Mythology has always played a significant role in my writings. Many of the writers who influenced me and my own writing style at an early age used mythology in their works.
Tolkien of course is a prime example. Most of the creatures and tales within Middle-earth are borrowed from or based on actual mythologies and histories if only loosely. This does not make him a plagiarist. It makes him a good story teller.
The best stories are not new ones, but old tales told in a new way. William Shakespeare did not write new stories. He only retold old stories in a way that his generation could appreciate. The words may have been different, but the underlying essence was the same.
Lloyd Alexander also played a significant role in my literary development with his Prydain Chronicles. He was telling tales from a mythology I wasn't yet familiar with. These books helped me to discover the links between mythology, fairy tales, and modern fantasy. I explored these connections in much greater depth after discovering Joseph Campbell and Charles DeLint years later, but Lloyd showed me what to look for.
Roger Zelazeny was also a master at modernizing mythology. He could write about gods as if they were ordinary people. Greek, Egyptian and even fictional gods roamed the pages of his books with fantastic powers but the same foibles that you and I struggle with every day. His best work in my opinion is his science fiction spiritual journey of a would be Siddhartha in rebellion against the Hindu gods.
Good Modern Fantasy is a continuation.
Thank you, Christine, for such an interesting post! For more information on their books, news and events, visit their website.