This summer, yet another popular book series is going to make the jump from the page to the screen.
In case you haven’t heard, “Outlander” is coming to Starz.
“Outlander” is a sweeping time-travel/historical fiction/romance series by Diana Gabaldon. The first book, “Outlander,” follows Claire Randall, a nurse just out of World War II and on a second honeymoon in Scotland with her husband, a history professor named Frank. Claire takes a walk one day to a group of standing stones and, when she steps inside, is transported back to 18th century Scotland. There, she meets the handsome and brave Jamie Fraser. The series now has seven novels, a graphic novel, three short stories, and a companion guide, with another novel and companion guide slated to be released soon.
I haven’t read all of the books in the series yet – I’m in the middle of the third, “Voyager” - but the first two novels, “Outlander” (called “Cross Stitch” in the UK) and “Dragonfly in Amber” were really fun to read. It’s a series that’s really been growing on me, actually. I read “Outlander” more than a year ago and liked it, but not enough to check out the second book right away. I finally read “Dragonfly in Amber” about a year after reading “Outlander,” and only a couple of months later I picked up “Voyager.” I’m firmly in love with the characters now.
The “Outlander” books are more substantial and epic than a typical romance novel, but they aren’t a slog to read either. The series really defies categorization – on her website, Gabaldon says that the book has been sold as “Literature, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical NON-fiction (really. Well, they are very accurate), Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery, Romance, Military History (no, honest), Gay and Lesbian Fiction, and…Horror.” There is definitely a bit of all of those in the books I’ve read, although I definitely wouldn’t call them “horror.” (Maybe the horror aspect comes in a bit later in the series.)
“Outlander” is also going to make a great TV show, I think. The main characters have been cast, and you can see them on Starz’ website about the show. While not everybody looks like I saw them in my head while I was reading (which always happens, right?), I think they all work, look-wise.
The story is also pretty perfect for a TV show. It’s a sweeping epic that combines action, romance, and history. My hope is that it will feel a little bit like the History Channel’s “Vikings,” but with the fun addition of a modern (well, relatively modern, anyway) perspective in the form of Claire. Of course, I’m sure that “Outlander” will take some pages out of HBO’s book (ha!) and model some aspects of the show off “Game of Thrones,” too.
I’m really hoping that the show will touch on the many different genres from which the books, and not concentrate to heavily on any one aspect, though. There is a heavy romance vein running through the series, and the books seem to be well-loved by the romance-reading community, but I think that the series has the potential to be appreciated and loved by people who don’t necessarily like romance, but who love other types of stories, like historical fiction or fantasy.
Even though I’m a little afraid that the show will focus too much on romance for its own good, I’m still extremely pumped to see the characters I love from the books on my television screen later this year! Who else will be watching?