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Old May 18th, 2016, 07:27 PM   #31

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Originally Posted by kazeuma View Post
4. it usual thing of Hero meets history maker and finds him incompetent, hero does all the real history making, history maker takes the credit.
Agreed. The last battle Cornwall's Last Kingdom is a particularly annoying example - it portrays a successful real commander as cowardly, incompetent, and taking credit for a victory won by the fictional protagonist.

Another thing that bothers me is turning historical figures into villains. The Titanic movie's portrayal of First Officer Murdoch or Cinderella Man's portrayal of boxer Max Baer.
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Old June 30th, 2016, 08:32 PM   #32

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Personally I have absolutely no problem with characters being portrayed accurate to their times, even if that makes them somewhat unlikable. It makes me respect the writer for not shying away from some uncomfortable truths, and it also adds a lot of authenticity to the world. For example, in HBO's 'Rome' both main characters were average legionaries and owned and traded in slaves, but that was the norm back then, and it didn't automatically make them 100% evil people, because there were a lot of other things about their personalities that made them likable and sympathetic.

It just depends on how good the writer is, in my opinion.
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Old July 3rd, 2016, 08:14 AM   #33

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I don't mind well-written historical fiction, it's when they take massive liberties I have issues.
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Old July 3rd, 2016, 08:42 AM   #34

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My only bug is when fiction writers try to claim the same levels of credibility and veracity as proper Historians.
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Old August 5th, 2016, 12:35 PM   #35
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I remember my mother, who was a girl during World War 2 ,complaining how in war films the characters were drinking tea as if it wasn't rationed.
I've tried reading a novel set during The Blitz, which I just couldn't force myself to finish. And also noticed how tea seemed in abundance in said book.
Could also mention how just at a crucial moment in the story a ceiling or wall would fall on someone as if the Luftwaffe knew exactly when to strike.
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Old August 25th, 2016, 03:48 PM   #36

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Anyone read Victor Davis Hanson's "The End of Sparta"?

He's a great non-fiction writer. I believe this was his first attempt at a novel.

I found it rather difficult to read - for the exact opposite reason of the original poster's complaint. Hanson tries to get inside the mind of his characters, and have them think, act and talk like he imagines they must have behaved at Leuctra in 379 BC.

I admire his attempt, but it doesn't make for enjoyable reading.
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Old August 25th, 2016, 05:06 PM   #37

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Originally Posted by jackydee View Post
I do enjoy reading historical fiction. However, I do have one major issue with much of it. That is the tendency to place modern thinking men in the minds of historical characters. Has anyone read C.J. Sansom? His books are very enjoyable. They are more murder mystery types rather than historical accounts of famous people. Yet famous people do get introduced. It's Sansom's(and others) tendency to place the intellectual mind of their main participants as enlightened figures that infuriates me. The hero of Sansom's novels is a lawyer named Matthew Shardlake. Shardlake has very few prejudices of his time; he's almost an enlightenment figure transported back to Tudor times. Are there any historical novels which do not suffer from this annoying habit? If so, can you name them.

What do you find annoying about historical fiction?
Yeah I hate that too. Pride of Carthage did this at times. So much cringe.
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Old April 27th, 2017, 09:57 AM   #38
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I really like the first person "confessional" biographical fiction, like C. W. Gortner's work. Since I know coming in that the character telling the story is going to be biased in their account, I'm willing to put up with some creative retelling of the truth.

I recently read an "Inspirational Historical Fiction" and the author several times referred to Marie Antoinette as "The Empress of the French." It wasn't a self-published book, so I can't see how an editor let that pass, several times. That was probably the one thing that bothered me the most over my years of reading HF.
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Old April 30th, 2017, 12:44 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by Lord Oda Nobunaga View Post
Yeah I hate that too. Pride of Carthage did this at times. So much cringe.
I agree, that having historical characters with essentially modern views and thinking is jarring in historical fiction.

However, in fiction you often want the reader to empathize with the main character, and it is hard to do if the character had truly alien thinking, as many historical characters would actually have. Perhaps a way to get around that is to have the main character as an outsider, so they can view the other characters with an outsider (i.e., modern reader) viewpoint.
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Old May 24th, 2017, 02:57 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Tercios Espanoles View Post
Patrick O'Brien springs to mind. His protaganist Aubrey is a philandering, gambling, drinking man, who enjoys a good cock fight as much as the next man.
I agree, not only Aubrey but Maturin too is a convincing character, a complex mix of an Enlightenment natural historian and liberal, with an attachment to his Catholic heritage (in both Ireland and Spain), and a lethal duellist.
On the other hand on my view some other 'nautical' authors (Alexander Kent, Dudley Pope) do give me the impression of modern minds in 18th century bodies.
As for Shardlake, I do agree he does rather stand out, but his motivation for his attitudes is in a way of his time - weariness with the intolerance he sees all around. After all we are not that long before Montaigne, similar in some ways.
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