Mercurio, the protagonist of my current work in progress, Devouring Light, serves as guardian to the planet Mercury, as well as running messages between his fellow immortals. Like his prototypes, the ancient Greek Hermes and the ancient Roman Mercury, Mercurio’s a bit of a Peter Pan, possessing a liking for pranks and an aversion to responsibility. The one responsibility he does not shirk is his care for his planet, the closest to his primary Sol, and the coolest celestial body in Sol’s demesne (as far as Mercurio is concerned). But events are about to demand more from the young planetary than heretofore.
Haden plots to retrieve his absconding wife Proserpina. The constellation Draco sates his jaded appetite with mischief more lethal than any Mercurio ever dreamed up. And the dark forces outside Sol’s heliopause follow whim and caprice to bring destruction in their wake. Will Mercurio succomb to the role of cat’s paw designated for him? Or will he save the solar system?
Devouring Light blends astronomy with Greco-Roman mythology and Dante’s Paradisio to create looming disaster on a cosmic scale. I hope you’ll enjoy the story when it releases sometime this winter. In the meantime, I’ve been doing some fun background research for the work, and I’d like to share bits and pieces of it with you.
First stop: where does this story take place?
Well, our solar system, but not purely our solar system. Permeating the physical reality is the essential inner reality, rather like the “real” forms generating the shadows in Plato’s allegorical cave. For Mercurio and his fellow planetaries, the physical reality and the “essential” reality are equally real. They speak of each planet’s orbit and its “sphere” almost interchangeably. Devouring Light’s celestial spheres owe their inspiration to those of Dante’s Paradisio, but I adjusted their numbering and content to suit my own more modern notions and my story.
Just to be clear, Devouring Light is fantasy, not science fiction, despite its outer space setting. As I say in a comment below (this paragraph is an update – the comment came first – thanks, Mira, for the excellent question), the astronomy is inspiration, not prescription. I’ve attempted to adhere to the facts as they are currently known, layering the fantasy atop. And, yes, I know that Pluto is no longer a planet. At the beginning of my story, it is. At the end . . . well, you’ll have to read it! 😉
I’ll share more about Devouring Light in future posts, but here I give you…
The Sun tended by Sol
Mercury tended by Mercurio
Venus tended by Star
The Moon tended by Artemis Diana
Mars tended by Ares
The Asteroids tended by Plurima
Ceres tended by Ceres
Jupiter tended by Basileus
Saturn tended by Saturnus
Uranus tended by Ouranos
The Zodiac Perspective inhabited by the Constellations
Pluto tended by Haden