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- The Summer 2005 Collection of Character Likenesses -
1. Featured Story:
"The Deviant Dead"
PHANTACEA on the Web
- written by Jim McPherson
© copyright 2005 Jim McPherson
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Greetings. Welcome, or welcome back.
The usual 'Hestia Housekeeping' section is immediately below. (Click here to find out why I call it such.) The FAC ('Fantasy, of the Anheroic-variety, Coyotes') section, what someday may become the equivalent of a PHANTACEA FAQ ('Frequently Asked Questions') sheet, is now elsewhere.
Beneath the 'Featured Story' section next door are lynx to a number of typically idiosyncratic mini-essays and Character Likeness studies I've prepared over the years for on the Web. They illustrate some of the peculiar perspectives I've developed while writing the PHANTACEA Mythos.
Contact me [firstname.lastname@example.org] and feel free to ask any questions you might have regarding PHANTACEA. I'll do my best to answer them either directly or right here in 'pHpubs'.
Yep, I've done it again: Turned a perfectly decent, 400-500 page novel into a 700-page 'magnum opus'. At least this one didn't come back as monstrously huge as my 2002 revision of 'The Moloch Manoeuvres' did. More on the latest revision momentarily.
Traditionally I begin my 'What's New' section of pHpubs with a link to where I put its previous update. Now that that's done, we can get on with this edition of Hestia Housekeeping. So what is new in the Summer 2005 edition of PHANTACEA on the Web?
There are also synopses for the last three installments I put up. That includes one for: . Additionally all three chapters to which these synopses refer should still be available for your fee-free perusal. (No synopses for the three new ones yet, however.)
What else? Sooth said I can't recall all of what's new this time up. I can tell you I added an entry in the Terms pages for Garudas and enlarged the already existent ones for Utopian eye-staves and Trigon. Also put an new entry in the Serendipity section.
Next door there's a list of lynx to mini-essays I've done or redone of late. There's also three more Character Likeness studies, as I refer to these mini-essays, down below in the topic section. There's plenty of new graphics to go with them as well.
For the Winter 2004/05 edition of PHANTACEA on the Web I set up "The Covers Gallery". That's where I placed an assortment of potential covers I'd designed over the years for some of my not-as-yet print-published novels.
Perhaps PHANTACEA perversely, one of the dust-covers I lodged there was intended for 'Wilderwitch's Babies, Part Two: Tsishah's Twilight', a novel I'm still in the process of writing.
(Its cover is still there. So is a new dust-cover cover for 'The War of the Apocalyptics' and the full cover for the revised version of 'The Trigregos Gambit', which follows WarPoc in 'The Launching of the Cosmic Express' Tetralogy.)
The problem was, having just written 'Wilderwitch's Babies Part One', I realized that some of the major characters I was intending to feature in Part Two (such that what inevitably happens in 'Babies Part Three' makes sense), had been given relatively short shrift in the comic books and in the Gambit serial.
There wasn't much else for it. Gambit needed expanding. And boy, even though I jettisoned both the 'Thrygragon' prelude and postlude (if that's a word) as well as the entire pregame section (the Tethys Tale of the 'Disunition of the Unities'), did it get expanded. (Those events are still crucial but they're told in bite-sized flashbacks; not complete chapters as they were the first time around.)
Saladin Devason gets more of an active role in this latest Gambit. There's also much more of Jordan Tethys, the legendary 30-Year Man, the three Sarpedons (Daddy Demios, Mama Morg and daughter Andaemyn, Tsishah's half-sister) and Thartarre Holgatson, the one-armed High Priest of the brown-robed, priests and priestesses of Sraddha.
Freespirit Nihila, the Unity of Panharmonium, takes centre stage for awhile longer than she previously did. So do a number of other devils, including Thrygragos Mithras's supposed firstborn, Tantal (King Cold) and Methandra (the Scarlet Seeress) Thanatos, and Bodiless Byron's definite firstborns, Rudra (Bestial Storm) and Umashakti (Gravity) Silvercloud.
The stars are still the stars. If anything Nergal Vetala, the Blood Queen of Hadd, is more vicious and her soldier is more godlike. D-Brig 5 (the Untouchable Diver, Blind Sundown, Raven's Head, Dervish Furie and OMP-Akbar), Ringleader, Young Death and the ever-fishifying Fisherwoman shine as brightly as ever. (Fish considerably more so, in PHANTACEA fact).
As for that perpetually smiling fellow I kept forgetting to mention in my original synopses, he gets an opportunity to demonstrate that, while PHANTACEA is now, forever has been and always will be Anheroic Fantasy, even really, really bad guys sometimes have redeeming qualities. (He does play a pleasant panpipe after all; still uses his breed brothers' severed heads as bongo drums, though.)
