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.
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?


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.