Thursday, June 23, 2011

Book Blitz! Volume 4 - Ancient Ruins

If there's one thing Richard Ellis can be counted on to do it's write an interesting book about the ocean. The Atlantic seems to particularly fascinate him, so I suppose it's no surprise that he'd get around to writing about Atlantis sooner or later.  I wasn't particularly interested in the mythical vanished continent before picking up Imagining Atlantis. His books such as The Search for the Giant Squid and Deep Atlantic are more up my zoological alley. In fact, I'd always thought of Atlantis as something of a joke, lumping it in with ufology and the Sasquatch. I'll even go a step further. I bought this book based mostly on the exceptionally cool cover and the fact that I like Richard Ellis. Truth be told, I felt a little embarrassed carrying it around. I wanted a giant sticker on it that said "Hey! I'm a skeptical book! My owner is not into psychic surgery or crystal healing!"

But, you know what? No one should be embarrassed to carry this book. A book like this should be carried proudly. As it turns out my knowledge about all things Atlantean was very... wait for it... shallow. Yes, that's a horrible pun, but it's also true. As Ellis points out, the myth of Atlantis has real staying power. Why has it persisted for thousands of years? It's not even attached to any religion or cohesive story cycle. It seems to be an invention of Plato's, but why has this, of all things, become so ingrained in our culture? Ellis surveys the literature starting with Plato's Timaeus and Critias, passes briefly over some of the more outlandish ideas of what sunk Atlantis, continues on to actual scholarship, then to the history of catastrophe in the Mediterranean, and lastly surveys Atlantis as it's depicted in films, comics, and novels. Was Atlantis based at all in fact? Ellis tells you what he thinks. Then he gives the facts so you can form your own opinion.

What, you may ask, does The Tooth have to do with Atlantis? Not a whole hell of a lot, except that it too has an irresistible origin story. And, like Imagining Atlantis, the cover made me want to buy the book. What's inside is a joyous romp from start to finish. The gags are suitably over-the-top while the subtle expressions on the Tooth's "face" are priceless. I typically cringe at anything dental, but somehow here the idea losing a tooth over and over, only to have it come crawling back covered in gore from its latest battle made me giggle instead of gag.

My recommendation? Buy Imagining Atlantis AND The Tooth. Then book a vacation to some Greek isle and read them back to back.

1 comment:

  1. OK, you talked me into it. I'm going to read Imagining Atlantis. I'm still undecided on The Tooth.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...