The OF Blog: Gotta love reading a popular history that uses a fantasy classic as a reference, no?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Gotta love reading a popular history that uses a fantasy classic as a reference, no?

I'm currently reading Greek professor/SF/F author Javier Negrete's recently-published popular history on the ancient Greeks, La gran aventura de los griegos, in particular the section about Dionysius and the rise of the Sicilian colony of Syracuse in the fourth century BCE when I came across this line:

Para evitar nuevos asedios, Dionisio hizo fortificar la meseta de las Epípolas, y también reforzó las murallas de la isla de Ortigia, donde se construyó un castillo casi tan inexpugnable como el de Sauron en Mordor. (p. 458)

Certainly makes for an interesting connection, no? If this work were available in translation, I'd recommend this to quite a few, as Negrete does an excellent job relating his interpretations of the information garnered from his years of research in a fashion that is conversational and a pleasure to read. One of the best popular histories I've read in any language in quite some time...even if the author resorts to quoting Tolkien on occasion.


Gonzalo B said...

These examples are useful especially when trying to connect with a younger audience and/or laymen who’d rather read a popular history book than an academic tract. This reminds me of a recent book by Peruvian writer Santiago Roncagliolo (btw, his novel Abril Rojo was recently published in translation) about the Maoist terrorist group Sendero Luminoso. In it, he compares Sendero’s mystique to that of “The Force” in Star Wars, an analogy that was widely criticized by reviewers. Since I haven’t read the book, I can’t say whether the comparison was appropriate, but I wouldn’t rule out using that sort of analogy a priori.

Larry said...

Even though I was trained as a historian, I found Negrete's book to work on so many levels as he provides quite a bit of research, but in a way that makes the historia historia. I've been reading this a section of a chapter at a time, as this isn't something I want to rush to finish, but rather to keep to enjoy reading for quite some time to come.

Abril Rojo has been translated? Didn't know that. I remember reading it about 2.5 years ago and liking its depiction of Sendero Luminoso, but somehow I had forgotten about the Force reference until now. Will need to re-read it to see if my impressions will improve more or not, but I thought the book as a whole was nicely done.

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