Author Topic: Historical Fiction?  (Read 3833 times)

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Offline Johnny Slick

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Re: Historical Fiction?
« Reply #15 on: August 11, 2012, 05:50:10 AM »
Because the book that I'm writing is a historical mystery, when I went to the Pacific Northwest Writers' Conference a couple weeks ago I attended the seminar run by this guy:

http://www.amazon.com/C.-C.-Humphreys/e/B001HMLPHC/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1344678482&sr=1-1

Admittedly I haven't actually read any of his stuff yet, but he was a pretty neat listen. Honestly, although this is what I'm writing, I don't really read a lot of historical fiction. I read a lot of fiction and a crap-ton of history but not the cross-genre stuff so much for whatever reason.
Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day.

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Offline Tatyana

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Re: Historical Fiction?
« Reply #16 on: August 11, 2012, 07:05:25 AM »
I really loved Phillipa Gregory's 'The Other Boleyn Girl'.


Offline bozothedeathmachine

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Re: Historical Fiction?
« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2012, 02:47:00 AM »
I've read trilogies based on Atilla (William Napier) and Genghis Khan (Conn Iggulden). Evidently I had a fancy for Mongolian conquerors for a while. Both have their moments, but I think I prefer the Iggulden series. However, it's also the one I've read more recently and I can't remember a lot of the details about the Atilla books. To continue my conqueror motif, I also have one based on Hannibal I haven't started yet.

Bernard Cromwell has tons of historical fiction. I have several historical fiction books in his Saxon series. Those are in my queue too.



Offline IrishJazz

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Re: Historical Fiction?
« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2012, 10:58:26 AM »
I really loved Phillipa Gregory's 'The Other Boleyn Girl'.

Really?  I thought the narrative was sleek and semi-interesting, but I hated the way the book was written.  At one point whats-her-name Boleyn is riding on a carriage and the writer says that there are broken wheels left by the side of the road.  In a world where everything is handmade, nobody is going to leave a wheel- with carved, reusable spokes- just lying there.  There was something like that every couple of pages that took me out of the book.  (I recognize that this is a minority opinion.  There was enough sex and politics in it for anyone, but even that stuff seemed a bit anachronistic.)

Hillary Mantel's "Wolf Hall" - which covers the same period- is a far more sophisticated alternative.

Re: Bozo the Death Machine.... Cromwell's Sharpe series is also worth checking out.  The TV show with Sean Bean was mostly pretty good as well- although the one that took place in India is horrible. (It was filmed about a decade after the rest, when the cast was farther into middle age and apparently the best writers were not available.)
"When a dirty fighter realizes he has no legs left, he aims low." - Jennifer McDonald, NYTimes book review

Offline teethering

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Re: Historical Fiction?
« Reply #19 on: August 22, 2012, 11:05:07 AM »
I would also add Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe novels to the list.  I am thoroughly enjoying them.

Another excellent book (thanks Louie!) is The Physician by Noah Gordon.

Offline MikeHz

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Re: Historical Fiction?
« Reply #20 on: August 22, 2012, 03:45:26 PM »
Another good series of historical nautical novels is C. S. Forester's Hornblower series, which follows Horatio Hornblower through his career from midshipman to admiral in the Napoleonic era British Navy.
"It's easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled." Mark Twain

Offline Green Ideas

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Re: Historical Fiction?
« Reply #21 on: August 22, 2012, 03:59:41 PM »
Gore Vidal's Creation is one of the most fascinating books I've ever read.

Quote
The story follows the adventures of a fictional "Cyrus Spitama", an Achaemenid Persian diplomat of the 5th century BCE who travels the known world comparing the political and religious beliefs of various nation states of the time. Over the course of his life, he meets many influential philosophical figures of his time, including Zoroaster, Socrates, the Buddha, Mahavira, Lao Tsu, and Confucius.

[...]

The story is related in the first person as recalled to his Greek great-nephew Democritus. Cyrus's recollection is said to be motivated in part by his desire to set the record straight following the publication by Herodotus of an account of the Greco-Persian wars.

Offline rreppy

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Re: Historical Fiction?
« Reply #22 on: August 22, 2012, 10:42:03 PM »
I'll second the raves for the Horatio Hornblower series and the Patrick O'Brian novels; good, swashbuckling stuff. I also recommend the book "1864", in which the South wins the Civil War.
The true strength of a people is best shown in how they treat the most defenseless among them.

