The Statue of Liberty was as fine as any titan and it made my heart glad to see her green skin. I slid from the ship into the oily black water, my belongings towed behind me in a sealed oilskin bag. My serpents were limp with hypothermia by the time I crawled onto the banks of the Hudson.
My hate for Poseidon wouldn’t abate but it grieved me to sell off his pearls, one by one. Each was a lustrous story. They’d fall from Poseidon’s ears, nostrils and mouth whenever we quarrelled. It was his way of getting me to laugh and make up with him.
I love Ray Harryhausen. My brother Ravi and I would watch the Sinbad films and Jason & the Argonauts whenever they were on. Clash of the Titans was a major event.
I felt sorry for Medusa though. She got a rough deal and I wanted to rewrite her life.
“Pearls” appears in Issue 4 of Bourbon Penn and can be read online, in a Kindle and glossy print edition.
It’s to be reprinted in Paula Guran’s Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror:2013, Prime Books. It also is on Ellen Datlow’s Honorable Mentions for her Best Horror of the Year Volume 5.
Pearls follows the snake-haired character of Greek mythology, Medusa, through two narratives – that set in ancient Greece where she and Poseidon are passionate lovers, and that set in the modern world where she works as an artist and falls for a stranger named Paul.
While not something I’ve encountered often, I tend to enjoy stories where the narrative is disconnected at two opposing points of the protagonist’s life. The way Sharma does this with the Medusa is reminiscent of how Le Guin writes chapters in The Dispossessed… The two narratives work to give a holistic representation of the main character and elucidate why she is the way she is. Naturally, once we know Medusa’s background we better understand her actions, thoughts and motivations in the modern world, particularly in terms of why her relationship with Paul proceeds the way it does. And in Pearls, this back-and-forth transition between two time periods is especially fun given that the modern world is so devoid of the supernatural elements of Ancient, mythical Greece. Medusa is the same girl in both times, but she seems tragic and out-of-place in modernity. Federico at All Things Dark and Magical (Full review)
The narrator is a painter with slithery hair, whereby we know her identity. It’s not easy being a gorgon. Stalkers tend to seek her out. It was better before, in the world she was born to.
A twist turns this one into a love story. The author takes liberties with the myths, but what else are myths for? Lois Tilton for Locus Online