Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day Labors

Labor Day is a good time to take a look at the Labors of Hercules (the link their will refresh you on the background) through a science fantasy Gods, Demi-gods & Strangeness lens:

1: In the first labor, Hercules killed the Nemean lion. Given the Olympians penchant for genetically reviving extinct species, this was probably a cave lion of some sort. Perhaps a specimen of Panthera leo fossilis as big as Panthera leo atrox, the America cave lion: something like 8 ft. long and 4 ft. tall at the shoulder. The being invulnerable thing is probably just fanciful exaggeration--or is it?

2: Next, Hercules and Iolaus took on the Lemaean Hydra. A multiheaded serpent is the sort of creature spawned by Echidna.

3: Hercules only captured the Golden Hind of Artemis (the Cerynitian Hind). This was one of a group of specialized genetically engineered deer of genus Eucladoceros kept by Artemis. They were engineered so (like modern reindeer) the females had antlers.

4: Next Hercules captured the Erymanthian Boar. I've written about these "giant boar" previously.

5: The stables of Augeas were really, really disgusting. Why were his livestock immortal?

6: After that, Hercules slayed a group of Stymphalian birds--which of course aren't birds at all.

7: Hercules captured the rampaging Cretan Bull. As previously established, this creature wasn't the father of the Minotaur. Instead, it was a large auroch as enraged and violent as that big buffalo in White Buffalo (1977).

8: Capturing the Mares of Diomedes was difficult because they were carnivorous. They must have been some mad creation of Olympian science.

9: Next Hecules stole the belt of the Queen of the Amazons, Hippolyta. This belt was a gift of Ares and a symbol of her authority, but didn't have any particular powers. Probably.

10: For his next labor, Hercules does a little cattle-rustling. He goes to an island of Erytheia far the the West (probably modern Spain) and steals special cattle (like bioengineered to produce something for the Olympians--perhaps a component of nectar or ambrosia?) from Geryon. Geryon is said to have three bodies, which probably means his consciousness runs in three duplicates. He also had a 2 headed dog.

11:Returning to the far west and still messing with Olympian pharma, Hercules stole the Golden Apples of the Hesperides. He had to kill a dragon (or a guardian of some sort) and dealt with Atlas, who was the artificial intelligence of an installation that protected against threats from space.

12: Finally, he captured Cerberus. This guardian of Hades is a nanite swarm often taking the vague form of a large three headed dog.

Have a good Labor Day!


Tim Shorts said...

While Hercules is a legend to most he was drunken bore to others. The man wouldn't stop talking about himself. Each story would begin with "I remember the time...". You didn't dare get up in the middle of his story or he would throw a fit and you didn't want to be on the receiving end of one of those. And what is with his lion skin singlet? The man never washed it and it stunk to the heights of Olympus. I think the reason he was so successful against all those animals is he stunk as bad as them and thought him friend.

Trey said...

Heh. You should write a tell-all expose.

Konsumterra said...

Read The Frogs
and dont forget cross dressing family murdering heraclese

It like to see the Golden Ass explained in your cosmos

John Till said...

By coincidence, I was just watching "Beasts of the Southern Wild" this AM, which has aurochs of a sort - more piglike and with tusks, but that's what they called them.

Trey said...

@John - Ah! I kept sawing a pig in auroch drag on image searches. That explains it.

@Konsumeterra - Good thought!

christian said...

This is a great post, but in that first picture of the lions I am thrown off by the fact that the man rolled his pants up to make a pair of capris. Maybe he did it to confuse the lions?

Trey said...

Maybe the dung is deep?

Fabien Lyraud said...

For the stabbles of Augeas, it's easy to imagine a more metaphorical stuff. The stabbles is not a stabbles bu a casino town like Vegas. And Hercules has eliminated the corruption and his head the crimeboss Augeas.

Trey said...

Very good point, Fabien. Of course, all of these could be more metaphorical.

Chris said...

Nice take on this. Plus I just love the labor-day tie-in.

Justin S. Davis said...

The livestock being immortal is a detail I'd forgotten.

Hmmmm. Undead cattle? Perma-regen? Clones?

And would immortal cows even need to breed?


Trey said...

@Justin - Your comment about undead and clones comes close to what I've thought since I wrote this post: what if the mess isn't made by the cows, but is making them? Maybe the stable need to cleansed of nanoassembler goo run rampant.