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Classical Atlantis: Plato’s Vision

When I set about to write my Atlantis series, I did so with the writings of Plato. In fact, his works are the only ones I knew existed. It’s probably because I was in high school at the time, but my focus was academics. I went to the local community college and looked at reference books the way my English teachers had taught me. I was also young, and my world was small. Therefore, I didn’t realize how many alternate views of Atlantis exists.

But what I find stays constant is the idea that Atlantis is a Utopian society. Not Utopia as in the perfect/peaceful people. In fact, the mythology states that Atlantis was pretty aggressive toward their neighbors and growing in corruption. No, Utopia as in “it takes a village to raise a child” sort of way. I tried to portray that by clustering the houses within the novels. I had originally planned on having the children raised in a type of boarding house and a community food hall where they would eat. But the plot soon demanded other things to be emphasized and that detail was dropped.

A detail I did not drop was the idea of ringed islands protecting them. In Plato’s work, there were two ringed islands surrounding Atlantis with ports leading through to the center. I didn’t surround my entire island, but I did surround Palace Island much the same way. I liked this idea of protection. In today’s age with planes, it doesn’t make much sense. But by boat, it seemed ingenious to me.

Another aspect I like is that it follows Greek mythology. Atlantis was ruled by Poseidon. He’s always been an interesting god to me. He seems very emotional compared to the others. Strong. But this could be because he controls the sea. Much about the ocean is unknown and mystical. That almost transposes onto the god mastering such an area.

Looking back, I like Plato’s view of Atlantis. I love the mystery surrounding it. The manuscript he wrote depicting the country is incomplete. In fact, it ends on the gods deciding how to handle the corruptness of Atlantis’ kings. Legend has it the island was destroyed by earthquakes and volcanoes in a very mini-apocalyptic way. But Plato’s cliff hanger left a lot of room for my imagination. I am glad I went with the classical route, but I must admit that the alien alternative could have produced a completely different novel.