‘Where Silverberg goes today, the rest of science fiction will follow tomorrow’
This month: Looking for Atlantis . . .
Atlantis, as I said in the earlier piece, was first heard from about 355 B.C. in Plato’s dialog Timaeus. In that work he tells a tale that he says goes back nine thousand years, to a time when the vast and mighty land of Atlantis controlled the entrance to the Mediterranean and dominated much of the territory eastward from there. Plato describes the great palaces and temples of Atlantis, its harbors and docks, and the huge defensive wall surrounding its capital, fashioned of locally quarried stone, “one kind white, another black, and a third red,” covered with plates of tin, of brass, and of the yellowish-red metal called orichalcum, evidently some alloy of copper.
Belligerent, warlike Atlantis got its comeuppance, Plato says, when it was assailed by violent earthquakes and floods, “and in a single day and night of rain . . . the island of Atlantis disappeared, and was sunk beneath the sea.”