Greek Gods and Transgender Oracles

Hello, everyone! Today we have a guest post from Chrystalla Thoma, author of the soon to be released novella Dioscuri.

Marion: Hi Chrystalla. Welcome. Why don’t you tell us about yourself?

Chrys: Hi dear Marion, thanks for having me over! I come from Cyprus, a biggish island in the Mediterranean. I’m Greek Cypriot, in fact, and speak Greek (most of the time!), but I’m a pure mixture of Assyrian, Egyptian, Greek, Turkish, and Italian with a dash of French and English for good measure. Since all these people and more passed from Cyprus over the centuries, I figure I must carry a little of the blood of them all!

Marion: So you’re a fellow writer. Can you tell us about your writing?

Chrys: I write mainly fantasy and science fiction. I love all that pushes the boundaries of what is real. Myths, fairytales, space ships traveling at the speed of light… I like writing about siblings and their clashes, reinventing mythical elements and creatures, and pitting mortals against gods and nature. Then again, that’s normal for authors, isn’t it? This innate cruelty to their protagonists. :D

Marion: Do you have any upcoming releases?

Chrys: Yes, my Urban Fantasy, Young Adult novella Dioscuri is due for release in March! Needless to say I’m very excited about this. I have published several short stories in journals and anthologies over the past two years, but this is my first longer piece to be released.

Marion: What’s Dioscuri about?

Chrys: Dioscuri is a retelling of the original Greek myth about the twin sons of Zeus, Kastor and Polydeukes. According to the myth, Polydeukes was immortal, whereas Kastor was mortal. When the moment came for Kastor to die, Polydeukes refused to accept his brother’s death and asked from Zeus to allow them to live on alternating days, or else to live together in Heaven. Zeus, seeing the brothers’ love for each other, made them into a constellation – known today as Gemini, the Twins – so that they can be together in Heaven forever.

In my version of the story, Kastor and Polydeukes live in a Modern Athens where the ancient gods have woken, and along with them terrible monsters. The two brothers are with the Resistance, fighting to protect the other mortals. When Kastor falls in battle, Polydeukes makes a deal with the Underworld to keep his brother alive. According to this deal, the brothers must alternate days in the land of the living, and Kastor cannot be told, or the deal is off. On top of that, If Hades were to find out, all hell would break loose. Literally.

But Kastor begins to put two and two together, and keeping the secret becomes difficult for Polydeukes. Will Kastor break his brother’s deal and save Polydeukes from an eternity of punishment in Tartarus, or will Polydeukes find a way to save them both?

Marion: You just posted on your blog six sentences from Dioscuri, in which Kast (Kastor) goes to speak to an oracle about the strange dreams he’s been having. But Kastor is in for a surprise:

“Darling, you made it.”

Kast whirled about, hands going to his knives. The man wore long earrings with pearls, and a long, double row of pearls around his neck. And he wore a…dress? More like a long robe. And makeup. Kast forced his gaping mouth shut.

What made you decide to make the oracle a cross-dresser?

Chrys: A couple of things. First of all, I have read quite a lot about shamans and oracles in the past. In many cultures, being a sacred person, a contact point for the gods, a mage, means to be on the threshold - the threshold of the world of the dead and living, the poor and the wealthy, the acceptable and unacceptable, and very often the masculine and the female. The shaman will take on tasks a woman would normally undertake, will dress like a woman or use a woman’s ornaments, and will be treated in fact as neither man nor woman – but as neutral or bisexual, a perfect vessel for the gods, a being that acts as intermediary because he/she really stands on the boundary.

Second, quite frankly, there aren’t enough gay/asexual/bisexual/transgender characters in the fiction I read (this could be my failing, of course, in not reading the right books!) but I wanted the oracle to be transgender. Sibyl is a character I love, honest about himself and his gifts of prophesy. I hope in the future to write stories with a protagonist like Sibyl.

Marion: Where can one find Dioscuri and read more about your stories?

Chrys: Here is the link to Dioscuri (the story will become available for purchase in March). And here is the link to my blog.

Marion: Thanks for coming over! Good luck with your stories.

Chrys: Thank you, Marion, the same to you! :D

Check out the Dioscuri book trailer here!


ezs said…

I would appreciate it if you read my blog, The blog is a virtual compendium of articles from newspapers, newsweeklies, and magazines, both popular and scholarly. The articles have a viewpoint toward transgender / transsexual news. If you like it, please put
"Emily's virtual rocket "under the title commonly called
"Blogroll". Thank you so much!


Jean Davis said…
I love the idea of the transgender oracle and the logic behind it. Just one more layer of fun to add to your already interesting tale. :)
Chrystalla said…
Thank you, Jean!! :-)

ezs, I will check out your blog, thanks.
Marion Sipe said…
@ezs - Thank you for the link.

@Jean - Yeah, I love that Chrys really dug into the idea of the oracle and the border between worlds. I think it adds detail and authenticity to the story.

@Chrys - Thank you for visiting! This was so much fun!

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