As early as 1797, when Bedlam patient James Tilly Matthews described the mental torments inflicted
on him by the so-called "Air Loom," doctors have studied victims of paranoid delusions, but
post-World War II advances in science and communication galvanized the lunatic fringe with the
widespread awareness of atomic energy, orbiting satellites, New Age harmonic convergence, and
conspiracy theories. It was the perfect time for Shaver's pseudoscience and Palmer's
mind-over-matter mysticism to collide.

Richard Toronto is the first to point out that Palmer embellished his life story almost compulsively;
and that Shaver sometimes described things that probably weren't there at all, even if he thought
they were. It doesn't matter. What makes War Over Lemuria so fun to read are the complex
personalities, the secretly interconnected publishing ventures, run-ins with the FBI, the boisterous
controversy among science fiction fans, and, finally, the fact that it happened at all.

Toronto has researched the Palmer/Shaver collaboration for years. He corresponded with Richard
Shaver himself, and has interviewed family members, friends, coworkers, and associates of both
Shaver and Palmer. War Over Lemuria is everything I had hoped for and more.
War Over Lemuria by Richard Toronto

Book Review by Bill Ectric


Richard Toronto is tuned in to what makes the
"Shaver Mystery" so enthralling. It's not the
"mystery" itself; it's the people behind it. What a
movie War Over Lemuria would make! Imagine
the figment-laced A Beautiful Mind (2001), in
which Russell Crow portrayed the brilliant but
schizophrenic mathematician, John Nash. Add
some inner-circle editorial and publishing
industry intrigue reminiscent of The Last Days of
the New Yorker by Gigi Mahon or George
Clooney's biopic on Edward R. Murrow, Good
Night and Good Luck. Now project this mosaic of
media messaging through a prism of Ed Wood
enthusiasm in the face of austerity, because this
is not The New Yorker or CBS news - this is the
story of a weird, almost forgotten episode in the
history of pulp magazines, science fiction fans,
public and private controversy, and, some would
say, betrayal.
War Over Lemuria at Amazon.com
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