Historical Fantasy

Jon Noble jon_p_noble at yahoo.com
Wed Sep 15 22:46:31 EDT 2004

--- Judith Ridge <Judith.Ridge at det.nsw.edu.au> wrote:

> Where does steampunk fit into this? I've recently
> read an Aussie steampunk
> novel (well, to be honest, I read half of an Aussie
> steampunk novel... More
> a reflection of my staying power than on the book,
> which was good) called
> Ichabod Hart and the Lighthouse Mystery by James
> Roy. I suppose it's
> technically an alternative history because the turn
> of the last century
> Australia it is set in is half colonised by the
> French (which damn near
> happened in real history).
> Judith

There is no fantasy in that one. Our local
Teacher-Librarian's conference was the occassion for
its book-launch  (which was actually on a launch on
Port Stevens) I read it just before that at the
conference and, being previously unaware of the
setting, had great fun in looking around me and
realising that I was sitting right where some of the
action was taking place. One Aussie historical fantasy
I read recently was Natalie Prior's "Fireworks and
Darkness" set in the 18th century in a ficticious
European country. The references to anarchists seem a
century too early, however, and that anoyed me in what
was otherwise an interesting story. James Maloney's
"Book of Lies" would also seem to be set in a
ficticious European country but the time is fairly
Sarah Douglass's series about the angels set in the
100 years war would qualify, even if she plays around
with the history, her current series also.
Tom Harlan's "Oath of Empire" series is set in a world
in which a magical oath preserves the Roman empire
into the 7th century. I haven't read the last of these
yet, but many of the events in the books parallel real
events of that era. Mohammed is one of the characters
and he has some of the experiences that in our world
gave rise to Islam, but there are also significant
differences. So far there are no Christians, however
the Cathars make a cameo appearance a few centuries
early, which I suspect is significant.


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