Friday, June 22, 2012
Midsummer as a Plot Device
When I saw this blog hop I knew what I wanted my post to be about. Midsummer and Midsummer’s Eve are a popular plot device in books so I thought it would be fun to share some of the books. (While all are not SFR they all fall under the Science Fiction/Fantasy umbrella.)
I received an ARC of Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness. From Netgalley and was reading it when I signed up for this hop. Deborah used Midsummer Night it as a way to get Matthew and Diana out of the house for the night in 1590 England (where you usually were not safe to be out after dark). I won’t tell you why she wanted them out all night. That would be a spoiler but I can share a harmless quote that tells some of the history of the time. “No, Matthew said, “the bone fires. Traditionally people celebrate Midsummer Eve by lighting fires: bone fire, wood fires and mixed fires.” This was after Diana asked why all the bones were stacked up outside houses.
Another author who uses Midsummer is S.M. Stirling. He uses not only Midsummer in his Dies the Fire, he also uses the entire Wiccan Religion as part of the story line. Kier Salmon has a post about how she helped with the research for Dies the Fire. It is titled A Popular SciFi Novel Featuring a Witch and is worth following the link to read.
Another common use of Midsummer is as a time to summon special power. That is how Guy Gavriel Kay uses Midsummer in The Summer Tree (The Fionavar Tapestry Book 1). You can see what he does is this quote. They “came to their power in blindness with that ceremony on midsummer night.”
In Imajica by Clive Barkee Midsummer was something you had a reason to look forward to. Here in the story “Midsummer Night was only two day away and…”
In Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos by H.P. Lovecraft there is “curious sights to be seen about the monolith on Midsummer Night…” Like in other stories Midsummer Night has special powers.
In Destiny; Child of the Sky“by Elizabeth Haydon it is also a special night as this quote shows; “it had been confirmed by the Patriach’s ring on Midsummer’s Night the previous year…”
C. S. Lewis used it as a reference in a scene that “roared as a woodland bonfire on Midsummer night” in The Chronicles of Narnia.
And in Bloody Good by Georgia Evans there is disbelief because “I never did believe those stories of dancing around Fairy rings on a midsummer night.”
Marion Zimmer Bradly even used Midsummer on Darkover. Midsummer and its celebrations are not confined to Earth. “I also know how to behave when I want them to accept me as a woman at …Midsummer, when the dances in Thendara, for instance go on all night….” Saga of the Renunciates
In Hawk Eternal (Hawk Queen Novels) by David Gemmell it is used as a way to show a length of time. “It lasts two weeks from Midsummer’s Night…"
And one last one for this post. Elizabeth Moon gave it power in The Legacy of Gird. In her story you “risked dangerous dreams, on Midsummer Night.” But in another of her books, Kings of the North it was “Give you Midsummer luck,” the child said…”
Leave a comment with your favorite book that uses Midsummer in the plot so you are entered into the drawing for prizes? What prizes?
TWO GRAND PRIZES!
1st Prize - a Kindle Touch or Nook Touch
2nd Prize -a library of science fiction romance titles from over 20 authors (these will be mostly ebooks with one print anthology), and an Anabanana Gift Card.
ONE PRIZE FROM COMMENTS ON MY BLOG!
$5.00 Amazon gift certificate