[LMB] TSR sequel

James Nicoll jdnicoll at panix.com
Tue Feb 15 19:40:08 GMT 2011


On Tue, 15 Feb 2011, Elizabeth Holden wrote:

>
> --- On Tue, 2/15/11, James Nicoll <jdnicoll at panix.com> wrote:
>
>> For some reason in some secondary world fantasies historial
>> patterns are so fixed that you can e.g. introduce domesticated dragons
>> at the dawn of history and thousands of years later the changes
>> still have not been enough to keep the Beast of Corsica from being
>> born (or for that matter, from having Franco-British rivalries play
>> out as they did in our time)
>
> Well, *of course*.  And I know you well enough to know you are not so 
> naive as to imagine that human nature works in such a way that anyone 
> would write about the world that would really exist in such a case, 
> assuming such a reality were imaginable, or that anyone would want to 
> read it.
>
> The trick to fiction is making it feel real when it's anything but. 
> It's taking what we know and making it different. So we crib from 
> history and even other novels.  Elizabeth Bennett gets to meet zombies, 
> Hermione goes to Hogwarts even though her father's a Muggle, and 
> Temeraire fights the good fight in recognizable style.

The second one is not the same at the others.

For some of us, "our history plus something that should have but did not 
completely change it" is a WSOD-killer.

And while I am at it, please please end the [Famous Novel or historical 
figure]: Monster Killer before we get to Ann Frank: Scourge of the Shinma 
[2].

>> In later books, Kitchener is suddenly Berlin, almost as
>> though the author got a number of letters on this point.
>
> LOL.  Well, why not?  But if I were him, I'd have postulated another man 
> named Kitchener, with a different history, and have kept the name.

Or he could just do his research a little better. Locals of (insert place 
name here) are notoriously touchy about stuff like this - see the Brits 
commenting various characters in BLACKOUT/ALL CLEAR waiting for 
underground lines that won't be built for another decade or two, or the 
curious absence of cell-phone technology [1] from 21st century Britain.

His Kitchener also seems to be oddly Mennonite-poor. It's not like you see 
red triangles on every road but it's a famously distinctive part of the 
local culture and you'd think in all the pages set here at least one 
bonnet would turn up but they don't. In the plus side, neither does polka 
music.


1: Also, and this is really odd, there are no revolving doors in the UK 
anymore. The technology was so completely erased a time traveller is 
helpless when she encounters one. In her defense, the time travellers in 
that series are remarkably unskilled at anything but bad communication and 
pointless fretting.

2: True story: I overheard some kids discussing someone who I eventually 
realized was a confused blend of Ann Frank and Helen Keller; in their 
version Haenlnen Kferlalneker managed to escape Nazi-occupied Europe on 
her own despite being blind, deaf and mute.





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