca Fire! Light of the Masters [amazon page] which, it is claimed, won the Independent Publishers Book Award of 2000, in the category of New Age publications. Purportedly, Farris's book won out over 500 other nominees for the award. This award cannot be verified since the webspace for the book awards does not list archives going back farther than 2001. UPDATE 3/18: Verification that Ferris's book DID win a Year-2000 IPPY Award has been found.

Here, from the Amazon webspace, the beginning of the introduction to Farris's New Age book.
In the summer of 1998 I embarked on an expedition that led me to a mysterious pinnacle of granite on the north slope of the ancient Inca ruins of Machu Picchu.

On the night of July 9, under a full moon, I received a flurry of inspired messages, seven to be exact, that triggered a sequence of events which redefined the meaning and purpose of my life. The seventeen chapters in the book go into great detail about each of the messages, the events that transformed his life and the means by which you, the reader, can reap the benefits of my journey through participating in a literary adventure.

Visiting a place like Machu Picchu, Peru, is not new for me. I have been a seeker and explorer for as long as I can remember. My inquisitive nature began when I was a child. Like all kids, I had a million questions about life. Why is a tree called a tree? Why do dogs bark? Where is heaven? [You can read more here.]

Chapters in Farris's book include "The Seat of the Condor"; "Truth: The Third Dimension of Knowing"; and "In the Light of the Sun."

The publisher of Farris's book, cited at Amazon, is Keystone Group, which cannot be found online as a book publisher, but IS a company Farris shows as his most-recent employer on his resume.

According to the Amazon webspace, a New York Times review of the book is supposed to include these glowing words of praise: "A compelling spiritual adventure story set in Machu Picchu, Peru. Along with author Val Jon Farris, experience the seven dimensions of knowing that will transform you and forever change the way you look at your life." These words sound radically NOT like anything that might appear in any hoity New York Times review, or in the book review of any credible source. A book review in the Times, even when at its most-ardent and -ecstatic, would never sound like an advertisement. In recent years, the Times got an agreement with its writers union such that its website now includes archives going back to the year 1851. There is no indication whatsoever that Farris's book has been mentioned anywhere in the New York Times. UPDATE 3/18: My error. The review is from New Times, not the New York Times. I could not find an old review of Inca Fire, in any of the New Times publications on the Internet, including, perhaps most prominently, The Tampa New Times Naturally.

It has also not proved possible to find or verify any of the other glowing-review snips that are posted at Amazon for Inca Fire! Neither Midwest Book Review nor Leading Edge Review have a review of Inca Fire! in their archives. We couldn't find a website for, nor indication that an organization now exists called Today's Librarian. The NAPRA Review webspace appears to be in a state of dissolution, only some of its music review webpages are accessable.

UPDATE 3/18: I have now gotten hold of a copy of Farris's book, a 1st edition from Sacramento Public Library's Central branch. One curious thing is that all of the media-review snips at amazon are replicated exactly on the second page of the first edition of Farris's book. The book is ten years old, admittedly, but I find it a bit suspicious that I haven't been able to find any of the reviews, nor any other review of Farris's book, online.

Frankly, I find the book isn't that bad! It's kind of sweet and charming, even as it is also rather ridiculous and clearly a The Celestine Prophecy knock-off. James Redfield, the The Celestine Prophecy author, admits his book is a fantasy, a novel. Inca Fire!, too, is clearly a novel, but has a Dewey Decimal classification [at Sacramento Public Library, anyway] of 299.8 ["Religions not provided for elsewhere"] In a "From the Publisher" review at Barnes & Noble it says, "... Acknowledging thematic similarity to Redfield's Celestine Prophecy and Millman's Way of the Peaceful Warrior, Farris nevertheless distinguished his as an account of a true experience: part travelogue and part metaphysical guide to developing multidimensional ways of knowing that will enhance wisdom and the connection to soul."

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1 Comments:

Blogger Peta-de-Aztlan said...

Thanks for your cool blog that is much needed to help raise consciousness about the homeless in Sacramento. I will be checking it out. About Val Jon Farris, I know there is always a lot more going on than meets the naked eye. I know a little about what he speaks of from indirect means. Check out:
http://www.thefourwinds.com/resources-articles.php
and ~
http://www.sacloaves.org/2009/03/11/homeless-people-deserve-a-safe-place-to-stay/

March 15, 2009 at 4:08 PM  

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