This is, as you may have gathered, a special novel, the first of several unrelated projects I have had in
mind for some time that are of more consequence than my fantasy. From inception to completion was
about seven years, because I did not pursue it until I was satisfied about its nature. It is technically a
monster story, concluding with a suggestion of the horror to come when alien fireflies who understand
man are loosed on the world. If one ignorant monster could cause such mischief, what of the
knowledgeable ones? I have no sequel in mind; the reader may imagine that aspect for himself. The
essence of this novel is in the characters, especially OEnone. I am of course in love with her, as I am with
all my leading ladies, and I hope you are too, if you are male, and that you understand her if you are
female. She represents the triumph of imagination over dull reality or quiet desperation, and I think there
are many women like her to some degree. This can be an ugly world.
This novel addresses more than peripherally the problem of abuse. It occurs in many forms, physical and
emotional, and is exacerbated by the insensitivity, ignorance, or downright malice of others. It does
happen in "nice" families, and much of it is not of the screaming rape type. It may be subtle and
persistent, yet it can be hellish. The games five-year-old Nymph played with Mad were a joy to her at
the time, but it was nevertheless abuse by our society's definition (not necessarily by that of other
societies), and her life was significantly colored by the experience thirty years later. What happened to
May is unfortunately also not that rare. I don't know what to do about such problems, but surely there
will be no genuine solutions until there is a proper recognition of the situation.
The setting for this novel is my home; OEnone used our guest bedroom. The house, cabin, landscape,
roads, trees, and wildlife are as described, except for location; my avocation is tree farming. I believe
that the salvation of the world well may lie in trees, and not just the commercial varieties. The
community of wild creatures resides in the noncommercial wilderness.
One of the included stories was written by Santiago Hernandez, in prison for pedophilia. This is one of
the few nonsexual, nonromantic entries: the one about two professors pondering exchanging their
spouses, concluding with a reference to me: the ogre in the Flower State near the cartoon-comic city.
This is the story OEnone did not tell; Geode dreamed she was telling it, so it was a product of his own
imagination, and came out completely different from any she would have told. The point is that later,
when the monster starts telling him stories, he knows it really is OEnone, because he can not invent
anything similar himself. I know this one is not the kind I would devise, because I did not; to me it is
mostly incomprehensible, as a wild dream might be.
But this is another bit of evidence of the problem in our society: as far as I know, Santiago Hernandez
did not hurt anyone. He just happens to be sexually attracted to small boys. We assume that the only
normal state is adult heterosexuality, and certainly this is my own preference, but I am in doubt whether
other types of interest are not also natural to our species. Homosexual men, for example, are not likely to
produce many offspring, yet around the world the percentage of homosexuals remains fairly constant at
about ten percent. I suspect there is a similarly constant percentage of bisexuals, and of other supposedly
deviant preferences. There seems to be a broad spectrum of human desire, and what we call normal is
only the central component. May's sadistic husband was sexually normal by the standard definition. It
may be that the problem is not with what is deviant, but with our definitions. I suggest in the novel that
little Nymph was abused not by the man with whom she had sex, but by members of her family who
warped her taste, and by the society that preferred to condemn her lover rather than address the source of
the problem in her family.
Those who feel that OEnone's stories represent abnormal taste should read My Secret Garden by Nancy
Friday, which details some of the sexual fantasies of women. Neither is Nymph an invention; similar
cases are all too frequent. These aspects were from my research rather than my imagination. I don't
know what is right and what is wrong; I merely hope to raise some social questions along with the
entertainment provided in the novel. I suspect our priorities are confused. We have problems enough
with world hunger and injustice, without making more by punishing people for deviant but perhaps