Saturday, 16 April 2016

Historical Versus Contemporary

Image by Mysticsartdesign via Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain


When is a book historical, and when is it contemporary?

I've struggled with this. My last two novels (Cold Fusion 2000 and 2000 Tunes) were written since 2013, so in one sense are contemporary. But both are set in the year 2000. Is that old enough to be historical? When does the date of writing take precedence over the date of the novel's action? What if a novel covers the present and the past: is it half historical, half contemporary? I have no answers except to conclude that all categories break down in the liminal regions, though that makes me all the more determined to explore them. What do you think? If you come up with any definite answers I'd love to know!

Just in case you wonder why I set the novels in 2000: around that year I worked in Manchester. The Ha├žienda had closed a couple of years before, so things were on a downer. I decided to set the novels then because 2000 was a funny time - I never understood the reasons why people thought the world would be different just because a number ticked over in an arbitrary dating system. I decided to focus on the one thing that could change - the life of an individual. So two stories came out of it, both about love and taking control of your life.

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