the dragons are still here…

Having just finished re-reading The Dragon’s Apprentice, by James A. Owen, I’m thinking that the next three weeks can’t go fast enough. That is when the sixth book in The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica series, The Dragons of Winter, comes out in stores. Would you believe that a young adult fantasy series could possibly whet your appetite, not only for reading the rest of the series, but for reading more classical authors?

I don’t know when I’ll find the time to read them, but I’ve been downloading Sir Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, less well-known books by H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, buying a complete collection of Edgar Allan Poe (on Kindle, of course), and looking for whatever else I can find on the Shelleys and Byron. I already have a complete collection of Mark Twain, Shakespeare, and Dickens. What could possibly set off this interest, you may be wondering?

As I’ve talked about before, The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica are a series that follow the adventures of two very famous authors (Inklings, anyone?), and a less well-known editor/writer, whom I’ll refer to as John, Jack, and Charles. Brought together during a life-changing event, they are introduced to their new jobs as Caretakers by the Far Traveler himself, sometimes called H. G. Wells. They are the guardians of what we think are imaginary lands that only show up in fantasy stories (such as Prydain), when in fact, the lands are real, and many aspects of fairy tales and mythology are true.

Further into their adventures fighting the Winter King and his Shadow, with the help of the former Caretaker, Sir James Barrie, they find that though all the former Caretakers died, they are not dead and gone. In fact, an aspect of portraiture allows them to live on in the Nameless Isles, and interact with each other, daily, in a certain Tamerlane House, owned by Edgar Allan Poe.

For the last two or three books, I’ve been reading about the interactions of Shakespeare, Poe, both Percy and Mary Shelley, Daniel Defoe, Franz Schubert, Alexandre Dumas (père), Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Tycho Brahe, Leonardo Da Vinci, and many other authors, inventors, and geniuses. Mark Twain and Nathaniel Hawthorne are the dominant forces that I always thought they would be, but I didn’t know enough about Jules Verne to think about how he might pull the strings when it comes to time travel. But somehow, they all show excessive respect for Edgar Allan Poe. But why?

I never liked any of Poe’s writings, when I was in school, so I’m wondering if James A. Owen is being excessively inventive with his character, or if there’s something else that I missed when I read The Raven, last time. Obviously, these characters are written as fiction, so he can invent what he likes about them. But if Mr. Owen is well-read enough to get his head around time travel, differing types of time, how to map time, and how to connect the mythology of centuries, and make it all make sense, he probably knows a few things about Poe that I don’t.

When I’m done trying to figure out Edgar Allan Poe, I’ll just enjoy the re-introduction to Merlin, Don Quixote, some excellent talking badgers, Peter Pan, elves that like to pick on people, and Tin Men that are really Roger Bacon.

And so, while I decide what to read next, while I’m waiting for The Dragons of Winter to arrive at Barnes & Noble, I leaf through a collection of Byron’s poems, read a snatch of Spenser’s Fairy Queene, and consider starting to read Hawthorne’s Twicetold Tales. I’m also glad that Shakespeare isn’t the idiot that he initially appears to be, continue to debate over why Franz Schubert was made a Caretaker, and find the dynamic duo of Houdini and Doyle to be quite hilarious. Especially when they’re threatening the Magwich plant.

Anyone else for a course in classic literature, by way of some fantastic fiction?

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