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How is Historical Fantasy faring these days?

SGM
Compulsive Reader
Posts: 699
Joined: March 2010

Post by SGM » Fri November 11th, 2011, 5:20 pm

That's interesting. I always thought that what Tolkien was trying to do was provide the English with their lost mythology. Although I have never been entirely sure why we lost it in the first place, we undoubtedly we did.
Currently reading - Emergence of a Nation State by Alan Smith

annis
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 4585
Joined: August 2008

Post by annis » Sat November 12th, 2011, 8:17 pm

Posted by SGM
Although I have never been entirely sure why we lost it in the first place, we undoubtedly we did
.
Well, I'd say a) Christianity and b) the Normans :)

Kathleen Herbert's Looking for the Lost Gods of England is a good read for anyone interested in pre-Christian A-S mythology.

Lord of the Rings was inspired by Tolkien's love of the Anglo-Saxon culture, though I don't consider it historical fantasy even though t's possible to see influences from A-S history- for example Gandfalf's stand against the Balrog in the Caves of Moria clearly echoes Brythnoth's stand at Maldon.

The amount of world-building Tolkien put into LOTR was staggering- he even created an fully-functioning Elvish language.

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Margaret
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 2440
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favourite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA
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Post by Margaret » Sun November 13th, 2011, 4:29 am

When I hear a novel described as fantasy, I tend to assume there are at least some supernatural elements in the story. So I would not class alternative history as fantasy; the author's goal with these is to work out a realistic "what-if" scenario (for example, what if the South had won the Civil War).

I like Carla Nayland's categories of alternate history and invented history - they feel intuitively correct to me.

Plus, there's also just plain bad history - when an author either hasn't done enough research, or is indifferent to whether the setting and events correspond with real history or not, and gets lots of stuff wrong. (I will excuse authors who get a few minor details wrong - I don't see how a novelist could possibly get absolutely everything right, when even historians can't usually manage it, and novelists have to create a fully functioning world for their characters on, sometimes, an insufficient historical record.)
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

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Madeleine
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 5707
Joined: August 2008
Currently reading: "Bone China" by Laura Purcell
Preferred HF: Plantagenets, Victorian, crime
Location: Essex/London

Post by Madeleine » Sun November 13th, 2011, 9:07 pm

[quote=""SGM""]That's interesting. I always thought that what Tolkien was trying to do was provide the English with their lost mythology. Although I have never been entirely sure why we lost it in the first place, we undoubtedly we did.[/quote]

I was always under the impression that a lot of the LotR mythology was based on the old Nordic and Celtic legends; many of the names have that feel to them.
Currently reading: "Bone China" by Laura Purcell

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Leyland
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Location: Travelers Rest SC

Post by Leyland » Wed November 16th, 2011, 1:28 pm

[quote=""Ludmilla""] Hopefully, you ordered the four-books-in-one UK edition of Ash. It's a big, doorstopper of a book. [/quote]
My doorstopper came in the mail yesterday! I intentionally ordered the UK version to get it in one go. Smells slightly musty which I hate because of sinus/asthma problems, so my boyfriend sprayed it lightly with Axe body spray before I could stop him! The book smells quite manly now ;)
We are the music makers, And we are the dreamers of dreams ~ Arthur O'Shaughnessy, Ode

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