Welcome to the Historical Fiction Online forums: a friendly place to discuss, review and discover historical fiction.
If this is your first visit, please be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above.
You will have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed.
To start viewing posts, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

Trends in Historical Fiction

For discussions of historical fiction. Threads that do not relate to historical fiction should be started in the Chat forum or elsewhere on the forum, depending on the topic.
User avatar
Rowan
Bibliophile
Posts: 1462
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: I love history, but it's boring in school. Historical fiction brings it alive for me.
Preferred HF: Iron-Age Britain, Roman Britain, Medieval Britain
Location: New Orleans
Contact:

Trends in Historical Fiction

Post by Rowan » Tue December 23rd, 2008, 4:33 pm

I don't understand why people have a problem with a sudden surge of interest in a particular era of history or group of people. As far as I'm concerned all of these books that spark an interest in history are good. Those who have a genuine interest in history will research the topic and discover all that is known; those who read the books and accept them at face value don't really have a keen interest in history anyway.

gyrehead
Reader
Posts: 245
Joined: December 2008

Post by gyrehead » Tue December 23rd, 2008, 4:52 pm

I guess for me the big problem with trends in anything is that it tends to be a self-fulfilling prophecy before the weary backlash of disdain for subpar work kicks in. Whether it is boy wizards at magical academies, mystical pseudo-Biblical generational conspiracies, Virgin Queens who blatantly weren't in various author's fantasies or teenage vampires that get lots of sweater action as they brood in a devastatingly handsome sparkle. It all can add to to serious outlay by publishers to tap in such a trend. It does affect those of us as readers who do not buy into or at least opt out before the market dries up. Elizabeth and the Tudors are hot? Well let's publish more books on the Tudors. Of course in the historical field, some imprints only do so many. So maybe a good solid novel on Philippa of Hainault gets passed on. And if Biblical texts thrillers are hot then maybe we won't see a talented author who writes something completely different on Papal family intrigue in the times of Marozia that is character based and complex and focuses on fact and not sensationalistic speculation get published. There are consequences. The young adult market in fantasy is strugglign with the shadow of Harry Potter and some rather extremely talented authors have already fallen to the wayside because it is'nt exactly like HP.

Granted, I do understand fully that it is the nature of the beast and that trends happen and get bandwaggoned to death. But I just don't have the nature to not see the harm that these things cause and at least rail about them in the fashion that at least let's me vent and purge a bit.

And then there is the huge backlash that comes and suddenly authors who might tbe writing clever, intelligent, well written multi-generational secret society thrillers get passed on because there already exists too much in the market.

And while again it is a futile battle, it does bother me that many people do get bad history from historical novels. And I think it should everyone else. Too many people assume that if it is in a movie or a book there must be some truth to it. The problem is that this persists and some salient facts tend to simply disappear over time. To me that is appalling even if it is the drive-through; best seller list crowd swallowing fiction for fact.

Anyway.

Do you all like the shiny soapbox I got for Christmas? I opened it early.

No word yet on whether David Blixt will make his deadline for an end of 2009 release for his second book. I'm really hoping he does.

annis
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 4585
Joined: August 2008

Post by annis » Wed December 24th, 2008, 9:48 am

Posted by gyrehead
maybe we won't see a talented author who writes something completely different on Papal family intrigue in the times of Marozia that is character based and complex and focuses on fact and not sensationalistic speculation get published.
This would be certainly be a novel worth reading and would make Keny very happy!

It's something noted from the historical myths thread- that if some fact about a historical event or person is quoted often enough it becomes accepted as true even if it is not based on verifiable historical sources.
Last edited by annis on Wed December 24th, 2008, 9:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Divia
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 4435
Joined: August 2008
Location: Always Cloudy, Central New York

Post by Divia » Wed December 24th, 2008, 1:20 pm

Well I agree with everything you said on that soapbox, gyrehead. I'm sick of the "we had Twilight now we must have 10001 other teen vampire novels! Quick, every hack in the universe write one so we can get it out ASAP!" It is tiresome, and limiting and I agree with you 100%
News, views, and reviews on books and graphic novels for young adult.
http://yabookmarks.blogspot.com/

Ash
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 2475
Joined: August 2008
Location: Arizona, USA

Post by Ash » Wed December 24th, 2008, 2:24 pm

Ditto. Often in the rush, the original book that started it all is lost in the shuffle, to much lesser writers.

User avatar
Kveto from Prague
Compulsive Reader
Posts: 919
Joined: September 2008
Location: Prague, Bohemia

Post by Kveto from Prague » Wed December 24th, 2008, 5:46 pm

[QUOTE=annis;15704]Posted by gyrehead


This would be certainly be a novel worth reading and would make Keny very happy!

it sure would :-) thnx, annis.

and i also agree with everything in gyreheads soapbox. i think good writers stay away from trends and folloow their own interests. chances are if the writer is genuinely interested in what they are writing rather than following a trend, they can hopefully transfer some of their interest to the readers.

:-)

User avatar
diamondlil
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 2642
Joined: August 2008

Post by diamondlil » Fri December 26th, 2008, 11:10 am

[quote=""gyrehead""]

No word yet on whether David Blixt will make his deadline for an end of 2009 release for his second book. I'm really hoping he does.[/quote]

You and me both! I loved Master of Verona!
My Blog - Reading Adventures

All things Historical Fiction - Historical Tapestry


There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.

Edith Wharton

User avatar
Divia
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 4435
Joined: August 2008
Location: Always Cloudy, Central New York

Post by Divia » Fri December 26th, 2008, 2:51 pm

Adding to what has already been said..please tell me how many teen vampire books you can have or how many tudor books you can write before the market becomes saturated and there is a backlash to it. We're already seeing on this MB that a lot of people are tired of Tudor fiction. Now, granted we are just a small number, but I'm sure there are others like us.
News, views, and reviews on books and graphic novels for young adult.
http://yabookmarks.blogspot.com/

User avatar
Ariadne
Bibliophile
Posts: 1151
Joined: August 2008
Location: At the foothills of Mt. Level

Post by Ariadne » Fri December 26th, 2008, 4:11 pm

Gyrehead, I thought that was a brilliant post - very well stated. I don't read to trends and would much rather read that (theoretical) Philippa of Hainault novel or the one about the age of Marozia. Just finished Vanora Bennett's Figures in Silk, which started out about the lives of women silkworkers in late 15th-century England but about halfway through moved firmly into Wars of the Roses-Tudor territory... royal intrigue and all of that (with corresponding viewpoint switches). While I thoroughly enjoyed the novel, I couldn't help but think "here we go again." I'd much rather have continued with the silkworkers!

User avatar
nona
Bibliophile
Posts: 1149
Joined: September 2008
Location: Oklahoma

Post by nona » Fri December 26th, 2008, 6:05 pm

I hate how really great authors are thrown in with the average because of the genre they write, for example the other day at work I was talking with a co-worker about historical fiction and so forth. She said "oh I love HF, Phillpa Gregory is so awesome, I never knew....." I cringed. I explained that there is a wide range of HF and that she should try someone like Elizabeth Chadwick or Sharon Kay Penman or one of the many other far better authors in my book that are more accurate and have more depth, she looked at me with a blank stare, I left it at that and moved onto a safer subject.

Don't get me wrong though, I enjoyed PG when I first started reading HF but now I feel my appitite has out grown her level of writing. Which I guess we have all been there, looking back I wonder if I had read SKP, EC, Alison Weir, or many of the other if I would find PG as fullfilling as I did then.

Post Reply

Return to “General Discussion”