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June 28, 2010

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The twenties atmosphere is also, for the most part, well-done

My wife wrote a couple of outright paranormal vampire romances set in that era. She thought that, with the 1920s now being nearly a century in the Past, romance readers would finally consider them as historicals just like they do with anything ste in the 19th century. She was wrong. For them it's not historical if mechanized transportation is available.

The heroine in this one primarily got around by bicycle and, err, teleportation. There were also hansom cabs (horse-drawn) and motor cars sharing the streets, though she doesn't dwell much on either.

And I wouldn't characterize this as a romance novel; I actually thought the romance elements were something of a hindrance to the storytelling. And the whole "supernatural and ludicrously good-looking" guy thing is starting to bore me intensely. (I read a lot more of this genre than is apparent on Rixo because I review for PW.)

I remember being 5-year-old and staying on my grandparents's farm while my mom was in the hospital to give birth to my sister, and my granddad had no tractor and went around in a buggy. But very seldom do stories and/or movies remind us that, by 1895, combustion engines were already around. It's like they think that taking forever to get anywhere makes things more romantic.

Serge,
The irony being that in many historical novels (not just romances) and fantasy novels as well, travel time is unrealistically short given the capacity of an actual horse.

My experiences with air travel delays and sitting in traffic have not convinced me that slow travel is at all romantic.

Susan... And how often have movies shown the hero's horse galloping at full speed for what seems like 10 miles?

Dunno -- I see so few movies, and more of them are genre SF and thus short on horses!

I'm reading a book that's in a different universe and maybe that's why when the army marches six days, the people they find there look different and have different accents. No, really, they just have big changes much too close.

I still think that one of the main attractions of steampunk is that it reminds us that our supposedly unromantic Modern Age is filled with wonders.

...when the army marches six days, the people they find there look different and have different accents.

If you pushed it, a medieval army could make it from London to the Welsh border in 6 days, and the Welsh spoke a different language and, perhaps, looked different to the English. Whether the differences in appearance were more cultural than inherent I leave to others.

Most examples of different peoples living closely together tend to involve, mountain ranges, bodies of water, climactic boundaries or unstable situations. Or in other words, I'd like an explanation of such proximity, but will suspend my disbelief for a mountain range, large enough river or "In the past generation the [whoever] people had come over the mountains and settled in the lush hill valleys."

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