An author using a specific date for a fictional world event.

Discuss the January 2017 Book of the Month, We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson.
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Insightsintobooks
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Re: An author using a specific date for a fictional world ev

Post by Insightsintobooks »

I think that it's odd when I read dates that have passed and we're supposed to signify a major event. This didn't ruin the enjoyment for me though.
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David Nash
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Post by David Nash »

In a world ending scenario having the date being specified as one that has already passed takes away much of the impact of the story. I think the author should have left it as month and day and implied it was within a year. That way, no matter what year you read the book it will be coming soon.

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Jennifer Allsbrook
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Post by Jennifer Allsbrook »

Julie Ditton wrote:In this book, we are told that if Henry does not push the button by a specific date, the world will end. But the book was published just a few days before that date, so people are reading the book after the deadline has passed. I find that distracting from my enjoyment of the book. If the event only effects a few people, it doesn't bother me. But, in my oppinion, if it's world news or world changing, the year should not be mentioned. How do you feel?
It bothered me a little at first but then I just put it in the - this is fiction - category and I was OK with it. I would agree that leaving the specific date out might have appealed more to me. Since the book was written with time sequences being important having a date to build toward seems logical though.

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Post by CrescentMoon »

That's an interesting thought. I usually don't pay attention to specific dates as the author usually just puts a date down for the sake of the plot, but it does change things when you have a specific date written. Like the movie, 2012 when the world was going to end in that year. I remember a lot of people making fun of the fact that the movie predicted the end of the world in 2012.
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Post by Corybarclay »

I agree, it can be distracting or unnerving to read a book with a specific date that's important to the plot, only to have that date already pass in real life... You look at books like 1984, or movies like 2001 A Space Odyssey, and it's pretty interesting to think how people looked at the future :). That's why, if I were to write a futuristic or dystopian story that needed to have a specific date, it would probably be like 2155, so I know no one would be around complaining about this haha!
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Post by Camogirl217 »

Dates don't really affect me personally, but some people take them very seriously (take the doomsday people as an example). I can totally understand why that would bother you, though. I think the books being in the past is what made Harry Potter even more popular, come to think of it.

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Post by mewsmash »

Specific dates in books really don't hold up if you're rereading the book a considerable amount later. I like a bit of mystery, not just a specific day.
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Post by Kdsfae84 »

Julie Ditton wrote:In this book, we are told that if Henry does not push the button by a specific date, the world will end. But the book was published just a few days before that date, so people are reading the book after the deadline has passed. I find that distracting from my enjoyment of the book. If the event only effects a few people, it doesn't bother me. But, in my oppinion, if it's world news or world changing, the year should not be mentioned. How do you feel?
I guess if a date is mandatory then a year should not be included. However, if the book is set relatively far in the future (like a minimum of 100 years from now then it would be ok). I think a date that is too close to the current date would have me looking at the calendar and especially if I am reading the story after the date has already passed I won't be nearly as invested in the story. I hate to sound that superficial, but I guess it is partly out of the idea that it could happen or it could be based on truth in some regard. I guess it comes from having a number of authors point out that the only way you can believe the fiction is if it is as accurate as possible for the believable things (for example in paranormal books, if it is a shapeshifter and one does the research on the animal the character becomes it makes it more believable).

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Post by papaya12 »

I think that the book would age better if the year was not mentioned. I think that saying the month and the day is fine but if a book says the year than there should be a good reason that we don't remember whatever happened on that day.

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Post by papaya12 »

I think that the book would age better if the year was not mentioned. I think that saying the month and the day is fine but if a book says the year than there should be a good reason that we don't remember whatever happened on that day.

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Post by Lest92 »

Interesting question. Maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree here, but I liked that a specific year and time was given. I don't normally read fiction set this recently, and I found it refreshing. To me at least it balances out the weirdness of the alien abductions - we see absurdity and "normality" dovetailed.

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Post by Megwe85 »

It didn't bother me that the end-of-the-world date had already passed. If someone is reading this book 20+ years from now, it might be helpful for them to see that date for cultural context.
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Post by KAV »

The dates always bother me in books. I thought the author should have left off the year or made the date far in the future. I can see why most people don't seem fazed by it because the date isn't that far off but think about reading this novel 5 to 10 years from now. It dates the book unnecessarily.
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Post by Genaaa »

Didn't really pay attention to that prior to reading this forum, but after reading this I can definitely understand how that could be frustrating or distracting while reading.
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Post by dosenron877 »

There are several indefinite time periods mentioned in the book. In chapters Bees, Midnight Sun, and Superbugs, the stories end on 29 January 2016 because they are the alternate realities that might have happened if Henry didn't push the button. Having accepted the possibility of alternate realities, we can add one more. Henry didn't push the button, the planet was destroyed, and we are now living in one of the alternate realities. The problem of the elasticity of a definite date is solved.
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