Sunday, January 29, 2012

Picture inspiration: Grenadier of Napoleon's Old Guard

Credit: Wikipedia.
I have a bucket list of sorts of all these stories I'd like to write. It's a mixed bag, some are science fiction, others are fantasy. In the case of the latter, one of them is to write a story set in an early modern/modern historical setting, but completely fantasy based as opposed to just historical fiction. The reason is that there's an entire swath of history that is for the most part ignored by fantasy writers. That period stretches from the end of the Middle Ages up to around the late nineteenth, when steampunk (which I consider more fantasy than science fiction) takes over. Naomi Novik's Temeraire series is an exception, taking place during the Napoleonic Wars and featuring dragons, but it's an exception that proves the rule.

I never really understood why literally hundreds of years of history was almost completely ignored by fantasy writers, but I think I've narrowed it down to one thing: weapons. Writing battles or fight scenes where the characters are armed with single shot firearms (which have to be reloaded after every shot) is a bit tedious and not as exciting as say, a sword fight.

Still, there are rich veins worth mining. Every kingdom, empire, principality, and grand duchy had spymasters, hidden blades, and other ways to manipulate and hinder their rivals. Privateering was also hot, as was small wars between small little city-states. I have no idea what kind of story I'd write, but I'm leaning towards a story based on the Italian Wars of the 15th and 16th centuries.

Plus, I just really like old European military uniforms.

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