Thursday, 19 January 2012

Being pernickety

I've read too many historical novels set in England.

That, combined with the fact that I'm an editing student, means I'm a pernickety snob when it comes to reading historical novels. I mean, damnit, I just want it to be accurate. And I have been reading Jane Austen novels since I was 8, so you just know I'm going to be stubborn cow about this. But when this, politely called, passion for accuracy, rears its ugly head while I'm reading a steampunk novel, you know it has turned into a problem.

I just finished reading a steampunk/Victorian/fantasy novel called All Men of Genius by Lev AC Rosen, and I pretty much thought it was awesome. The pretty much qualifier comes from the fact that one of the main characters is a Duke (it's based on Twelfth Night, so it's the Duke of Illyria). This Duke is the headmaster of a school for genius scientists.

So far, so good right?

Think again, oh ye optimistic kids. This Duke doesn't seem to own any property except his school, no big country pile, no rolling fields of peasants, no nothing. He's never required at court, he never seems to manage any property, or a position in the House of Lords, or do anything Duke-ish. So I just found it really hard to believe that he is a duke, which is basically the highest position under royalty.

But, this is a steampunk novel. Which means it's a fantasy version of England. Which means that maybe a duke wouldn't need extensive property or any other trappings of dukedom.

Unfortunately, my Jane Austen-trained, Georgette Heyer-educated mind won't accept this (#humblebrag).

That's why I will always add a 'pretty much' before my awesome when I talk about All Men of Genius. 

Please, feel free to judge me. I know I judge myself.

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