Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Cassandra Complex

Of all the creatures I created for the literary world in which I play, by far the most tragic are the Amunites. For those of you who haven't read the first book in the series (Lost Devil's Throne, go get it. I am not above shameless self promotion.), the Amunites are human oracles, people who can see the future of anyone or anything they run across. How terrible must it be to know a tragedy is on the horizon, but powerless to do anything about it? To a lessor extent, this happens to all of us during our lives. If we're particularly observant, we can see the hurdles before our loved ones or ourselves smash into them. We may warn and advise and still be forced to witness a bad outcome. Just because you know there's a trap doesn't always mean you can avoid it. One of my favorite characters from Greek mythology had this problem. Cassandra knew what was coming, but was cursed so no one would listen to her warnings. No matter what she did, she understood she would inevitably bear witness to unspeakable carnage as the city she called home went up in flames. She's described as being crazy and, frankly, I don't blame her. In writing the Amunites I often wonder what keeps them from going nuts and they tread a very thin line with regards to their sanity. Insanity is, after all, a rational response to an insane world.

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