Friday, December 21, 2007

Dante's Heart Issue 1 is up!

Dear readers,

The first issue of Dante's Heart, "Water into Wine," is now available at Take a look - we have work there from some wonderful artists and writers. The title is inspired - besides the Wedding at Cana - by G. K. Chesterton's statement, in Orthodoxy, that "fairy stories make rivers run with wine only to make us remember, for one wild moment, that they run with water." That is an especially good thing to remember at this time of year amid the commercial rush and stress.

Take a look at our first issue, and drop us a comment here or a note at to let us know what you think. Enjoy - this is our holiday gift to you -


Daniel Fusch
Editor, Dante's Heart

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Names of Planets

A few years late, I am finally catching up on Gene Wolfe's
Short Sun trilogy - which is deeply poignant. Noticing that the two planets in the story are called "Blue" and "Green," I was shocked at the simplicity of the names. I imagined the first travelers to these worlds seeing their colors from far above them. "But that's nothing to name a planet," I thought with some irritability at those pioneers. Then I stopped and thought about the name of our own planet, and of all its companions. We have forgotten what most of the names in the solar system mean, and because we are not contemporaries of Caesar, "Mars" and "Jupiter" are names that sound very exotic to us. But actually, our ancestors, both ancient and immediate, have named the heavenly bodies, from the nearest to the sun to the farthest away: Messenger, Love, Soil (that's the one we're on), War, Father of the Gods, Eater of Children, Sky, Ocean, and Death. Are these names any more or less wise than "Blue" and "Green"? Or any more or less beautiful?

Love and War are understandable enough, from the physical appearance of those two worlds: one shining and radiant, the other brooding and red in our sky. These are names like Blue and Green, just with one further layer of symbol and meaning. Death is also a logical enough name, for a satellite so far from the sun that it must be cold and dead indeed. Scientists named Neptune for its ocean-like actually, we did name a planet Blue, except that we named it Ocean.

But I ask you: Saturn? The most beautiful of all our worlds? We named it He Eats His Children? What injustice. And yet...if it is true that those glorious rings that circle Saturn are the remains of tiny, tiny worlds pulled apart by Saturn's gravity, then our planet Saturn did eat its children.

I am still trying to decide if these were wise names or foolish ones. In either case, what we name our worlds does indicate a lot about us. I am glad, in any case, to be living on Soil, and not on a planet named Death or Eater of Children.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Guennol Lioness

From today's news:

"NEW YORK (AFP) - A tiny and extremely rare 5,000-year-old white limestone sculpture from ancient Mesopotamia sold for 57.2 million dollars in New York on Wednesday, smashing records for both sculpture and antiquities. The carved Guennol Lioness, measuring just over eight centimeters (3 1/4 inches) tall, was described by Sotheby's auction house as one of the last known masterworks from the dawn of civilization remaining in private hands."

A staggering price - though the sculpture is beautiful. It reminds me of the jaguar gods of Mezoamerica. See its grace and strength, and the beauty with which it was shaped. 5,000 years old, it is as old as the wheel: something that staggers the mind.

But who, in their astonishment at the beauty of this early, early piece of human art, spent over 57 million dollars? I was about to say "I hope the buyer knows the story behind this Guennol Lioness," only now that I look again, I realize it is beautiful enough to need no story.

Is 57 million dollars the monetary value of an ancient myth?


Monday, December 3, 2007

Mark your calendars!

Dear readers and friends,

The date is now official: Dante's Heart will go live on Friday, December 21: our Christmas present to you. We are excited about the first issue, and hope you are, too. I'll keep this blog post short because there is much to do and so little time between now and then, but we will try to check in and post a few things over the next couple of weeks - no radio silence.


The Editors,
Dante's Heart