Tim Powers and King Arthur

I thought my beloved readers would be interested in a little bit of “inside baseball” from science fiction writers. 

I was given an idea for a King Arthur story I could not use, and so I sent it along to Tim Powers, in case he could: the conceit for the story would be that King Arthur not only will wake at the Last Battle in England’s hour of greatest need, but has done so previously, for example, during the Great War, but was mistaken for the Angel of Mons, or during the Spanish Armada, when Merlin summoned a storm. 

I thought Mr. Powers would do better with the idea than would I, since he is skilled at the “secret history” genre where truth and oddity from history is blended with invented events to recast old events with new meaning. 

I wrote an asked if he would do a hidden history of reincarnated King Arthur saving England through history. The words below are his:

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Back in 1976, Roger Elwood got an agreement with a British publisher to provide ten novels about King Arthur reincarnated throughout history — I think they would have been published under a single house name, and every one had to be 60,000 words, and fortunately the deal fell apart.
But before it fell apart, Elwood got me and Ray Nelson and K. W. Jeter to agree to write the books. So we divvied up history. Jeter got Victorian London, and I don’t remember what Nelson got, but I got the Siege of Vienna in 1529. So I wrote The Drawing of the Dark, in which King Arthur is reincarnated to save the West from the Islamic horde.
     After the British publisher decided they didn’t want the series, the three of us scrambled to find publishers for the books we’d written, and I was very lucky that mine wound up with Lester Del Rey. He eventually bought it, after making me re-write the daylights out of it and double its length, all to its enormous benefit.
    I chopped up two of my other would-be-King-Arthur books, rearranged the pieces, and made The Anubis Gates out of them, though King Arthur wasn’t among the pieces I salvaged for that.
    So you see, I’ve more or less done it already!
— Tim Powers