Monday, March 28, 2011

Life Is Stranger Than Fantasy Fiction

This is the cover to the January 1953 issue of...Image via Wikipedia
Some people are relunctant to regularly read fantasy novels -- even books where 98% of the plot is reality-based -- because they find it difficult to accept the "fantastic" element. In this case, fantastic means odd, fanciful or supernatural. In many cases the 2% fantasy is based on science speculation, such as other dimensions, wormholes or alternative universes. In all of these examples, however, respected science predicts they are actually possible.

Current news items re-inforce my point. For example, today it was announced that scientists at the University of York have recovered the remains of an Iron Age man's brain, buried in soil that remarkably preserved critical soft tissue. Most experts would tell you the chances of finding a partially preserved brain that old under those circumstances were highly unlikely. But they did. Here is a link to the news release:

In another current example, here in America each spring universities compete in a winner-take-all basketball tournament called March Madness. Sixty eight teams compete until a champion is crowned. We are at the moment down to the last four standing, called The Final Four. Two of them are extreme long shots and the other two were not expected to get this far. Odds makers are quoted on ESPN, the American sports network, as saying the finalists are so improbable that he placed the odds of it happening at 1-in-300 million. But it did happen. Fantastic. Here is a link to the story:

So take a chance and broaden your horizons. The next time you consider reading a really good, fast paced novel, consider a good fantasy novel, instead of the usual detective or political thriller fiction. The odds are, the fantasy plot is believable and the experience will be enjoyable. For example, try Gettysburg Passage, a fantasy novel just $2.99 from Amazon. Read the reviews here.
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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How We Got Here and "God Had a Wife"

An 'Asherah' figurineImage via Wikipedia
Active in the news this week are stories about the ongoing discovery of additional evidence that the ancient Hebrew God, Yahweh --the monotheistic God-the-Father of Judaism and Christianity -- had in fact a female consort named Asherah, also known as Istar. There are several brief references to her in the Hebrew Bible. Modern researchers such as Bible scholar Francesca Stavrakopoulou claim that references to Asherah were mostly deleted from sacred texts to promote a male-centered view of religion. Nearly all ancient religions start with female god figures but over time the concept of God seems to go gender neurtral of lean towards the God-the-Father bias. Clearly male-directed editing has occurred.

Just more evidence that "how we got here," our prejudices, our viewpoints, our beliefs, are a complex stew handed down over thousands of generations. As we go back into the mists of time, we find dynamic activity in concepts of individuality, personal freedom, moral accountability and our place in the universe. Many of these issues are addressed in my fantasy fiction adventure, Gettysburg Passage, just $2.99. To read reviews, try a sample chapter or just learn more, please go here.
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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

GibraltarImage via Wikipedia
In the news this past week has been reports that the lost civilization of Atlantis has possibly been discovered near the ancient and hauntingly beautiful Spanish coastal city of Cadiz. Atlantis, popular in song, poetry, literature and film, is a legendary island civilization first mentioned in Plato's dialogues, Timaeus and Critias.

In Plato's account, Atlantis was a naval power lying "in front of the Pillars of Hercules" -- modern Gibraltar --and Atlantis conquered many parts of Western Europe and Africa 9,000 years before the time of Solon, or approximately 9600 BC. After a failed attempt to invade Athens, Atlantis sank into the ocean "in a single day and night of misfortune" -- supposedly a giant tsunami similar to what just battered northern Japan. Without a doubt much of Plato's account is fanciful.

To help solve this ancient riddle, The National Geographic Society funded a discovery search centered around huge marshlands in Dona Ana Park. There, underground, researchers said they believe that they have discovered the ruins of Atlantis deep underground. Scientists used the latest technical tools in their search, including deep-ground radar, digital mapping, and underwater technology to survey the site.

Some experts and commentators are challenging these findings as hype for National Geographic's TV special. Cable TV is notorious for poorly-researched "history" specials promoting marginal science and paranormal phenomena. However, what I find interesting is that SOMETHING is down there beneath the ground. Since Cadiz has been inhabited for more than 3,000 years -- by Phoenicia, Rome and Carthage -- it is entirely possible that some kind of lost civilization resided there that has been totally lost to modern history.

