Steven Boyett on Fata Morgana, his new WWII/alt-history mashup novel


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/06/13/b17s-and-battleaxes.html


#2

It’s a genre…I am reminded of the Doomfarers of Coramonde. A wizard attempts to summon a tank to kill off a dragon but ends up with a mere APC. https://www.amazon.com/Doomfarers-Coramonde-Brian-Daley/dp/0595437451


#3

I don’t like this genre. I mix it up with real history.


#4

FWIW
Fata Morgana by William Kotzwinkle


#5

I read the whole article, and there are maybe two whole sentences about the book, with the whole rest of the article talking about what interesting people the authors are. That’s all great, but I would have preferred to learn a little more about the book to see if I might like to buy it.


#6

I copied the sentences that were about the novel to help with your decision:

Our novel Fata Morgana is basically a mashup. It’s an intensively researched WWII historical novel about a B-17 Flying Fortress crew on a harrowing mission over Germany in 1943. It’s also a post-apocalyptic fish-out-of-water story, in the tradition of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court or The Time Machine. That fusion of sensibilities caused our agent to market it as “Band of Brothers meets Lost Horizon” — a bit marketspeak, but totally fair.

Ken had this mental image of two warring, Braveheart-ish factions about to collide when something stops them. A roaring from the sky. A B-17 bomber smoking in on failing Wright Cyclone engines, crashlanding out of frame. He’d encapsulated our different sensibilities in one image — I was so in.

I did a ton of research on bombers (including buzzing my neighborhood in one, woo hoo!), the US wartime economy, the European theater, the Biosphere 2 experiment in Arizona, and self-sustaining ecologies in general). Ken loves ensemble movies & shows, from Jack Benny to Frazier, and put our bomber crew together. We logicked the living crap out of the storyline. It has a ton of twists and surprises, and judging from the responses so far, they seem to have worked. It has sections written in bullet time and dialogue you’d expect to hear on a Philco Cathedral radio.

We’d started out wanting a rollercoaster ride, a summer tentpole movie. But in the wake of Band of Brothers and Saving Private Ryan it seems a disservice now to look back on that war as an excuse to tell a Ripping Adventure Story. What those frighteningly young men went through was simply unbelievable, and the more we learned and the more the book took shape, the more we felt the awful weight of duty thrust upon an entire generation. Such that the book became about the price of duty over desire.


#7

Our novel Fata Morgana is basically a mashup. It’s an intensively researched WWII historical novel about a B-17 Flying Fortress crew on a harrowing mission over Germany in 1943. It’s also a post-apocalyptic fish-out-of-water story, in the tradition of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court or The Time Machine. That fusion of sensibilities caused our agent to market it as “Band of Brothers meets Lost Horizon” — a bit marketspeak, but totally fair.

Ken had this mental image of two warring, Braveheart-ish factions [are] about to collide when something stops them. A roaring from the sky. A B-17 bomber smoking in on failing Wright Cyclone engines, crashlanding out of frame. He’d encapsulated our different sensibilities in one image — I was so in.

I did a ton of research on bombers (including buzzing my neighborhood in one, woo hoo!), the US wartime economy, the European theater, the Biosphere 2 experiment in Arizona, and self-sustaining ecologies in general). Ken loves ensemble movies & shows, from Jack Benny to Frazier, and put our bomber crew together. We logicked the living crap out of the storyline. It has a ton of twists and surprises, and judging from the responses so far, they seem to have worked. It has sections written in bullet time and dialogue you’d expect to hear on a Philco Cathedral radio.

We’d started out wanting a rollercoaster ride, a summer tentpole movie. But in the wake of Band of Brothers and Saving Private Ryan it seems a disservice now to look back on that war as an excuse to tell a Ripping Adventure Story. What those frighteningly young men went through was simply unbelievable, and the more we learned and the more the book took shape, the more we felt the awful weight of duty thrust upon an entire generation. Such that the book became about the price of duty over desire.

That’s still more ‘premise’ than ‘actual plot’.
(Enough to get me interested as I’m into that kind of story, but I’m not so sure about others. Also, I’m reminded of the type of campaign that has its focus on personality, not issues.)


#8

The point of the article-- clearly stated in the first paragraph – was a discussion of the combination of two sets of what we’ll call creative DNA to form a work that reflects its makers, so a discussion of the creators was as important as a discussion of the work.

I’m glad you’re still interested in the story, but I’m also, glad you aren’t my editor!


#9

Oh, definitely; sounds like just my cup of tea.
My next birthday isn’t that far away, so I guess it will end up on the wish list.
(I’d still like to hear a little bit more about the plot, though… :wink:) … I just am like that.)

Maybe, maybe not… but probably.
I do some writing and editing , but that’s technical manuals, QM stuff, internal guidelines, and the like - so quite a different field than novels. But hey, I guess I could trim War and Peace down to an essay if I had to…


#10

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