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Naomi At Shared Worlds

Naomi will be a guest writer at Shared Worlds, the teen SF/F writing camp Jeff VanderMeer runs along with Jeremy L.C. Jones out of Wofford College in South Carolina. The writing camp will take place July 22 – August 4, 2012.

To learn more about this fantastic opportunity, read Jeff VanderMeer’s very succinct blog post HERE about Shared Worlds and how to get involved—whether it be attending or donating!

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By Shawn Speakman

When he isn't lying for a living, Shawn Speakman maintains the web presences for Terry Brooks and Naomi Novik, runs The Signed Page and Grim Oak Press, and writes his own SF&F. Follow him on Facebook and @shawnspeakman.

3 replies on “Naomi At Shared Worlds”

Speaking of “shared worlds” maybe this author could give a talk, I’m sure teens would find this a fascinating subject too! (even though it sounds boring at the beginning, everyone should know!) – s

Kirkus Reviews, Jan. 2012

“The Jesus Life: From Soldier and Savior to Madman”
by Christiane Gwillimbury

After the success of her book on Henry Kissinger, history professor Christiane Gwillimbury has turned her attention to saving a much over-written subject from Sunday School yawns and the ancient classics doldrums.

In her new and surprisingly short treatise on all things Jesus, the longtime Harvard board director says it is common knowledge among elite scholars that the character of Jesus was based on a member of Julius Caesar’s immediate family, Lucius Caesar, and she wants to let the public enjoy the tale of what life had in store for young Lucius, who was born around seventy years before the fictionalized Jesus’ birth.

As soon as he was born, the fair-haired Lucius was the focus of much attention in the royal household in Rome. While the idea of a democratic republic has been played-up over time, historical documents support the idea of the Caesar family being an extremely wealthy and powerful monarchy running the show through a partly concealed network of allied cousins, switched babies, and disguised sibling or even parent-child marriages. This unsavory practice of incest and inbreeding was done in an organized attempt to maintain and mix certain traits, talents, and appearances within a single, cunningly ambitious family.

And Lucius was the golden boy with just the characteristics they had been attempting to produce in a future con-artist religious leader cum multilingual surgeon, one who could pass for a native of northwestern Europe or a rabid Jew. Many in the family were writers, talented at legal arguments and fiction writing alike, which is why, Gwillimbury insists, the story of the real man behind the Jesus icon is so endlessly fascinating. It’s not just the amazing life Lucius lived as a Roman prince shuttled off to Egypt as a baby to hide the brother-sister incest between Caesar’s teen kids that had produced him, and to protect his future use as a double-agent facilitating Roman conquests, all the way to his final act in the wilds of Scotland as an unhinged medical experimenter upsetting the locals by snatching their children to perform surgery on, in the ominous Hermitage Castle, but it’s the effect of looking back on the real man through the eyes of all he’s been made to represent that gives his life story such dimension.

While Gwillimbury understands there may still be a few ardent believers out there who will upset at the evidence that the fictional Jesus, floating miracles and all, was just a whimsical creation of talented Roman novelists out to invent a religion that would tame their Druidic cousins into easing up control over the coveted tin mines in Britain, she feels most people have enough common sense to appreciate his rich narrative value. The Caesar family were powerful and ruthless enough to not only make up such a cunning tale to help in their ongoing campaign of “dignified” land theft, but Gwillimbury includes historical documents that clearly show the Caesars stayed in power and are still in power, hence the logic of their current understanding, as the celebrated authors, experts, artists, and leaders of the world today, of the truth behind the many concocted global religions that the author feels should be let out of the bag and enjoyed for the interesting tales behind their inventors.

And she’s not alone in thinking it’s time. Which is why tv shows and films alike (produced with the same wealth dug up out of those tin mines in Cornwall, and added to the even more ancient Atlantean coffers transferred out of Egypt through Julia’s concrete ventures with Mark Anthony, aka Herod, in Jerusalem, then on to Byzantium, London, and eventually Washinton DC, if one can keep track of Gwillimbury’s detailed financial accounting) are continually pushing the bounds of secrecy and morality by basing their plots on the factual events of Lucius Caesar’s life, updated for modern times and serving as a modern version of the overblown Roman tributes of 70 BCE.

For example. the popular television medical drama “House”, Gwillimbury reveals, is a charmed-up portrayal of Lucius in later years, his leg damaged by an injury that occurred after he helped assassinate his grandfather Julius under the identity of Roman political strategist Brutus, his looks shot by years of opium addiction as Saint Paul, King Lud, and others, and his final, brutal, eager cutting open of bodies on the Hermitage property, for the sake of passionate but untethered medical investigation, landing him in a Scottish prison, written up as Bad Lord Soulis (a simple pun on Lucius, Gwillimbury points out in her chapter on Jesus wordplay and Christ codes), a titillating myth of the medieval 1200’s.

Literary sagas and even kids’ nursery rhymes like to touch, as a rule, on as many aspects of his life as possible, including the so-called romance between Lucius and his mother Julia, aka Mark and Mary Magdalene, a few years after the crucifixion, when they conceived a child together as an attempt to secure their individual fortunes back in Rome after a lengthy exile in France and Britain, where many of the biblical texts attributed to the two were written.

Gwillimbury frequently turns to many of Lucius’ own philosophical writings to help explain his life choices, published in Greek under the pen name Lucian of Samosata. (Yet another example of how far-flung his presence in our culture is, she makes a solid argument for the meteoric success of painter Jean-Michel Basquiat being partly due to his graffiti-artist tag, Samo.) Humorous, philosophical, and even, yes, redemptive, Lucius was just a man after all, struggling to enjoy what he could of a life that had been harshly shaped from the get-go by his family’s insistence on pushing him to not only be a talented con-artist, but a master of emotional leverage as well – leading to the seemingly divine and yet absurdly impatient teenager who, between the ages of 17 and 20, delivered an amazing performance as Yesho, the Jewish prophet, and yet sometimes couldn’t resist giving as a reply, when pushed to explain why his exorbitantly illogical teachings should be believed, a resounding, “Because I said so.”

“The Jesus Life: From Soldier and Savior to Madman” is 242 pages, published in 2012 by Canofworms Press, an imprint of Random House.