Monday, December 5, 2016

The Mythmaker Canon: No. 4 in my New Series of Mythmaker Posts

       
Suitable Illustration for Las Almas qui bailaron
(Dancing Souls) 
by Pete Linforth on Pixabay

       In an earlier post I mentioned that during the Second Dark Age (mostly in the 25th and 26th centuries), a group of writers and artists (later called the Mythmakers) arose out of the preservers of culture who were known as the Underground Archivists.  Fantasy was their genre of choice –for what is fantasy but myth and myth but fantasy? – and the writers remained totally anonymous even into the 30th century.  As their works came to light, they were studied by the scholars of the day and became the basis for the humanist ethic of the 27th century and beyond.
       I thought it would be enlightening to put a little flesh on these unknown artists before we go on to discuss their philosophy.  They were given numbers according to when they were discovered, not by when they wrote.  About 100 individuals are known.  The breakdown of the Mythmaker Canon is as follows:

197 pieces of literature (dramas, novels and shorter narratives, narrative poems)
681 lyric poems, 97 with musical settings
213 pieces of graphic art
89 major musical compositions
8 operas

Some of them have been cited in my published and unpublished books.  Here is a sampling with some examples from my fiction.

Mythmaker 27:  Kaitrin refers to him/her in The Termite Queen, v.1, ch. 21, as “one of the gentle ones who wrote for children.”  In a later part of The Man Who Found Birds among the Stars (hereafter referred to as MWFB), I spoke of the Mythmaker clown Tiffis, a character in a children’s play by Mythmaker 27 called “Conjunctions:  Ifs, Ands, and Buts.”  A popular children’s ditty called “The If Song” comes from this,  Unfortunately, I’m cutting out the character who referred to this song in MWFB because of length considerations.  That character was expendable.   

        Mythmaker 46 composed a triad of beautiful love poems that have been frequently set to music.

 Mythmaker 50 was a musical composer who wrote the oratorio entitled Temporal Resurrection.  It will be mentioned in Part Two of MWFB at an honors ceremony:
“The Protocol Chief said, ‘Gentlemen and ladies, as a conclusion to our ceremony today, the Senior Choir of Karlinius University will sing the fugal chant from the oratorio Temporal Resurrection, by Mythmaker 50.’
“As the sweeping lines and staccato accents of that magnificent composition filled the silent Hall, Robbie sat with his head bowed.”

Parenthetically, when Robbin is planning his wedding in a later part of MWFB, here is some advice he receives on what music or readings would be appropriate:

 “Mythmaker 50 wrote some beautiful nuptial songs called ‘The Epithalamia’ that can be sung to a big orchestra or electronic background or just a little guitar accompaniment.  And Mythmaker 46 composed a triad of beautiful love poems that have been set lots of ways, but they can just be recited, too.”
     Furthermore in MWFB a Mythmaker opera is mentioned called Las Almas que bailaron (the souls who danced, or dancing souls -- see picture at top of this post), and it includes a wedding tune called the “Laughing March.”  No Mythmaker number is mentioned, however, although if I keep this part of the story, I might add it.

Mythmaker 85:  He is believed to be a Jew, and he was one of the later ones to be discovered.  Here is a passage from Fathers and Demons (extract from a later part of MWFB) where Mythmaker 85 is discussed:

