A while ago I wrote a post about sci fi and fantasy writing being overlooked when it comes to critical acclaim. There seems to me to be some snobbery around these genres as being somehow less worthy than others, as illustrated by my previous mention of a certain publishing house featuring the following image on their website:
However,it struck me recently when reading a historical novel, that books set in a historical period have a number of similarities to fantasy novels. The world of even as recently as 100 years ago seems quite alien to the youth of the 21st Century, never mind the world of 500 years ago, or 1000 years, or even more. Epic tales about Kings and Queens, legendary warriors, survival against the odds and wars that last centuries – they sound like the stuff of fantasy novels, but in fact they can just as easily be rooted in our own history. There have been some great novels in recent years, aimed at all ages, set in ancient Rome and Greece, feudal China, Tudor England, medieval Europe…. The way of life for these characters is so different to our own that it is as easy to lose yourself in the strange world they inhabit as it is to emerse yourself in Middle Earth. Becoming lost in another world is something I have always loved about reading, whether the story is wholly fictitious or has a basis in historical fact. Dont get me wrong, I’m not a particularly huge fan of novels that feature unicorns, but it seems to me that people who love a good historical novel should love a certain style of good fantasy writing just as much.