O’Brien, Cory. Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes: A No-Bullshit Guide to World Mythology (2013). Perigee Trade. 304 Pages. $10.92
All our lives, we’ve been fed watered-down, PC versions of the classic myths. In reality, mythology is more screwed up than a schizophrenic shaman doing hits of unidentified. Wait, it all makes sense now. In Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes, Cory O’Brien, creator of Myths RETOLD!, sets the stories straight. These are rude, crude, totally sacred texts told the way they were meant to be told: loudly, and with lots of four-letter words. Skeptical? Here are just a few gems to consider:
- Zeus once stuffed an unborn fetus inside his thigh to save its life after he exploded its mother by being too good in bed.
- The entire Egyptian universe was saved because Sekhmet just got too hammered to keep murdering everyone.
- The Hindu universe is run by a married couple who only stop murdering in order to throw sweet dance parties… on the corpses of their enemies.
- The Norse goddess Freyja once consented to a four-dwarf gangbang in exchange for one shiny necklace.
And there’s more dysfunctional goodness where that came from.
(Or the Part of This Book You Can Safely Tear Out If You Need to Make It Slightly Lighter for Some Reason)
Here is a book I wrote, and I hope you enjoy it.
So a while ago, this book kept floating around Tumblr. And by that, I mean its table of contents. It was pretty hysterical (you can see it on Amazon‘s “read more” feature) and made me curious about the book itself.
A note: Much of what you can find in his book was originally posted on his website (bettermyths.com), but there is something to be said for the sheer ridiculous fun of handing someone a gift like this. (Or using it for a ‘white elephant’ gift.)
Anyway, to the book! I enjoyed it. Really. It’s vulgar and over the top and at points it tries way too hard to be funny, but it’s still enjoyable. I found myself literally laughing out loud at parts, and promptly bought more copies of it for a few friends.
O’Brien’s irreverent retellings of myths and legends throughout the world is charming, and entertaining. It takes stories which were already fairly ridiculous and ramps them up to be utterly absurd.
Zeus sticks it to Semele a little too hard
So Zeus is just cruisin’ around, right
pickin’ mortal women to bone
and he sees this priestess named Semele in one of
sacrificing this bull
and then swimming naked in a river (to wash off all that blood)
who is an eagle right now and also a super creepy voyeur
is like WOAH BABY
GOTTA GET ME SOME OF THAT
and immediately starts having an affair with her.
And that is one of the tamer quotes in this book.
To offer some advice to people who choose to read this book; limit yourself to one or two myths at a time. If you serial read the whole thing, the book sort of wears on you. It loses its fun and humor if you tear through it too fast, because it’s all got the same sort of tone to it. A little bit of it at a time will help you maintain your enjoyment.
When all is said and done, I’d give it a 3.5/5. I enjoyed it, and would actually suggest it to other people, but I didn’t love it. Still, it’s clever, and it’s the first book of its kind that I’ve encountered so it gets points for that.