In 2000 Oxford University Press published Steve’s book Medusa: Solving the Mystery of the Gorgon.
It’s a completely new interpretation of the Origin and Meaning of the Myth of Perseus and Medusa (and shows you what happens when you set a Physicist loose on Classical Mythology).
Steve’s book is available direct from Oxford or though booksellers in hardcover, paperback, or in e-book form.
From Reviews of Medusa: Solving the Mystery of the Gorgon (2000)
“This venturesome book is not written for specialists (although these will find much to intrigue them); Wilk indicates as much in his acknowledgements, and advises that his informal narrative style, a minor irritant to the academic with its colloquialisms and abbreviations, is designed to appeal to the general reader. Wilk is not a Classicist but a physicist and engineer (see the back cover), albeit with an exceptionally wide education in the history of ideas, and a curiosity to match. His disciplinary rigour and attention to detail are admirable.”
– E. Anne McKay, University of Auckland
– Review in The Classical Review (2011)
“Wilk’s in-depth study is a welcome addition to the scholarship about [Medusa], containing both extensive review of previous interpretive theories and adding quite a few insightful ideas of his own.”
— John Nicholson, University of Georgia
— The Classical Outlook (2001)
“I can state unequivocally that this is not a boring work and that its oddball trajectory is refreshing. I reviewed this work as a classicist, but it is an excellent example of the multiple ownership of the past across different academic disciplines (Wilk is a senior optical systems engineer), and could have been reviewed just as aptly by an astronomer or a historian of science.”
— Emily Greenwood, St. Catherine’s College
— London Times Higher Education Supplement (2002)
“Medusa: Solving the Mystery of the Gorgon by Stephen R. Wilk (Oxford University Press) is a scholarly, lively, far ranging book on the Medusa legend, highly recommended.”
— Terri Windling in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror (2001
“If we were to think of these ladies as a monstrous regiment, to use John Knox’s ungallant phrase, Medusa would be in the first ranks. I have before me a wonderful book given over to her. Stephen R. Wilk’s ”Medusa: Solving the Mystery of the Gorgon” would be a truly important work, one of revolutionary influence on ideas, if only people cared anything at all about Gorgons, which they unaccountably don’t.”
–Katherine Powers The Boston Globe
(August 12 2001)
“The author’s twenty years of devoted and penetrating research has netted so engagingly seined a catch of fact and fancy that he is close to persuasive about that gaze. He examines with empathy other narrower themes as well that unpack the elaborate Greek myths; one invokes the strange forms and behaviour of cuttlefish, squid and octopus to be seen in their seas. He is open, judicious, and critically candid about the broad collage he has so inventively explored. Good to the last line of text, this rich book never even flirts with the sin of being boring.”
— Philip Morrison, MIT in Journal for the History of Astronomy (2001)
If you’re interested in more about Gorgons, Steve’s follow-up to Medusa is The Scarecrow of Os: The Function of Antefixes, Oscilla, and Suspended Masks in the Roman Garden in
Classical World 107 (3) pp. 383 – 397
Steve also appeared in Medusa, an episode of the History Channel series Clash of the Gods directly inspired by his book. You can watch it by clicking on one of the links below
Here are a couple of Steve’s articles from The Journal of the American Association of Variable Star Observers related to Medusa
A taste of Chapter 9 from my book Medusa, along with material from its follow-up, The Scarecrow of Os.