Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Myth of Icarus

Posted by: Jenny Schwartz
Anthony van Dyck - Daedalus and Icarus - Google Art Project Myths are fabulous. They don't explain things so much as inspire them. They invite us to ask why and explore the hidden motivations of human behaviour.

The myth of Icarus has long fascinated me: such daring, such near success, and the price paid.

When I wrote the steampunk novella, The Icarus Plot, I didn't want to rewrite the Icarus myth in a Victorian setting. Instead, I took an element of the myth and explored it. Weaving through the story is an underlying question: who pays?

Ambition and desperation propel human achievement. Icarus flew too near the sun, and the wax of his wings melted. Is the lesson to be moderate in our striving? or is the deeper lesson that his father, Daedalus, spent so much effort on designing things that he ignored teaching his son wisdom? Did Icarus pay the price of his dad's intellectual pride?

Disclaimer: there are no wax wings in The Icarus Plot, but there is an abandoned, haunted bedlam.

Ivana March runs a very special toy shop in the heart of Victorian London. The last person she expects to see enter it is an earl. Not that she has time to entertain him. Someone is stealing children, and the street kids whisper tales of a “Metal Man”. Ivana must find the monster, rescue the children, and if the earl really wants to help, he can come with her. Only, no one warned her she’d have to venture to places better left unexplored. A good thing, then, that the new Earl of Somer is a noted explorer. When the two of them join forces, what could possibly go wrong? 

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