Tag: READING LIST

The Accursed Kings, Part I

Epic medieval saga? Check. Long delay between books? Check. Lavish TV adaptation? Check. The Accursed Kings was everything I wanted for a post-Game of Thrones / pre-Winds of Winter fix

When a new English translation of The Accursed Kings series of historical novels was issued in 2013, George R. R. Martin contributed the foreword. He called it “the original game of thrones.” It’s easy to see the connection. Political machinations. Sexy intrigue with murderous results. Feudal families clashing, their bonds tested and frayed.

While the events of The Accursed Kings, taking place in France over the first half of the 14th century, are in the history books, it’s author Maurice Druon’s particular telling that makes it so influential.

But the big question is, does it fill the Game of Thrones shaped void in your heart?


Reading List: 5 Fantasy Novels Ripped from History’s Headlines

Works of fantasy are often most compelling for what they have to say about our world. Despite being set in entirely imaginary worlds, some of my favourite fantasy stories have a close relationship to real historical settings and events. They’re “ripped from old headlines,” if you will.

Perhaps most famously, George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, and in particular the first novel, A Game of Thrones, has many parallels to England’s War of the Roses. Here are 5 more examples of fantasy novels with a close relation to history.


The 19th Century Hollow Earth Craze

A fun idea but, like everything else these days, ruined racism and Nazis.

One of the great things about scouring sites like Project Gutenberg for free e-books of old speculative fiction, is that you can get a window onto out-there ideas written by respected authors. Perhaps the best example is Journey to the Centre of the Earth, by Jules Verne. This classic is an example of the  “Hollow Earth” theory in action. Hollow Earth proponents expounded that there was a vast subterranean world beneath the Earth’s outer layer. Verne’s fiction envisioned a realm large enough to contain underground seas.

This wasn’t just a one-off story idea or short-lived crackpot fad. In the 19th century, it was a semi-serious theory and it resulted in some truly fun and imaginative fiction.


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