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Topic: Question for Outlander Readers (lovers of the series or not)

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Subject: Question for Outlander Readers (lovers of the series or not)
Date Posted: 12/19/2007 12:25 PM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2005
Posts: 5,238
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WARNING:  There are probably going to be spoilers in this thread, so if you haven't read the Outlander series yet consider yourself forwarned!

Obviously, the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon is a favorite among PBS readers - especially romance readers.   There have been several threads recommending and discussing the series on this Board and others (the Hidden Gems board primarily).  But, I have never seen this particular question addressed - so I'm going to ask it .....

Like many who totally love the series, I want to spread the word and get others hooked on it also so that we can all enjoy it together.   And I do understand that not everyone is going to like every book (not everyone likes the Harry Potter series, right?).   However, it makes me a little bit unhappy when I recommend the Outlander series to someone, and they don't like it because they expected it to be something other than what it is. It's been my experience that some historical fiction readers are disappointed with the amount of romance in the books, and conversely some romance readers are disappointed with the amount of history in the books.  Another thing that turns some readers away from the series are the somewhat graphic descriptions of violence and/or sex - or the homosexual characters and scenes.    Personally, the rape scene at the end of the first book was very hard for me to read - more for the violence of the act than anything else.  Although I have re-read Outlander many times, I have only read that scene once.  I know it is there and what it was about (it would be difficult to totally ignore since that is a pivital plot point in the Outlander series) and that is enough for me.   There has been no other scene in any of the other books that bothered me like that one.   And taken as a whole, the series is about so much more than one scene, so I'm not going to let it stop me from enjoying the books and the awesome story.

So the question that I put to you all is ..... When you are recommending Outlander to other readers, what do you tell them?  How do you describe the series?  And do you warn them about some of the more graphic scenes?  I have started to do this myself because I believe that forewarned is forearmed.

 

Date Posted: 12/19/2007 12:56 PM ET
Member Since: 12/8/2006
Posts: 29,785
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Actually, I just started Outlander myself, and I'm glad I've been forwarned! I'll still read the book, but know to skim that part if I can...as for recommending to to others, I can't answer that yet:)

Date Posted: 12/19/2007 2:29 PM ET
Member Since: 2/24/2006
Posts: 5,498
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SPOILER ALERT - be warned before reading...

If you have ever read The Outlandish Companion, Diana Gabaldon herself describes it not as a romance or a mystery or a historical but a story about a MARRIAGE.  Most romances have a setup, a plot and a finish, happily ever after.  These books do not - they are a continuing "saga" if you will about two people (and those around them) - Claire & Jamie - who met under less than ideal circumstances, married and THEN fell in love.    As far as the graphic scenes, rape and violence were part of the times unfortunately just like drugs and guns are a part  of our times now.  It may not be pretty but it is what it is, and to skip over Jamie's rape, for example, would leave you missing integral parts of Jamie's story as it progresses.  WHY he feels the way he does about certain characters, WHY he acts the way he does in certain situations, WHY he is so protective of Claire and Breeana, WHY he at first is not receptive to Roger...you can't have one without the other.  I tell people that the books have somewhat unsavory  scenes in them but to remember that the book is set in the 18th century with 18th century morals, ideals and problems and not to try and give it a 21st century review, because you just CAN'T.   One person may not have a problem with the rape scene but have a huge problem with the magic of the White Witch or Master Raymond - would you warn them off because of those few scenes?  Its all relative to an individuals frame of reference.

Sherri

Date Posted: 12/19/2007 4:17 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
Posts: 240
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Once upon a time I would have considered OUTLANDER to be a romance.  However, once I read Ms. Gabaldon's rant involving the fact that she doesn't write romance, I figured  . . . . screw her!   And I haven't read her since and I won't.  And yes, I read plenty of other things besides romance.  I just feel that she could have said I don't write romance without making it sound like it was sheet beneath her shoes.  @@ 

Date Posted: 12/19/2007 5:16 PM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2006
Posts: 6,060
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I describe Outlander as "Historical fiction with a strong romantic element".   I do warn people that it is graphic - bloody, violent, sexual, etc. I tell people there's a bit of science fiction (the time travel element) in it.    That seems to satisfy most of the people I've recommended the books to.  Not everyone has liked them, but no one has said they were something different than what they were expecting. 

