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Old November 2nd, 2015, 10:14 AM   #1
Joined: Oct 2015
From: Beyond the Pale
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Whats your opinion on historical fiction that borders on low fantasy?

By this I mean novels like "The Lions of Al-Rassan" and pretty much anything by Guy Gavriel Kay, stories that are just historical fiction without the limiting trappings of having to be in actual existing places and time periods*.

*The above book is obviously based on a time and place mirroring the Reconquista, with references to "Kalifs" and cultures which are just Arabic Muslims, European Christians and Shephardi Jews hidden under a thin veil of fictionalism
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Old November 30th, 2015, 12:03 PM   #2
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Would you include, as i think your name suggests, A Song of Ice and Fire?
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Old November 30th, 2015, 04:42 PM   #3
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Wait that's not what you mean is it.
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Old January 25th, 2016, 07:56 AM   #4

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Joined: Jan 2012
From: South Midlands in Britain
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Most historical novels can be called fantasy as very few authors actually research the period they are writing about. An historical novel which does not reflect fully the period in which it is written is so much rubbish. This makes a properly written historical novel far more valuable.
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Old February 13th, 2016, 03:56 AM   #5

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If it doesn't take place in our world. It's fantasy. It might be realistic and very closely parallel to ours but still fantasy. This can include fantastic worlds with aspect impossible in our reality. Magic, fairies, orcs, dragons. It can also just be a realistic world like ours but different with nations and cultures that don't exist. Tolkien, Eddings, Martin write fantasy. Anything that pretends to be historical but includes Magic/dragons/ zombies are fantasy.

Historical fiction takes place in OUR history, and may alter details and facts to suit the plot but not much. It either plays fast and loose with historical people's lives OR interjects fictional characters into historical events. Bernard Cornwell writes historical fiction.

Related, but distinct I feel, to historical fiction are the alternative history novels. Maybe then cross the fantasy/historical/Sci Fi divide. These are basically realistic history with a point of divergence from which the author fantasizes a new history. A story set in a world in which Germany won ww2 or one where India colonised the US first for example. Harry Turtledove is the prime example.
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