It’s easy to go to Hell. But who, without guides, can make the way back?
"Epimetheus Bound" ((698 pages with 38 pages of notes) is a work of imaginative nonfiction, a third-person historical autobiography of Epimetheus, whose name means Afterthought. The focus is on the ’60s and ’70s, with emphasis on the effects of the Flights of Apollo.
From earliest boyhood Epi knew big dreams were futile: “It can’t happen to me.” Then, in his mid twenties, feeling himself sinking into glooms of the Winless War he thought he could leave behind, Apollo 8 soared toward the Moon. Soon astronauts relayed a quavering video of the Earth as seen from space. Anon, Epi: “If the Earth is so beautiful, why do we make it ... so ugly?”
The instant was an epic transformation, a new faith in transcendence: “O wad some Power the giftie gie us.” When Apollo 11 touched Tranquility and made a safe return, anything seemed possible.
But headline-saving Wishy had only the vaguest sense of the epic commitment needed to effect such a major change.
Yet, by grace of introduction to the epic tradition, Epi had received the epic seed: the spirit of the Quest, the willingness to endure any test, including the descent into Hades. The seed might yet emerge in an affirming way. Worse by far than failure is failure for untried reasons. If he didn’t try for true dreams, he would be forever tormented: “What would have happened if I had tried?”
It was an epic challenge in an epic age, and such an age called for an epic singer: If not him, who? How dare Wishy think he’s qualified? If Archi and Duey delight in destroying hopes, how amazing that the Glacier gods cheer him for their sport. Hear Athene in Canticle 1: Epi’s “fate [is] bound by Apollo’s call; Apollo, who calls not the qualified, but qualifies the called.”
Just so "Epi Bound" needed time to emerge into light: conceived with Apollo 8, and nurtured in the computer womb until this self-publishing birth from Literary Nowhere, as when Odysseus embraced his Nobody wits to escape the Cave of the Cannibal Cyclopes. Epi e’er seeks to transform his Furies by realizing he’s still a bit ignorant; by invoking echoes from Mr. Teddy’s Survey of English Literature: Mr. T., whose voice gave new life to the works of many deathless contemporaries, including this couplet from the poems of Alexander Pope: A little learning is a dangerous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian Spring.
With the gods for him, Epi never doubted that publication would be a major event: if not for others, it sure enough is for him.