“The Shamus: A Gumshoe’s Odyssey” is a recreation of Homer’s Odyssey as a fast-paced Sci-Fi tribute to the hard-boiled gumshoe films of the 1930’s, colored by mythological and Buddhist over-tones More
The Shamus: A Gumshoe’s Odyssey is a recreation of Homer’s classic as a fast-paced Sci-Fi/ Fantasy tribute to the detective films of the 1930’s. Colored by mythological and Buddhist over-tones, the story centers on three planets within the Siri solar system; Vesta’s orbit has decayed, the ruins of Her ancient civilization lie buried under parched desert plains. Gaua, a world much like our own, is drifting away; year-by-year the light grows dimmer as the temperature get colder. Food and energy are at a premium. The future may look dim, but there is hope for the faithful--depending on whom you have faith in: Lamas, like Marcus Talmus who teach the sutras of the Promise, that their god Gauss will return as a child and deliver them from Darkness, or Naught Gaussaann, Maharaja of Naupactus, who promises deliverance with “Next year on Hera”, that with hard work one can save and bring their family to the warmth and light of Hera; well, maybe their grand-children. Meanwhile, he balances excavations on Vesta looking for proof of his divinity as the solution to his political challenges with his enterprises and mistress, the Tajana Sahara on Hera. And in the middle is Hera; Her people enjoy a carefree life-style in their technologically advanced society. Herans have worshiped Hera as a living goddess since First Light, the supernova that illuminated them thousands of years ago. Back then a Shamus, born during the exact moment of totality of a bi-lunar eclipse, hence chosen by Hera and empowered with paranormal abilities, were the spiritual leaders. Their position has since been replaced by the Parthenon of Priestesses; whenever one does crop up he waits for his Moment to serve Hera. And as it never comes these astronomical anomalies serve merely as channels for new technology from Hera; for on Hera, science is religion. Which brings us to the current living Shamus, Taxi Chaedeaux: holder of 57 patents on crystalline matrixing, and bored out of his wits, he uses his psychic powers as a private detective when he’s not dowsing for high odds at the races with his wise-cracking, telepathic ferret Jasse. Taxi is engaged by Naught to find missing Heran archaeo-linguist Alei Cineau, hired by the ‘Gaunts’ to decipher Vestan writings; as Gauan has only two vowels, Vestan is genetically unintelligible to Gauns. Convinced that Cineau is in hiding, our fedora sporting hero and Jasse climb into their ship the Trireme and embark on an Odyssean journey in search of the truth. From the kasbahs and night-life of Hera, to the orbital platforms and excavations at Vesta, and on to the streets, palaces and covert genetics labs of Gaua, the two blend physics with metaphysics as they work their way out of every predicament while following the trail of an interplanetary conspiracy. On their way they visit Naught’s wife, the Maharana AnnaClara; fearful of her growing popularity he keeps her locked away in the Summer Palace at Arabus. Marcus, under scrutiny by the Augur of Savrakas for hanging Naught’s portrait by the toilets rather than in the main foyer of his Sanctum, is urged on by his religious mentor Anathan to begin his own journey in search of his child-god that enmeshes him in a web of political and religious intrigue. Once overseas Marcus is enlisted by Naught’s long-time rival, Vaughn Manallaann, the Raj of Satrap. In his plans to discredit and dethrone his cousin Naught, the Raj arranges Marcus’ death only to have him smuggled back into Naupactus where he hopes Marcus will develop cells of religious dissidents. Marcus and Taxi eventually meet and enlighten each other, sending Taxi off to a revelation of Gaussaann’s intentions on Hera and Vesta, the shared identities of Gaua and Anna-Clara, and his own destiny.
Despite its humorous and satirical moments The Shamus is a deeply spiritual book covering such themes as the dangers of zealousness and false pride, and the importance of faith, responsibility and planetary consciousness.