Columbus Day Fiction
MBW, the HA, and I hosted a Columbus Day party yesterday. We served homemade limoncello, and I tapped a keg of homebrew. We nibbled on vaguely Italian themed snacks. I put on a quiet Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra soundtrack for the affair. And today I find myself thinking about fantasy and science fiction linked to the New World. That’s just the way my mind works.
The recently departed L. Neil Smith penned a thoroughly original novel speculating on an Aztec empire that was able to grow as a result of the Black Death proving more lethal in this alternate timeline than in ours. It’s a compelling adventure novel that I’ve read a couple of times.
I remember reading an S.P. Somtow novel in which Rome had never fallen. I recall it being rather humorous. The hero, a Roman official, is a native Senator from Terra Novo. So it’s Romans meeting Aztecs. And, I think, Bigfoot. A quick Bing search yields the title: The Aquiliad.
Switching to Swords and Sorcery, there are a few appropriate stories that spring to mind. H.G. Wells (yes, that H.G. Wells) wrote an S&S yarn set in the New World. I reviewed it here.
Alan Dean Foster wrote of Incas and Conquistadors in a story I reviewed here. (Rex Stout — yes, the Nero Wolfe Rex Stout — wrote a lost world novel featuring Incas, but as it is set in the early Twentieth Century I don’t think it quite fits my hastily invented, rather nebulous category.)
Even more to my taste was the partial REH story, completed by Andrew Offutt that I reviewed here. For a short story, it packed in a lot. In the person of the lead character — the conquistador — is contained much of the contradictions involved in mankind’s history of exploration and conquest: the almost unbelievable will to push on, bravery, greed, curiosity, adaptability, innovation, and treachery. The admirable and the deplorable.
Do you have any appropriate Columbus Day stories to suggest? If you’d like an entirely unrelated suggestion, how about my second novel? Under Strange Suns might be the science-fiction/planetary romance novel you didn’t know you wanted to read.