High Pamir FAQ
Have a question? Ask me, and I’ll do my best to keep my response to flash-fiction length rather than vignette or short-short.
Here are some thoughts to get the discussion started:
1. What’s it all about, Alfie?
When people used to ask me that question about a novel I’d written I would usually tell them “it’s about 315 pages” or “it’s about 90,000 words.” (upload rimshot sound effect here)
1 (a). It’s about a young man, Geoffrey/Jefferji Tamisen, standing at the intersection of otherwise mutually exclusive identities in India and east central Asia in the first half of the nineteenth century, discovering things about himself, making decisions on who he wants to be, rejoicing always in his passionate relationship with the divine Bridegroom, Sri Krsna, everywhere and all the time, no matter what else is happening in his life. With his foster-brothers he was taught how to ride, how to fight hand-to-hand, how to use weapons of war, how to be an honest and honorable warrior in the Rajput tradition. His mother taught him English, and the odd bit of her own cultural history. He learned to dance from an early age from an itinerant priest at the Hirpa temple. He’s an artist, an acolyte, a man whose dancing can facilitate the connection between human souls and their best and dearest Friend. The fundamental nature of his character is joy, and he’s out to dance with his world through the intermediary of the Beautiful God.
1 (b). It’s about the varieties of religious experience. Jefferji’s relationship with Sri Krsna is fundamental to his core personality; for Jefferji all roads lead to Krsna, and he’s always open to finding a new route. When he was a child he approached his Friend through the simple mechanics of dance, the ebb and flow of spiritual energy inextricably linked with that of the physical instrument of his body. When he was judged old enough to explore new avenues of human experience, he began to understand the power of sexuality and how it could help connect other people with their Beloved. And now as the story begins he’s to discover new channels of communication with the Divine hinted at, never explicit, in the mythologies he’s been learning all his life.
2. Who wrote this book, anyway?
“Zarabeth Abbey” is what I’m using as an “acknowledged alter ego” for this trilogy, “The High Pamir.” You may be familiar with a science fiction series of long standing, “Under Jurisdiction” (with lots of juicy text both new and reprinted available from Baen Books). That series is (a) science fiction, not historical adventure/fantasy; and (b) quite different in tone and treatment from “The High Pamir.” I decided on “Zarabeth Abbey” as an acknowledge alter ego so that nobody expecting to read about “The Life and Hard Times of ‘Uncle’ Andrej Koscuisko, who is Not a Nice Man” will pick up one of the fantasy trilogy books, and, equally, so that nobody having done me the honor of deciding to chase the author from Jefferji and Shashka in the Wild High Places will find themselves reading about a quite different and significantly grimmer reality instead. So: I, Susan Matthews, wrote this book (and the US Copyright Office agrees) using the “Zarabeth Abbey” persona primarily to keep Andrej Koscuisko and Jefferji Tamisen from accidentally bumping into one another in the context of each others’ universes.