Part the One Hundred Fifty Third is now up, and may be read here.
Monthly Archives: June 2009
Part the One Hundred Fifty Second is now up, and may be read here.
Part the One Hundred Fifty First is now up, and may be read here.
On a personal note, congratulations Jamie! My son, the elementary school grad…
Part the One Hundred Fiftieth is now up, and may be read here.
Maybe I shoulda brought a cake…
Part the One Hundred Forty Ninth is now up, and may be read here.
According to today’s New York Times, there’s a perceived shortage of historians out there that look at history traditionally (i.e., via official records at court and via the memos from the ministry) being squeezed out by non-traditional scholars (that is, the ones that look at history as perceived by folks who didn’t keep such records). For those wanting to use the established standards the sides flocked to specifically mentioned in the article, it’s the folks doing diplomatic and economic history losing out to women’s history.
So of course, how could the strugle unfoldwithout a comment from this port?
As the proud owner of a Bachelors Degree in History received at a time when the mix was different, geared more towards traditional approaches, I have to say now what I did then: Can’t you guys get along better?
Sure, there may be stories that had been passed down in only one manner from then to now, but does that mean we can’t allow another perspective? And this applies to both sides; a social history may need to make room for official documented accounts to round out the narrative as well.
This of course is more than just a dry academic turf battle; those writing historic fiction also have a say in the fight. A writer who wants to be fully immersed in the setting in order to produce the best book possible (cf. Mary Doria Russell’s comments at io9.com) needs as many sources to draw on as possible, from as many perspectives as can be handled, in order to make the environment as accessable as possible to the reader. Staying only within one camp’s purview is going to leave that writer poorer in producing the work.
Close at hand example: I’m not sure I could have a book where we just state that the heroes are pirates, and that their enemies hate them. The enemies of pirates are figures of authority; in fact, most of them ARE the authorities. But what are they defending? When these folks assume their offices and take up their tasks, what are they doing it for? A social historian without a sense of the mechanism of state is going to have hell explaining these folks’ motivations.
Likewise, without knowing the social life of the folks in the setting, we don’t have a sense of what motivates them. Sure, we have a good idea of what motivates all people throughout time, but some options may be more readily obvious than others depending on the time. Trying to write about the Baroque Age without a sense of what was more likely to be on people’s minds makes it difficult to come up with people behaving in a realistic manner for the time.
I always feel that the broader the background, the better. Never limit yourself, especially if you’re going to have Clio the muse taking up shotgun on your work…
Part the One Hundred Forty Eighth is now up, and may be read here.
So I’ve got a moment to try and gather myself, catching up on correspondence, when I find a link at Brad Guigar’s EVIL INC. for MARVEL SUPERHEROES WHAT THE–?! #3: The Problem With Pirates… If you have problems seeing Modok or the Punisher trying on pirate garb, or problems seeing Howard the Duck period, there might be reason enough not to hit that link…
[EDIT: The big joke here is that Modok is pirating what he calls “chick flicks,” the writers believing that going for such booty would be the last thing a pirate would want. Apparently that assumption’s wrong…]
Of course, it gets the mind to wander (he said getting ready to go off again…): You’d think, all things considered, that there’d be more pirates in comics. Colorful adventures by people who dressed colorfully (if we set the tale during the Golden Age of Piracy) seems a natural. The boards at Comic Book Resources have a thread about pirates in comics that makes some great recommendations and supports this theory, though there are a few others not given there that deserve some note:
* THE WANNABE PIRATES by Largent & McCraryis a twice weekly online strip detailing the adventures of a crew with great ambitions but not a lot of talent. Both of our crews first set sail online very close to one another, but that’s all they’re likely to share; somehow I can’t see a parley between Errol Flemm and Abigail Sanders going that well…
* HERE THERE BE ROBOTS by Jonah and Jeremy Gregory is the story of two aliens visiting Earth in the present, who become pirates in the Carib after an accident sends them back in time, along with the robots whose doomsday device is responsible for the hijinks that follow. For a pirate tale with robots and aliens, it feels remarkably right.
* “Tales of the Black Freighter” from the WATCHMEN Universe by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons deserves mention if for no other reason than just its sheer audacity. Intended as a device to move along and reflect the plot of the novel, there’s enough interest out there of the piece that it gets fans separate from the main work; a reconstruction of the story as a stand alone piece has been put together on the web, and Warner Brothers gave the device a stand alone DVD treatment (with plans to incorporate it into the director’s cut of WATCHMEN this summer).
Which begs the question, where’s the rest of the Brethren of the Coast to come forth and sail the funny papers? I’m sure I must be missing something (so what else is new?), and am open to shared suggestions…
Part the One Hundred Forty Seventh is now up, and may be read here.
Part the One Hundred Forty Sixth is now up, and may be read here.
Part the One Hundred Forty Fifth is now up, and may be read here.