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Myth in Fantasy Books

One of the reasons that I turned to the opinion of those on the web is because the un-availability of books that covered this to even a minor degree. This page has some of the few useful books on the topic of Myth in Fantasy, and also books about Fantasy etc. It also includes works of fiction (my fave fantasy books etc). If you would like to suggest a book, contact me. MIFREALM recently became a Barnes and Noble Affiliate, and after perusing many of their booklists, I'd recommend visiting their Mind, Body, and Spirit, History or their Art, Architecture, and Photography subject pages for more related books.


Non-Fiction Books
Dictionary of all Scriptures and Myths Dictionary of All Scriptures and Myths ~ G A Gaskell
It claims to be a classic reference guide to the sacred Language of the Religions of the World and though some of it's sub-meanings are a little hard to comprehend, it basically delivers. You name a true mythological creature or an important part of any mythology, and it's there. It also clears up something - Vampires as they are known today are not in any scripture or ancient myth. With more than 5 000 words and phrases, explanations of the symbolism of each entry, this book is a must for anyone really interested in mythology.
ISBN 0-517-34663-X
Gramercy Books, a Random House Company © 1960

I picked this up for ten dollars in a discount outlet of one of my fave bookshops: SA Book Place. My version (which I did buy in 1999) is a 1981 edition - it's as old as me! It may be a little hard to get your hands on, but enquire at your local library...

Barlowe's Guide to FANTASY Barlowe's Guide to FANTASY ~ Wayne Douglas Barlowe (Text by Neil Duskis)
This book showcases the work of Wayne Barlow, featuring selected characters from well known Fantasy novels and authors, including Edgar Alan Poe. Interestingly, this book also includes characters from Ancient Legend and Myth, like the Golem from Hebrew Legend, and the Grendel from Beowulf. A confusion of Myth and Fantasy, or is it a purposeful interpretation? The back of the book states that it covers fantasy and horror for the last thousand years...
Although this book does cover a range of characters, it reads more like an adversiting catalogue for the novels from whence the characters came than a 'guide.' It states the setting that the character comes from, the 'History' which is basically a summary of, if not the whole book that the creature came from, one of the adventures that it has during the course of the book. Basically, it's a blurb. Then it has a short piece about the characters physical characteristics.
An interesting read, although it does leave you wanting, it also includes a portfolio of Barlowe's sketches for his project Pilgrimage to Hell.
ISBN 0-06-100817-6
a division of HarperCollinsPublishers ©1996 US $19.95, CAN $27.95, AUS $29.95

I purchased this copy from a Hurt Books "bin" for $10, so I'm not sure of the current price for this in Australia. Visit the HarperPaperbacks site (US).

Draw Fantasy ~ Dragons, Centaurs & Other Mythological Characters Draw Fantasy ~ Dragons, Centaurs & Other Mythological Characters ~ Shari Cohen (Illustrated by Frank Dixon)
In the classic tradition of "How-to-Draw" books this book shows you how to go from two uncoordinated circles to an amazing artwork in around 6 'easy' steps. Don't get me wrong, I can actually do it, but it does seem to folow the path of most such books. The interesting part of this book is that every single step comes with a small section of a myth or legend corespnding the the creature/person/god etc that you are trying to draw. None of the cratures in the book are purely from fantasy - bar one: the tale of "The Loathsome Dragon" - an English fairytale. Why the book is called Draw Fantasy is beyond me. I suppose it's easier then Draw Mythological Creatures but I've seen such books with longer titles...
The book includes tips on how to draw the creatures so that (among other things) they appear brighter, larger or smaller, and different ways to obtain shadows and gradients. It also gives tips on what supplies to buy or use. It also contains a glossary of the characters mentioned throughout the book, and a short list of some Greek vs. Roman Deities.
If you're looking for a How-to-Draw book on this kind of thing, then this one is for you. It includes Dragons, Unicorns, a Chimera and other creatures, plus gods and goddesses from Norse, Hindu, Chinese and Greek/Roman Mythology. Personally, I purchased a copy because of the people inside - ever noticed how drawing men is a lot harder than drawing women?
ISBN 1-56565-770-5
Lowell House Juvenile - © 1997 RGA Publishing Group Inc.

