FAQ: The Wild High Places

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. The protagonist of this novel is a young man who follows the mystic path of the Hindu bhakti tradition (as imagined by the author) in his own way. His dancing gives the divine Beloved’s devotees, male and female, a way to reach past cultural imperatives of gender and sexual preferences, rank and caste and socially defined identities to make personal, sometimes physical contact by proxy, with their gods, whether as Krishna approaching Radha or as Radha approaching Krishna, according to their passions and desires. Themes of alternate religious experience and fluid gender boundaries with a wide range of sexual relationships are foundational to who he is and how he makes his way in the world.

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.