Mosaic of Air by Cherry Potts. Book review

MOSAIC OF AIR: A COLLECTION OF SHORT STORIES by Cherry Potts, Arachne Press, p/b, £11.99,

Reviewed by Sandra Scholes

Weird Lies was the first book by Arachne Press that I read. It was a collection of short stories written by the Liars’ League that were a mixture fantasy and science fiction and very short. What I discovered was that they were well written and this collection by Cherry Potts is no exception.

Published twenty years before, these are sixteen short stories including one called Mosaic of Air that can be about several genres; myth, history, science fiction and fantasy. Through Cherry Potts’s prose you can read about almost every theme of lesbian life in the 1980’s. There are some on Helen of Troy, Libraries, Strange computers, and murder with plenty of mayhem.

‘Exile’ tells of the queen of a far away land torn between the love she feels toward her lover. It is easy to feel the inner turmoil of the ruler as she tries to make sense of her life and decisions.

‘Penelope is No Longer Waiting’ has Penelope, the wife of Odysseus fretting over her husband’s disappearance, but is her concern as real as it seems? Eventually she grows tired of him and wishes he didn’t return as she has already got a female lover back home. She thinks that once her son is old enough he can take the throne – this means no man will want to wed her and she will be free to enjoy her life with her lover. In the meantime she plays the waiting game, still hoping Odysseus never comes back.

‘Behind the Mask’ is another Greek legend modified by this author where Helen of Troy is whisked away by an insistent Paris who gave the apple to Aphrodite, citing her to be far more beautiful than Hera, the queen of the gods. This is a fine reworking of the story where Helen is uninterested in Paris and his affections even though her husband Menelaus sends his army to take her back. We see the story from her point of view.

‘Second Chance’ takes place in a bar. One woman is stuck on whether she will attract the attention of another she has spotted in a group. The story follows the tension of her wanting to ask someone out versus the implications of her making herself look foolish if it all goes wrong.

‘Mosaic of Air’ is a science fiction piece and one of the longest stories in the book other than ‘Reason to Believe’ which has Rhani, a woman who had created a computer that can pitch space craft and at the same time become a rival to her husband, Paul. As she sees it as her baby, her creation, she loathes how others consider her “child” a money maker.

Cherry Potts has been published by Only Women Press and Curved Air Press for Mosaic of Air and Tales Told Before Cockcrow and The Blackheath Onegin. Being co-editor of London Lies, Lover’s Lies and Weird Lies. Mosaic of Air is a mix of genre stories with some long and lots short and sweet.