Lynx to three of the revision's sample chapters and the synopses that go with them are next door. You'll note they're out of sequence for a change, with no representative from Game-Gambit.
The first sets the stage for some early bits in 'Tsishah's Twilight' . The second gets a tad Biblical in that it includes the PHANTACEA version of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The third is non-stop action in the tradition of the 2003 revision of 'The War of the Apocalyptics'.
The Smiling Fiend is the ambitious, endlessly manipulative Mithradite Master Deva no one can remember unless he manifests himself physically in front of you. He's the devil I kept forgetting to mention in my synopses a few years ago now. Like so many of my characters, he's myrionymous; has many names.
In the 'The Launching of the Cosmic Express' Tetralogy he was almost exclusively referred to as 'Smiler'. In the revised version of 'The Trigregos Gambit', he's as often addressed as 'the Judge'. Certainly 'Judge' is what his fellow devils call him whenever he's in their presence. They did in the now-concluded serialization of 'Helioddity', which was set in 1938, as well.
Throughout the PHANTACEA comic books, however, I called him Rhadamanthys. On these webpages I still do, though more often than not I refer to him as Bad Rhad nowadays.
He appeared on the front cover of Number Six. That entire book was titled: 'Rhadamanthys Revealed'. Indeed, in the comic book series I referred to the disaster that befell the Cosmic Express, and much of what happened thereafter, as the results of 'The Rhadamantine Scheme'.
So where did I come up with his name? From mythology. That's where I come up with most of my names. In this case it was the Greco-Cretan cycle of myths. Therein Rhadamanthys was one of the three sons of Phoenician Europa by the Great God Zeus. The other two were Minos and Sarpedon.
In the related Theban cycle of myths Europa's brother was King Cadmus of Thebes. He's the fellow who brought the alphabet to Europe, which was named after her. He was also the mortal who married a lesser Olympian Goddess by the name of Harmonia, a daughter of Ares (War) and Aphrodite (Love). So much for myth.
In the PHANTACEA Mythos, King Cadmus was the Male Entity, in his Second Lifetime, whereas Harmonia was, and is, a devil, a firstborn Lazaremist, the Unity of Balance. (In late 5980 YD she decides to start calling herself Freespirit Nihila, the Unity of Panharmonium.)
By my reckoning, the mythological King Cadmus would have lived circa 1500 BC, which makes it circa 2500 Year of the Dome (2,500 years after the Moloch Sedon raised the Cathonic Dome in order to protect the Hidden Headworld from being inundated by the Genesea, the Great Flood of Genesis). That also makes it roughly 500 years after the destruction of the twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Circa 1500 BC, in the PHANTACEA Mythos at any rate, Crete itself has been divided into three decidedly distinct districts for most of those 500 years. The human-dominated area is in the northwest, European section of Crete, around Knossos. Its king is always known as Minos.
The area around Malia, east of Knossos in the Asian third of Crete, is dominated by Utopians, the ancestors of those who live in the present day Weirdom of Cabalarkon, the majority of whom are congenital idiots. Its ruling family are the Sarpedons.
The southern, African third of the island, centred around Phaistos, is an area dominated by devils. Its devic overlord is none other than our pal, Bad Rhad, whereas its devic overlady, who styled herself Queen Tanith throughout much of the matriarchate, was his bosom buddy, Pyrame Silverstar.
I understand the Goddess Culture so prevalent in the Mediterranean Basin flourished historically between 2000 and 1500 BC. Its centre was Santorini or Thira, an island in the Aegean Sea that was very nearly destroyed in a volcanic eruption around, you guessed it, 1500 BC. In the PHANTACEA Mythos, I refer to it as Strongyne, the Island of Strong Women.
Although I've never actually made up my mind about this, I expect Strongyne's primary goddess was Mediterranean Athena. That'd be Methandra Thanatos, the Athenan War Witches' nominal patron. Certainly, along with Nergal Vetala, the Blood Queen of Hadd, Freespirit Nihila, as Harmonia now refers to herself, Rhadamanthys himself, and her immediate sibling and husband, Tantal Thanatos, Cold to her Heat, Methandra was the main devil to appear in the serialized version of 'The Trigregos Gambit'.
Mythology has it that both King Cadmus and Harmonia were turned into snakes. I have found no reference as to what became of Europa. However, along with the mythic Minos, Rhadamanthys 'the Just' , who apparently had blond hair, became one of the three judges of Hades.
That isn't why devils address Bad Rhad as Judge, though. It's because he's the 'A' in the VAM Entity; 'A' as Ahriman or Aryanman. As detailed elsewhere, in the Zoroastrian Faith Ahriman is identified as Judge Druj and, as Bad Rhad admits to Jordan Tethys in one of the sample chapters of Gambit's revision, Druj means 'the Lie'.
