Message From The Author

Author's Message

Hi. I'm Elizabeth Bear. And I'm here to tell you about The Sea Thy Mistress.

It's an apocalyptic noir Norse cyberpunk science fantasy complete with ancient enmities, enduring allegiances, tragic love, epic sacrifice, and a couple of flashy battles. But more than that, it's the story of three people whose lives have been entangled since the beginning of time finally coming to terms with their history and relationships--and it's a story about what family is, and what it costs us, and what it's good for. It's the third book in my Edda of Burdens series, but it--like the other two--is intended to be read in any order. My goal for this trilogy was always that you could start with any book, and finish with any other, and that each would illuminate the others.

I wrote the first draft of this book in 2002, though it has been revised and rewritten extensively since then. The Sea Thy Mistress is very special to me, because I'm an adult survivor of child abuse, and so is my protagonist, Cathoair. I can't say that my experiences were anything like his in detail, or that my recovery followed anything like the path his does--but there's a kinship of experience there that made writing this book both a very difficult and a very cathartic experience for me. I was very tired of narratives which presented abuse survivors strictly in terms of their victimization--as waifs in need of rescue, rather than powerful people capable of making choices--for good or ill--and caring for their families and loved ones.

It's funny, because I tend to think of this as a very intimate book--probably because of my own emotional connection to it--but it's got a lot of scope. This is a world replete with gods and demons, after all, and when it discusses personal problems, they're the emotional struggles of immortals. Possibly what's going on here is that I'm trying through the lens of myth to show how these challenges can feel like an epic battle when you're in them. There's a lot of heroism in the everyday, in the small things. And I think by expanding those small things to a world-spanning scope, it helps give a sense of their import on an intimate level.

And--at least I hope--it's a pretty good story, too.

- Elizabeth Bear

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