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I did nothing I should have done yesterday because I read such a good book. It's a fantasy for teens: Gullstruck Island by Frances Hardinge. I much prefer teen/young adult fantasy books because they're so much more inventive and imaginative than most adult fantasy books. Most adult fantasies have the same old themes of magic, elves, "Evil Ones/Dark Lords," quests, wars, etc.

This book takes place on a large island with volcanoes, which are given names and human characteristics by the inhabitants. The inhabitants are tribes with a ruling class originally from a people who came from another continent. The protaganists are from one tribe that was once the most powerful in the land but is now mistrusted and despised. The inhabitants communicate by means of The Lost, people who can temporarily separate their senses from their bodies and thus journey all over. This book is about one of The Lost and her family and tribe. I think there is some homage to New Zealand in this book.

I'm interested in how the subjects of both non-fiction and novels reflect the times within which they are written.

I mentioned before that there are more books about Scotland around, especially the Wars of Independence from the English. I think that may be because Scotland is seeking independence. I wonder if the English are also affirming their nationhood with books on Saxons fighting against Danes and stories of resistance to the Normans, particularly under Hereward the Wake. There are also lots of books about the Crusades, which I attribute to the current threat of Islam to Western civilisation. I'm not sure about all the books on Rome: harking back to a great Western empire? And of course Arthurian legend is reinterpreted constantly. Why? Because Arthur was a great King and united a land at war against an enemy and against itself? Because there is the promise of his return? Because he was the light before the darkness fell? But Arthurian legend is also tragic and dark.

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( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
greek_amazon
Sep. 6th, 2011 03:51 am (UTC)
Most adult fantasies have the same old themes of magic, elves, "Evil Ones/Dark Lords," quests, wars, etc.


I think this is the problem I'm having with Game of Thrones at the moment, ya.

Because he was the light before the darkness fell? But Arthurian legend is also tragic and dark.

Heès also a pretty specific sort of light, especially as the stories have been... extra romanticizedover the years - he is often used as the medieval poster boy for equality.
Well, him and Robin, of course.
rusty_armour
Sep. 6th, 2011 07:33 pm (UTC)
Gullstruck Island sounds like a great book! I'm glad you enjoyed it so much! I always feel so much joy when I find books like that! :-)

I found it interesting to read the possible theories you've come up with for why non-fiction authors choose to write on certain subjects. In at least some cases, I think it may simply be that the author has a genuine fascination for a particular time period or topic.
karen9
Sep. 6th, 2011 08:17 pm (UTC)
</i>In at least some cases, I think it may simply be that the author has a genuine fascination for a particular time period or topic.</i>

Yes, of course. There are some common themes recently though, more amongst fiction writers.
rusty_armour
Sep. 7th, 2011 01:07 am (UTC)
Oh, that's true. If it's something you've seen more with fiction writers then it's probably more than just an interest in the subject.
karen9
Sep. 9th, 2011 07:21 am (UTC)
I've thought of another reason for common themes. One author writes on a particular theme or period. It proves popular so other writers jump on the badnwagon. e.g. Historical mysteries proliferated after Ellis Peters, the author of the Cadfael novels, died.
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