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Pseudonym of US activist and author Miriam Simos (1951-    ), perhaps best known for the nonfiction The Spiral Dance (1979), a Neopagan advocacy of a Religion based on the Goddess. The first volume of her Walking to Mercury sequence, comprising The Fifth Sacred Thing (1993) and Walking to Mercury (1997), is of strong sf interest. Set in the distant Near Future, its narrative unusually encompasses the whole of California: San Francisco has become a Utopia, a pagan and Ecologically-sound sustainable enclave (see Keeps); Los Angeles, devastated by drought and Pollution, has become a Dystopia tyrannously governed by fundamentalist Christians, where anything like Climate Change is hysterically denied. The Sacred Things of the first title are the traditional four alchemical Elements plus Spirit, as in Luc Besson's The Fifth Element (1997) – although the tradition is very much older. Walking to Mercury, a prequel, depicts the early adulthood of the 98-year-old protagonist of The Fifth Sacred Thing. [JC]

Miriam Simos

born St Paul, Minnesota: 17 June 1951

works (selected)


Walking to Mercury



Entry from The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (2011-current) edited by John Clute and David Langford.
Accessed 01:50 am on 12 August 2022.