So, I've started reading SPQR last night, and I'm enjoying it. It's funny. Someone will recommend a Fantasy novel to me and say, "Stina, this is an example of amazing world building!" and I'll read it and nod my head. It'll stop there. But if I read non-fiction about an interesting culture of which I'm not a part, the inspiration fairy fires up and doesn't stop. The ideas go on for miles. Oddly, I'd never noticed that before, and that's a vital thing to know about oneself as a writer. The reason why I operate that way is probably my sensitivity about plagiarism. While there's nothing wrong with being inspired by other authors' works, there is a line that quite a few people seem to have some problems with. So, I'm twitchy. In addition, this reaction is also a leftover from architecture/art school. One can generally tell the difference between the work of someone who has studied a movement, understands and respects it, and decides to work with those themes versus someone who sees something as popular and wants to join in the conversation without doing any of the homework first.
Years ago, I worked for Motorola as a graphic designer. During the same time period, I was also studying graphic design at ACC. (I've always believed in improving my professional knowledge.) That year, Russian Constructivism became all the rage in design circles.
As it happens, that was also the year Motorola hired an ad agency to create employee motivational posters. There had been some lay-offs--the first in a decade, and Human Resources figured it was time to pump up the troops as it were. As it happened, the designer at the ad firm was in the midst of a love affair with, you guessed it, Russian Constructivism. Sadly, the designer in question was apparently unaware of the er...communist context of the art movement. The only way that could have happened was if they'd only seen the popular work at that time and not the historical versions. Because if they had, they totally would've known better. Anyway, the result was...we'll just say comical and depressing. It was so bad that employees were writing snarky notes on the posters everywhere they appeared. The final straw was when someone, I won't say who[cough], stuck on a post-it note that read: "Work hard! Work long! And maybe one day you will afford a refrigerator!" All the posters came down at once.
Context is a big part of communication. If you're unaware of the original context of the history or myth you're working with, you're highly likely to make some very bad mistakes. Context matters.
 Often because MONEY, but usually because they're too lazy and don't care.
 For the PowerPC division. Yes, that dates me. Heh.
 [Innocent look]
 A quote from a Russian state-sponsored poster I'd seen in art school.
is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.