DWJ's answers: Harry Potter

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at indigo.ie
Sun Sep 2 16:20:24 EDT 2001


Melissa:


>A fantasy set in a Regency-era culture would be something that isn't in our
>world, but which is at the same level of technology as Europe/England was
>during the Regency period.  More broadly--since the Regency period
>technically lasted about 20 years--I'd say 1790 to 1830 or 1835.
>Technologically, it would be on the brink of mechanization; educationally it
>would be balanced between reason and superstition; sociologically there
>would be a thriving middle class, non-feudal (or at least no more feudal
>than Jane Austen).  The government might be a monarchy, but the ruler's
>power would be non-absolute.  And any of these things might be untrue--for
>example, you might have an absolute monarchy--but anything that was
>different would be affected by the presence of the other elements.  For
>example, an absolute monarchy has a different effect on a society where
>money rather than noble birth can determine status.  Dorian mentioned
>Barbara Hambly's Windrose Chronicles, which are a pretty good example of one
>variation on this theme.  I really like _Stranger at the Wedding_ as well,
>though I recall I didn't really *love* it until about halfway through.

I really liked it too, and luckily, you picked one (of the few, 
probably) I've read as an example. :)

>
>A Regency fantasy, despite the similar wording, means a story about the
>Regency era of our own world, only with magic.  Either an alternate
>universe, an alternate history, or whatever.  Events, personalities, and
>places are all as they are in our world, but there's magic or faerie or
>something else that makes it a fantasy.  This could range from "the magic
>people *thought* worked at that time actually does" like gypsy curses, hedge
>witchery, etc., or it could be full-blown high fantasy superimposed on our
>world's history.  I haven't read Wrede's _Mairelon the Magician_ yet, but I
>just got it from the library, but I think it's an example of this second
>kind.  To my memory, this is also what _Sorcery and Cecilia_ is.

Ok.  I get it.  But I can't remember for sure whether S&C and the 
Mairelons are specifically tied into our own world.  While most 
straight Regencies (following Heyer's example, no doubt!) are 
littered with references to the events and personalities of the times.

>
>>The one I found really, really disappointing was _Shadow of Albion_
>>by Andre Norton and Rosemary Edgehill.  I saw it on Amazon shortly
>>after reading S&C and the Mairelon books and was so excited at the
>>idea of another Regency/fantasy.  You lot have got me well and truly
>>trained not to use the "B-word" about a book, (and it got 4 stars
>>from 12 reviews on Amazon, so some people obviously like it!), but I
>>*didn't*.  At all.  Had I seen what RE had to say about it in an
>>author's review, I might have expected less:  "James Bond meets Jane
>>Austen in a Regency that never was".
>
>Eeek.  I'm frightened now.  :)

Be afraid.  Be very afraid...

>
>I hate being disappointed by books.  Last night, having nothing better to do
>with my time, and with Alexlit permanently disabled as far as my account
>goes (nobody knows why, Jacob can't fix it, they can't fix it, so who
>knows?) not to mention that it's not recommending anything I want to read, I
>used the Amazon.com recommendation feature.  It's not great--what am I
>saying, it's barely useful--but I went through it three times sorting out
>books to see if it would come up with anything new.  Sometimes I got very
>excited about titles only to see that they were VERY poorly rated, the
>excerpts were awful, and they were just plain GENERIC.  Which ought to be a
>swear word as far as books go.

:)  But - I must say in defence of Amazon's recommendations - I 
discovered _To Say Nothing of the Dog_ from them.  So if I never got 
one other decent recommendation, I'd consider myself in debt to them 
forever.  Hey - *and* _Crown Duel_ - that was another Amazon winner!


Hallie.


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