Sunday, December 29, 2013


Stuart J. Byrne
(from the Introduction to The Golden Gods, Flannigan II)

My publisher, Jean Marie Stine, was rather intuitive when she asked me some surprise questions about The Golden Gods, the sequel to Land Beyond the Lens.  At first glance, The Golden Gods would seem to be a fairly traditional sci-fantasy sword and sorcery yarn, except for the ironical twist of handicapping the hero in the body of his enemy.  But Jean Marie sensed that there was in this picture a broader canvas behind the frame.  There is much here of alien language structure, and also certain subtle depths of metaphysical concept.  She wanted to know more about this suspected background – or did I just put the story together haphazardly and make it all up as I went along?
  Well, she found me out.  There is much to tell.  As a former comparative philologist, I always had fun concocting alien languages in my stories.  A part of philology is also phonetics, which has a direct connection with the law of consonant change in the evolution of languages throughout the entire Indo-European language tree.  English itself is impoverished where some of the richer speech sounds is concerned, such as glottal stops and labio-palatal aspirants, and so forth.  Some of the strange spellings of names in the present story attempt to represent some of these more exotic sounds, but they are handicapped by the limitations of the English alphabet.
  As to metaphysics, this was the real stretch of the canvas behind the frame, although at that time,   The fact is that the essence of science-fiction and fantasy is that ineluctable Sehnsucht, or longing, in the human spirit to ever seek and find.  To compensate for the frustration of being denied ultimate revelations, we all traditionally played the game of "what if," imagining what the Answer would be.  It was once called the Utopia syndrome.  But the game can take on serious dimensions if out of all the "what ifs" a viable allegory emerges.  And this, I believe, intuitively went into the structuring of the present story.
more than half a century ago, it was largely institutional.
   Michael Flannigan's desperate search allegorizes the human quest for revelation, which reaches afar to unknown spheres and trudges in spirit exhaustion through cloying dusts of ignorance and futility, but ever driven onward by the fervent hope of an Answer.  Thus behind it all is the irony that Man expends his genius in reaching for the stars when the nearest and least explored horizon lies within ourselves – as is allegorized by Flannigan's lost cavern in the Rheingold crater.  Transition from faith to Knowing was his Lens...
   And the allegory involving twin god vehicles for Gurund Ritroon and his adored Mnir'sr Nikin'ra is but a broad stroke on the canvas to depict the golden androgyny of our immortal souls.
   The proof, that intuitive thought may not be recognized when it is present, was demonstrated to me when only now, before Jean Marie's challenge to explain, the realization comes to me that in the ugly countenance of the villain emperor, Gon'sr Lit'ri, was an obvious key to the metaphysical concept.
   The face of evil has but a single eye...!
Stuart J. Byrne

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