Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Stuff Josh Likes: Period Pieces

As the title suggests, I enjoy period pieces. It's no coincidence that my two Lonesome October stories The Great and Groovy Game and Mother of Monsters  are both period pieces, being set in 1974 and 1955. (Single White Necromancer is set in 2001, but there is nothing really to indicate this beyond the days of the week).

I was watching Mad Men recently, and I don't think I'd like it nearly as much as I do if it were set in modern times. 

I also like the movies Jet Li did back before he came to Hollywood, the crazy colonial China martial arts epics. I suppose a big part of the fun is discovering things about the past ("The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.") Period pieces seem richer in meaning somehow, because everything has a meaning. I always like discovering new things, and there is always ample opportunity. For instance, Mad Men had a throwaway line about a Unitarian Minster who was killed in Selma. That was enough information to find James Reeb, a figure in American history of whom I would have otherwise been ignorant.

It also enables tricks you can't play with contemporary stories, like in Shada, when the Doctor brings a cassette of Bonnie Tyler's greatest hits back to 1974,  

In general, period pieces tend to be crafted with fussy, meticulous care, which is something I like in a story, and which is why I give them an edge of their non-period counterparts. 

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