It was Chaim who returned to the topic that Lazy had introduced.  “Are either of you gentlemen familiar with the work of the Mythmaker designated No. 85?”
Robbie and Yow looked at each other.  “I can’t say I am right off,” said Lazy.  [...]
“The Mythmakers were numbered in the order in which they were discovered, so obviously No. 85 came to light late, but it is thought the author lived at a much earlier time and was perhaps even the very first one of them to write.  Those scholars you mentioned have identified him as a Jue by his style and by various references, and it’s believed he may have written in the second half of the 24th century, shortly after the founding of New Verser.  He wrote only one known work – an Inge fantasy called The Book of New Consecration.” 
“Blasphemy, Chaim!” said Ben-Ari in obvious distress.  “There can be no new Torah!”
“May HaShem forbid I would equate it with Torah, Natan!  But I insist you allow me to say my piece, because the work has much merit!  Now I’m going to say the Inge form of the Name and you and Ely can stop your ears if it bothers you.  The narrator who speaks this tale is Jehovah – there! – that is, God himself – and the gist of it is that the whole of Earth is consecrated land and humanity doesn’t need to look back in nostalgia and vengeance, trying to find the entire meaning of life in what occurred in one small place and time.”
“You know, I have heard of that one,” said Dr. Yow, “although I’ve never read it.  That was the work that spurred the composition of the 17th Precept.” [Study history and learn from it, but look to the future and do not let yourself be trapped by nostalgia or revenge.]
“Exactly!  Mythmaker No. 85 actually speaks of Jerusalem and the Holy Land of Tzion, and what he says is, we make our own Temples and our own Jerusalems wherever we may go.  By that author’s lights, this piece of Earth on which we are sitting at this very moment is the Land of Tzion and the Temple in its center is Jerusalem, even as we named it.  Who knows?  Perhaps that writer was aware of what we had done here in Istria and took his inspiration from it. 
“So when we say, ‘Have you been to Jerusalem this Shabbat?’ it has validity beyond simply a name, because it implies that wherever we go, we stand on consecrated ground.  We know that at least for centuries to come, nobody will set foot in the original Jerusalem, and maybe that will never happen.  If someone could walk there, they would find nothing, anyway – not one tree or rose bush or living thing – not one stone standing on another, or even any stone that has not been superheated and fused into glass.  Human cultures have to adapt or be extinguished.  We can love and keep and honor the old ways, but we must look to honor and preserve life above all else.”

Mythmaker 89 wrote operas and oratorios in Inge in the early 26th century; he wrote the oratorio call Striving that was first performed at the celebrations surrounding the ratification of the Unification Charter in 2690.  The “Planetary Anthem,” Earth’s official song, was adapted from that work.  Here it is referred to in Part One of MWFB, in the scene where the Starchasers are welcomed home after their first triumphant flight beyond the solar system:
“The avenues of New Washinten were dense with enthusiastic spectators who had come from all over the world to welcome home their heroes.  The people cheered and waved banners and tossed confetti and flowers as bands along the route played enthusiastic renditions of the Planetary Anthem.  The line Look back for warning, look ahead for wonder had never seemed more appropriate.”
It is referred to in other places as well.

Mythmaker 96:
Arguably the most important of the lot, this writer composed the drama The Valley of the White Bear, considered the greatest piece of writing in the Canon.  I’ve decided to put my discussion of this piece in the next post, because if I include it here, the post will be too long.


Links to other posts in this series:



7 comments:

  1. Lorinda, your writings fascinate me. I cannot believe the detail you have put into the Mythmakers. "For what is fantasy but myth and myth but fantasy..." You know I love this stuff. I am two books away from starting the Termite Queen (the two books I won in your giveaway). I can't wait. <3

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    1. Oh, good! I thought maybe you read them and didn't like them, so you didn't review or comment! I really pleased you like what I do!

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  2. It's no wonder I enjoy your books so much Lorinda!
    You've put so much thought into the worlds, times, background histories, characters and languages used, even though readers may never know about them unless they come to your blogs and find the information tucked away.
    This style is what I grew up with in the works of Dickens, Kipling, Burroughs, et al, where their stories (worlds/characters) became real to me as I'd read them.
    The only other modern author I can think of, apart from you, who does this, is/was Terry Pratchett.

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    1. That's quite a compliment, Chris! Thank you very much!

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  3. Gosh the detail to your world building is immense! Move over, Tolkien! 😁

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    1. Another great (and probably undeserved) compliment! Thank you, Ali! Actually, while LotR was a big inspiration for me, my worlds are entirely different. I'm not a writer of magical fantasy, although gods and prophecies play their part.

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