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Date: Thu, 24 Apr 2003 13:59:04 -0500
From: James Jordan 
Subject: (urth) Celestial Matters

I wrote:

>>and there was that excellent novel a few years back, *Celestial Matters* 
>>by Richard Garfinkle -- a Lupine treat -- that was set in a 
>>Ptolemaic/Platonic universe.)

I just want to second this. No, it's not complex in the Wolfean way, but I 
think most Lupinists (esp. Latroists) will enjoy it. It's unique, as far as 
I know, and it's fully worked out. Here is part of a short review I wrote 
for a Christian audience:

     Here is a novel of "hard science fiction" set in an alternate universe 
wherein the Greek view of the universe is real. The earth is at the center, 
and everything revolves around it in Ptolemaic cycles and epicycles. A piece of
moon has been captured and fitted out as a space-travelling
platform. Naturally (!), this piece of the moon wants to return to its 
proper place in the sky, for it "loves" the rest of the moon. The mission's 
purpose: to capture a piece of sun for the Greeks to use in their ongoing 
war with the Middle Kingdom (China). A well-known scientist, Aias, captains 
the mission, accompanied by a lovely Sparta-trained Xeroki (Cherokee) 
        What makes this novel unique is its portrayal of ancient
science and philosophy. Garfinkle knows his stuff, and by the time
we are finished, we know a lot of it also. We also learn about
ancient Chinese science and Xi (Chi) forces. There's even a bit of Plato.
        There's nothing "Christian" about this novel, except that it
IS a novel and as such reflects the way narrative has developed in 
Christendom. But it is a lot of fun, and educational as well. I
particularly enjoyed it when Aias emerges from a lunar cave as his moonrock 
space platform travels near the sun, and ... but I must not say more.
        Of course, there are lots of adventures along the way, as
Chinese spies try to prevent the moon-ship from taking a piece of
the sun, and as Aias comes to learn more about the nature of
"reality" in this world. And we see a clean and refined romantic
relationship develop between Aias and Yellow Hare, his Xeroki
bodyguard. I found the narrative well-paced, and completely clean
of anything objectionable in the areas of language and sexuality, hence 
suitable for younger readers.



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