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Author Topic: What's your point of diversion?  (Read 1099 times)
Zeppelin Kapitan Fritz
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« on: August 06, 2011, 05:15:33 pm »

     A lot of you seem to be writing alternate history, so I'm wondering what the point of diversion is in your stories.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2011, 05:36:17 pm by Zeppelin Kapitan Fritz » Logged
andrew craven
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« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2011, 09:25:43 pm »

Point of diversion? My apologies you will have to explain more on that!  Smiley
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macloud
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« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2011, 12:06:48 am »

I think he means at what point our worlds history diverge into steampunk world x's history.
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Dr Fidelius
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Professor of Applied Paleontology, Miskatonic U.


« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2011, 01:30:15 am »

Sometimes it's more a Hidden History than an Alternate History, so the history books don't change but the reasons and actors behind the scenes are very different.

Otherwise, it was either some time in ancient Babylon, or when the War of Jenkin's Ear turned out differently.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2011, 01:32:19 am by Dr Fidelius » Logged

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Zeppelin Kapitan Fritz
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« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2011, 01:42:29 am »

     Macloud is right about what I meant, sorry if it was unclear.
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Lazaras
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« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2011, 04:35:12 am »

I have the luxury of taking an alternite future approach to my steam setting. Far in the future past some sort of world changing/civilization shattering event. Yet so far after that it's had a chance to rebuild.

Then again there are a few alt history bits, but its mostly a secret wars/hidden history type thing so while there is a series of giant robot and mechanical monster battles it's largely dismissed as dime novel adventures.

Well that and in in my world the Tripods did invade in 1899 (then again a few months later in America.)
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D.Oakes
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« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2011, 05:16:32 am »

I am stuck personally in the 1890's.  I love the art and after I found out the velvet smoking jacket I purchased was popular among painters and poets in that time period (I stress, after I bough it) I realize that even my taste in fashion is stuck in the 1890's.  About the only thing I truly love about the 20th and 21st centuries, even as I use the computer and texts, would have to be plumbing and electricity.  Even then, we could part ways without issue.  My writing follows that formula as well.  Art Deco never has had the chance to take over and the gasoline engines all failed. 
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Lazaras
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« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2011, 05:31:45 am »

I could see gasoline failing when it became clear that the issue over who would get control of the arabian oil fields wouldn't resolve easily (since the aribs would be bitter at the british trying to plunder their natural resources but maybe being split amongst themselves over whether to sell to 'infadel' nations or not.)

This kindof assumes an independent arabia/middle east, which didn't really happen till at least after the first world war but.... *headshake*

Giant political messup.
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D.Oakes
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« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2011, 05:49:01 am »

I could see gasoline failing when it became clear that the issue over who would get control of the arabian oil fields wouldn't resolve easily (since the aribs would be bitter at the british trying to plunder their natural resources but maybe being split amongst themselves over whether to sell to 'infadel' nations or not.)

This kindof assumes an independent arabia/middle east, which didn't really happen till at least after the first world war but.... *headshake*

Giant political messup.
I would argue that many of the conflicts still going on in the Middle East are because we "the West" set the borders which needless to say are not correct given how many ethnic groups have been thrust into each other.  Nationalism is a powerful force.  You must also remember that there are vast oil fields elsewhere in the world.  In fact I am living in the state where the modern method started.  As much as I love Victorian culture, it was very much a society based upon empire.  If they knew the conflicts, they would have done it anyway because let's face it, America, Great Britian, France, Russia, Prussia (Germany depending on the other Lands), Spain, Japan, etc  was the world's greatest power.  (notice my change in tense, that was not a typo, that was intentional)  Gasoline would have only failed if the right person at the right time had made the right mistake or would have died.  It is amazing how much chaos theory plays a part in world events.  Say in the 1500's a smith had not fixed a carriage wheel properly and a woman carrying a child had died, little did any of them know but because of that child and that wheel a few generations later Hitler was born.  That is the interesting and albeit terrifying part about history. 
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Lady Chrystal
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« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2011, 07:10:10 am »

Sometimes it's more a Hidden History than an Alternate History, so the history books don't change but the reasons and actors behind the scenes are very different.


