The Star Lesson
~Suzanne Gross, 1975
My daughter came with me when I left
the house for the night and the star-rise
of spring. Above us the Dipper poured
darkness into the cottonwoods' bare
red branches and us. See, I said, there
is the Big Dipper. We call it that,
but in England its name is the Plough,
and Charles' Wain; the old Roman men
called it Ursa Major, the Great Bear.
Look, and I will show you. Do you see
the star at the tip of my finger?
that and the next are the tail; those four
like a box are the body and legs.
I see it, she said, I see it now,
but the bear is lying on his back.
Someday, I said, we shall find the crown
of Ariadne. Turn around now:
see, Orion the hunter is here.
One by one I touched her two shoulders
and feet, and traced on her the body
of the swimmer betrayed in the west.
I moved my hand slowly then over
her waist, and reached into the darkness.
There, I told her, is his belt of stars,
and see, he wears a sword of light, here,
at his thigh. Never before have I
seen it shining so clearly, so bright
as it is. Me too, my daughter said,
turning beside me as I turned to
let my vision go free through the crypts
and candescent arches of the night.
Cassiopaeia is there, I said,
sitting in her chair. My little girl
laughed. But I don't know where to find her,
I said. Oh look all around: we live
in a heaven of flames; what you see
burn through the night is our galaxy,
this blaze in the dark is our home.
The stars are not sparks or diamonds;
they are not the souls of the dead, nor
the campfires of angels, nor fireflies
in the wolf-willow groves of the moon.
Each is a sun immenser than ours,
a measureless fire revolving,
a world, a word, of elemental
breath that has burst into flame. The more
that we learn how to look into this
burning lens, the more we see there are
countless stars beyond the stars we know,
whirlpools of fire we cannot see
from here, there are ecstasies of light,
there are brothers of this world, it is
all effervescence of the justice
of God. All at once my daughter his
her face against my thigh, crying Stop!
Please let's go inside now. I want to
be cozy and safe inside the house.
The memory of dancing with someone you're fond of is a little glimpse of Galadriel's phial.
Marguerite Reed's Archangel (Arche Press, 2015) introduces a hero not often found at the center of science fiction: a mother, who takes cuddling responsibilities as seriously as she does the fate of her planet.
Of course, Vashti Loren plays many roles besides Mom. She’s also a hunter, a scientist, a tour guide and the widow of a revered early settler. But Reed spotlights her relationship with her toddler, offering a protagonist who’s not only good with a gun but manages to get her kid to daycare on time
You know who you are.
Holy camolli, how cool is that?
Archangel: Book One of the Chronicles of Ubastis
"A solid debut."
"Reed writes like a techno-Valkyrie with a flaming sword for a pen. Her prose will cut you, the action will make you sweat, and the characters will break your heart then patch it up again. This is science fiction adventure that attacks you like a Beast."
—Charles Coleman Finlay, editor of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction
"Marguerite Reed is a brave and audacious writer, with a strong and original voice."
—Gardner Dozois, editor of Year’s Best Science Fiction
"Author Marguerite Reed's first full-length novel, Archangel, presents readers with a fully formed, well-considered universe populated by believable characters and with a strong yet flawed female hero science fiction fans will love rooting for."
“Marguerite Reed makes us ache and cheer for the lush xenobiology of Ubastis . . . The intimate portrayal of characters coupled with dazzling scientific and social speculation make for a great read.”
—Andrea Hairston, winner of the James Tiptree Jr. Award and the Carl Brandon Parallax Award