Thursday, July 31, 2014

What fiction topics have been done to death?

Earlier today my sister-in-law directed me to a Catholic blogger’s review of The Book Thief.  I haven’t read The Book Thief, but my s-i-l was right: the review was interesting:

Reason #2: Here’s where I get really heated (so please excuse me while I get melodramatic)–
Adding yet another fictitious book or movie about the Nazi Holocaust to the hundreds that already exist is not a good idea, at least not while there is a dearth of works about the other genocides of our time.Here’s why:
In Constitutional Law class, on of my law school classmates made the following analogy (I forget what it was about):
“Maybe it wouldn’t be like Nazi Germany where, you know, they kill you.  Maybe it would be more like Stalinist Russia, where they just take your property.”It took me a few moments to retrieve my jaw from off the floor.
In Stalinist Russia they just take your property.
This is what my generation thinks.
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It’s an interesting point, isn’t it?

There might be all sorts of reasons why WWII makes, or seems to make, better subject matter for fiction. But it reminds me of a time when I was browsing the fantasy/science fiction section of a local bookstore. A woman near me pulled a book out from the shelf, read the back cover, and then shoved the book back on the shelf, muttering disgustedly, “If I have to read one more bleeping book about bleeping King Arthur...” I knew what she meant.
Are there some subjects, particularly in historical or other genre fiction, that you think have been done to death--especially if, as in the Holocaust/WWII example, some other equally important topics are being ignored?  What book topic would cause you to have the “King Arthur” reaction, as in, you won’t read another book about [fill-in-the-blank], not even if it’s really well-written and everybody you know is recommending it?

3 comments:

Laura Christine said...

Hi there! Thanks for the shout-out. I actually love the King Arthur myth. :-) But then, I read hardly any sci-fi/ fantasy, so I haven't had a chance to get sick of it. . . . If a show or movie or book is about time travel, though, forget it. So tired of that topic.

Zagorka said...

Everything about "Gloriana" or Elizabeth I....

John Henry said...

I used to think that a topic could get played out, but I'm now of the opinion that a well-executed story is always good, even if the subject matter is trite or silly. Witness Patrick Rothfuss' fantasy books and Joss When's vampire TV show.