As for the two fanciful images in this section, 'Bad Rhad's a regular snake' can be taken to refer back to the days when Crete was a hotbed of the Goddess Culture. As below, Cretans were prone to representing one of their deities as a Snake Goddess. I'm not committing myself as yet but, because of events depicted in the Gambit revision, I suspect the Snake Goddess will turn out to be none other than Harmonia, before she fell for Heliosophos in his 2nd Lifetime.
The other digitally dicked image in this section proclaims: 'Smiler is just a faerie'. That's because, as is also revealed in the same sample chapter referred to above, Bad Rhad, the skyborn devil, fused with Daemonicus, the earthborn, pre-Sedon King of Daemons, at the time of Ragnarok, which took place around 230 years prior to the Genesea. Daemons, like faeries, are chthonic creatures. That means they were literally earthborn, as in Mother Earth was their mother.
[NOTE 2: When quoted Bad Rhad and a large number of mostly male characters refer to this extended period of time as the Mad Goddesses' Middle Sea Matriarchate.
[NOTE 3: In the revised version of 'The Trigregos Gambit', the two surviving members of Thrygragos Byron's firstborn litter of three, Rudra and Umashakti Silvercloud, have more significant roles to play than they did in the original serial or, for that matter, in the comic books.
[NOTE 4: there's another picture of him in the double-clickable poster graphic here.]
The Trigregos Talismans (The Three Sacred Objects, what may hold the secret to controlling devils and therefore Sedon's Head)
In both the comic books, notably pH-6, and in the original, serialized version of 'The Trigregos Gambit', the Trigregos Talismans are referred to as the Three Sacred Objects. Because they can be used to kill devils, the devils themselves refer to them as the Three Accursed Objects. They were, and still are in the Gambit revision, a curved blade, a mirror that can be used a shield, and a bloodstone tiara. By name they were and are the Susasword, the Amateramirror and the Crimson Corona.
As to where I got their names from, as with Rhadamanthys, above, they came from mythology. This time, though, the mythology was Japanese. There's a reference in 'Japan - from prehistory to modern times' by John Whitney Hall (the ninth printing of which I have, as published by Dell/Delta Books sometime in the mid-Seventies), to "three treasures" passed down by the Sun Goddess Amaterasu to her grandson "as symbols of his authority".
Hall does not specifically state what these three treasures were but, a couple of pages later on, he states: "his authority was both hereditary and sacerdotal and was vested in certain symbols, for instance, a mirror, arrow, or precious stone." Be that as it may, in the PHANTACEA Mythos, the Trigregos Talismans are, were and forever-after will be a sword, a mirror and a crown.
In the serialized version of Gambit, there was a prelude that was finished off in a postlude, if that's a word, entitled 'Thrygragon'. There was also a pregame section entitled 'The Disunition of the Unities'. Neither Thrygragon nor Disunition made it to the revised version of 'The Trigregos Gambit' but the stories presented in the serialized version haven't changed. They're also referred to occasionally in the revision. The lynx provided will take you to their synopses.
As noted on the dust-cover I prepared for Gambit's revision, everyone who plays a Trigregos Gambit loses. There's just many more characters prepared to play one in the revised version. Three of them, and this might surprise you, are highborn Master Devas.
To boot, all three are female. Presumably, like Nergal Vetala, the butts they want to boot are primarily male. Sooth said all three of them think they're firstborn-thirds of the third generation of devazurkind: a Lazaremist, a Byronic and a Mithradite. Turns out only two of them are, however. (The real Mithradite firstborn? Sorry, I've spent years forgetting to mention him and can't change that now, in the Summer 2005 edition of pHpubs.)
Is the result any different this time? To judge by another of the sample chapters I've left out here in Cyberia it may well be. Mind you, 'PSYCHO SOUL GRENADES' isn't quite the end of Endgame-Gambit. It is full of action, however. Check out its synopsis if you need a tantalizer before you read it.
The Cretan Snake Goddess (Who dresses a little like Pyrame Silverstar, the Perpetual Presence, partial mother of the Sed-sons)
Yes, Bad Rhad really does say "Take a memo, Morg. Invite to coronation!" in the revised version of 'The Trigregos Gambit'. And, yes as well, he really does want it all. Mostly he wants Mediterranean Athena, Methandra Thanatos, Heat to her husband and immediate sibling's Cold. (Morg's the Morrigan, Morgianna Sarpedon, the Hecate-Hellions' Superior in Gambit; she wears an invisible demon.)
Smiler's desires are not what this 'Peculiar Perspectives Photo Essay' is about, although one of his alter egos, albeit after the destruction of the twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, does play a part in it. That'd be Rhadamanthys himself, the mythological son of Zeus by Phoenician Europa.
