“Justice is not severed in The Eumenides, either. The trial is a nightmare, really. Orestes and Apollo argue that mothers aren’t really the parents of their children, just receptacles for a father’s seed. This convinces only some people, and the jury votes six to six. Then, Athena, casting the deciding vote, says flat out she only really cares about men, which means she considers Clytemnestra killing Agamemnon a worse offense than Orestes killing Clytemnestra. I like Robert Lowell’s translation because it doesn’t mince words: “I killed Clytemnestra. Why should I lie?” says Orestes. “The father not the mother is the parent,” says Apollo, who adds that the mother is only “a borrower, a nurse.” “I owe no loyalty to women. / In all things…I am a friend to man,” says Athena. “It can’t mean much if a woman, who has killed her husband is killed.” Orestes, in other words, is acquitted explicitly on the strength of disdain for women. It doesn’t matter if your reasons are good when you control the law.
Part of the exhaustion of being a monster, part of what keeps you at home in your cave, is knowing that it’s a foregone conclusion: Everything you create will be attacked and destroyed. Everything will exist for being attacked and destroyed, and for heroes to be made in the destroying of it. All your monstrous progeny, so painfully birthed: they will never come to anything but cannon fodder. It is so hard to live beyond boundaries when you know the consequences. Who can bring children into the world knowing they’re fated to be killed? Who wants to go through the pain of birth only to roll right into the pain of grief?”
The Lathing (Vol. 3 of the Circo del Herrero Series) Synopsis:
[Smack dab in the Bible Belt’s buckle, Vulcan arranges His pagan pieces. The tribal casinos are nothing but referential backdrop for His latest hustle. The gods have all paid to play. They’ve offered up parts of themselves to help make “The Game”—some more than others—but their chimeric incarnations are not where they place their bets. It is the human players they gamble on. The gods know the game is rigged but that’s half the fun, figuring out just what Vulcan has pre-programmed— how it works—how they, too, might cheat.
And like the gods, some Automata think they’ve found the secret mechanism that makes it all tick. Other Automata, however, are not so sure. They choose opposing humans—humans with flaws and sins so much like their own. Those they pick show less about the beings they’ve become than the ghosts that still haunt and possess them…
THE LATHING is the final attestation of the Narrator and the Editor—the final volume in the CIRCO DEL HERRERO series. In it, once-gods may find forgiveness and be made whole again if they pick the winning team. Automata may find a self that is worth knowing and saving. But the humans, well, they were just lucky the game found them before Death did. They’ll live just a little while longer before finding something truly worth dying for. At the end of it all is glory and godhood and possibly a cat.]