WW (pseudonym of William Bloom) - Qhe!: The Taming Power (London, Mayflower, 1974, 189pp)
In marrying the revolutionary charisma of Che Guevara with the transcendental appeal of the mystic East the Qhe! series marked a semi-serious attempt by a commercial publisher to drag in a younger generation of readers. Accredited to the mysterious WW the author was actually William Bloom, a former International Times publisher and the editor of MacMillan's Open Gate youth imprint. In spite of the author's hipster credentials and his hero's ability to combine hippy meanderings with action adventure Qhe! only made it through four adventures before being retired to his mountain hall. Bloom's writing career appears to have taken a nosedive thereafter with him eventually remerging from extensive psychotherapy and ritual work to compose New Age texts and lecture at Findhorn.
Despite Bloom's background being a million miles away from that of your average hack writer of the time his prose and general plot is for the most part pretty much what you would expect from an action adventure thriller. Tough guy slaughters enemies in a 100 gratuitous ways. Tough guy outmanoevours numerous secret government agents. Tough guy seduces woman after woman and fucks his way out of trouble. Tough guy wins the day against impossibile odds, etc, etc.
Where Qhe! does differ in its approach is its immersion in countercultural cliches concerning magik and lost kingdoms as well as in its unabashedly leftward tilt. Very few thrillers of the time (or currently for that matter) have a tantric hero whose mission is to steal weapons of mass destruction in order to force power crazy governments of all stripes to disarm. Usually the hero is doing just the opposite and in turning the formula upside down Qhe! makes a worthwhile read. The unintentionally hilarious plot developments in which the inscrutable hero conquers the power of LSD, enters various realms of th cosmos, leads anti-war demonstrations and performs occult rituals whilst explaining the principles of numeracy are of course worth the cost of entry alone.
"…we wondered, with what shall we begin? The governments of the superpowers think that they run the world, but they are no more than the willing and negative pawns in the hands of fate, and fate should be balanced by the will of man for good- then do the Gods treat us correctly. These governments, they think of nothing, but the next five years and power. With their money and their military force they believe they have a right divine to lay down the law to the rest of our planet. They think nothing of the real people. They see nothing of the real situation. They are merely tools for inflated human evil. And so’ he paused ‘we shall begin with them.’
‘But by playing their own game? Fighting…’ she looked for words ‘death with death?’
‘Our prayers’ Qhe spoke each word slowly and succinctly ‘have not worked. We have no choice. And this not my decision. And’ he said forcefully ‘there are other things that they could, if they wished to, understand. Cities in which you cannot breathe or walk. Three hundred million people starving. The decay of the planet. And smaller things like half a million alcoholics in Britain, a million junkies in America, unhappiness across the whole of Russia. These are signs enough that they are acting wrongly, apart from their wars and sadness and hate. And so we will give them something to notice. We will show them another force. We will make them see they alone do not hold sovereignity over the future of the Earth, that the great governments can no longer with impunity play chess with the people of the world. That’ he hit the table with his forefinger’ that to begin with.’ (pp88)
William Bloom's website -
(biography and recent books)