Saturday, July 12, 2014

Myths and Me - Guest Post from Steve Peek

Steve Peek is guesting on the blog today, and will be the subject of Finding Fiction Friday on July 25 ....

 Welcome to the Longclaws and Alien Agenda tour, by Steve Peek.  Today, Steve is talking about mythology and the pervasiveness in our culture.

Myths and Me

Alexander Eliot had retired from Time magazine at thirty-nine and devoted the rest of his life to studying mythologies and their impact through the ages.  He begins his book, Universal Myths, with these telling words: “Myths are never factual, but seldom are they totally untrue.”

Virtually every acknowledged authority on mythology has made a similar statement at one time or another.  As fanciful and weird as myths seem, they appear to be rooted in some primordial reality.

How old are myths?  The original myths were stories born of a time thousands of years before history was written.  According to Eliot, Joseph Campbell, and others, these primal tales still invoke powerful responses.  As long ago as 525 BC, Greek scholars suggested that since the original meanings of myths had been lost, we should look for hidden ones.

The search has continued ever since.  Mythology reveals itself differently to different investigators.  Historians find garbled histories of kings, wars, and migrations.  Anthropologists dust off tribal imperatives and taboos.  Psychologists see archetypes.  Philologists point out the ancient roots of language.  And so, under intellectual scalpels, these simple tales are cut to pieces, rather than examined as a whole.  My exploration of myths led me toward the monsters.

The question that pulled me was: why would ancient peoples separated by thousands of miles and thousands of years develop the same universal myths dealing with esoteric things?  The Sun, moon, stars, storms, volcanoes, earthquakes are examples of myths that should be born of every culture.   But there are some myths that at first glance don’t appear to be to be nominees for Universal, but they are.

Vampires, shape shifters, ghouls and dragons appear in every ancient civilization’s library of legends.  Why?  Occam's Razor suggests they are present because they were real.

When I recovered from the realization that these and other creatures of the night may once had existed, indeed, they still may.  The next question was where are they?  Why are they so elusive? I discovered the answer in the 1980’s while working on the book Longclaws: Stone Gates Trilogy.  The answer was found in quantum physics that suggested that for our universe to exist with its laws, then other universes must exist as well.  In the thirty years since physicists continue to close in on the theory of everything and to get there they demonstrate over and over again that parallel universes must exists.

So, using my research of Celtic and American Indian myths I theorized that at certain times and places and in specific conditions, the gateways open  and sometimes we humans cross into other worlds but sometimes the denizens of those unknown worlds cross into ours.

Longclaws: Stone Gates Trilogy is a tale of creatures from a cruel, unforgiving world crossing into our own.  It incorporates many myths in a fresh way.

I know that in one of the infinite number of parallel worlds my books are selling well. 

Their world is crowded with active volcanoes, sulfur and acid rains, permanent thick clouds turn day into deep twilight. It is a violent place: moment-to-moment survival is victory, every creature is constantly predator and prey, sleep is certain death. This is home to the longclaws, beings of super-human speed, strength and senses. Their predatory skills allow them only a tenuous niche in their hellish environment. Though smart and fierce, their rank in the food chain is far below the top. One clan leader draws from ancient legends of paradise and devises a plan to escape and take his clan to the otherworld - a world filled with slow, defenseless prey. The clan activates an Indian mound deep in southern forests and enters our world -hungry for prey. Torrential rains and washed out bridges force a runaway teen, an old dowser and a Cherokee healer to face the horrors of the clan's merciless onslaught. Mankind's legends are filled with vampires, werewolves, dragons and other nightmarish. Perhaps our legend of hell is based on the world of the Longclaws.Abab  
Steve Peek grew up in a family of readers and writers.  In the second grade a neighbor gave him a toy printing press and, using rubber linotype, he wrote and printed a neighborhood paper.  His first short story won a competition in his third grade class.  Sometimes he dreamed of being a policeman, fireman, lawyer, minister, soldier, politician, but in every dream he was also a writer. Peek loves games.  He enjoyed a forty year career in the game industry which allowed him to travel the world where he was able to explore many of the ancient, mythical places he’d read about. Some legends associated with these enigmatic sites led him down a winding road to a junction where myth meets science and the hold of this magical place continues its grip. Over the decades Steve always wrote.  Sometimes just here and there.  Twice he managed to have books published. Now, with the precious time to write, Steve found the traditional publishing world in disarray and decided that it is more important for him to write than to sell books to the big publishing houses.  The venue of the e-book makes this possible.  So, for better or for worse, Steve sits at a kitchen table looking into the woods around his home in the Smokey Mountains and writes every day. Reviewers have declared his books Longclaws and Alien Agenda: Why they came, Why they stayed to be a new sub-genre, ‘science faction’.  Much of the books are based on history and science while the story falls under fiction. Steve’s books are based on things that interest him and he works hard to make them interesting for his readers. He would like to hear from you via jstephenpeek on facebook or send him a message via his contact form.

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Buy Longclaws or Alien Agenda here

Steve is on tour between 12th and 26th July - you can check in with tour central here, and please check back each day to read more fascinating thoughts by this eloquent and interesting author.
Tour arranged by The Finishing Faires

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