Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly feature of The Broke and the Bookish. A full list of instructions and future themes can be found here. This week’s topic provides up to four choices to discuss: Top Ten Historical Settings You Love, Top Ten Historical Settings You’d Love To See, Top Ten Futuristic Books You Love, and Ten Futuristic Societies I’d Love To Read in Books. Though I do love futuristic stories and soft sci-fi, my greatest passion is history, so I went with that. I’m doing half and half, with settings I love and settings I’d love to see more of.
Five Historical Settings I Love:
1. WWII, as much as many people complain about it being the same story over and over again. I really come alive when reading or writing about this era, no matter how many times it’s been done before. However, I do appreciate settings which aren’t often covered, like Bosnia, the Dutch East Indies, Greece, the Canadian homefront, or the China–Burma–India Theatre.
2. The American Civil War. I know this is also a setting many people whine about being overused and no longer original, but I really love it. As long as you can write it well and have a compelling, original story, I won’t care that time period has been written about thousands upon thousands of prior times.
3. The 1960s and 1970s. I love contemporary historical fiction, even if this particular time period is very popular. There are so many awesome possibilities, given all the momentous events of those two decades.
4. The Great Depression. The 1930s is another decade fertile with possibilities to write about.
5. The heyday of immigration to the U.S., about 1880–1921. I love reading immigrant stories, particularly when they’re set somewhere besides the cliché, expected New York City or San Francisco. Those cities are great to read about the history of, true, but immigrants settled in lots of other cities! How about Boston, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Dallas, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Newark, or Philadelphia? Or if the book must be set in New York, how about choosing someplace besides the Lower East Side, like Staten Island, Queens, or the Bronx? For that matter, I’d also love to see more immigrant stories set in Canada and England, since not all immigrants came to the U.S.
Five Historical Settings I’d Love To See:
1. Heian Japan! I fell in love with Japanese history when I took a course in the subject my senior year of university (for my required minimum three credits of Asian history). My professor, who’s since retired, was the awesome Dick Minear, whose best-known book is Dr. Seuss Goes to War: The World War II Editorial Cartoons of Theodor Seuss Geisel. Of all the many rich periods of Japanese history, I’m most interested in the Heian period, 794–1185, the last era of classical Japanese history.
2. The early post-WWII era. Too many books, both novels and memoirs, stop too soon after the war ends, when a story which was at least as fascinating was just beginning. I’d love to read about a soldier stationed overseas while waiting to earn enough points to go home, people readjusting to normal life after years of rationing and other homefront sacrifices, a young couple getting to know one another all over again when the husband comes home, concentration-camp survivors returning to the world of the living and struggling to attain some level of normalcy again.
3. Anything Russian history. While my ultimate dream is to someday earn a Ph.D. in 20th century Russian history, with a focus on GULAG and the Great Terror, I love every period of its history. Particular settings I’d enjoy include the Ryurikovich era (the pre-Romanov dynasty), the 17th and 18th centuries (with all their different rulers, including five of the six women who’ve ruled Russia to date), and the Smutnoye Vremya (Time of Troubles) between the two dynasties.
4. Chinese history. I really should read more Chinese historicals, though it’s hard to find a good one. Certain Chinese historicals which have been popular in recent memory leave a lot to be desired, both in terms of writing and overall accuracy.
5. Prehistory. I’m not talking about tawdry garbage like the Clan of the Cave Bear series, but quality, realistic stories. One of my fantasy careers is a paleoanthropologist, and I’ve always been fascinated by evolutionary biology, since I began reading about our prehistoric ancestors in second grade. I’d most love a story about Neanderthals, but any period of prehistory would be fine by me.