Deep in the recesses of time, there is a land that has only been whispered about. In many cultures, vague references elude to the possibility of its existence. It was exposed by a philosopher, who some say was just using it as an allegory to why a country should not challenge the will of the gods. In recent literature and films, it has been portrayed as the home of super heroes, gods, and mer-people.
It is Atlantis, the sunken continent of Plato’s Timaeus and Critias commentaries.
Adapting Atlantis for the mainstream was difficult – at least if you wanted to be true to all that is known about continent and its people. People have been researching Atlantis for over a hundred years, wondering if maybe…just maybe Plato was speaking of an actual ancient land.
Atlantis enthusiasts have placed the sunken kingdom throughout the world. Sites have been referred to in South America, off the coast of Spain, in the Bahamas and on the tiny Greek island of Santorini.
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.
As I wrote the first two installments of the Rise of the Ancients Series, Ancient Rising and Annuna, I wanted to weave the fall of Atlantis with a religion that impacted the world for quite awhile – the mythology that were the Greek gods. Considering how important the deities were not only to Greek culture, but the Romans as well – who took their likenesses and applied their own Roman names to them – I felt that there would be believable substance for a story to actually consider the Greek gods were as real as you or I.
Obviously, they would not be human – as how could a human being live for twelve thousand years (unless he was named Connor MacLeod)? So 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.
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.
My own personal interest in Atlantis came from my love of ancient history and reading a non-fiction (or semi-fictional, depending on how you view the subject matter) novel by an author named Herbie Brennan called the Atlantis Enigma that introduced me to the mythology of Atlantis and the theory of ancient astronauts. As I researched Atlantis, I grew interested in Greek mythology as a method of distribution for my own ancient astronauts fiction. Similar to the way Stargate used Egyptian deities posing as gods called the Goa’uld, I used our known Greek mythology, combined it with the ancient Sumerian and Babylonian stories of the Annunaki (another Brennan inspiration) and even sprinkled in Jesus Christ. I threw it all in a pot, stirred until I came up with a wild tale about a devastated widower who was greeted by the Greek god Hermes and set on an Indiana Jones-meets-Clash of the Titans type adventure.
I spent a year and half promoting the book, then took some time off. Amazingly, since Ancient Rising was published in 06, there have been sixty-one books dealing with Atlantis and another whopping eight hundred and fifty have something to do with mythology.
While my first novel focused on the Greek gods and the adventure to find Atlantis, the next in the series Rise of the Ancients – Annuna (coming July 31st) focuses on the Annuna (another name for the Sumerian/Babylonian Annunaki), the rise of the gods on Earth, and how Atlantis fell. I was stunned to see the explosion in the subject I had all to myself just three short years ago.
While I’d love to believe I started the trend, I know its 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 retaileres everywhere.