The Rose, the Night, and the Mirror by Mark Lingane
|The Rose, the Night, and the Mirror by Mark Lingane|
|Category: Science Fiction|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: A techno retelling of the Narcissus myth with future Gothic overtones. Julian embarks on an affair with Esis but she is too demanding. Will Julian find what he seeks in a relationship with a sexbot?|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 131||Date: February 2019|
|Publisher: Amazon Media|
|External links: Author's website|
Julian's family are getting pretty fed up with his perma-student status. They feel that the maths PHD candidate should start earning some money. To that end, they have managed to find him a job tutoring the children of a highly regarded politician. Julian bowls up at their strange, austere mansion with little in the way of expectation. Victor, the politician is not at home. But Esis, his wife, is. A beautiful but isolated woman, Esis shows little interest in her children and not much more in Julian. She directs him towards his room, the library in which he will teach the children, and the kitchen, whose chefbot will provide him with food.
But underneath the cool exterior, Esis is full of simmering passion and she and Julian soon strike up an intense affair. Julian, unused to sexual attention from women, is infatuated. But it doesn't last. Esis is frantic, needy, careless of discovery. And Julian, having spent his first wages on a computer, finds his attention increasingly commandeered by the sex chat he initiates with Piper online...
... with Esis's husband suspecting the truth and a rude awakening awaiting, will Julian find a relationship with a sexbot more to his liking? Or does his real passion lie somewhere else entirely?
The Rose, the Night, and the Mirror has a very Gothic feel about it. From Victor and Esis's echoing, stark mansion to the workhouse-come-seminary Julian finds himself in once his affair with Esis is over, one is reminded of the supernatural tales of the Gothic romance era. There's a very visual, romantic kind of glowering suspense and inevitability about this story, which Lingane communicates very well. The techno elements of AI development and a rather dystopian setting of future worklessness provide an overlay that take this story into the realm of science fiction.
Had you guessed that this techno-Gothic novella is a retelling of the Greek myth of Narcissus? Julian, the prideful man who can't accept that relationships are reciprocal, is the Narcissus figure, of course. And Esis is the spurned Echo. Julian will also meet his Nemesis in this story, but I'll leave you to discover how this plays out for yourself.
They say the best stories should be retold for every age. And I think Mark Lingane has done a good job of proving this in The Rose, the Night, and the Mirror. It's dark and gritty and really quite disturbing at times. But the themes are the same. Is self-love the same as love for another? What do we owe to others and what to ourselves? And where, in the end, will overriding self-regard lead us? Not anywhere good, that's for sure.
If sci fi riffs on the oldest stories intrigue you, you might also want to look at Ligane's Frankenstein-inspired Floored.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Rose, the Night, and the Mirror by Mark Lingane at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Rose, the Night, and the Mirror by Mark Lingane at Amazon.com. You could get a free audio download of The Rose, the Night, and the Mirror by Mark Lingane with a 30-day Audible free trial at Amazon.co.uk.
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