Date: 2017-05-13 06:24 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Actually, at one point Donna Barr (the "Desert Peach"/"Stinz" creator) made a point of establishing that the only person in the Peach's unit who's a member of the Nazi Party is Udo, who's secretly (as far as the outside world is concerned) Jewish and somehow wound up accidentally joining the party while drunk. Even the real-life Erwin Rommel wasn't a member. But yeah, the series' World War II German army setting and the historical/ideological baggage it inevitably involves will strike most people as even more potentially incendiary now than they did back when Barr originally created the book pre-Age of Trump. So if any of this sounds intriguing, it might be better to try starting off with "Stinz."

I wouldn't say "Stinz" goes downhill after the wartime magical apocalypse. But it does become a distinctly different kind of story, with much more elaborate worldbuilding and more noticeably grimdark implications (which thankfully usually aren't visited directly upon characters we've gotten to know onstage). The series went through several distinct periods: Slice-of-life stories set in a nineteenth-century(?) Alpine valley inhabited by both half-horses (centaurs) and humans, who usually stick to their own separate communities; stories of half-horse protagonist Stinz's experiences when he's mistakenly drafted into the (otherwise entirely human) army in the world outside, where people know centaurs exist, but have usually never seen one; and stories of how this relatively ordinary (except for the occasional centaur) world is drastically altered by the equivalent of nuclear radioactivity that spreads over much of Europe when one side's scientists (nobody is sure which) accidentally(?) sets off an experimental magical weapon that wipes out most existing forms of industrial-era technology. The resulting floating quasi-sentient cloud of magic also mutates most baseline humans, some more drastically than others. It also unexpectedly undoes the magic that was apparently involved in the centuries-earlier creation of centaurs, so that Stinz, who was born a half-horse, is suddenly converted into a regular two-legged human. The contrast between the occasionally self-consciously gemutlich early stories (Barr was originally attempting to market what became "Stinz" as a children's book about Stinz's much less interesting son Andri) and what they began evolving into as early as the pre-apocalypse military tales collected into the graphic novel "Warhorse" is quite striking, although all three periods are fascinating in their own individual ways.

Marfisa (who supposedly has a Dreamwidth account, but can't seem to log in)

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