Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Fantasy fiction, or do grande civilizations simply disappear?

Mozambican coat of armsImage via Wikipedia
The Grande Hotel da Beira in Mozambique in the 1950s and 1960s was considered the most glamorous hotel in all of Africa. A sun-burned, gleaming jewel on the Arabian Sea. Then Portugal, after 400 years, recognized the right of home rule, and left. A civil war ensued and the region experienced long-term war and anarchy. Today, the hotel is home to several thousand people living a life of subsistence. Trees grow out of the roof. All windows, wiring and pipes have been ripped out and sold. Only forlorn and fragmentary evidence hints of a "grande" past.

A current image of the former hotel can be found here.

A foundation of the fantasy novel, Gettysburg Passage, is that in the distant past, a "grande" civilization flourished after the great glaciers receeded. This civilization had independently worked out many of the underpinnings of Western Civilization -- before it was beset by plagues, infighting and invasion.  Somehow, this lost civilization -- through the discovery of a mysterious royal staff or mace -- extends a link through space and time to modern-day America. People are given the opportunity to get involved. Perhaps, to play a role in seeing that this ancient civilization isn't completely destroyed. Improbably, America's most sacred battlefield park, Gettsyburg, and maybe the battle itself, becomes part of the action.

Civilizations rise, like Egypt, like Babylon, like Rome, like the U.S., they are tested, and most fall. Not all are remembered. The forgotten may reach out to us -- even today. Gettysburg Passage, available on To learn more, visit here.
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