Apes of Eden Book 4 The House of Solomon Jon P Gunn
A Continuation: Please Read On
This unusual, challenging work is the continuation of the previous book, The Apes of Eden. Be prepared for similarities and differences.
The same, amazing, iambic pentameter with rhyming couplets goes on. It is wonderful that this can be done while telling a story and not being intrusive.
The same alternate universe is alive around you, with the Apes being in a world of humans, mythical creatures, and difficulties, having left Eden in search of God.
The same questioning of values, and the same dashes of humour await you.
This book begins in a difficult desert situation, foreshadowing the dystopia to be revealed by the human guide encountered by scouts. The Sage and Poet are dispatched to a citadel on the basis that they can most easily be spared, should their reconnoitre fail.
They are met by a ‘human’ who conducts them on a tour of his super-human technological history. In an alternate past Earth, computers have been used, and other machines, to augment mankind. Here are some quotes from this weird, semi-substantial guide:
“You apes have let your sheer tenacity
engender cortical opacity.”
“The Central Data System, you’ll surmise,
provides my conversation. It replies
to all the questions you see fit to ask.
If asked why I do not assume this task,
the answer is that humans don’t demean
themselves with work done better by machine.”
“It culminates our most ambitious goal:
mechanical replacement for the soul.”
“An ape believes in anything he wants
by disregarding skeptics’ lies and taunts;
but humans need computers to reject
conclusions it decides are incorrect.” Continue reading
by Sheila Dobbie, host of Notes from the Pond
I must make a confession. I am a literary snob. That is the unfortunate by-product of possessing a degree in English and journalism and having approximately 40 years of writing and editing in my past.
I first discovered this about myself right after college when I tried to read the latest Jackie Collins novel everyone was raving about. I could barely make it to the end without gagging. After years of studying the masters of American and world literature such as: Nathanial Hawthorne, Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, Eugene O’Neil, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sinclair Lewis, John Steinbeck, Herman Melville, Henry David Thoreau, Charles Dickens, Shakespeare, Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Chaucer, etc., etc., etc., I found I was spoiled.
After struggling to read several contemporary novels for the purpose of conversation, I finally gave up and have since devoted my time to mostly nonfiction and journalistic writings. (Yes, I did read all three of the Shades of Grey novels—Yuck!) However, something came to my attention recently that really grabbed my interest.
My agent asked me to review a newly released work of art called The Apes of Eden. It is an epic poem written in iambic pentameter examining the development of man, religion, and the quest for God. This sounds intimidating but don’t let this description deter you.
It is obvious the author, Jon P. Gunn, had fun writing, playing with ideas and words, and occasionally teasing the reader along the way. We see this on the title page which says: The Apes of Eden, The Journey Begins, as told by Literate Louis, the Scribe of the Tribe.
Literate Louie tells us in the very beginning:
My present goal is briefly to describe
the mighty deeds of Eden’s famous Tribe
from high antiquity to modern times
in lucid, readable Heroic Rhymes
that nearly any member of our band
with brains between his ears, can understand…
As they say, “this isn’t everybody’s cup of tea” and the author, via Literate Louis, knows this as he goes on to say:
of reader savors Art, the other, tripe.
There is no tepid “Middle Way” to go.
Like death, or pregnancy, it’s Yes or No—
However Literate Louie knows there will be a market for his work as he says:
I don’t expect my work to go to waste.
We have, among us, apes of cultured taste:
the Literate Elite. I write for those.
Let lowbrows read some Scribbler’s dreary prose.
As the reader continues through the history of the Apes of Eden, many classical pieces of literature and scenes from the Bible will spring to mind. We see scenes reminiscent of Greek mythology, Dante’s Inferno, Milton’s Paradise Lost and others. Chapter titles such as Genesis, Exodus, The Fall, and David and the Cyclops give us a clue as to the influences upon the author.
Through the epic poem the author, Gunn, explores classic themes such as creationism versus evolution, pride before the fall, the validity of past historical and religious events, and the relationship between man (or in this case, Ape) and God.
we’ve always been as we exist today;
we neither dropped from Heaven nor arose
“by evolution” from our racial foes.
That open-ended past I can’t conceive,
nor do I know which theories to believe….
he’d met someone, he said, who’d thought it odd
that we, the Higher Apes, had not found God.
Who wants to be considered such a clod
he has to hedge when asked: Have you found God?
Let’s find the Deity!” our prophet cried,
and swung excitedly from side to side.
(Remember—these are apes)
The apes begin their journey out of Eden, past a gate guarded by a being with a flaming sword and continue lost and without direction through desert and mountain and many strange adventures. They go on and on in their quest for a Deity until the end of the book. Throughout this quest we are reminded of Moses guiding his people to the Promised Land and other legendary figures.
If I have a criticism of the book it is that it just ends. It ends without any conclusion or a neat summary package. They say in art you must know the rules in order to break them and I feel this is exactly what the author is doing. It is his wink at the reader as if to say, “That’s life.” I understand this is the first of a trilogy so we can look forward to more in the future.
Every work of art has new discoveries to be found each time it is revisited. I found this true of The Apes of Eden. I have now read it about four times and each time I gleaned new information or a new insight. If you are hungry for a good read rather than the junk food and fluff that is fed to us in the commercial markets then look for The Apes of Eden by Jon P. Gunn at Amazon.com. It will be as satisfying as a good steak.
This is a must read for the “Literate Elite;” it is a classic in the making. So, I urge you to be among the first to read this gem and help spread the word. This is a treasure just waiting to be discovered.
I met my friend Sheila as a fortunate happenstance the morning after the Great Storm of 2012 that passed through Columbus that summer. As her literary agent and website manager, I have encouraged her to finish her book to complete closure after the death of her husband and father very close together. Peach Cobbler for Breakfast, Surviving a Life-altering Experience, will be published early in 2014. Visit her blog at Notes from the Pond –Ed.
“Apes of Eden” is elegantly crafted, whimsical, and witty. I enjoyed reading it and I know you will too.