Historical Novelists and Fantasy Writers Should Be Friends

Christopher M. Cevasco is the author of both fantasy and historical fiction. As someone with one foot in both worlds, he is constantly amazed at the lack of crossover.

“I don’t see the same faces when I go to the Historical Novel Society Conference as I do when I go to the World Fantasy Convention,” Cevasco says in episode 511 of the Geek Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “Most people have been to one or the other. I guess I’m the weird bird that goes to both of them.”

Many fantasy writers have read George RR Martin’s A Game of Thrones, largely based on the War of the Roses, but I would never think of trying the work of the historical novelist Bernard Cornwell, which offers many of the same pleasures. Cevasco loves them both. “I know George RR Martin is a big fan of Bernard Cornwell, and vice versa,” he says. “It makes a lot of sense to me that they like to read other people’s work.”

Cevasco’s biggest attempt to unite the two communities was Paradoxa magazine he published for six years from 2003. “That was part of my drive to get started Paradox “I was trying to highlight this overlap and bring the two together under the umbrella of a magazine that at the time was publishing a short fiction that was historical, or fantastic, or a mixture of historical and fantastic.” .

Both historical fiction and fantasy allow readers to step out of their everyday reality and see it from a new angle. Cevasco hopes that more authors will come to appreciate how much the two genres have in common. “I think the best science fiction and fantasy and the best historical fiction, it’s not just a period costume drama, it’s also something that resonates with the modern world, with our world, and it comments on it in some way. he says. “I think it’s an interesting way to explore these kinds of issues in an unconventional environment.”

Listen to the full interview with Christopher M. Cevasco in episode 511 of Geek Guide to the Galaxy (on top). And look at some of the highlights of the discussion below.

Christopher M. Cevasco in his novel Look: the story of Godiva:

When [Lady Godiva] walks around the city, according to legend, most of the people of the village enter their houses and look away, so as not to embarrass their beloved noble. But a man, named Thomas, looks at her and is immediately blind, or in some versions, dead, by God for his voyeurism. And this is where the concept of a “Peeping Tom” comes in. … If you look at it page by page, only a small percentage of my book has this voyeuristic and erotic content, but it is definitely a prominent topic throughout my book, and it is much riskier than anything else I have ever written. short or long. So I was in that awkward position of having to write outside of my comfort zone, but I just felt like it was something that legend was forcing me to do. I had to deal with that face to face and put it in front of and in the center of this book.

Christopher M. Cevasco on the Norman Conquest:

Everyone tends to think of the Norman conquest as an event: in 1066 the Battle of Hastings took place and the Normans conquered England. But I think it is fair to say that that battle was only the beginning of their process of conquest, and indeed for about five or seven years after that battle there was an active resistance movement among the English which in many respects it was parallel to the maquis in France. during World War II. They were doing covert operations, there were all these colorful figures like Hereward the Wake living in the woods and sabotaging the Normans, and in some places they were fighting and winning pitched battles against William’s armies. It’s a really amazing period of history, that period right after the Conquest, and this is the other great book I’m buying right now, it’s kind of a wartime resistance thriller set between these resistance fighters.

Christopher M. Cevasco on Heorot: Beowulf’s domain of terror:

If you play Dungeons & Dragons, you know there is a stage called Ravenloft, which is basically all these different dimensions of horror pocket: everything under the sun could be in this environment. Then I said, “What if there was a Beowulf-based scenario where people in this environment were trapped in an endless cycle of violence and revenge? And that whole cycle restarts every time Grendel comes in and kills everyone, and Mom Come in and take revenge for Grendel to be killed, and then everything restarts, and these people are trapped in this endless cycle? So I had a lot of fun putting this together. of 125 pages of Ravenloft and Beowulf history that covers Norse mythology and Anglo-Saxon history and all sorts of funny things.

Christopher M. Cevasco on Religion:

What I like when you write about people and how they interact with their faith, you know, one thing is when you have a scene between two or three characters. They will always present themselves as “characters,” as they want to be perceived. But when you have a character who is interacting with their god, or some spiritual force, the power of their faith means that they are a little naked, and you are seeing the most real version of this character that you can see, because they know that they, in their minds, have nowhere to hide. So it’s very interesting to me when you have a character, in any book, that deals with the spiritual or the divine, because it’s very revealing about their inner thoughts.

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