Last night I was introduced to a world where there are two suns and two moons, where water climbs instead of falls, and where a whole host of unfamiliar beings make their home. This is the alien planet Meniscus, where humans are harvested from Earth and sold as slaves to the two dominant humanoid races of the planet – the Dock-winders and the Gel-heads.
Meniscus: Crossing the Churn is a long narrative poem written by Jane Tims, under the pseudonym “Alexandra Tims”. It is the first book in a series that follows a genetically modified human man, known only to us as “the Slain”, and Odymn, a young human woman trying to survive the oppressive conditions she lives in. The two travel together through the Prell’nan District of Meniscus after the Slain saves Odymn from a violent gang of Gel-heads.
Aside from the poetry of Meniscus, interspersed amongst the pages are wonderful drawings done by Tims herself, drawing us further into the fantastic world she has created. Each drawing depicts characters – Odymn, the Slain, a Dock-winder, a Gel-head, even an Argenop named Wen-le-gone – and their interactions with each other and the environment around them. At the front of the book there is a map of the Prell’nan District, and in the back is a glossary of terms and a short guide to Gel-speak, the common language on Meniscus.
Yesterday evening, Jane Tims held a book launch and reading for Meniscus at Westminster Books, which I had the good fortune of being able to attend. Also there, was guest reader Zach Hapeman, a poet who writes for the young at heart. Hapeman’s light, playful choices of poetry to read contrasted nicely with the darker, thrilling excerpts read by Tims. A favourite of mine was a poem read by Hapeman about the hazards of having a supernatural boyfriend. Another highlight of the evening was an excerpt read by Tims where Odymn and the Slain were scaling a waterclimb (think the opposite of a waterfall) to get away from a group of Gel-heads. Where Tims chose to stop had everyone on the edge of their seats!
I encourage you all to check out both of these poets’ wonderful books. Meniscus: Crossing the Churn and A Crack in the Door (Hapeman’s book of poetry and illustrations) are each available on Amazon, as well as, I believe, at Westminster Books.
Until next time,
a.k.a. the girl who stays up way too late to finish a book then regrets it in the morning (even though it’s always completely worth it)