Author Topic: Historical Fiction?  (Read 3836 times)

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Offline Jolimont

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Historical Fiction?
« on: July 19, 2012, 09:49:54 AM »
I'd like to try some good historical fiction (grounded on real events) because it's a genre that I've never paid attention to. Maybe particularly science historical fiction, something to do with famous scientists or inventors. Can you recommend some books?
« Last Edit: July 19, 2012, 09:56:13 AM by Jolimont »

Offline amysrevenge

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Re: Historical Fiction?
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2012, 09:58:25 AM »
I'm more about historical science fiction (ie. Cowboys and Aliens).
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Offline Andrew Clunn

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Re: Historical Fiction?
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2012, 10:00:16 AM »
I am also interested in this.
I'm just the victim of my cognitive privilege

Online Rai

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Re: Historical Fiction?
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2012, 10:31:48 AM »
The only such book I've ever heard of was Measuring the World by Daniel Kehlmann, about Gauss and Humboldt. It was a very enjoyable read.
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Offline Jolimont

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Re: Historical Fiction?
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2012, 11:03:19 AM »
I'm more about historical science fiction (ie. Cowboys and Aliens).
Me too usually, just trying a new genre. Man, you must really love Firefly!

Offline Jolimont

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Re: Historical Fiction?
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2012, 11:07:31 AM »
The only such book I've ever heard of was Measuring the World by Daniel Kehlmann, about Gauss and Humboldt. It was a very enjoyable read.
Thanks! Will check it out.

Offline amysrevenge

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Re: Historical Fiction?
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2012, 11:18:09 AM »
I'm more about historical science fiction (ie. Cowboys and Aliens).
Me too usually, just trying a new genre. Man, you must really love Firefly!

Absolute best historical science fiction moment.  Turtledove Worldwar series.  Reading one of the books on the bus.  A Jewish radar technician emigrates from England to Canada, and sets up a shop on Jasper Ave in Edmonton.  Happens just as the Greyhoud bus I'm in crosses Jasper Ave in Edmonton.  Based on the intersection description, I literally looked up from the page into the office window that the person would have occupied.  Blew my mind.
Big Mike
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Offline Neon Genesis

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Re: Historical Fiction?
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2012, 12:44:33 PM »
Does The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling count?

Offline DonA

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Re: Historical Fiction?
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2012, 12:50:22 PM »
I would recommend Three Day Road by Joseph Bryden.
Not helping the situation since 1979.

Offline MikeHz

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Re: Historical Fiction?
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2012, 07:20:51 PM »
Historical fiction is my favorite genera. I especially love books by Gary Jennings, such as "Aztec," which follows the life of an Aztec nobleman, and "The Journeyer," an account of the travels of Marco Polo. His writing is so vivid and dramatic that certain scenes stay with you forever.

Wilbur Smith is another good writer of historical fiction, in particular his "River God" series. (Although the last in that series dropped off so far I could not finish the second chapter.) Most of Smith's books outside that series are excellent, as well. All of his novels take place in the history of his native Africa.

Ken Follett has written some good historic fiction, including "The Pillars of the Earth," and its sequel "World Without End." He's not as good as either of the others, but these books do provide some idea of life in the Middle Ages. The first has been made into a TV mini-series, and the second will be hitting the TV later this year.

Probably the best writer of historical fiction is Patrick O'Brian, whose nautical Jack Auburn series is famous for its attention to historic accuracy. No other author puts you into the period as does O'Brian.

Of course, for a closer look at the past you can always read authors who wrote at that time. Right now, I'm reading Verne's "Michael Strogoff," one of his few non-science fiction novels, set in 19th Century Siberia.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2012, 08:31:53 PM by MikeHz »
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Offline IrishJazz

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Re: Historical Fiction?
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2012, 07:36:09 PM »
Some great historical fiction books:

"Sacred Hunger" by Barry Unsworth - an epic set during the Atlantic Slave trade

The Aubrey-Maturin series by Patrick O'Brien is fantastic from book 3 ("HMS Surprise") until about book 9, way better than average otherwise.  The movie didn't really do justice to Maturin.

There are two pretty amazing series by Dorothy Dunnett.  The Lymond Chronicles is like a highly intellectual Errol Flynn movie, but ranges across Europe during the reign of Henry VIII.  The House of Niccolo series is a bit more complex, tracing the rise of modern capitalism by following an appealing but ruthless anti-hero.  The plotting in both series is very well done, each book is self-contained while being part off a complete arc.  There is an incident in the first pages "Niccolo Rising"  the first book in the second series, that is not fully explained until the end of the eighth and last book. 

Hey Neon, I like the "Difference Engine" too, but I kept waiting for a sequel.  It ended up in the air.

"War and Peace" is one of the great works of fiction.  The latest translation is pretty good, even if it still helps to know French.


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Offline Louie

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Re: Historical Fiction?
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2012, 07:24:22 PM »
The Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson. Great books. Dip quite a bit into the birth of modern science and economics, too. Oh, and pirates. And trips around the world. And Sir Isaac Newton hunting counterfeiters. And stealing a woman from a harem.

Also contains one of my all-time favourite characters: 'Half-cocked' Jack Shaftoe, the Vagabond King.
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Offline Neon Genesis

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Re: Historical Fiction?
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2012, 08:36:14 PM »


Hey Neon, I like the "Difference Engine" too, but I kept waiting for a sequel.  It ended up in the air.

I mainly picked it up because it was a highly recommend steampunk novel and I kept meaning to read more steampunk.  I wish they would make a movie version of it. 

Offline PANTS!

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Re: Historical Fiction?
« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2012, 08:52:48 AM »
Also contains one of my all-time favourite characters: 'Half-cocked' Jack Shaftoe, the Vagabond King.

The scene where he rides into the court of Louis XIV is so awesome.
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Offline Jolimont

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Re: Historical Fiction?
« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2012, 02:58:10 AM »
Thank you for the recommendations everyone! I am downloading Quicksilver from Audible right now, turns out my husband bought it a while back, but he didn't like it so much (lack of plot in the first book) so he didn't recommend it, but I'll give it a try as I am not as interested in non-stop action as he is. It looks like the subsequent books are easier, more action and plot. The one reader I heard so far is fabulous, I really love old man English voices.

I already listened to Pillars of the Earth and World Without End and enjoyed both very much, will probably never look at cathedrals the  same way again.

Keep the recommendations coming I will try them all eventually!
« Last Edit: July 24, 2012, 03:02:55 AM by Jolimont »

 

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