Sunday, February 08, 2009

Historical fiction or fantasy or all three.

This morning, while perusing Historical novel excerpts on Helium I came across an excerpt purported to be about my beloved hometown of Gettysburg. The author called it alternative history and of course I, being me, did not hesitate to let her know I thought alternative history belonged in the "fantasy" section.

Her approach to The Battle of Gettysburg is interesting despite the errors [eg. Chancellorville instead of Chancellorsville] being a bit off putting. I did however find the notion that Lee and Longstreet "planned" a battle @ Gettysburg more than a little disconcerting. Having grown up with the battlefield as my playground I learned early that Lee had no idea Lincoln would yank command of the Army of the Potomac away from McCellan nor that Meade would immediately bring the army north.

I love historical novels and I have a particular fondness for novels centered upon Gettysburg [as witnessed by my own novel FIXIN' THINGS] but I believe that novelists have a duty to their readers to either keep available facts straight or label their novels fantasy not historical. But then again, that's just my never humble opinion.


1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:53 PM

    One of the reasons I have stayed away from historical fiction and applaud those who DO do it and do it well is the amount of responsibility to do all the necessary research and get the facts right. While it easy to "fool" a novice historian and/or the typical layman reader with less than perfect accuracy, one who DOES know their history is put off when a book does not get the historical facts straight.


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