Skip to main content

View Diary: Bookflurries-Bookchat: Weaving a World for Readers (191 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  One of my major concerns, also (16+ / 0-)

    I get upset when someone totally makes up a story about a famous person where there is very little known.

    Just make up a fiction story with a different name for the person, I say.  

    Thank you for another great post about something I really get up tight about.

    I think it has been abused a lot.

    I like to check for the books used for research when I first open a book.

    One lady even dropped a daughter out of the heroine's life and that really upset me.  I guess the other child just did not fit the narrative in the writer's head.

    Join us at Bookflurries-Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

    by cfk on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 05:19:58 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  They remind me of the "docudramas" that were (15+ / 0-)

      in vogue some years back. People would watch them on TV and become instant experts based on a fictional recounting of an actual event.

    •  I am OK with the same name being used (17+ / 0-)

      as long as it's made clear that it's fiction.

      Cryptonomicon is one of my favorite novels. Lots of real people (Turing, Churchill, Goering etc). They behave in ways that strike me as true to their character. But no evidence that those exact words or actions took place. Indeed, some of them surely did not.

      But it's a novel.

      •  Oh, but he did his research. (11+ / 0-)

        I didn't read Cryptonomicon, but the trilogy, and once you get to the Jack & Eliza stuff, it's a lot of fun.

        But while I'm sure he invented a lot of stuff vis a vis the real people in the novels, he did his research well enough that it was all plausible.

        Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

        by Youffraita on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 05:49:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Cryptonomicon's one of my favorite novels (6+ / 0-)

        The real-life characters were so well drawn that I ended up assuming some fictional characters (notably Lawrence Waterhouse) were historical figures, too.

        I recently reread The Winds of War and War and Remembrance, and was very impressed with the portrayals  there of Churchill, top Nazis, some generals. I don't know how many of the incidents in the book really took place but no one who wasn't in the room could have lain them out in such detail. Given Wouk's obviously thorough research, though, I had no trouble trusting that he got it right.

        "I am sure of very little, and I shouldn't be surprised if those things were wrong." Clarence Darrow

        by scilicet on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 08:19:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  i liked cryptnomicon A LOT... (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        scilicet, cfk, Brecht, P Carey, RiveroftheWest

        and snowcrash is riding high on my pile of tbr....

        Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. - Gandalf the Grey

        by No Exit on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 07:45:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  if you like ebooks and haven't read his Reamde yet (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cfk, No Exit, Brecht, P Carey, RiveroftheWest

          it's available everywhere for $2.99 till the end of the month. (In print it's over 1000 pages long, so this is a great price.) I loved Reamde, liked it much better than Snow Crash, Anathem or Quicksilver, though not as much as Crytonomicon. I loved that it was complicated but never confusing, unfolding in several countries with distinct casts of characters that came together at the end. I thought it was extraordinarily well crafted--the kind of thriller that needs to be 100% tight to work, and it definitely worked. And speaking of creating new worlds, Stephenson created an impressive one within a (made up) computer game.

          "I am sure of very little, and I shouldn't be surprised if those things were wrong." Clarence Darrow

          by scilicet on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 09:40:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Cryptomomicon is the only one ive read... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Brecht, cfk, RiveroftheWest

            i am still holding off on ereaders...  for some reason i prefer adding more bookshelves.  i have read some books on my iPad from Gutenberg press; most memorably an Oscar Wilde play about an Englishman who is blackmailed into throwing his support publicly behind a canal scheme in Central America which is essentially a pyramid scheme type swindle.

            Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. - Gandalf the Grey

            by No Exit on Thu Aug 22, 2013 at 11:02:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  How Coincidental That You Should Say This (10+ / 0-)

      I just finished The Corpse Reader by Antonio Garrido, which is historical fiction based on the actual person Ci Song, the purported Father of Forensic Medicine.

      At the end of the novel Garrido engages in a long afterward ranging over exactly this issue -- the concept of the historical novel.

      He discusses the three typologies described by Umberto Eco:

      1) The romantic novel w/ historical setting where both characters and background are fictitious but appear to have lived in the time.  Bernard Cornwell's Warlord Chronicles novels are the example.

      2) Eco's "cloak and dagger"novels wherein historically real characters are placed in fictional situations that never occurred.  Think Scott, Dumas, and Tolstoy.

      3) And "real" historical fiction in which fictitious characters act in historically veracious situations.  Eco's books are this kind.  The kind of stories I like best.

      Garrido says that the best historical fiction occurs when the fiction is plausible -- characters should think, feel and act according to what we know about them and their lives and times but not be restricted to what is known about them.  Otherwise you end up with a poor biography or essay.

      Historical fiction is interesting when the novels "claim the history of the everyday". . .the pain, sickness, joys, and dreams of people rather than just the glory of the battles and documented events.

      So, if you're going to write about the first forensic "pathologist," you must be faithful to the techniques he used --  his process, procedure, analysis, instruments, and materials.  While there has to be room for dramatic license, you can't go and make that stuff up.

      Use the imagination, don't abuse it.

      Readers & Book Lovers Pull up a chair! You're never too old to be a Meta Groupie

      by Limelite on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 07:41:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks!! (6+ / 0-)

        What is worrisome is when an author picks say an artist and then writes as if some of the things are known that are not known...say that he cheats on his wife or his wife is a shrew or that he slept with his model just because that has happened often in the times to other artists.

        I say if we don't know that really happened, it is a smear on the person.

        That is when I wish the author would just write a fiction story of a painter and not name him.  It would still take good research and be interesting, but it wouldn't smear the poor artist.

        But Garrido's points are excellent for historical fiction as long as we know it is fiction...thanks for sharing them!

        Join us at Bookflurries-Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

        by cfk on Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 07:52:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  This ... (6+ / 0-)
        Historical fiction is interesting when the novels "claim the history of the everyday". . .the pain, sickness, joys, and dreams of people rather than just the glory of the battles and documented events.
        This is why we need historical fiction, I think (and my other love, archaeology). "Real" history too often leaves out everyday life--and women! To me, everyday life is what matters.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site