Adventures in Unhistory

Adventures in Unhistory

Conjectures on the Factual Foundations of Several Ancient Legends

Book - 2006
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* Where did Sinbad Sail?
* Who Fired the Phoenix ?
* The Boy Who Cried Werewolf
* The Great Rough Beast
* Postscript on Prester John
* The Secret of Hyperborea
* What Gave All Those Mammoths Cold Feet?
 
And many more--fictional? authoritative? fantastic? deadpan?--investigations into the real, the true...and the things that should be true
 
PREFACE BY PETER S. BEAGLE
ILLUSTRATED BY GEORGE BARR
 
"Although the wombat is real and the dragon is not, nobody knows what a wombat looks like and everyone knows what a dragon looks like."
 
Not a novel, not a book of short stories, Adventures in Unhistory is a book of the fantastic--a compendium of magisterial examinations of Mermaids, Mandrakes, and Mammoths; Dragons, Werewolves, and Unicorns; the Phoenix and the Roc; about places such as Sicily, Siberia, and the Moon; about heroic, sinister, and legendary persons such as Sindbad, and Aleister Crowley, and Prester John; and--revealed at last--the Secret of Hyperborea.
 
The facts are here, the foundations behind rumors, legends, and the imaginations of generations of tale-spinners. But far from being dry recitals, these meditations, or lectures, or deadpan prose performances are as lively, as crazily inventive, as witty as the best fiction of the author, a writer praised by Gardner Dozois as "one of the great short story writers of our times."
 
Who, on the subject of Dragons, could write coldly, dispassionately, guided only by logic?  Certainly not Avram Davidson. Certain facts, these facts, deserve more than recitation; they deserve flourish, verve, gusto, style-- the late, great Avram Davidson's unique voice.  That prose which, in the words of Peter S. Beagle's Preface to this volume, "cries out to be read aloud."
Publisher: New York : Tor, 2006.
Edition: 1st Tor ed.
ISBN: 9780765307606
076530760X
Branch Call Number: 398.209
Characteristics: xi, 308 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.

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nerowolfgal
Jan 23, 2015

I loved this book. Imagine sitting after a great meal sharing a couple of bottles of wine with a funny, incredibly intelligent well-read friend who begins to muse about where exactly Sinbad the Sailor sailed, or why there are legends of dragons in many countries and cultures, or who Prester John was really. This friend is happy to wander off on side-trips: did you know that name Frodo from LOTR came from the name "Frotho" which is a cognate of "prudent" who Saxo Grammaticus cites as a hero who slew a dragon and seized his treasure, which "one example of Tolkien's immense learning" Davidson effortlessly quotes from Ancient Rome authors to Medieval bestiaries to modern scholars, to scholarly collections of folktales to Victorian newspaper articles. He happily makes possible links and gives new ways at looking at all sorts of things. My mental world is now much larger after reading this delightful book, and I now have a list of things and authors to look up myself.

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nerowolfgal
Jan 23, 2015

nerowolfgal thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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