Gaia: A Mystical Epic
by Alex Andor Skanavis
Trafford Publishing

"A gentle tremor tore between the tribe
Which made tribe split apart across divide.
On crooked cleft the mob was sorted 'round.
Adjusting sides to filter skills a'crowned."

Written completely in couplet verse, the poems in this collection work together to create an epic tale of a planet struggling to revive after Armageddon. Beginning in the years before mankind destroys the planet, the poems carry the reader through the creation of a new set of creatures designed to take care of the planet and learn from the relics of mankind following the collapse. This carries them into a new age of destruction and rebuilding. The creatures come to understand what led to the Earth's destruction and are instructed through extra-dimensional beings how to heal and repopulate the planet's surface.

In many ways, the book follows the epic tradition as promised in the title. The setting of the story spans the globe, includes divine intervention in the activities of creatures on Earth, and focuses on the values of the civilization within the characters that stand out. Many poems begin with an epigraph that links the work to giants in the science fiction, philosophy, and classic literary traditions, reinforcing the high language use throughout the book which is another characteristic of the epic poem.

Together, the use of high language and the often struggling attempts to rhyme can make the poems difficult to fully understand without the convenience of a dictionary at the elbow and an impressive ability to track complicated thoughts. This is not a text for fast-reading while waiting at the drive-through but instead is ideal for an afternoon of deep thought and consideration of new ideas.

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