Why are historical epics falling out of fashion?

Originally published at: Why are historical epics falling out of fashion? | Boing Boing


Fantasy scratches the same itch and is usually just as historically accurate.


Genres don’t go away, they just get mushed together. War movies, but with zombies. Romance movies, but with zombies. Zombie movies, but with different, edgier zombies.


Only seven basic plots, but an endless variety of combinations.


So… this guy who was of the minor nobility and grew up in poverty in a hovel covered in shit, wearing clothing that hadn’t been invented yet and covered in war paint that nobody had worn in almost a thousand years, and conspicuously not wearing anything remotely resembling armour in pitched battle, had an affair and fathered a child with a woman who was ten years old and in another country when he was executed, screaming a word which had almost nothing to do with why he was fighting or being executed?

Cool story, bro. Totes historical.


I was thinking about this with westerns. For a few decades there in the 20th century it seemed like there was always a western in theaters or on Tv. It was like, you have dramas and comedies and westerns. I’m not lamenting this fact. A lot can be done with that time period in American history in terms of storytelling, but I also realize the problem with glorifying expansionism and the displacement of native people etc… it’s probably good that they are a bit fewer now. I guess marvel movies are serving the same cultural position now…

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I’ve noticed a huge shift in the length of a lot of new fiction, mostly towards shorter and shorter books, with things that I would have called a novella and that would have been released in a compilation now being sold on their own, for full length prices, too. Some of this seems related to changes in the way F&SF is classified for the Hugos. Maybe Covid stress had people writing less overall, maybe readers now buy shorter works more, maybe the margins are better for the publishers.

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