Marissa Lingen (mrissa) wrote,
Marissa Lingen
mrissa

More Trolls

ksumnersmith sent me Tony Griffith's Scandinavia: At War With Trolls, as I said, and it was good. It's a concise history of the last two hundred years in the Norden. I'm not sure how good it would be for someone who didn't already have the cast of characters and a rough outline of the plot, but as I am not that person, it didn't matter. I kept finding spots where I want to read more (I keep saying it's not turtles all the way down, it's books; Amazon does not seem to list any bios of Gustav IV Adolph, though) and spots where I needed to make a quick note about my own stuff. And then there were lines I loved for themselves, and I thought I'd share:

The north specialised in prophets who were almost exclusively honored in their own land. Well, except for ABBA, sadly.

Indeed, one of the tourist attractions for Scandinavians in Rome was the familiar sight of Ibsen drunk. This is like the 19th century Scando equivalent of Americans who go to Rome and eat at McDonald's: what, like there weren't any drunk-ass Norsky playwrights at home? Trust me, if you're that keen on viewing theater personnel of Scandinavian descent well beyond their capacity for drink, I can find you that right here in the greater Twin Cities metro without even looking too hard.

My personal favorite: But while the Russians were happy to give the Finns their jelly recipes, they would not give them their freedom. ... ...... No, I'm sorry, I just can't improve on that.

The boom conditions of full employment lasted until 1917, when unrestricted German submarine warfare began to take the jam out of the Danish pastry. Those are some accurate torpedoes, there. I mean, I know some of you on the friendslist have practiced enough to be decent shots, but to be able to shoot the jelly out of a Danish with a submarine torpedo? Makes one wonder why they didn't aim for more strategic targets; Danmark was officially neutral in that war.

This Tony Griffith guy was pretty clearly having some fun with his book, and so did I, and it didn't always matter whether I was laughing with or at or merely near him. (Sometimes writing secret-history fantasy means that you really aren't laughing at anything directly related to the person, you're laughing at how perfectly it all fits in with your crazy master plan. Because it does. Once the crazy master plan gets rolling, there is nothing that can stop it, and you know it's not really really real, and yet there it is, history unfolding before you like a slow motion game of whack-a-mole, with plenty of time to thoroughly thump Jean Bernadotte and give Igor Stravinsky a good smiting before your cheap greasy pizza gets cold: I can make weird cool shit out of all you people. I can even make you help me do it. Heh. I am the author. I rule.)

(Other times, the occupational hazard of writing secret histories is that you want to take former, less-irony-aware eras and shake them: how could you name your fascist group vihan veljet, "Brothers of Hate"? Whyyyyy? Don't you know how that genuine historical fact cannot help but sound overwrought on the keyboard of a fantasy writer? Have you no thought for my feelings? Have you no consideration at all?)

(I think appealing to dead Finnish fascists for consideration of snarky girl fabulists' feelings may be a sign that the said s.g.f.s need to back away from the internet and seriously consider bed. Funny how often the signs point that way....)
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