Bryn Mawr Classical Review 04.05.17


Joan Slonczewski, Daughter of Elysium. New York: Avon Books, 1993. Pp. 521. ISBN 0-688-12509-3.

Reviewed by Mary Whitlock Blundell, University of Washington.

The author of Daughter of Elysium tells us that her novel depicts "a far-future society which puts into practice several aspects of Plato's Republic, such as the common raising of children, and the rule of (supposedly reluctant) philosophers. Their philosophy centers on an 'ancient text' of their culture, The Web, a Socratic dialogue on compassion which playfully parallels the Republic." ("'Not in the least, Weia,' said Merwen. 'Perhaps we may yet rescue your argument. Does compassion really consist of water, food, and seasilk, these palpable things?'") The book is quite good of its kind. It will appeal to science fiction buffs of a classical turn, and conceivably to the most unbridled students of the Platonic Nachleben. Socrates lives on in the most unexpected places, and will apparently do so for millennia to come.