Date Novels

When I was much younger the first 45 record I bought was called In the Year 2525 by Yager and Evans. Yeah, I know that some of our readers may not know what a 45 is...? Anyway, I guess that was my first time thinking about a date that was a year and not a day such as Christmas or someone’s birthday.
Here are some date novels for you to contemplate.
Date Novels 1356 (M) is the latest of Bernard Cornwell’s Grail Quest series, which is set around the Hundred Years’ War. The cover is what attracted me to this novel as it states “ Go with God and fight like the devil.” The novel culminates at the Battle of Poitiers in 1356. Archer Thomas of Hookton, aka Le Batard, is under orders from Edward, Prince of Wales to find the lost sword of St. Peter. This weapon is said to grant victory to whoever has it. The Black Prince is hoping that this sword will win him victory against the French. George R.R. Martin has stated “The best battle scenes of any writer I’ve ever read past or present, Cornwell really makes history come alive”.
Date Novels 1634: the ram rebellion (M) is just one of the novels in the 1632 series (aka Ring of Fire series) by Eric Flint. This series is an alternative history book series. In 2000 the small fictional town of Grantville, West Virginia was sent to the past, specifically to central Germany during the Thirty Years’ War. Flint has accomplished an amazing feat with this series. The whole town is the collective protagonist of the stories not just one or two individuals. He has also encouraged fans to contribute to the series through the on-line message board Baen’s Bar. The Grantville Gazettes began as an experimental semi-professional online magazine.
Date Novels 1892 (M) by Paul Butler brings history closer to home. This critically acclaimed author drops the reader into 19th century St. John’s Newfoundland. Irish servant Kathleen yearns for her home while being wooed by stable hand Tommy Fitzpatrick. Tommy has his own inner battles to fight. A mysterious scientist, Dr. Glenwood, tries to be the first to bring a photographic discovery to light. The struggles of these three erupt to change the fate of the entire city. 1892 can be enjoyed by those would read romance, historical fiction or gothic tales.
Date Novels 1929 (M) by Frederick Turner is based on the real life jazz legend Bix Beiderbecke, who came to symbolize the archetype of the Roaring Twenties. Bix started playing piano as the age of two, then the cornet by listening to his older brother’s jazz records. This soft-spoken white kid went on to influence jazz music before his death at 28, even winning a posthumous Grammy Award. Turner has followed the facts of Bix’s life closely. Starting in the present days it soon travels back to 1926. It presents the cross country tours of the jazz musicians, the stock market crash, and Bix as a victim of bootleg gin. Along the way Turner has Bix encounter some the eras most popular characters, such as Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong, Clara Bow, Al Capone, Duke Ellington, etc. How much fact versus fiction is in this novel? I am not quite sure but it is an interesting read.
Date Novels 1984 (M) by George Orwell is one of those books that was written about the future but the specific date is now in the past. This fact can screw with your mind if you let it. I have always loved the line “ It was a bright cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen.” This immediately sets the tone that something is not quite what you expect. You might be surprised how right Orwell was! Published in 1949 this dystopian novel predicted a lot of what has come to pass. Words and phrases such as “Big Brother is watching you” and “doublespeak” and “thoughtcrime” have become part of our common language. There is a television series named after this. Even your movements in public can be monitored by the government, a company or even broadcast across the world, thanks to Google Earth.
Date Novels 2001 (M) by Arthur C Clarke is another of those “future” themed novels whose dates have come and gone. It is also different from other books as it was written after the release of the Stanley Kurbrick film version. They were based in part on various short stories, most notably The Sentinel, written in 1948. Like 1984, Clarke was able to predict some of the future, most notably space travel and the rise of computers that can control our fate! This classic science fiction novel has changed the way we look at the moon and stars and even evolution itself. I agree with the quote from Library Journal “...though it has thrilled fans for 31 years, still no one is really sure what it means.” That I think is part of its charm and mystery. And for those who wish to continue on its journey they can read the sequels 2010, 2061, 3001 the Final Odyssey.
So there you have it. Some “historical” fiction that took place in the past, the future and in alternative history. There are lots of books with years as their titles. So make yourself a date with one or two of them. You might be surprised how fast time can go!


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Halifax poet laureate visits Cpt. William Spry Library