A Dweller on Two Planets is one of the most important texts of the 19th Century Atlantis canon. The book was 'channeled' by Frederick S. Oliver. Oliver was born in Washington D.C. in 1866 and came to Yreka, California, with his parents when he was two years old. Yreka is just north of Mount Shasta, a huge dormant volcanic peak in Northern California.
Oliver started to write this book at the age of eighteen, in 1883-4, while surveying the boundaries of his family's mining claim. He found himself writing uncontrollably in his notebook. He ran home in terror, where he sat down and let his hand write. These automatic writing spells continued for several years; he would write a few pages at a time. He completed writing this book in 1886, and died at the age of 33 in 1899.
A Dweller on Two Planets was finally published in 1905, by his mother Mary Elizabeth Manley-Oliver. There are two editions which are substantially the same, except for a different set of typographical errors and hyphens (although curiously the page numbering in both is identical). The first edition, published in 1905, was reprinted in 1974 by Rudolf Steiner Books; the second, published in 1920 by the Poseid Publishing Company, Los Angeles, CA, was reprinted in 1964 by Health Research. The 1920 version was used as the basis for this etext, as it was printed more legibly.
A Dweller on Two Planets would be a tour de force for a teenager from rural California in the post-Gold Rush period. Although as a literary work it is weak in many ways, the details of the narrative reveal a well-read and highly intelligent, if inexperienced, author. The plot and pacing is irregular; the characterizations are poorly conceived, and there are far too many melodramatic turns and plot elements left dangling. However, since this is a novel of ideas, these shortcoming should not detract from the enjoyment of the book.
The real brilliance of this book is as a work of speculative fiction, particularly in the depiction of the high technology of Atlantis, and the afterlife. The book goes into great detail about antigravity, mass transit, the employment of 'dark-side' energy (which today would be called 'zero point energy'), and devices such as voice-operated typewriters. The cigar-shaped, highly maneuverable Atlantean flying machines, or vailx, have an eerie resemblance to 20th Century UFO reports. The personalized heavens, almost like virtual realities, are unforgettable and very compelling.
This book is openly acknowledged as source material for many new age belief systems, including the once-popular "I AM" movement (whose founder, Guy Ballard, plagiarized extensively from this book), the Lemurian Fellowship, and Elizabeth Claire Prophet. According to Shirley MacLaine, A Dweller on Two Planets jumped out of a bookshelf into her hands in a New Age bookstore in Hong Kong (and obviously had an big influence on her subsequently). This book is the source of the idea that there is a hidden sanctuary of ascended Lemurian masters under Mount Shasta. This book was also probably the first to propose the concept of of 'America as the modern Atlantis', which was later adopted by writers such as Manly P. Hall.