Intriguing, scary, haunting, inspiring… what other adjectives can I use? Wim Coleman and Pat Perrin have crafted a terrifying tale in their novel, Mayan Interface. But, intriguingly, the terror is so enticing you never beg the protagonist not go forward, begging her instead to try it and try it again. Best of all, the protagonist feels the same attraction, driven by the same curiosity, freed by the same sense of non-belonging that so characterizes modern society, and empowered by a wonderful mix of intelligent analysis and creative inspiration.
The novel moves between Portland Oregon and Yucatan, rendering both places convincingly, recreating the Rose Garden and a thatch-roofed house with equal aplomb under the watchful gaze of the Milky Way. But in Mayan mythology, the Milky Way is more than a carpet of stars. And in modern understanding, there’s more to life than measurements and computer simulation.
“[W]hat doctors here call schizophrenia, folks there call magic and vision,” says Lydia, describing her experience of reality knit by myth and legend in Yucatan. A combination of measurable and mythic, science and story, past and future threads through these tales, with computer’s virtual reality almost as real as history, almost as true as feathered gods and priests in headdresses.
The mix of shamanic peace and scientific measurement in this novel is enthralling. Wonderful storytelling merges with the solid reality of archeological digs and complex computer programming, and a timely rejection of end-of-the-world simplicity. What stays with me most at story’s end is a tale told by one of the characters to another, of a divided brain, left and right, art and science, and how perhaps the truths of life lie somewhere in unity. But read the book; the characters tell these tales and follow this plot with much more intensity and feeling than I can convey.
Disclosure: I was lucky enough to be offered a free copy of this book. I’m just sorry it took me so long to get around to reading it. I really enjoyed it.