The Author Comments: Seeker

Nineteen forty-seven was a big year for the paranormal. Haunted lighthouses were showing up along the east coast, and the first flying saucers were reported in the Seattle area. At school I encountered the lost colony at Roanoke. Fate Magazine was on the way. And Amazing Stories editor Ray Palmer began publishing Richard Shaver's accounts (apparently actually written by Palmer) of Lemuria.

I was in grade school, just starting to read science fiction. None of the kids in my Philadelphia neighborhood bought into the lighthouses, but most of us took to hoping for a UFO landing on the vacant patch of ground at the north end of South Myrtlewood Street. While we waited, I discovered Amazing, and got entranced by the idea of Lemuria.

I already knew about Atlantis, of course. And I'd encountered Mu somewhere along the line. Lost continents, islands that sank beneath the ocean, advanced civilizations predating the Egyptians, these were hot stuff for a sixth grader.

The Lemurian tales had two problems. They were almost unreadable; and Amazing seemed to be saying they were true. I might almost have gone for it had Shaver not claimed that he literally remembered the place. Some sort of reincarnation thing. That was too much even for a twelve-year-old.

But it got me interested in lost continents. Atlantis, I discovered, was reported (or invented) by Plato. Nobody else in ancient times ever mentioned it. Plato describes wars between the Europeans and the kings of Atlantis in "Timaeus" and "Critias." Unfortunately the only exotic aspect of the lost kingdom was that it had gotten lost. I'd be the last person to criticize Plato, but if he was going to invent a civilization and then sink it, he might have done a better job with the details.

Alex Benedict lives in the distant future, in a time of faster-than-light travel, when the human time line stretches back almost 20,000 years. It's a lot of history, and a lot of time for things to get lost. Alex is in the antiquities business, and he's accustomed to people coming to him for help in finding documents, jewels, and even starships, that have wandered off and never been seen again.

This time out, it's an entire world that has gotten lost. And it's been gone a long time, farther back for him that the pyramid-builders are for us. It was established by a group of malcontents from the Third Millennium who, as one of them said, were going so far from Earth that even God wouldn't be able to find them.

November 2005
Ace Books
ISBN: 0441013295

Note: Seeker is available from Ace, from the SFBC, and, in a signed leather edition, from Easton Press.


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