Offline IrishJazz

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Re: Historical Fiction?
« Reply #23 on: August 23, 2012, 09:19:41 AM »
I'll second the raves for the Horatio Hornblower series and the Patrick O'Brian novels; good, swashbuckling stuff. I also recommend the book "1864", in which the South wins the Civil War.

Does a counter-factual book count as historical fiction? 

The O'Brien books are kind of the "Dark Knight" to the original "Batman" movie.  (The first of which was "The Dark Knight compared to the rest, which were "The Dark Knight" compared to "Batman and Robin.")  Sometimes you can come up with a high-flying allegory and follow it all the way down into the ground.
"When a dirty fighter realizes he has no legs left, he aims low." - Jennifer McDonald, NYTimes book review

Offline teethering

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Re: Historical Fiction?
« Reply #24 on: August 24, 2012, 12:22:21 PM »
I'll second the raves for the Horatio Hornblower series and the Patrick O'Brian novels; good, swashbuckling stuff. I also recommend the book "1864", in which the South wins the Civil War.

Does a counter-factual book count as historical fiction? 

The O'Brien books are kind of the "Dark Knight" to the original "Batman" movie.  (The first of which was "The Dark Knight compared to the rest, which were "The Dark Knight" compared to "Batman and Robin.")  Sometimes you can come up with a high-flying allegory and follow it all the way down into the ground.

What are you basing this on?  I've picked up the Aubrey-Maturin series precisely because it has a reputation as a meticulously historically accurate depiction of the era and the events, with the obvious insertion of the main fictional protagonists.

Offline IrishJazz

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Re: Historical Fiction?
« Reply #25 on: August 24, 2012, 12:52:09 PM »
I'll second the raves for the Horatio Hornblower series and the Patrick O'Brian novels; good, swashbuckling stuff. I also recommend the book "1864", in which the South wins the Civil War.

Does a counter-factual book count as historical fiction? 

The O'Brien books to Hornblower are kind of the "Dark Knight" to the original "Batman" movie.  (The first of which was "The Dark Knight compared to the rest, which were "The Dark Knight" compared to "Batman and Robin.")  Sometimes you can come up with a high-flying allegory and follow it all the way down into the ground.

What are you basing this on?  I've picked up the Aubrey-Maturin series precisely because it has a reputation as a meticulously historically accurate depiction of the era and the events, with the obvious insertion of the main fictional protagonists.

I was responding to the final sentence in your post (bolded.)  The O'Brien books are meticulous to a fault.

Then I left out two critical words in the next paragraph (added above in red.)  So basically I put a confusing post that made no sense.  Hopefully the clarification and correction helps. 
"When a dirty fighter realizes he has no legs left, he aims low." - Jennifer McDonald, NYTimes book review

Offline teethering

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Re: Historical Fiction?
« Reply #26 on: August 24, 2012, 01:07:50 PM »
I'll second the raves for the Horatio Hornblower series and the Patrick O'Brian novels; good, swashbuckling stuff. I also recommend the book "1864", in which the South wins the Civil War.

Does a counter-factual book count as historical fiction? 

The O'Brien books to Hornblower are kind of the "Dark Knight" to the original "Batman" movie.  (The first of which was "The Dark Knight compared to the rest, which were "The Dark Knight" compared to "Batman and Robin.")  Sometimes you can come up with a high-flying allegory and follow it all the way down into the ground.

What are you basing this on?  I've picked up the Aubrey-Maturin series precisely because it has a reputation as a meticulously historically accurate depiction of the era and the events, with the obvious insertion of the main fictional protagonists.

I was responding to the final sentence in your post (bolded.)  The O'Brien books are meticulous to a fault.

Then I left out two critical words in the next paragraph (added above in red.)  So basically I put a confusing post that made no sense.  Hopefully the clarification and correction helps.

Oh ok, makes sense now.

Offline MikeHz

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Re: Historical Fiction?
« Reply #27 on: August 24, 2012, 02:31:54 PM »
The Hornblower books are pretty much Napoleonic nautical version of Star Trek. This is not by accident. Roddenberry liked the novels and based the Kirk character on Hornblower (who was based on Horatio Nelson).

Forester's writing style is not as lush or thick as O'Brian's (who was certainly influenced by the earlier series), but is more action based. For some readers, the Hornblower books flow better.
"It's easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled." Mark Twain

 

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