Weekly Meeting: Outlander


Part of Which Challenges:

  • Book Lust
  • Book Riot Read Harder

What You Should Know:

  • This is not really a romance book.  Sex scenes are understated and rare in the first 1/2 of the book.  It fits into many different genres
  • The TV is pretty faithful to the book given the different methods of storytelling.
  • There is a ton of magical realism in this book
  • There is a lot of rape… apparently men like to rape everyone.


  1. How disorienting—or appealing—would it be for you to be transported back in time? How would you cope with the time change? What era would be most appealing to you to travel back to?
    1. I have no desire to travel back in time.  I wouldn’t mind seeing it- like a movie- but in no way to I want to go.  I am sure I could adjust to the lack of modern convinces.  I am smart enough to know enough history to keep my mouth shut until I was comfortable.  The thing is, any time worth going to is probably going to be sucky for a woman.  Any time that isn’t that exciting, isn’t worth going to.  Plus, we have a very limited idea of what went on in history because it is only written from one, dominant point of view.  Time travel, in my opinion, is the suck-iest power in the world.
  2. If you time-traveled, how much of the future from which you have come would you be tempted to reveal? What might you attempt to change using your knowledge of modern times?
    1. Since I suck at keeping secrets I would probably want to tell someone everything I know.  I know you aren’t suppose to do that or you risk changing everything, but I suspect I will tell at least one person.  I wouldn’t do it in an attempt to change things, though it probably would.  I would do it because the pressure of the secret can be too much for me, especially when there isn’t one other person I could talk to about it.  Again, another reason I shouldn’t ever travel back in time.
  3. The Outlander series was difficult to market, at first, not fitting into any neat genre of fiction. But it eventually caught on…and in a very big way. To what do you ascribe the huge popularity of this series? What is the fascination for its millions of readers?
    1. I have met enough people in publishing to know that marketing a book is often the key to it’s success.  One publisher went on a tirade about the modern obsessions with sub-genres and mixed genres: western set in space with erotica was his example.  He was encouraging authors to pick one genre to help their publisher.  Outlander is fantasy, romance, and historical fiction.  From what I can tell, the marketing has focused primarily on the romance.  Romance is an amazingly well developed genre with room for sub-genres in ways others aren’t.  It also has a massive reader base who read a lot.  Modern romance novels are increasingly well done novels.  I suspect they are marketed as romance because it is the best bet for the publisher.  The problem for me is that romance is generally a genre I avoid.  I am more likely to read a book marketed as fantasy or historical fiction.  I think the mix of romance and fantasy is what pushed this book out of the romance genre- at least from a marketing point of view.

Media Tie In:

The first season of the tv series covers this book.  How is the TV show?  Pretty good.  I read the book first and then started the series.  I will talk about my struggle between original work and adaptation in another post.  They added content to accommodate a different method of storytelling.  They have the ability to show more than tell, but they struggled with this.  Claire is prone to voiceovers exposition, but it gets reduced to talking about her feelings.  I like the casting and I may watch other seasons even if I don’t choose to continue reading the series.

Who will like it:

  • Romance readers who especially like it mixed with historical fiction
  • Historical fiction readers who can deal with sex scenes.
  • Adults who liked Twilight for the plot, but want something more mature
  • People (my sister) who like long series.  There are 8 books with many short stories and she is still not done.

Other books I read this week:

Book I abandoned this week:

  • Mentats of Dune – Insert sigh of exasperation.  I think this book killed any desire to read future Dune universe books.

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