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1. About Homage Fiction

An homage (a French word, pronounced with a silent h and long a, like the middle a in lasagna; rhymes with fromage meaning cheese) is a work created in praise of another work or its creator. It's not a copy or an imitation but a fresh work of art that conjures the spirit and creative magic of its object. I'll list a few on this page, and explain more. Not all my works are homages. In this section, I'll discuss a few that are, and why.

First, some history. Before I discuss my own work, let's take a quick skim through some historical examples of classics and archetypes.

Art is Imitative. We've all heard that nostrum before. There is good reason for this. Art (stories, paintings, music, etc.) that touches our souls deals with those few all-important, gripping aspects of human life—for example, the love story in all of its permutations, including those that end tragically, those that are comedies, and those that are sentimentally romantic. In general, a few works are classics, in that they endure for generations, long after most of their contemporary works have been forgotten. A smaller number are not only classics, but archetypes, which I describe as classics that beg to be imitated—or even repeated in new forms. Sometimes an homage copies, while at other times it emulates (as do a number of my works). This is not a vainglorious operation, but a humble gesture of praise, a thank you for the greater artist's magnificent and enjoyable work. It is a way for the author (moi) to enter that shaman-like space where the other creator's magic dwelled.

Example: Shakespeare. As a quick example: Shakespeare used a number of models for his play Romeo and Juliet (First Quarto Edition 1623). His models included not only several contemporary novels, but ancient sources including the Roman poet Ovid's anthology of collected ancient works, the Metamorphoses ("Transformations"). One of the stories in Ovid's collection is that of Pyramus and Thisbe, a pair of lovers who die tragically in a manner similar to that of Romeo and Juliet in a story some sixteen centuries later in a different age. Remarkably, the setting of Ovid's classic is ancient Babylon, which implies that most likely the story had its origins in far more ancient Mesopotamia (in today's Iraq, at least 4,000 years ago).

Another Example: Virgil. Ovid (just mentioned) lived during the so-called Golden Age or Augustan Age of Roman literature during the lifetime of Octavian (first emperor; reigned during time of Jesus Christ's birth in Judea). The Augustan Age included other famous authors like Virgil, author of the Aeneid (Rome's great epic). In fact, Virgil's Aeneid is structurally rooted about 750 years earlier in the (classic, archetypal) epics of Homer, namely Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. A strong argument can be made that the Aeneid (twelve books, possibly never completed according to the author's unknown plan) reverses the order of Homer's two epics (24 books each) so that, while the Trojan War depicted in the Iliad is followed by the hero Ulysses' (Odysseus, Journeyer) perilous journey home or nostos, Virgil's Aeneid begins with the Trojan hero Aeneas' journey from Troy to Italy where he then engages in an Iliadic war to conquer the Tiber Delta and found Rome.

That's a quick run-down. I'm not trying to sound like another Shakespeare or Virgil. Rather, what I want to convey is the wonder, the magic, and the sheer joy that compels us authors to perform all the labor involved in creating our stories. There is something shaman-like about entering the story world and bringing back tales to entertain and edify readers.