You may have missed the news, but this is the 50th anniversary of a cheap, scrappy British science fiction series called Doctor Who. Like a fair number of folk my age, I first stumbled across Doctor Who one Saturday afternoon on PBS, back when PBS was able to air things like Doctor Who, The Avengers, The Prisoner, and it being cultural and all, Benny Hill. Unlike many, however, I seem to be one of the few people who came into the show not during an airing of the iconic Tom Baker years, but rather during the tenure of the man with the velvet smoking jackets and Venusian aikido. The Third Doctor, Jon Pertwee, was my introduction to Doctor Who, and he remains my favorite. Continue reading…
Recently I moderated a panel discussion on CanLit and the SF/F genre and it got me to thinking. Specifically, it got me thinking about memory. And that’s because if there’s one thing modern Canadian literature is full of, it’s memory. Years ago (a decade, mebbbe?) an industry journal published a chart detailing the subjects of […]
This week, I thought I saw the first snow of the season. Turns out it was actually sleet, which is kind of like snow’s annoying idiot cousin. But I got excited anyway, because the thing is… I love winter. Don’t get me wrong: that doesn’t mean I don’t love fall and spring too. Bright green […]
It may not entirely feel like it, but it’s finally summer. Commercial fiction gets its second biggest bump of the year during the summer (the biggest is at Christmas, obviously), and because the Romance genre is the largest section, its uptick in sales is the most noticeable. That’s because mild and humid as it might […]
What, it’s June already? I’m sure a I had a whole year here a minute ago. In any case, summer means humidity, allergies, and a sad lack of home AC. This year, it also means squirrels in the roof (don’t ask. No, really). And that means it’s time for my annual bitch column. This month […]
It’s the end of the year; I work in retail; I have the flu. All of which means that for the past couple weeks I’ve been re-reading rather than reading. Mostly Eva Ibbotson, whose warmth reminds me not only that I love reading, but why. Which makes this a good time for a retrospective list. […]
I’ve been thinking about heroes and archetypes again (which is not actually news: story archetype is a sandbox in which I happily spend a lot of time). Feels like it’s everywhere these days. A few weeks back I was on a panel at the World Fantasy Convention that discussed love and monsters. Alex and Carol […]
(No, I don’t mean that kind of bump. Sheesh. You people.) Given the timing of this column, and its proximity to Halloween, it seemed logical to write about the spooky side of Romance. But it was a little harder than I thought to put together a reading list. I wanted to concentrate on books that […]
I’ve been on a bit of a historical binge recently: testing some new authors, re-reading old favourites. This trip down the historical record lane is due largely to author Sherry Thomas. More to the point, to her recent novel Ravishing the Heiress.
As I said this time last year, I like back to school season. I love the energy of it. I miss the sense of anticipation, of knowing I had lots of new things to look forward to. At least, usually I do. Perhaps I’m just feeling particularly curmudgeonly this season, or maybe summer was just […]
Recently, I’ve been thinking about danger. Specifically, the kind of danger that runs through a certain subsection of Romance, often called ‘romantic suspense’. These are the stories that drop the hero and heroine into physical jeopardy in addition to exposing them to all the emotional risks of falling in love. When done well, they share […]
One of the many criticisms levelled at romance novels is that they’re a poor model for women when it comes to real-life relationships. All that fairy tale nonsense, detractors say, will make women want the wrong things from their partners. I could list a dozen things wrong with that assumption, but I’ll limit myself to […]
Generally speaking, Romances are divided into two broad groups: contemporary and historical. Those distinctions are somewhat fluid. For instance, although it used to refer to anything set after 1900, ‘contemporary’ now encompasses anything set after World War II. ‘Historical’, meanwhile, covers everything else.
In the spirit of the season, here are ten, in alphabetical order by author.
I once heard a reader dismiss a particular romance novel – and, in fact, the author’s entire writing career – because she felt the writer had no grasp of history. Her complaint? In the book, a character used a zipper several weeks before it was invented in real life. Now, I’m aware that historical errors […]