Only the award-winning science fiction writer Jo Walton could write a trilogy that includes the Greek gods Apollo and Athene, robot workers, time travel, and an attempt to build Plato’s Republic.
Jo Walton attended this year’s Festival of Faith and Writing, where she discussed the relationship between science fiction and religion and faith in her panels. As a secular humanist, she often uses religious and cultural mythologies to explore questions of human nature and experience.
In Thessaly, which is comprised of three books, The Just City, The Philosopher Kings, and Necessity, Apollo wants to learn about consent and free will after a disastrous encounter with the nymph Daphne. He takes on mortal form and joins Athene’s experiment to shape the harmonious, perfect society described by Plato in The Republic. Its citizens will be orphaned children rescued from slavery and poverty throughout the ancient Mediterranean and taught by wise men and women—philosophers—gathered from a variety of time periods.
This intergenerational family saga follows Apollo and his extended household through times of love, grief, revenge, and danger as they work and grow to become more excellent. In a city where everyone is striving to become their best self, what could possibly go wrong? (Tor)