The Times Literary Supplement, 7th November 1929
MOONCHILD. A Prologue. By Aleister Crowley. 335pp. Mandrake Press 10s 6d.
This curious novel was written some twelve years ago but appears now apparently for the first time and without additions or emendations. It will be found interesting more for it’s dabblings in medieval magic, both black and white, than for any merits it possesses as a novel, for the motives equally with the methods of it’s dramatis personae, are too distant from the common experience of humanity to attract of themselves. The story is that of a group of white magicians who go “soul fishing in the fourth dimension,” seeking to draw a spirit of the moon into the body of an expectant mother, and of the plots of a rival black lodge to set their plan awry. There is a good deal of ceremony, some of it of an extremely unpleasant nature, described at length, and a defence of magic which is evidently intended to be taken seriously. But the tale is itself in sense, though not wholly, a hoax, and no single intellectual level is long maintained. At times, as in the interview between Douglas, the Black Magician, and “Doc” Butcher, an American aspirant, it descends to pure farce. Mr. Crowley is clever, and has literary skill, but here, as in earlier writings, he identifies himself too completely with the actuality of magical experience to be acceptable to the less confident reader.