Phoenix Café is about the last phase of a colonial adventure. The alien adventurers are leaving, it's time for the native people to re-member (put back together) some kind of human culture; and to either steal back or rediscover a vital scientific discovery that the aliens have usurped. The young people most involved in this endeavour call it the Human Renaissance, and in Europe, which is where most of the story is set, they naturally refer back to an earlier renaissance… Phoenix Café is also a book about art. If you plan to read, or have read the book, you might like to check out some of the significant pictures-

Vera Cruce: Piero della Francesca. The icon that Helen, the secret author, uses to identify her work on the ftl engine, is the figure in the centre of this picture, from the Piero della Francesca frescoes in Arezzo. The legend of the True Cross describes how Helen, mother of the Emperor Constantine, was guided by dreams to rediscover the cross on which Christ was crucified: in the picture you see a young woman kneeling and gazing in awe and delight at something she's found, that means the salvation of the world. It's actually the Queen of Sheba in this episode, not St. Helen, but as you'll realise if you read about the Legend, on the site linked below, it amounts to the same thing.

Les Parapluies, a picture much admired by Catherine, the Aleutian who became a human woman: ". . .the flower faces standing out like love stories, in the sober text of Renoir's narrative." is in the National Gallery, London

W.Graham Robertson, John Singer Sargent. Sorry this image is so dark, but the picture is usually on display in the public galleries at Tate Britain, Millbank. Seek it out, if you'd like to see a portrait of Misha Connelly.

You may also like to visit Artsy's John Singer Sargent page, which you will find here

Water Lilies, Monet. Another way of approaching the mind/matter barrier: "I am grinding away, bent on a series of different effects… I am becoming a very slow worker… (but) it is imperative to work a good deal to achieve what I seek: 'instantaneity', above all… the same light present everywhere."

The Adoration of the Magi, Leonardo da Vinci. Her possession of a study for this unfinished picture confirms the identity of Catherine, the alien in a human body, as an avatar of the great Clavel, one of the three Aleutian leaders. The picture itself is like the plan of the young conspirators: a new world coming to birth, nested in the ruins of the old.

Yo soy la DESINTEGRATION, Frida Kahlo I couldn't track down an image of that picture, but the one above (the broken column) will do. You get the idea.

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