Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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AskHistorians.com

Here’s a post from Janet Reid that caught my eye:

AskHistorians.com

One of the panels I attended was about AskHistorians.com.
I’d never heard of it before (probably because I was busy lollygagging in the bar) but the description sounded interesting.  It’s a place anyone can ask questions about things in history.

Some caveats: it’s not the substitute for research you can do on your own.
A question like “When did Germany invade Poland?” isn’t going to survive moderation.

But a more nuanced question  like “I’m a young woman in Mongolia in 1066. What are my chances of being kidnapped by a rival tribe and married off to a total stranger?” is what they’re looking for.

Well, now, that certainly sounds like a worthwhile resource! If you’re writing historicals, or something historical-flavored like “One Night in Boukos,” or a secondary world that you want to have depth — in all those cases, I can absolutely see a writer wanting to ask, “So, I’m a boy born to a Christian household in the Balkans in the 15th Century. How likely is it that I’d be taken off by the Ottomans to be a Janissary?”

Or whatever.

I, of course, would call my brother and ask him that kind question. But for those of you who don’t have a relative or close friend who happens to be able to answer stuff like that, here you go: Ask a Historian.

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2 Comments AskHistorians.com

  1. Allan Shampine

    I got a good laugh out of your solution of calling your brother. I am in your brother’s Thursday night gaming group, and when he ran his time travel game, between him and the rest of the group I felt like I was in a masterclass on alt-history. Amazing and humbling. I was constantly coming home after a game and telling my wife about all the cool historical anecdotes I had learned about!

  2. Rachel

    Allan, I know, right? I know of writers who have the same kind of resource because their brother is a doctor, or whatever, but personally I think history is the single best specialty for the relative of a writer!

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