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  • TITLE: She Wakes
  • AUTHOR: Jack Ketchum
  • PUBLICATION YEAR: 1984
  • AWARDS:
  • WEBSITE: http://www.jackketchum.net/
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    The only way to win with this novel is to force a re-match. Through the first bout, it's a maelstrom of punches from all directions, so the frenzy of the fight keeps you wild-eyed and grinning bloody gums like an idiot. But Jack's changed the rules, so kiss the canvas for the final bell, then throw a suckerpunch from blindside. Now, when they get up, shake the cobwebs out and dance a little slower, savoring the pain, the blood, the missing incisors. There might even be internal injuries. Hell, you're not even sure why you got popped in the first place. But you're gonna beat it out of ‘em the second time, dammit.

    Problem is, Jack's brought some serious muscle to the ring. She's billed as Lelia Narkisos and anybody who's gone some rounds with her says she carries “a major sexual whallop” (Leisure Books, ISBN 084395423x, 2004 PB reprint, c.1984, p.46). To say she's channeling some long-forgotten goddess is like saying Mario Andretti drives a car. In fact, she's a triumvirate of torment, as she is the resurrection known as the Goddess of Three Aspects: Selene, Artemis, Hecate, champion of the moon, the hunt, and the dead. If this isn't enough to soil your silkies, the divinity thing is only a front because what she really is—man, I don't know, I'm in danger just repeating this—is an Elemental.

    Back in the Bronze Age about 16 centuries before Christ, the Myceneans used to bill her as The Great Galloping Gaea. She's been called many things: Ninhursag, Kali Ma, Ki, Rhea, Cybele, Ninmah, Anu, Tellus Mater, Dewi Shri. She is fundamental to all things created in the universe. Specifically, she fights for renewal, representing through sustenance, and as the protectoress of animals, earth's eco systems, and human childbirth.

    Her logo is Earth, but not like Universal Studios' earth that's igniting from the inside out, or the Sherwin-Williams one that's getting covered in paint. In fact, “you notice how things seem to have decayed so rapidly?” (p.250). And the masses seem so lethargic, so complaisant, so blasé these days. It's almost like a staging is in progress, a setup for change. With global warming, ozone layer depletion, overpopulation strangling her resources, maybe it's time Mother Earth stands tall and fights back.

    But, as Hecate, she rumbles with bloody sacrifices; her warm-up chant is “death before rebirth”; she's the darkside of the moon, brother.

    I guess by now you've figured out the re-match hype. It's Medea's ploy. Your only hope is to stay out of her way.

    But that's not possible either, is it? I mean, come on, you're young, dumb, full of cum, and on vacation in the Greek isles. You score a major babe, but she turns out to be full of jealousy, spite, pride. Just when things get brawl-bad, this uberbitch falls down some stairs and gets herself killed.

    Lucky you.

    Too bad this isn't Homer's Greece where they knew about the fate of men among goddesses.

    Like Agamemnon.

    Like “the male, generative principle. Sacrificed to the female, reproductive principle” (p.16).

    Like the bottom line, where a guy like you is at best a gambit, a tool, an obsolescent device for a purpose, a duty, a cycle, that trifles all human egotism and functions beyond comprehension in perpetuity.

    Maybe it's a balancing act. Maybe it ends in eulogy; a “massive heel of dignity, of harmony and beauty” with “the ancient world still gracing and informing the new with its calm heroic vision of what at its best the human soul can do” (p.355).

    So, don't worry.

    Jack's got the fix in.

     

     

    © copyright 02/08/2009 by Larry Crawford

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