I wanted the Alkainos heavenly host back story to be full of tragedy, quarrels, desires and intrigue. Although the gods have (mostly) left the world, their imprint remains everywhere. They are actively worshipped, but no longer hear the calls of the people. Their temples, symbols and stories permeate every strata of society, across the entire continent. Their back story is also the story of the world of Alkainos itself.

For this reason, they needed to have a rich and deep background. I wanted Alkainos to be a world built on eastern ideas and stories, but presented with a western ascetic. I’d always had a vague Chinese view of heaven in mind when I first started this project (vague, as in broadly informed by the Japanese Monkey TV series). I still want to explore this, but want to have the basic characters and story arc in place first using more familiar constructs, from which I can then start mould further with inspiration from the east.

Monkey

An obvious source of more familiar inspiration is Greek mythology. I (like virtually every boy of my age I’d wager) grew up on stories like Jason and The Argonauts. The stop motion artistry of Ray Harryhausen imprinted strongly in my formative mind. In later years movies like Clash of the Titans continued with this trend. Many of the greek myths are familiar, but how much did I really know? Not that much that I didn’t need to learn more.

jason and the argonauts

So I picked up ‘Mythos: A Retelling of the Myths of Ancient Greece’ by Stephen Fry to expand my knowledge and provide some inspiration for Alkainos. I’d read the sample from Amazonon my kindle already and thought it looked like a great read. Stephen Fry certainly has a way with words and making the topic of greek mythology both interesting and fun to read. It looked like an ideal introduction for me – something that wasn’t too heavy and I could dip and out of as time permitted.

I’d been putting it off, but when I spotted it in hardback in Costco a couple of weeks ago – it was too good an opportunity to pass up.

mythos - greek myths retold

I wish I could say I’d read it all by now, but time is a rare and precious commodity these days. Reading is also something of a lost art to me. This is a shame, and something I am working at putting right. I’ve come up with an approach that I hope is going to help.

I’ve now keep my running head torch by the side of the bed along with this book. I take my son to bed each night, and now when he nods off (and if I haven’t) – I put the head torch on and read a few pages. I’m learning now that as time is limited – the way to work is in many small time slices during the day. If I wait until I have an hour free – I’d never get anything read. The same applies to everything no I think: cleaning, exercise, blogging, game development – make the most of every 5 minutes free you have, and let the benefits accumulate slowly. As it is with maintianing a tidy(ish) house, so it is with reading a book.

mythos - greek myths retold

As I’ve barely got past the first chapter I can’t really provide any review, beyond that I’m enjoying it immensely. I love the idea of having gods of the First Order, and their offspring forming the basis for the gods to come. I love the idea that there is so much variety in the offspring, not all of which is good, and that almost immediately there is discord and strife with Gaia trying to kill Ouranos (her first son and lover) over his rejection of their monstrous offspring… it’s all wonderfully dark and dramatic and complicated from the off!

mythos - greek myths retold

I wish I could take notes, process and add anything useful to the Alkainos back story as fast as I can (albeit slowly) read it. For now I think my best approach is just to read and let it sink in, and then revisit it later with a view to absorbing particulalry interesting bits for my world building. There is much to think on.

Mythos: Ancient Greece & Alkainos