Long time readers of the PHANTACEA Mythos, particularly of this website, will be aware that a large number of its featured characters consider themselves to be Etocretans, that is to say 'True Cretans'. There are so many of them I even set up a webpage dedicated to them.
Among them, most notably, is Kadmon Heliopolis. In the PHANTACEA comic books and graphic novel ("Forever & 40 Days, the Genesis of PHANTACEA"), we discovered that the time-tumbling Male Entity, Helios called Sophos the Wise (Heliosophos), believes he spent his first lifetime as none other than that selfsame Kadmon Heliopolis, who was born in 1940. Hence the recurring plot line in most of the 1938 serials being presented out here in Cyberia.
(Herr Hel Helios, as the Male Entity was often referred to in those bygone days, started his 11th lifetime in 19/5908. He was a busy guy for more than 40 years but, by the time it ended in 59/1950, he still hadn't succeeded in killing either of Kadmon's parents. In PHANTACEA fact, young Kadmon, not quite 10, killed him; for the duh-the-dogfish 11th time.)
So here I am busy preparing graphics for the Summer 2005 update of this very website. I've just finished revising 'The Trigregos Gambit'. I'm also contemplating doing a 'Character Likeness' study on Pyrame Silverstar, the Perpetual Presence, who, prior to her being cathonitized in 5950, was the partial mother of the Sed-sons.
(Although she doesn't show up in Gambit, the Smiling Fiend does mention her in one its chapters. The graphic I prepared for her is at the bottom of this space. There's a mite more about her in the Notes on Graphics section below.)
Pyrame's as myrionymous as Smiler. Has lots of appearances as well. Been around forever. Primarily, as in when she looks like herself, she's body-beautiful with a pyramidal (as in quadrangular or tetrahedral) head. Has a single eye staring out of each of its three top-sides. Wears a flounced, sheathe dress that bares her breasts.
(I'm basing this last on the Snake Goddess figurines found on, you guessed it, Crete: the aforementioned ancestral home of so many of my characters.)
I've been to Crete a couple of times so I've seen the figurines. Until I scanned-in one of them I didn't realize her dress was daemon. I do now, though. And so do you. Don't believe me? I isolated the breasts and sheathe dress on both the upper graphics featured in this space.
The daemon's head, breasts as eyeballs, is in the hood of the Bad Rhad like garment. I realize it's not black, like the Smiling Fiend's outfit, but it supposedly is the raiment once worn by a member of the Spanish Inquisition during the Conquest of Mexico so it seemed appropriate.
A daemon, by the way, should be distinguished from a demon, without the 'a', in that, according to my trusty Funk and Wagnalls dictionary, in Greek Religion a daemon was not considered evil. In fact, the ancient Greeks considered a daemon a guardian spirit or genius.
In my handy-dandy 'Guide to Cretan Antiquities' (first published in 1976 by Eptalofos S.A. Athens - Greece), its author, Costis Davaras, Ephor of Antiquities, claims that Cretan daemons 'walk upright and behave exactly like human beings'.
They don't always do a ditto in the PHANTACEA Mythos, where they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. When Smiler tells his story to Jordan Tethys in Gambit he makes a point of using the word 'daemon' rather than 'demon'. The former are chthonic creatures that worship Mother Earth while the latter are anything except life-beneficent.
Among the 'Indescribables' who feature
in the revised version of
Google.ca supplies what amounts to a pH-Webworld web gallery. Just go to http://www.google.ca/, hit the images link and type in PHANTACEA. Pasting into the address area of your browser the following Url might work as well: http://images.google.ca/images?q=phantacea&hl=en&lr=&c2coff=1&start=100&sa=N&filter=0
PHANTACEA on the Web is chock-a-block with visuals. Good places to ogle artwork from the comic books and graphic novel are One to Six, 'Twenty-Five Years Plus' and what began as 'The Genesis of PHANTACEA' webpage. Most of the other graphics are scans I did of my own photographs or material I put together using PHOTOSHOP. All the essays are loaded with images. Try out the framed version of the Main Menu. You won't go anywhere else but, then again, you won't get lost either.
| Winter 2004/5 | Summer 2004| Spring 2004 | Autumn 2003 | Summer 2003 | Autumn 2002 | Summer 2002 | Autumn 2001 | Spring-Summer 2001 | Winter 2000/1 | August 1998 | Samplings from other Not So Recent Commentaries | June-March '97 | February '97-July '96 |
The background for this page is a digitally dicked shot of Supernova 1987A. According to Jim McPherson's Phantacea Mythos, the Male Entity caused it when he ordered his female counterpart to detonate the first Weirstar most of 2,000 years ago now. Story told in the graphic novel
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Downloadable order form for additional PHANTACEA Mythos Print Publications
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PHANTACEA: The Web Serials
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