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JC De La Torre on Mythology In Speculative Fiction

Mythology In Speculative Fiction By JC De La Torre Search the name Poseidon in Amazon and you’ll be amazed at the amount of fantasy literature that comes up regarding the gods. From Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series to Dan Simmons Olympos saga, the gods must be crazy for speculative fiction writers. The myths of old are big business now-a-days. Certainly, everyone has at least heard of the greek and roman deities. Zeus and Jupiter, Poseidon and Neptune, as they share responsibilities, they share a renewed interest in authors’ minds. Today, the gods run amuck in America (American Gods by Neil Gaiman), are living comfortably above the Empire State Building (Percy Jackson), live on Mars (Olympos), get frisky in London (Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips) are running a boarding school (Chronicles of Chaos series by John C. Wright, and are freed from their underwater prison of Atlantis and reigning hell on the world (as in my own Rise of the Ancients saga), mythology is the new vampirism. When Twilight became the next sensation, everyone was writing teen vampire love triangles. Now, Percy Jackson bursts on to the scene (and will be a bigger force once hit hits the movieplex in 2010 with the Lightning Thief), everyone wants to invite Zeus to the party. It’s funny, when I began writing my first novel in the summer of ‘04, Ancient Rising - Rise of the Ancients Book I, the gods and Atlantis were a subject that had been ignored for a long time. Sure, comic books had tackled Atlantis and the gods, there were a handful of novels that had Atlantis or the gods as a major theme including Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Avalon series and Clive Cussler’s Atlantis Found but interest in mythology seemed to deaden out in the 90’s. No one was interested in retelling or re-imaging the old myths. It was probably due to the feelings evoked when you talk about established mythology. If your subject matter is something as well known as the Greek gods and as debated about as Atlantis – you know you’re going to tick someone off. That was the challenge I faced when I decided to come up with the Rise of the Ancients series. As I wrote the first two installments of the series, Ancient Rising and Annuna (released on July 31st), I wanted to weave the fall of Atlantis with a religion that impacted the world for quite awhile – the mythology that was the Greek gods. In fiction, you can invent your own mythology around the lost continent – but if you aren’t true to the source you get scenarios like flying cars and laser beams, while interesting to the story, may not really be plausible in the mind of your reader. I had to dig further into antiquity, to the earliest recorded mythology – the Ancient Sumerians and their Annuna deities – gods from heaven. It came together as a benevolent race of ascended beings planting the seeds of life on our world. It would incorporate the pantheon of religious belief, including Jewish and Christian tradition. I know that in some ways I took some literary liberties with some of the established canon. Hera, for example, isn’t a major character at all in this series – but she was typically the cause of so much anarchy in the myths of old. At some point you have to decide what is usable and what truly isn’t. In the end, if I was going to tie these converging religions into one, understandable hierarchy, I couldn’t possibly hold to the hundreds of gods or figures that are known in Greek mythology. While I’d love to believe I started the trend, I know it’s more due to the success of Riordan’s Percy Jackson series and Thomas Greanias’ Atlantis saga that have brought mythology back into the mainstream. Video games like God of War introduced Zeus and the other gods to a new audience. While we know Percy Jackson’s movies are coming, I also recently saw an article that said that Dreamworks optioned Scott Mitchell Rosenberg’s comic mini-series Atlantis Rising. I have a feeling that the gods are going to be with us for awhile. JC De La Torre is the author of fantasy thriller Rise of the Ancients - Annuna, released on July 31st to retailers everywhere. Book link: US


Anonymous said...

This seems really like the post he wrote for Fantasy Book Critic. Actually the first 5 paragraphs are the same word for word.

JC De La Torre said...

Anonymous, Its a bit difficult when a lot of the blog sites request the same type of article.

I tried to switch it up as much as possible so each blog had uniqure content but it eventually, some of the same things are said.

Thanks for reading and visiting the tour sites.

JC De La Torre
Author of Rise of the Ancient - Annuna

Maarten B said...

Ciao J.C.,

don't worry to much about critics. Keep enjoing what you do and keep on feeding us with yr. FantaMyth.
Also liked yr personal web-site.
Hope to win your book in the MH contest to get some of the "original" work in Italy.