Diana Gabaldon

Dear Diana Gabaldon,

I was never a romance reader until I met you. I thought romance novels were cheesy and for a while I protested even calling the Outlander series romances, “no no, they’re historical, and have an element of fantasy, and I learned so much about history….”

But you know what? In addition to that amazingness they are fabulous romances. The relationships expressed in these series (and the sex scenes, let’s be real) helped me to understand healthy and unhealthy relationship behaviors in my life and those of my friends. Heck, I even brought up Outlander in my Maid of Honor speech for my cousin.

And this is all because of “WW2 nurse falls through a portal in time and ends up having to marry a 1700s Scottish Laird for her protection BUT THERE IS SO MUCH MORE, THEY WITNESS IMPORTANT HISTORICAL EVENTS AND STUFF, DON’T DISREGARD THEM BECAUSE OF THAT TIME-TRAVEL ROMANCE LABEL!” books.

These days, I embrace the time-travel romance novel, and have stopped judging books by their covers (goodness knows the original cover of Outlander made it look like a bodice-ripper) and genre listings. Thank you, Ms. Gabaldon, for this amazing gift. It has enriched my personal and literary lives.

Sincerely yours,
Dorothy

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“I looked at the vase,” she said, looking at the vase (voiceovers in adaptations)

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Dorothy McQuaid
Showrunner for Pycera/Social Media for BWP
Twitter | Blog | Email

 

Voiceovers in TV and movies are, as Rebecca wrote in her Outlander post on Monday, a great way to transition a first-person story to the screen. I think they are especially relevant in books adapted to movie or TV because people who have read the books know more about the characters than people who only watch the movie or TV show. However, I think some adaptations pull this off better than others: some movies/shows use too many voiceovers, explaining the scenes when they’re already obvious, and some use too few, leaving viewers to wonder what the characters’ motivations are. In today’s post, I’d like to talk about the two ends of the spectrum.

This post will contain spoilers for the book and TV versions of Outlander and book and movie versions of The Hunger Games.

Spoiler-warning

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For the Love of Jamie

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Rebecca Kordesh, Director
Twitter | Blog

“I’ve always known I’ve lived a like different from other men. When I was a lad I saw no path before me, I simply took a step and then another. Ever forward, ever onward, rushing toward someplace I knew not where. And one day I turned around and looked back and saw that each step I’d taken was a choice, to go left, to go right, to go forward or even to not go at all. Every day every man has a choice between right and wrong, between love and hate, and sometimes between life and death and the sum of those choices becomes your life. The day I realized that is the day that I became a man.” -Jamie Fraser (S1E9 “The Reckoning”)

I’m a fan of adaptation. While there have certainly been movies or TV shows adapted from books or plays that have made me deeply regret the time in my life wasted watching them (I’m looking at you, pretty much everything based off anything in the Cassandra Clare universe), I am not the person who walks out of a movie or away from the show saying, “The book was better.”

That’s not to say that the book isn’t often “better,” depending on what you mean by “better.” Books are almost universally more, as a 100,000 word manuscript ought to contain more than a few hour film/show on screen. Books are often able to go deeper and include more scenes and description and explanation as a result, because that is how the medium works. But it seems to me, from both anecdotal evidence and many, many conversation with friends and family about book-to-screen adaptations, that when people say, “The book was better,” what they really mean is, “I really, really loved the book and I was disappointed that the film/TV show was not exactly the same.” Continue reading

Learning from Fantasy: Part 1 (History)

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Dorothy McQuaid
Showrunner for Pycera/Social Media for BWP
Twitter | Blog | Email

 

Hi, readers!  I’m very excited to begin a new series of posts about things that can be learned from reading Fantasy and other fiction genres. To me, reading is more than just idle, passive entertainment, and I’ve found that I’ve learned a lot from books some dismiss as fluffy or shallow. These topics include history, relationship advice, and ethics, so I’ll cover the three of those in three different blog posts (though I touched on relationship advice in my post about birth control in Tamora Pierce’s canon.)

Part 1 Or; Time-Travel Romance is So Much More Interesting Than History Class

This post is going to discuss history through the lens of fiction, more specifically the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Now, I have a lot of respect for historians and the study of history. A few fellow members of BWP have studied history and I recognize how important it is, but I’ve always been more of a ‘big-picture’ person when it comes to history: I don’t tend to have a memory for names or dates, and I didn’t take many history classes besides the required ones. The information that tends to stick in my mind comes from personal experiences — i.e. visiting a historical site, speaking to a survivor — or from stories. I went through a phase in middle school where I read a bunch of  YA novels about children during the Holocaust — maybe not a normal hobby for a 10-year-old, but I was able to gain a greater understanding of a very important period of history. For me, knowing the story of someone who went through the experience helps me remember, and care, much more than taking notes during a lecture.

As I said, I’m simply not one for names and dates, and have never been great at memorizing historical events.

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