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SF and fantasy set in Belgium

Some of you will have seen my list of sf and fantasy novels set in Ireland. I have been living in Belgium now for over seven years, and it occurred to me that there must be a similar list possible of sf and fantasy set here.

I have two items to start off with:

Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell (2004): one of the nested stories is set in Zedelghem.

The Guns of Avalon, by Roger Zelazny (1972):
"From Antwerp we had traveled to Brussels, spending several evenings at a club on the Rue de Char et Pain before the man I wanted found me."
Anything more?

(I'm specifically thinking of written sf and fantasy. If we expand the scope out to comics there are an awful lot more, starting with Tintin.)

Edited to add: sammywol reminds me - as I should have remembered perfectly well - of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke (2004) which features the Battle of Waterloo.

Michael Ross raises the question of Kate Elliot's "Crown of Stars" series. As far as I can tell these are set in a rather distorted Europe, to the point that you couldn't really count it as "set" in France, Belgium, etc. Same goes for the Kushiel trilogy (though as far as I remember they avoid the Low Countries entirely).


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 3rd, 2006 10:25 am (UTC)
Dishonourable mention for The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy? :)
May. 3rd, 2006 10:28 am (UTC)
Very dishonourable indeed!
May. 3rd, 2006 10:59 am (UTC)
How about the play "Easter 2016" which was one of the six week run of Play for Today tackling futuristic subjects.

From what I recall, not a great deal of sf content in it, really a 'near future' play made in the early 80s - the premise was an integrated teacher-training college in Belfast (which at the time was probably fairly radical, given that there were even separate RC and CofE teacher training colleges in Liverpool at the time!) coming up to the centenary of the Easter Rising with the principal wanting to allow the Catholic students to commemorate the anniversary and the security guy wanting to screw everything down.

Young versions of Kenneth Branagh and Colm Meaney featured as students.

Don't really remember a great deal more about it - I would've been about 14 when it was on.
May. 3rd, 2006 11:57 am (UTC)
Interesting - though for my Irish list, not my Belgian list!
May. 3rd, 2006 11:58 am (UTC)
Did the incredibly long Ash by Mary Gentle make it as far North as Belgium or just Burgundy? Will give it some thought. I have a nagging at my mind that I am forgetting one that I really liked.
May. 3rd, 2006 12:05 pm (UTC)
Hmm, will have to check that one. As far as I remember, though, she starts off in the Rhine Valley to the east of Belgium/the Netherlands, and then heads south into Burgundy, and Marseilles, and Carthage of course, without coming as far west as here.
May. 3rd, 2006 02:39 pm (UTC)
got it! either Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell takes a gander at the Battle of Waterloo or else I have a vivid imagination that writes fanfic to itself on the sly (although that could happen - it did when I was a kid with Lord of the Rings).

There must be a host of time travel and alternate history stories involving Waterloo. There is also one small reference to it in David Brin's Earth that I always liked where there's an online discussion of the re-enactment of the battle being flooded with far more soldiers wanting to re-enact it than were there for the original and so the costume police are out to turn away the less 'authentic' candidates.
May. 3rd, 2006 04:16 pm (UTC)
D'Oh! You're dead right. Have edited main entry for Strange and Norrell.

Will have to think about Brin.
May. 3rd, 2006 07:46 pm (UTC)
I think Ash counts as Belgian sf. Burgundy at the time covered Belgium and the Netherlands and the book keeps the duchy "alive" before the Habsburg takeover.
Caught you on EbS today!
May. 4th, 2006 06:01 am (UTC)
Yeah, liberaliser just told me - but I'm really puzzled - was this my presentation ot the Committee of the Regions on Tuesday? What sort of time was it on?
May. 4th, 2006 08:15 am (UTC)
It was a headshot of you next to a window followed by a Slavic voiceover. It was part of the Exchanges South Eastern Europe package that EbS does in its "news for free" programme. That has already caused trouble with the journalists' unions who claim it is taking work away from honest hard-working hacks (who do exist apparently.)
Video download here: http://europa.eu.int/comm/avservices/ebs/schedule.cfm?date=05/03/2006
May. 4th, 2006 08:37 am (UTC)
Aha. That must have been the quick interview the Balkan journalists did with me on 30 March!
May. 3rd, 2006 12:40 pm (UTC)
Part of one of the later chapters in Accelerando takes place in the Atomium - in a "reinstantiated" Brussels on Saturn. Does this count?
May. 3rd, 2006 12:51 pm (UTC)
Defintiely not.

Though it rates more an honourable mention than Douglas Adams!
May. 3rd, 2006 03:45 pm (UTC)
Fantasy in Belgium
Hi Nick

Would you accept Kate Elliot's "Crown of Stars" series? I've only just started Book 1, "Kings Dragon" but the characters are already involved in a seige of Gent by the Eika.


Michael Ross
May. 3rd, 2006 06:29 pm (UTC)
davidstewart might be able to shed some light on this, as he lived there for several years, and presumably would have noticed anything he was reading that mentioned the place. Otherwise, you might try asking whatever local organised fandom there is about it.
May. 4th, 2006 07:13 pm (UTC)
Some parts of Eric Flint et al.'s 1632 books/stories concern the Low Countries. Isn't part of modern-day Belgium the former Spanish Netherlands? If so, the books are very relevant.
May. 4th, 2006 07:25 pm (UTC)
That comment was by me, Vasha -- I'm not used to using LiveJournal, sorry.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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