Gaea Hits Back

 

"Gaea," the third book in my Quantum Cat series, is a book with a message, and I believe it to be timely. Nowadays we are concerned about the harm that human activities are doing to our planet. We think about it, we talk about it, and we actively try to find ways of improving the environment that we have damaged; we are working on strategies for cutting pollution, for reducing fishing to manageable levels so that fish stocks are able to recover from overfishing and reproduce, and for employing sonar devices with greater consideration for the sea creatures that rely on sound for their navigation, for it is their "sight," and as Poseidon, the sea god, points out, "If [they] can’t hear, they can’t see. If they can’t see, they can’t navigate." And if they can’t navigate, then they die. The sea creatures need their world to be as pure, as transparent to them, as possible, for only in seas unpolluted by Man can they find their food… find each other. Marine creatures struggle to survive in a sea that Man has polluted by dumping his rubbish into it or by introducing into it sounds that fog their vision by damaging the acoustics—and that damage them by harming their physiology; they cannot thrive in such adverse conditions.

Conditions need not be so weighted against the wildlife of the planet, and were not so weighted in earlier days when mankind’s technology was not so advanced and when men were attuned to the needs of the world in which they lived, aware that it was to their benefit to look after the land that supported them: they looked to the long term. Now, in many areas, we look only to the short term, exploiting the natural world for the immediate profit we can derive from it: we do not give the soil time to rest and refresh itself; we pay no heed to the needs of the wild creatures whose habitat is the field margins, the hedges, ditches, ponds and trees. One day I watched a farmer of my acquaintance dynamiting a row of ancient oak trees: he found them a nuisance, a hindrance to him as he drove his tractor, so he destroyed them, caring nothing for the myriad species of creatures they had supported… let alone their beauty and history. No, the trees were in his way, so they had to go. Despite his occupation, this particular farmer apparently had no love of the countryside, no respect for it or its non-human inhabitants.

And that, to my mind, is what it comes down to: Respect—or lack of it. Mankind has evolved, but Nature’s needs have remained constant. Man has evolved fast, so fast of late that he has failed to appreciate that he is a newcomer in a world that has been in existence for a long, long time… failed to appreciate that he is part of an ensemble, part of a whole, part of a network. He has failed to respect the world in which he lives. Intent on advancing his own interests, he has neglected the interests, the welfare, of Earth’s other inhabitants, indeed the fabric of Earth itself. He has disrespected Earth.

In my book, Gaea, goddess of Earth, feels this disrespect keenly. She hears the despairing cries of her animals and birds as their homes are destroyed, she watches her beloved whales and dolphins, physically traumatized by sonar blasts, beach themselves and die painful, wretched deaths, she herself is nearly choked by the fumes of burning forests and her head aches from the force and noise of explosions as men blow up mountains for their mining and quarrying… and she has had enough. Man is clever but she is cleverer; with all the knowledge at her disposal she can come up with a disease that will attach itself to Man and wipe him out. Then she will again be able to hear the whale songs she so loves, the bird songs… the songs of Earth; she will hear once more her creatures’ music in all its harmony, each species contributing its own proportionate note to the symphony of sound on her planet, just as Earth itself contributes its own sweet note to the cosmic symphony. Man’s dominance has unbalanced Earth’s music: Gaea wants to rid herself of the discord, and what better way to do it than by removing mankind from the scene? She can do it—she has the power.

Yes, but…

Mankind is loved by the Lord God, and His servant Quant the seraph is quickly on the scene to point out to the goddess that if she were to destroy the human race, it would be a bad career move, for herself as well as for Man. The Lord died for mankind, and He would not take kindly to her interfering and cutting short Man’s allotted time span; He suffered greatly for Man, and if she were to curtail his existence, she would likely not survive him for long.

Following a visit with Quant to the Great Lord in His highest heaven, Gaea accepts that she needs to lower her sights: she may act, but within constraints. She can warn but not kill. She can make it clear to Man that he would do well, for his own sake, to mend his ways. And so the goddess adopts a policy of persuasion, roping in her relatives to assist her: her son Briareos, god of sea storms, Aeolus, god of the Winds, and Triton, son of Poseidon and Herald of the Seas; and Cerberus, the three-headed hound of hell, tags along for a break from his duty of guarding Tartarus.

Readers may say that my treatment of the subject of mankind’s degradation of Earth is simplistic, but I do not have the scientific knowledge to write a treatise, and anyway I see nothing wrong in simplicity. I get tangled up when I read novels with complicated plots with an extensive cast list, and I cannot work out what is going on. I have written "Gaea" as lightly as I can, and I have tried to make the characters sympathetic and likeable, whether they are human, divine, angelic or—in the case of Nessie, of Loch Ness fame—plesiosauroid. Personally I don’t want to read miserable books or tales of violence and horror; I like novels that entertain me, amuse me and have a happy ending, or at least end on an optimistic tone. I hope that you will find my book an agreeable, lighthearted—and topical—read.

As in my previous books "Jerome and the Seraph" and "Angelos," I have blended present and past, mingling the new with the old, for I am not sure that time passes like an arrow speeding forward. Maybe what was, still is. Maybe there is just now, and the "ancient" gods never went away. Perhaps Mother Nature, Gaea, really is around, keeping an eye on us, monitoring the situation, ready to hit back when absolutely necessary in order to protect her planet… protect herself.

Whatever; I hope that you will enjoy reading my story of the Earth goddess, her family and friends.

 

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Gaea     a literary fantasy. Book III of the Quantum Cat series.

ISBN: 1-60619-183-7. 280 pages | Trade paperback
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