Tikvah Feinstein, illustrations by author

Taproot Press, 143 pages

So, you just can’t get behind creationism, and Darwinism isn’t quite you, either. You need a brand spanking new creation myth to satisfy that spiritual craving. Luckily for you, that very topic is addressed by several books out on your store shelves right now. Their are explanations and theories of every ilk out there, and not all of them are going to treat you as kindly as Inanna of Tiamet does.

A look at the cast of characters will tip you off pretty quickly that Feinstein’s story is going to involve extraterrestrials, gods, and gene manipulation. And, the occasional human thrown in to remind you which planet we are dealing with. In that, the novella has a lot in common with some of the other books on the subject. In another sense, it is a work distinctly its own.

Inanna of Tiamet reads like a folk tale told around a cookfire; it has the feel of a spoken history. Feinstein makes no attempt to turn this into a seat-of-the-pants action thriller. Unlike many authors who have covered the same ground, she is not shooting for the bestseller list or the lucrative movie deal while she delivers her speculations. This is material she has researched and analyzed and offers as another path that may have led us to homo sapiens.

Is it credible? That is for the reader to decide. This book will either confirm your own suspicions, horrify you and send you running back to your bible, or, if you are one of the many much too impressionable people around, it will have you staunchly defending Feinstein’s ideas… until the next theory comes along.

Or, you may think, “Who cares? We’re here now.”

Inanna of Tiamet reads best when you only expect it to be a story, not the answer to all of life’s questions — big and little. Enjoy it as you would any of the great myths passed down over the centuries. Appreciate the storytelling ability and the inventiveness of an intriguing whodunit, although I suppose it would be whodun-what-with-what-spare-parts-when-and-why. Or something along those lines.

Feinstein portrays a race of beings as much like humans as they are unlike them. (Figure that one out.) These superhuman creatures and their activities on Earth can be used to explain a heck of a lot of the mysteries that anthropologists and conspiracy theorists wrack their brains on. And they are fascinating to “watch” as they move through time and history. Their immortality gives them a wide swath of Earth’s past to influence, and Inanna of Tiamet gives us many influences to ponder.

If there is a weakness in the book, it lies in Feinstein’s infrequent illustrations. The sketches are at a primitive level that evokes memories not of petroglyphs, but children’s refrigerator-art. The appearance of the drawings throughout the text is jolting enough to pull the reader from the story with a neck-cracking lurch.