Tag Archives: History

Top Ten Time Periods in Historic Novels I Want to Read

I love to experience different cultures through books. Seeing what life is like in different countries is very interesting. However, while we can experience those easily in modern times, it’s much more difficult to experience times from the distant past. Here are the time periods (and places) I’d like to visit through fiction:

  1. Ancient Greece, more than 2000 years ago
  2. Ancient Rome, more than 2000 years ago
  3. Ancient Japan, around 1000 years ago
  4. Mayan civilisation
  5. Incan civilisation, pre-Columbus
  6. Norway, around 1000 years ago
  7. Scotland, more than 1000 years ago
  8. Australia, before European colonisation
  9. North American plains, before European colonisation
  10. Mesopotamia

What are some time periods and civilisations would you like to read about in fiction? Let me know in the comments below.

Difficulties of Worldbuilding

I love worldbuilding. I’ve created a world, Ariadne, that is an entire planet with many countries, cities, cultures, and of course a large variety of landscapes. But making an entire world isn’t easy.

For me, some things were difficult. I think everyone excels in a different aspect while worldbuilding. Some difficulties are:

Culture

It’s so easy to create a world that’s populated by people from a single culture. But is that realistic? Not at all, especially if you’re looking at an entire world. In fantasy, it’s extremely common to have several cultures. But it’s also easy to copy cultures from other books. To make a truly unique set of cultures is difficult.

Language

If you’re not a linguist, you may have some difficulties with creating a rudimentary language. But it’s not always necessary to. A lot of fantasy novels use a “common language” or “standard tongue” or something like that, and it’s always written in English. That’s fine. But if you want to make a language, then you should probably try to set up some rules. That’s the difficult part.

History

You can’t have some cultures on a world without a history. It’s extremely important to create a history for all of the cultures. It often helps dictate cultural relations. But to create a history that goes back for hundreds or thousands of years is a lot of work. And that can be difficult.

What do you think is difficult about worldbuilding? Let me know in the comments below.

Studying the British Empire

As you may know, I have an interest in history. Understanding history often helps with writing both science fiction and fantasy, as they deal with different times and societies, while also having rich and well-developed histories of their own.

I’m getting back into using FutureLearn, and this week, the course called Empire has begun. It’s about the British Empire. I’m from a country that was part of the British Empire, so I’m expecting something about Canada in this course. But the British Empire was the largest empire in the world at one time. There’s a lot to learn. Below, you can see how much of the world was part of the empire (click to see a larger version).

The_British_Empire_AnachronousThat’s a lot of countries. You can see a strip through Africa, much of south Asia, parts of the Middle East, and plenty of Pacific islands, as well as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the Thirteen Colonies.

Do you know any interesting facts about the British Empire? Share them in the comments below.

What’s In a Family Name?

Family names are interesting. In many cultures, they tell a story about your family history. In Japan, they often refer to where your family comes from, rather than a job. In England, it tells about your ancestor’s job. But what about other countries?

If I look at my family name, I can tell that someone in my family’s history was an archer. Someone used a bow and arrow. I don’t know when it happened, but that’s where the name originates from.

So, if you’re willing to disclose your family name, what country is it from, and what’s the story behind it? Let’s discuss this in the comments below.

What Ancient Rome Really Looked Like

I’m very interested in ancient cultures and all we have that tells us how things used to look are ruins, some art, and some descriptions by people who lived during those times. There’s a project called Rome Reborn that allows us to see what Rome most likely looked like in 320 AD.

I found this video at this website.

The video is quite fascinating, but it makes me wonder about other places. For example, what did ancient Athens look like? Or Constantinople? Or London a few hundred years ago? Or Paris? How about Edo during the time that Edo Castle was still towering over the city? What did Angkor Wat look like when it was in its heyday? Or Machu Picchu? Or Tenochtitlan? So many to wonder about.

What other ancient cities would you like to see recreated in this way? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Mythology in Science Fiction

Mythology plays a very important part in establishing the culture and world in fantasy novels. It is often the basis for the magic system, the religious beliefs, and the antagonist. There’s often an influence by gods or other supernatural beings, and the amount of power could be limitless.

In science fiction, mythology is quite different. It may not even be present. In Star Wars, the Force is almost mythological. In Dune, the religions have changed so much that they’ve become the new mythology. In the Hyperion Cantos, the Shrike is often regarded as a myth or legend. Much of the time, mythology draws on older religions, but not always.

In my Ariadne universe, there will be a couple cases of new religions and mythologies that develop. One has an origin that will change over time as the centuries pass, but it’s an interesting mix of elemental and old Earth religion, mainly Christianity. The Christianity part fades away, but the basis is there. In the other case, Earth itself becomes almost mythological, and it’s revered by a large portion of the population.

What are some other examples of mythology in science fiction? Let me know in the comments below.

What’s Your Favourite Period of History?

I like history. I like it now, but I didn’t always enjoy learning about it in school. But even then, I liked history. I guess I just didn’t like having to write essays about it. But what we learned was quite interesting. I remember learning about the Aztecs in grade six. I remember learning about Russian history in junior high school. I remember European history and studying about the World Wars. It was all fascinating.

I like looking at the history of countries, how things have changed over the centuries. Even now, looking at current events, I think about how this will be history. And what happens now shapes our future, just as our past shaped what the world is like now.

When I think about history, I often wonder about what my favourite time in history is. I think I’ve mostly been interested in ancient Greece and Rome. But I also like Japanese history. What is your favourite period of history?