This is the first of possibly many book reviews, or possibly the last of them.
MythOS is the fourth installment in the masterful Web Mage book series written by Kelly McCullough. Here at NYCR we are no strangers to this series, and anyone who has ever spent considerable time in our bathroom is well acquainted with the books. Blending ancient Greek mythology with modern technocracy has produced a profound work of literature that finds a balance in classical interpretation of drama and tragedy with the common parlance of our times. As true today as it was two millennium ago, the Greek’s hallmark style of story telling and character development has inspired Ms McCullough to craft a masterwork in the genre of science fiction. The primary character is Ravirn, or Raven. We are taken through a roller coaster love affair with Hellenic age foes, and divine heroines whose allure wafts from the pages like a fine perfume. As you are introduced to this magical world of web goblins and code spells, you find yourself gripping the pages like the last stable purchase holding you to your mundane reality and saving you from the adventure within. But you wish for nothing more than to let go.
MythOS is a real gem in the series as the author has decided to temporarily depart from the Greek mythology and tell a tale that occurs in a new magical operating system or “MythOS” that is governed by the rules of Norse mythology. Trading classical drama for the infusion of the epic tales of Norse bards and some of the most primal tales we have preserved through the ages of human existence offers a unique opportunity to blend three cultural dichotomies across the expanse of time and space. And Kelly does not disappoint. The fatalistic war addled gods of Valhalla provide a jaw dropping backdrop of adventure, intrigue, and insight into a cultural divide that is too often left unexplored. However the taint of Greek tragedy is never far from Ravirn as he faces off against impossible odds to defy the fate of Ragnarok that dooms this new MythOS. His only allies are the forces of chaos lead by the devilish Loki himself, renowned god of mischief, and his enemies a mountain full of histories greatest warriors lead by Odin himself. Added into the mix of Norse myth and modern technology are a couple of familiar faces from the Greek past. Tisiphone the Fury of Vengeance and Raven’s strong armed girl friend is left coming to grips with the loss of her mother ( and the mother of invention ) necessity. Also returning to the story line is an old web troll ( main frame ) that is responsible for a revolution of sorts of AIs against the sisters of fate. And of course the now quantum processing Melchior, who is Raven’s sidekick and webtroll.
While the interplay between Norse and Greek gods is in and of itself a merry intellectual pursuit, and fodder for a truly entertaining story what really makes this book worth mentioning is the attachment to technical nuance. For instance the conversion from kerberos to heimdal in this new mythos parallels our own technical past as europe developed it’s own kerberos variant aptly named heimdal. Today we see these technical divides in our own lives, and provides a believable thread upon which to weave a modern myth.
Ultimately though you’ll find yourself laughing to the tune of fantastic otherworldly uses of technical jargon. The nerd in you will cringe with delight, and your better self will find a perverted sort of enjoyment in the play on words. Just remember to leave your skepticism and attachment to the more subtle plot and character development techniques of the past century at the cover, and just try to honestly enjoy what the author has produced for you.
If you are interested in reading the series from the beginning, Web Mage is the first of the four book series. You can find it on amazon or at your local book store. Or you could become a member at resistor and at some point receive it in a basket of fruit, or find it perched atop the porcelain throne. Personally I prefer the latter method as it’s a thoroughly entertaining way to do anything.