Mythic Fantasy? What’s That?

I posted on my Facebook author’s page a notice that I was temporarily removing the paperback version of Deathright from circulation in order to make some minor changes. The changes mostly have to do with formatting and do not represent any alteration of text beyond a few insignificant corrections. So what have I changed?

For one thing, I’ve rewritten the blurb on the back of the cover. I hope the new description will be more attention getting. Time will tell. That is the only change to the book’s cover.

For the book’s interior I rewrote the “About the Author” page at the end of the book. And I added a subtitle to the book’s title page. The subtitle is “A Mythic Fantasy.”

I did that for several reasons. One is that it provides another term for search engines to pick up on and might therefore generate a bit more traffic for my book. Another reason is that it tells the reader not only that the book is a fantasy but also what type of fantasy it is. A third is that although there are many sub-genres of fantasy, “mythic fantasy” is seldom named by those listing the sub-genres, and I feel that it should be. It’s certainly not that myth doesn’t play a prominent part in many fantasies. I think the term may be little used because even novels heavily based on myths can be placed in other sub-genres. Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, for example, can be classified as an urban fantasy, but it features Norse gods, placing them in a modern setting. Gaiman’s novel Anansi Boys is a wonderfully humorous novel that places gods from Caribbean mythology into a modern setting. Then there’s the YA series of Percy Jackson books, featuring Greek gods but also in a modern setting. These books are immensely popular, and they are unquestionably mythic, yet they are rarely referred to as “mythic fantasies.” In fact, if you visit through Google’s incognito mode and put “mythic fantasies” into the search bar, the first page of results will be almost entirely role playing games. Following that will be a large number of titles of books and magazines, both fiction and nonfiction, but not many true mythic fantasies. There are, of course, some that are most definitely mythic fantasies, one example being works of Charles de Lint based on Native American myths. And that’s another thing. Many writers find story material in the myths of other cultures less familiar to most of us than are the Greek and Roman myths and the Norse myths. Mythic fantasies may use Hindu, Chinese, Japanese, African, Jewish, and Christian mythology, to name just a few sources of the vast number available from around the globe.

Finally, I call Deathright a mythic fantasy because it is based on a myth of my invention but inspired by and patterned after the Egyptian myth of Isis and Osiris. The book’s prologue recounts the myth as a tale told by a village tale weaver. The novel brings that myth to life through the experiences of its protagonist, who is unwittingly made to play a part in the myth.

I hope readers of this blog who are not familiar with my books will take a look at Deathright. It should be back in print within a week of this writing. The Kindle edition will be revised about the same time. If you are familiar with the myth on which my novel is based, the influence of the myth of Isis and Osiris will probably be obvious. If you are not familiar with the myth, in it Osiris is slain by his brother Seth (or Set), who chops the corpse into pieces and strews them along the Nile, where Isis sends her sacred bird the ibis to gather them so that she can reassemble and reanimate her unfortunate spouse. As with most myths, there are many variations of the story, but in all of them what stands out is the love Isis bears for Osiris. It is that love that allows her to restore her husband. I borrowed only the basic elements of the myth in adapting it for my novel, those elements being the enmity between two brother gods, the slaying of one by the other, and the bereaved goddess determined to restore her slain spouse.

I should add that even those who are not enamored of myth as I am can read Deathright and find it a good time travel adventure or general fantasy tale. Knowledge of or interest in myths is not necessary. And please, if you read it, leave a review.front-cover

About E. Rose Sabin

Fantasy and science fiction author.
This entry was posted in fantasy novels, Myths and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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