As I mentioned, the past few days I was involved with a Humanities Festival/conference, where I read from Stealing Ganymede. It was a daunting and exhilarating experience. What I thought was particularly interesting was the number of people who were frustrated by the text. "I really liked your reading," many said to me, referring to the stylistic choices I made in bringing Zeus to life, "but I hated thinking about the subject." As I was floating around the festival on one errand or another (I was doing my best to help with set-up, transportation, etc.) I heard people talking about the book. Some in disgust, others being complimentary, but either way, lots of talk. I can't even begin to say how happy this makes me, because even though I've already written the next novel, and am hard at work on the finale of the conceptual trilogy (about 60K words so far), Ganymede is always going to be my favorite. Even thought it's 3 years old, and showing its age a little, I was honored to have the opportunity to present it.
In answering questions, I found myself referencing many of the texts that were influential on my thinking at the time. I thought I'd make something of a time capsule, here, with some links to those texts for anyone who might want to dig a bit in to them. So, here is a kind of cavalcade of links to books and stories that I was reading and thinking about at back in 2006-2008 while I was writing Stealing Ganymede:
--Angela Carter's incredible book, The Sadeian Woman. Here is a fantastic summary and analysis of the book.*
-- Samuel R. Delany's novel, The Stars in My Pockets like Grains of Sand. Delany here breaks the Disney concept of the Prince-Charming-Someone-out-there-for-everyone rhetoric by introducing the idea of the "perfect erotic object." Admittedly, I didn't use that concept, but thinking about that concept lead me to much of the thinking about the relationship between Zeus and Ganymede (both in interpreting the mythology, and in how the characters are constructed in my novel).
-- Jean-Pierre Vernant's concepts from his article, "Dim Body, Dazzling Body" about the differences between the "divine" body and the mortal one.
--I was thinking a lot about the Steven Stayner case at the time, and re-reading Mike Echol's book, I Know My First Name is Steven.
--I was also thinking a lot about the Johnny Gosch case.
--As I said a number of times during the Festival, the case of Shawn Hornbeck came to a conclusion when the novel was in its final draft stage, so his case didn't have much to do with the Ganymede, but certainly was on my mind as it went to press, and since it's publication.
There was, of course, a lot more, but these were the enduring texts and stories that were on my mind at the time. In compiling them here, I am looking back on who I was, then, and it surprises me just how influenced by Marxist thought I was.
*= the summary and analysis comes from the Marxist blog "Tendance Coatesy" and is written by a poster named Andrew Coates. Please note that my linking to this summary is not an endorsement of that blog, nor of its politics.