I debated doing this book at all for this series of blog posts because it will be a series of several books. To be fair, the entire series needs to be judged at the same time because it has a wide-ranging scope. I mean, a 65-million year story arc is kind of hard to break down in just the first book. But for the time period it covers, When The Gods Fell ticks enough boxes to qualify as a Superversive tale.
First, humanity has succeeded in landing a manned mission on Mars and is taking its first steps toward permanently establishing residency on the faraway red planet. The crew is multi-national, giving the reader a sense that in about two decades the human race has actually gotten its shit together on is ready to fulfill its destiny.
Which destiny that will be is the point of this first book, because the crew is about to encounter a mysterious woman named Oracle Delphi and she is about to lay the mother of all alternate history stories on them.
Oracle is an energy being who was once, roughly 65 million years ago, a humanoid woman living among the Castes that made up the people of Olympus, the planet we now know as Mars.
The rulers of those castes are names that we recognize today – Zeus, Yahweh, Ra, Odin, Kali, Lucifer and many, many more. Zeus sits upon the throne as the leader of all Olympus and, for the most part, the planet is at peace.
But all is not as peaceful as it might seem. Plans within plans, deceit upon deceit, lurks in every dark shadow of Olympus and even though he has been warned, Zeus is unable to thwart the machinations alligned against him and his throne.
In a very Superversive way, Zeus will not allow evil to win and finds a way through his trusted friend, Yahweh, to save as much of Olympus as possible even as the planet is decimated in a cataclysmic event that destroys all life on the surface.
Zeus’ solution, how that impacted the origins of life on Earth and what the future of humanity will be are addressed somewhat in this first book and will be explored further as the series progresses.
But the book is still superversive in that it has heroes rising to the occassion, it has setbacks for good and moments where evil does prevail, and it has some religous themes. But it still leaves the readerwith hope for the future of these characters and this world they have entered.
One point regarding said religous themes. As Declan Finn pointed out in his review :
“Even in the book, the Oracle telling the story said that yes, there was a Deity to whom these “gods” prayed. And I saw no mention of one of the kids becoming a carpenter. If you’re that concerned, unbunch your panties and just relax. This is not Dan Brown. Paolinelli is not poking at your faith with malice aforethought.”
…and that means I’m not preaching at you. I’m not setting one faith above another, and as this is an alt-history sci-fi/fantasy mash-up. I remind you that this is a work of fiction, not to be taken as me saying “this is how things really happened”.
What this story is, is just a story meant to entertain you, to help you escape the anxieties of the real world for just a few hours.
And that is very superversive.
Check it out for yourself and see if you agree. And yes, I will get back to this series as soon as I can.