Again I bought this copy out of the same Hurt Books 'bin' as Barlowe's Guide to Fantasy, so I have no idea of price in Australia, or any other country for that matter.

Fiction Books
The Ancient Future: the Dark Age The Ancient Future: the Dark Age ~ Traci Harding
This is my all-time favourite book, and it's the one that got me thinking about the intertwinings of Fantasy and Mythology. After reading this, and the rest of the trilogy, I was at a complete loss of what to read from then on, and I still am.
A car-accident leaves Tory Alexander stranded near a ring of stones. She resolves to spend the night out in the English country-side. The Merlin, however, has other ideas and teleports her back to the Dark Age. Prince Maelgwn of Gwynedd stumbles upon this strangely dressed woman, and believing her a witch, they attempt to kill her. She overcomes the Prince's Champion, and after helping to kill two Saxons she wins the admiration of the Prince, and changes British History forever...
Apart from the obvious love-story, this book does delve into some quite meaningful theories and myths - exploring concepts of enlightenment and the higher mysteries. Covering two time-zones (the Dark Age and the present) this book includes some rather strange comparisons, of both one who goes back and then returns to the present, and of another who comes to the presen, and then returns to the past. If I haven't sold you on this, then I'm not doing it justice.
ISBN 0-7322-5682-8
HarperCollinsPublishers © 1996

This book costs $14.95rrp at any good bookstore in Australia. This is an Australian publication though, and may be a little hard to find in other countries. It is not listed on as far as I can find, but you can go to Angus and Robertson Bookstores which is an Australian bookstore, or directly from HarperCollins. $14.95 Australian is about $10 in the USA.

An Echo in Time: Atlantis An Echo in Time: Atlantis ~ Traci Harding
Book Two in the Ancient Future Trilogy, it continues Tory's story. Apart from the annoying fact that there is very little Maelgwn, there are a lot of his incarnations for Tory it 'interact' with - including a floating, 'unsolid' version in atlantis. This novel delves even deeper into the Higher mysteries, and into the dilemmas of time travel.
For 20 years, the kingdons of Prydyn, Dumnonia and Dalriada have prospered under the High King Maelgwn of Gwynedd and his Queen, the Goddess, Tory. But when Maelgwn is stricken with madness, and subsequently an unknown plague, Britain again teeters on the edge of chaos. The triple-goddess agrees to aid Tory in her travel back to find a cure, but the sure itself she must find on her own...
ISBN 0-7322-5889-8
HarperCollinsPublishers © 1997

For interests sake, the Author's website can be reached at Artisus. The same difficulties for overseas readers apply as The Ancient Future

Masters of Reality: the Gathering Masters of Reality: the Gathering ~ Traci Harding
The third and final book in the Ancient Future Trilogy, this one follows Tory throughout time and space, and covers around 20 years non-stop, with some little stop-offs in atlantis for her at the same time. It shows the Dragon's line throughout the centuries, and the 'gods and goddesses' are revealed as being every bit as 'faulty' as humans are. This time, space travel is involved, giving the book a little more of a sci-fi feel that was really only hinted at in the previous novels, but it still fits and the story comes to an almost surprising (though with one element of predictability) ending.
Tory, waiting for Maelgwn to return (it's a long wait believe me!) endevours to find out the truth of her ancestry. She discovers that hers is not the only line of immortals that the gods have 'nurtured.' The allies that she has known throughout her life come forward and aid her in a time when she and her group are ostracized from society by a vengeful, incarnated enemy. The Chosen are about to become the target of a 'divine power' which is out to destroy them at the Gathering of Kings...
ISBN 0-7322-5892-8
HarperCollinsPublishers © 1998

I don't care what else you do throughout the year, you really must read this series. You won't be disapointed. The same applies for this book as the other two in this series price and availability wise.

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