Even my most indifferent, impassive, uninterested, unmotivated, passionately apathetic and academically unreachable classmates back in elementary school liked learning about Greek mythology. Catholic school had its really bizarre aspects (example: the Immaculate Conception parade) but teachers totally ignored the fun parts of the Bible for all that tediously transcendent Beatitudes stuff. The most exciting moment in religion class was that time we watched the Jesus Christ Superstar Jesus rock out at Gethsemane. The point being: religion is so much cooler when the gods act like human beings. If that sounds like an impossible contradiction, crack a book on the Greek gods.
Now they were fun.
Zeus and the gang had the best of both worlds: all the follies and foibles of humanity with none of the, oh, say, misfortune, torture, death, and damnation to worry about. The Greek gods are the most capricious, vengeful, and morally irresponsible literary characters to ever hit the page (excluding a certain deity of the Old Testament, obviously). It makes for fantastic reading.
The same can be said for Maria Hammarblad’s SF romance Touch of the Goddess, which stars a beautiful immortal named Maria Callaway (do I sense some author fantasizing here?). Maria—the goddess, not the mere human scribe—probably hung with Aphrodite and Hera back on Mt. Olympus in the good ol’ days, considering she’s over 4,000 years old. And since she literally has all the time in all the worlds, Maria Callaway is bored.
Lucky Earth evolved sentient life to keep hers entertaining, right? After pretending to be the devil with her brother Frank got a little tiresome, Maria got herself a genuine human flying machine and piloted herself into the vastness of space looking for a change of pace.
Her lucky day arrived when Stephan Forks, alone on his cargo vessel, got himself drunk on the bridge and plowed into Maria’s ship. He probably would have felt like a real loser in the morning, if he hadn’t woken up with pale-skinned, dark-haired Maria cuddling up to him in bed and dissipating his hangover with a touch. She’s solicitous as a little girl with a new toy to play with, but, like a child, she’s also callous.
With her powers (which are more expansive than knowing how to sober a guy up) Maria can kill the thousand-odd space pirates on an attacking ship in a blink—and she barely blinks at the very suspect morality of the act. She likes Forks, after all—he’s entertaining, pretty handsome after he shaves, and no one’s called her “babe” in centuries, after all. So here’s the rationale for mass murder:
“I’ve been waiting for over four thousand years. I deserve at least to try, don’t I? deserve the chance, and they’ll just be reborn anyway. Probably as flies or something, but who cares.”
That’s not to make it sound like Maria is a cheerful sociopath. For all her age, powers, and experience, the goddess is an innocent who frets over the planets she’s created and perspires when Stephan Forks is near. She is no mystical creature with wisdom from the depths of time to impart to humanity (thank the gods for salvation from cliches). Due to all her ungodliness and childish enthusiasm for everything new—from coffee makers to first love—Maria the goddess proves incredibly likeable. As she tells Stephan, floundering for the properly metaphysical words to describe herself: “I’m your friendly neighborhood goddess!”
That makes Maria—the author, this time—equally impressive. The Greeks knew what they were doing writing relatable deities, and with Callaway Hammarblad brings us the sweetest, silliest, most human and so most endearing goddess in print.
Touch of the Goddess doesn’t strive for transcendent themes—and that’s perfectly fine. It’s another fun, light-hearted romance from a clever author with a knack for characterization.
Touch of the Goddess is available as an ebook from Amazon for $2.99