There is so much about our past that we don't know. Which brings me to my fantasy novel, Gettsyburg Passage, from Amazon, an ebook for just $2.99. In the novel, friends living around Washington, D.C. come across an ancient artifact that threatens to totally disrupt their everyday lives. It appears this artifact -- an ancient staff or mace -- is a sort of "key" to a lost civilization that may be in need of immediate assistance. The portal to this ancient civilization may be found near or in a burning, abandoned coal mine very close to the Gettysburg Battlefield just north of Washington. Hmmmm. All kinds of strange and interesting things are about to happen.

Reviewers are loving the book, calling it a quick and interesting read. Read reviews on the Amazon website here. Gettysburg Passage. Sample a few chapters or buy it today. Just $2.99 on your ereader.

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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Gobekli Tepe and the relentless human march towards establishing civilization

The sculpture of an animal at Gobekli Tepe, cl...Image via Wikipedia
Gobekli Tepe is the oldest known temple in the world and possibly a first and most important step towards creating a Western-style civilization. There are some great links below where you can see some amazing photos of this temple town, pillars and monoliths of amazing beauty -- and more than 11,000 years old!

Ninety-nine percent of the human race has never heard of this amazing archaeological site. Take a look:

There are early civilizations that you have never heard of....they don't cover them in your history books. That is the reality behind my fantasy novel, Gettysburg Passage, from Amazon. There is a forgotten, abandoned coal mine very near the Gettysburg battlefield that is burning with deep, underground fires. What is causing this inferno? Weird things are also going on as some friends living around Washington, D.C. find an ancient artifact that may be somehow linked to the mysterious mine. Long-dead famous people begin appearing in ways that don't seem possible. An ancient civilization -- facing ruin -- cries for help.

Read reviews for Gettysburg Passage here. From Amazon, only $2.99.
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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Escape By Horse! Would 8 Million People Notice?

Washington, D.C. (Sept. 26, 2003) - Aerial vie...Image via Wikipedia
Washington, D.C. is a big town, with a population density of approximately 10,000 people per square mile and a metropolitan population of more than 8 million people.  If a person in the Washington suburbs was being menaced by two murderous thugs, do you think that person could successfully escape using a horse, and not be noticed?

This is Rick Reynolds' quandry. Rick is alive today in the Washington suburbs, an avearge guy, about 30 years old. He is reasonably handsome and strong, has a good job and several interesting and equally sucessful friends. Rick has a good life but a secret in his past is coming back to haunt him. He happens to be carrying an ancient artifact that could be super valuable in the wrong hands. Rick realizes that any potential public drama or violence will cost him his hard-earned job and comfortable life. He wants to escape the pursuers and dump the artifact in a place where it can never be found. To get there, he has to cross the metro area, south to north. There are about 8 million people between Rick and the dump site, a burning abandoned mine near the Gettysburg, PA, battlefield park.

Remember, Rick needs to lose the pursuers and not draw unnecessary attention to himself or his task. Oh yeah, at some point in the chase, he has to travel, on a tight deadline, from Virginia to Maryland to Pennsylvania using a "borrowed" horse. And not be noticed! Is this possible? Actually, this chase is a central scene in the book and is absolutely realistic, based on the capabilities of a good, strong horse, available greenspace, potential places to ford the Potomac River and fortuitous directions and routing.

In other words, today in 2011 you can ride a horse from the southern suburbs of Washington to the northern suburbs all the way into Pennsylvania and not draw a lot of attention. But you have to be saavy and maybe a little bit lucky!

Along the way, you might meet famous Civil War figures, generals and everyday soldiers, world famous Indian fighters, authors and maybe even a future Supreme Court justice. You may even stumble into a Rebel-Yankee skirmish or two! So pack your Colt .44, your cavalry saber and maybe your favorite iPhone GPS app, saddle up and come along for a fast-paced, amazing ride!

Gettysburg Passage, adventure-fantasy fiction, by John Callahan, available from Amazon for just $2.99. Download a sample chapter or read the many positive reviews by readers here.

Concepts discussed in the book: ancient, lost civilizations, Babylon, Indo-Europeans, the Civil War, Gettysburg, Western Civilization, Hittites, time travel, archaeology, ancient and modern weapons, car chases, philosophy, religions, Ark and Dove, Maryland colonization
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