The SF Signal Podcast (Episode 248): Comics, Games, Bad Book Habits, Historical Accuracy in Fantasy and A Book That Turned Out To Be Unexpected

In episode 248 of the SF Signal Podcast Patrick Hester, Sarah Chorn, Paul Weimer, Fred Kiesche, Django Wexler, and Jeff Patterson, discuss a grab-bag of topics.

The Panel & Links:

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Featuring original music by John Anealio

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2 thoughts on “The SF Signal Podcast (Episode 248): Comics, Games, Bad Book Habits, Historical Accuracy in Fantasy and A Book That Turned Out To Be Unexpected”

  1. I enjoyed the podcast, but I thought you guys missed the point slightly in the discussion of ‘historical accuracy’ in fantasy, which I was looking forward to.

    For me, and as you said, it’s not important that the history is exactly like the history of earth, down to the names of kings–this is fantasy, and unless you are writing explicitly historical fantasy (i.e. alternate history), you are supposed to change things. What bothers me (and, I think, other people) is when things don’t seem to be anachronistic even in terms of the created fantasy universe. Of course, we judge this based on our own history. Technological, social and medical advances that are ‘out of place’ will be jarring to the reader and there should be some acknowedgement of it. Equally, hundreds of years of stagnation have to be explained as well. Otherwise, it’s lazy worldbuilding, and that affects the overall story.

    There are examples throughout the history of fantasy, starting with the Shire itself, which seems to be an almost 19th C enclave in a 10th C world, replete with pocket handkerchiefs. Fine, we all love the Shire, but it’s something a world builder should be aware of. Similarly a lot of people like to mash archetypes from hundreds of years apart (eg ‘vikings’ and a ‘renaissance’ fencer) together. This is also fun, but, for me there has to be at least some explanation why one society, obviously in commerce with the other, hasn’t adapted some of the advantages of the other. Glass windows in lowly farmhouses–this wasn’t even common in the American West. Etc.

    Of course, you can go the other way and be far too close to the source material, with thinly disguised analogues of historical figures, which also bugs us history nerds. Basically, anything that throws you out of the story is obviously bad, and everyone has a different threshold for those triggers. My love of history is part of why I like fantasy, and I just think it’s lazy when authors don’t do a bit of research and consider these things. Makes the story richer.

    Sorry to go on so long. Love the shows. Thanks!

  2. comics for Fred: Scott McCloud – Understanding comics, a academic look at comics in the form of a comic

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