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Next WIP : Celtic Fantasy?

Sunday, 13 June 2010

So, I'm back from visiting the haunts of my youth on the Isle of Man. Lovely time, thanks.

As ever when I go back there I find myself thinking about the myths and legends the place is so rich in. And then how I could bring some of them back to life via fiction. As you may recall, a work of Celtic/Manx fantasy fiction of mine has just been published by Mirror Dance. But that story is set firmly in ye olde fantasye days, and I've been thinking what I'd really, really like to do is bring some of these gods, monsters and characters back to life and place them in a modern, maybe urban setting.

There's so much scope. Manx mythology is perhaps closest to the Irish, but it has figures all of its own - for example the Phynoderee, the Buggaine and  the fearsome Moddey Doo. Then there's Manannan himself, the god after whom the island is (probably) named. What would he be like now? What would he make of the modern world? What would he be up to?

These are all just vague ideas at the moment, but this is definitely something I'd like to work on. It's a novel-length project and that's a slight problem because I'm well into the first draft of another novel right now (Engn, which I must tell you about some time). But I do love urban fantasy - the idea of these mythical beings walking our streets - and I do love these old Manx stories, which are so evocative.

Meanwhile, here's a snap of the Fairy Bridge, which sits on one of the main roads on the island. No self-respecting Manxperson would dare go past without giving the fairies there a friendly greeting. It's a sign of the effect the place has on me that I - sceptical rationalist that I am - always do precisely that. After all, they can be such mischievous little creatures ...


  1. Well, you've certainly got me intrigued to know more about the Phynoderee and the Buggaine, and the Moddy Doo sounds just like something that could slink out of a dark alley and terrify a modern town.

  2. Thomas,

    You know, I think it could. It's actually this giant, spectral hell-hound thing that definitely would find a happy hunting ground in a city ...

  3. My father used to read to me from a book of Manx tales when I was small. I remember being terrified of the Buggaine. I do hope you pursue this. I love the idea of a modern setting and the Isle still being populated with all those creatures.

    Think of all the disasters that might befall an unbelieving tourist who forgot to greet the fairies at the bridge...

  4. Ooooh what friendly greeting does one use to appease these lovely if naughty creatures??:-)

    How lovely! I never thought there'd be a fairy bridge - but lo! There it is!

    Glad you had a great inspiring time! You have an intriguing concept there - Manx mythological figures roaming the 21st century modern world! Brilliant!

    Good luck! Take care

  5. I love myths and legends, and I have to visit that Fairy Bridge at some point.

  6. Old Kitty,

    One says, in chorus if there are several in the car, either "good morning fairies" or "good afternoon fairies". Timing is vital. You have to give the greeting as you cross the bridge.

    Glad you like the idea for the book. It's definitely something I'm going to leave to simmer in my mind.

  7. Anne,

    Thanks. How fascinating. I don't suppose you recall which book it was? There are collections by A. W. Moore and Edward Callow - could have been one of those?

  8. Donna,

    You should - the island is definitely worth a visit. The myths always feel close to the surface there, to me at least.

  9. The fairies do sound very like Irish mythology - we're scared of them too and we have our customs to keep them happy - but I'd love to know more about Manx mythology. It sounds interesting!

    My dad was a linguistic enthusiast and the weekend before he died he bought an English-Manx dictionary. I've always wanted to study the language more because he never got a chance to.

  10. Ellen,

    Yes, I think the Manx and Irish myths are closely related. The Manx language, too, sounds fairly like Irish to my ears. I do wish I'd learned to speak a little of it myself, but when I was at school it wasn't taught. As I recall, there were only 6 fluent speakers left, although there are more now.

  11. It sounds like a great idea for a story but how many novels can you write at one time?

  12. fairyhedgehog,

    Well, one really - although I see that people often have several on the go. Perhaps I should try and do that.

  13. I'm not sure I could! Mind you, I've decided to work on short fiction for the time being.

  14. fairyhedgehog,

    I do quite like having short fiction on the go at the same time as the novel though, so perhaps I should try ...


I'd love to know what you think.