Date Posted: 12/20/2007 1:51 PM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
Posts: 5,646
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Having read every book in the series, I think of it as historical fiction primarily, romance & time-travel secondly.  I really only recommend it to people whose reading tastes I know pretty well, or who ask for something in the historical fiction genre.  I personally don't give a head's up, never thought about it really, but I've always been of the mind that anything could happen in historical books, and usually does.  For me at least, by the time I got to that part of the book, I wasn't shocked by that development.  I didn't anticipate it, but it didn't ring untrue with the rest of the book, if you know what I mean.  I found some of the things in the later books to be much more unsettling.  Naturally, if someone asked for specifics, I would include warnings.

Date Posted: 12/20/2007 7:38 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
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whoa the guy is raped??

Date Posted: 12/20/2007 9:11 PM ET
Member Since: 2/24/2006
Posts: 5,498
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Yes, the hero is raped.  Its sort of complicated and not what you might think at first.

Sherri

Date Posted: 12/21/2007 1:45 PM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2007
Posts: 8,942
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I'd definitely say it's about marriage.  Being married to the books, that is!  At a zillion pages each, I've had relationships that didn't last as long!

Honestly, fear of committment is what keeps me from picking this series up again!

Date Posted: 1/6/2008 1:32 PM ET
Member Since: 12/8/2006
Posts: 29,785
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I finished Outlander last night and I have to say that I would definitely warn others at least about the rape. It was heart breaking and in today's society would be considered disgusting...well I think it was back then as well. I wouldn't describe it as a romance, but it had a strong romantic element. There weren't any heavy steamy love scenes written in either, which was fine with me. The Hero and Heroine fell in love, in my book that's a romantic element.

Does anyone still have those lingering questions: What happened on Frank's end?? And did he even exist after Randall had been killed?? and How could Captain Randall father any children, when it was obvious he didn't prefer women??? What about Dougal's deception, was anything ever done about that???

Do any of my questions get answered in the following books? LOL!

Date Posted: 1/6/2008 4:21 PM ET
Member Since: 2/24/2006
Posts: 5,498
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Yes to your questions Eileen.  But you have to read them - I won't spoil the surprises.

Sherri

Date Posted: 1/6/2008 8:06 PM ET
Member Since: 12/8/2006
Posts: 29,785
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Well DARN IT, now I gotta go track them down!! LOL!! :) I think my library has a few of them, that's where I got Outlander, so I shouldn't have to wish list them:)

Date Posted: 1/6/2008 10:09 PM ET
Member Since: 8/1/2007
Posts: 5,034
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Hmm.. I never thought to give a warning.  Even though the character's went through some tough situations, I didn't feel that the author was too graphic to be offensive to the average reader.  However, in various forums on this book I have seen some people who were really disturbed at one of the scene's between Claire and Jamie and also the scene between Randall and Jamie.  I guess I would  hesitate to recommend this book to someone who was very conservative and I wasn't sure of their reading tastes.  If the readers read mainsteam fiction I would feel comfortable about recommending it without a warning.

As for the romance thing... I LOVE romance and felt that this was the best mix I had ever seen of history and romance.  For me, the romance between Jamie and Claire is what makes this book pull me along.  I love the other characters and that they go from book to book with Claire and Jamie.  However, I would not classify it as romance, but rather historical fiction.  Often I get bored and begin to skim if a books dumps too much history on me and doesn't keep the people active and moving.  Outlander kept me hooked from page 1 (of all 4 books thus far).  I might have skimmed some of those pages about political intrigue....but for the most part I was hooked and turning pages.

Date Posted: 1/12/2008 4:46 PM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2006
Posts: 89
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Oh how I hated Outlander.  Glad I'm not the only one.