The wonderful Cat Sparks, author of ‘The Sleeping and the Dead’ from Ishtar, has written about her world and the ideas behind her story. It is a must read!
‘The Sleeping and the Dead’
It always bothers me when stories portray characters who are centuries old as reasonable people possessed of rational human perspective. Gods, by their very definition, cannot be sane in the way that term applies to you and me. Entropy is relentless. Time corrodes, empires rise and fall while a god still stands. How could millennial loneliness not leave incomprehensible scars?
The Sleeping and the Dead is a portrait of a world that has eaten itself alive. Birth has become an abomination, hope a blight upon the landscape. The would-be mothers perpetuate Hell. The crazy nuns are the ones who’ve got it right.
Consumer culture inherited the god it deserved, all mood swings, grace and flaming retribution. My Ishtar is an amnesiac deity. The turmoils of post-civilised dischord have lulled her into a state of exhausted ennui. She doesn’t remember why she does the things she does. Her fertility clinic is perpetuated as a half-baked gesture towards the tedium infusing and permeating the aching years.
Assisting hopeful mothers doesn’t interest her in the slightest. She does it because she’s bored of death and its grim accoutrements. Anna Ishtar has wallowed way too long in her own intellectual mire. She’s not quite crazy, just teetering on the brink.
Daisy and her nuns smell the raw power on her, even if Ishtar herself has mislaid her origins and purpose. That a god walks among them comes as no surprise, for they are blessed and theirs is holy art.
Who is Thomas to her really? No one, so she makes him someone; her quest a mere diversion to while away the hours.