Gossies and Fessups

Lithograph and Serigraph

12" x 12"


The name Gossies and Fessups comes from a 1981 science fiction novel, Helliconia Spring, by Brian Aldiss. On the planet Helliconia, humans enter a trance-like state to descend into the underworld to consult with a dead family member or gather information that no living person possesses. More recently deceased souls are called “Gossies,” and older, shrunken souls are “Fessups.” The resentful dead are jealous and attempt to capture the soul of the living seeker.

Like the Helliconians, I speak with my ancestors in dreams. Some of these experiences are good—talking to my mother at the dinner table, for instance. Others are nightmares in which I am surrounded and pursued by restless souls. Like many others, my family has a history of both genetic illness and suicide. Gossies and Fessups is both a reflection of these dreams and a talisman to ward them off. May we escape the sins of our forebears and return to the land of the living with new insight.