Thursday, January 30, 2014

Guest Post: Atlantis Fandom Makes a Comeback by Andrew J. Peters

Andrew J. Peters

We have a guest post from author Andrew J. Peters about his book which was published in November of 2013 - The Seventh Pleiade. It’s an action oriented and romantic young adult fantasy.

Atlantis Fandom Makes a Comeback

Atlantis has resurfaced as a topic of interest among sci fi and fantasy fans. It started with fantasy author T.A. Barron’s release Atlantis Rising and continued with the BBC’s Atlantis mini-series.

I’m happy to be part of that trend. My recent release The Seventh Pleiade is a fantasy re-telling of the ancient legend. It’s the story of a young prince who becomes a hero during the last days of Atlantis. The clues to save his kingdom are hidden in mythology, such as the mystery of Atlas’ lost daughter (the “Seventh Pleiade”) and an old creation story about a race of men who hid below the ground during the earth’s first destruction. One of the things that makes the story unique among Atlantis-inspired adventures is that the main character is a gay teen.

The Seventh Pleiade

The book came out last November, which was just around the time that both Barron’s title and BBC’s series débuted. That wasn’t planned. As authors know, it can take years to write and sell a novel, and sometimes years after that for the book to work its way through a production schedule. The release date for The Seventh Pleiade was a lucky coincidence.

You could say that Atlantis fandom has pretty much been constant, going back nearly twenty-five hundred years to the time when Plato wrote the original story. Early fantasy adventure authors explored the legend, including Jules Verne (10,000 Leagues Under the Sea), Edgar Rice Burroughs (Tarzan) and Arthur Conan Doyle (The Maracot Deep). The tradition was continued by Robert Heinlein (Lost Legacy) and J.R.R. Tolkien (The Silmarillion), and contemporary authors like Clive Cussler (Atlantis Found) and even Stephen King (Hearts in Atlantis) to name a few.

Still, Atlantis stories never quite became a craze of the magnitude of fantasy tropes like wizards, vampires, zombies or post-apocalyptic dystopias. There hasn’t been a huge cross-over Atlantis franchise. In comics for example, Superman, Spiderman and most recently Ironman have had enormous movie runs. But the superhero from Atlantis, Aquaman, has never gotten his due.

Maybe the time is right.

Sociologists say that cultural trends are cyclical. They come back about every thirty years. Here’s my not-entirely-scientific analysis. Let’s say Atlantis had its zenith in popularity in the 1920s. That was when writers like Lewis Spence got worldwide attention for “scientific” theories proving that Atlantis really existed (The History of Atlantis), and celebrity psychic Edgar Cayce recorded “conversations” with Atlanteans, and one of the very first motion pictures (L’Atlantide) was inspired by the legend.

Thirty years later, in the 1950s, Hollywood released the big budget blockbuster Journey to the Center of the Earth based on the book by Atlantis enthusiast Jules Verne, and pulp sci fi publisher Lester Del Ray made Atlantis famous again for readers (Attack from Atlantis).

In the 1980s, Marion Zimmer Bradley had the best-selling Fall of Atlantis, there was the award-winning movie Cocoon, and emerging video game giant Atari created a game (“Atlantis”) that had players defending the lost city from Gorgon invaders.

That takes us to the 2010s, and back to my earlier observation that Atlantis is bubbling up in books and on the small screen. I think there’s more to come this decade. I know there will be more to come from me. I’ve got a prequel and a sequel to The Seventh Pleiade in the works.

Nov. 19th, 2013 | 340 pages | Bold Strokes Books

Andrew J. Peters likes retold stories with a subversive twist. He is the author of The Seventh Pleiade, based on the legend of Atlantis, and the Werecat series. A former Lambda Literary Foundation Fellow, Andrew has written short fiction for many publications. He lives in New York City with his husband and their cat Chloë.

Here’s the description for The Seventh Pleiade:  Atlantis is besieged by violent storms, tremors, and a barbarian army. 

For sixteen-year old Aerander, it’s a calamitous backdrop to his Panegyris, where boys are feted for their passage to manhood.

Amid a secret web of romances among the celebrants, Aerander’s cousin Dam goes missing with two boys. With the kingdom in crisis, no one suspects the High Priest Zazamoukh though Aerander uncovers a conspiracy to barter boys for dark spiritual power. Aerander’s proof, an underground vault that disappears in the morning, brings shame on his family and suspicions of lunacy. The only way to regain his honor is to prove what really happened to the missing boys.

Tracking Dam leads Aerander on a terrifying and fantastical journey.

He spots a star that hasn’t been seen for centuries. He uncovers a legend about an ancient race of men who hid below the earth. And traveling to an underground world, he learns about matters even more urgent than the missing boys. The world aboveground is changing, and he will have to clear a path for the kingdom’s survival.

The Seventh Pleiade buy links: Amazon; Barnes & Noble; Bold Strokes Books; or IndieBound (to find your nearest independent bookstore.)

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