Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Lyric Coding

By the end of Kelly McCullough's Cybermancy, we have a better, if uglier view of his take on the modern Greek pantheon than we did at the end of book 1. However, there are moments of supreme lightness that help keep it from becoming a DC Cinematic Universe tale.

We start with Ravirn on the near bank of the Styx playing Bridge with Mort, Bob, and Dave. Who are Mort, Bob, and Dave? Why, the three heads of the Cerberus. Ravirn is hanging out with them trying to figure out how to pull an Orpheus, freeing Cerice's Web Goblin Shara out of Hades, particularly since Shara still has most of Cerice's dissertation on her hard drive. (I'm sure most grad students would risk more to get theirs back should it wind up on the wrong side of the river.)

Ravirn, who's avoiding using the name Clotho gave him at the end of Book 1, Raven, makes an oath and ends up breaking into Hades to free Shara. Which introduces us to McCullough's tragic heroine, Persephone.

A quick recap for those of you who never studied Greek mythos, or prefer to use Roman Prosperina. Persephone would be Demeter (Goddess of the Earth)'s daughter, the embodiment of Spring. In most tellings,  she picks the wrong flower and gets kidnapped by Hades and taken to the underworld. Demeter is not happy about this and causes eternal winter until Persephone comes back. Zeus (King of the Gods, lord of the sky, and all around lecher) eventually caves in, but since it's found out Persephone ate a debated number of pomegranate seeds while in Hades, she will remain in Hades that many months of the year, returning to her mother during her off time. Demeter isn't fond of this arrangement and states that while Persephone is down under, nothing will grow. Thus the seasons.

For this particular incarnation, it's 3 seeds. And unlike some retellings, Persephone isn't happy about spending 3 months out of a year in Hades for eternity. Then again, the way it's presented in this narrative, Hades is raping her pretty much non stop the entire time she's in Hades. And beating her. Anyway, she offers to help Ravirn to escape Hades and get Shara out in exchange for favors later to be determined. Problem is that Shara gets lost for a while while being e-mailed out, showing up a few hours later having been redirected through a mysterious server on the way.

And then the entire MWeb starts crashing. Worlds go offline, Cerice defies her great grandma Clotho, the Fury Tisiphone confesses that she has the hots for Ravirn, we sort of meet Zeus.... (We hear him "entertaining" his secretary through a closed door.)

It's a fun book, really taking the world building of book 1 much farther, and not letting Eris steal the entire book. The presentation of the Cerberus is quite humorous, and it's nice to see the Furys grow into more complex characters. By far the only real thing that took some adjustment on my part was the telling of Persephone's myth in here (even if he does point out such a traumatic event would tilt anyone's personality, thus the axial tilt that science claims causes seasons), since most translations don't particularly present it quite the way it's represented in here.

Be warned, while the book is well written, some of the presentations of will likely trigger a few things.