The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

This story is told, in the ancient tradition, by Jay Seward to a man named Talbot over a campfire in the Canadian woods near the seashore. Three years before, Seward was working on a new method for using drugs to treat psychiatric patients by revealing repressed memories of past crises. He uses the method on himself and unearths latent memories he has inherited from an ancient ancestor—Jason, commander of the Argo in Greek mythology.

The memories haunt Seward. Sometimes he hears a voice calling to Jason. He tries to break the spell by going into the Canadian woods for a rest. One night, however, he is drawn to the sea, where he has a dreamlike vision of the Argo. On impulse, he leaps aboard and is taken to a place similar to one out of Greek mythology.

Hecate and Apollo are at war on this world, and Seward is a pawn. According to legend, the war cannot be won until Jason returns, so every generation, a new priestess dons the Mask of Circe and tries to call Jason back for Hecate. Seward answers the call, so the priests of Apollo threaten to kill him unless he is willing to lead them to Circe. Uncertain of whom to trust and momentarily overcome with the desire to be free of strife, he agrees, if only to be rid of the memories of Jason.

The priests carry out their side of the bargain by taking him to the Eye of Apollo, which they say will cleanse him of Jason’s memories. Under the influence of the Eye, many of...

(The entire section is 597 words.)