That's a fair description of mine, too.
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andrew craven
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« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2011, 07:21:02 pm »

Ah I see. I did have a thought it was that what you were after!
  In one caper I have written, the United States of America does not exist. It is known as the American Commonwealth with the idea that north America is still entirely under British rule. The 10 chapter story is set around the 1890's or 1900.. It follows a German teenaged boy called Candide Kinder who starts his first job as a stoker on board a "Merchant Zeppelin" called "The Zeitgeist". Candide's first voyage takes him to New York from Dusseldorf. I have titled it 'When the Zeppelin Comes In'. It is impending a publisher's proof read at the moment. But I must warn you, it is a somewhat naughty steampunk number!  Wink
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Lady Chrystal
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« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2011, 07:45:43 pm »

I love your Zeppelin's name. Very appropriate!
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Arkwright
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« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2011, 11:18:00 pm »

By the time I have printed Beyond the Asylum the question won't actually mean that much.

All possible histories happen somewhere in an infinate universe.

Tales From the Asylum established the possibility of seeing or even travelling the "paths not taken" and Beyond the Asylum builds upon that. It starts in a Victorian Empire established thousands of years ago and ends in the beginning of the 21st century. At least three 19th century Victorian Empires are visited and every one has a slightly different point of divergence from our established history. But all exist, or would do if someone hadn't removed significant parts of them to set things back on the right track.

Look at it this way - things could have been very different if the Hittites had beaten the Greeks in Asia Minor, but people would still be people.

TTFN

Arkwright
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Professor Hesketh
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« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2011, 06:05:53 pm »

Never really thought about any of this.  As it's a fiction I don't think it really matters - I doubt Wells and Verne considered these points, they just wanted to tell good stories.  Anyway, for me, I just like the threads and the doodads and the chance to be a bit stylish away from the norm.  If I was forced though, perhaps Leonardo's inventions hit the big time and we went on from there, and the internal combustion engine didn't happen (perhaps Henry Ford fell off a train or something...).  It's all good fun, friends!
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Zeppelin Kapitan Fritz
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« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2011, 10:40:52 pm »

     Another post I wish I could delete.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2011, 11:19:10 pm by Zeppelin Kapitan Fritz » Logged
Wolfie
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« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2011, 11:19:15 am »

I have a very clear point, seeing as it's the foundation of my entire plot, so i didn't mind being as extravagant as I possibly could. I introduce a genius and her invention over 80 years before the actual plot, and the world is what it became:

In 1852 an inventor with a marvelous, near intuitive understanding of physics and chemistry, develops a chemical that reacts to thought and manifests it. This leads to an invention that basically gives the user telekinetic abilities. An ambitious man by the name Batholomew Spier uses this device to arm a small group of followers and overthrow the crown and parliament. Later on the weapon gives Britain a colossal military advantage and they launch an incessant expansion of the British Empire.

The story is set in 1934 as shaped by the Spier family's reign and influence on the world. Several things remain, several post-1852 events, people, and places still develop as they did in our timeline, while others are completely opposed. For instance, a good relationship between the Spier family and Ferdinand Graf Von Zeppelin meant airships became both more advanced and more common. Seeing the potential of a technology so far ahead of its time, technology becomes a major focus and while the culturally conservative government keeps society at a near standstill, science experiences a golden age.

I think what I've enjoyed the most is finding that balance where enough remains unchanged to make it all feel tangible and real, at the same time as I'm writing about all these fantastic differences and major leaps in scientific and social development.
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Cpt. Robert Trevelyan
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« Reply #16 on: September 06, 2011, 01:25:29 am »

Hmmm, a few points really.  Basically that most of the inventions that didn't receive enough funding or research DID. (i.e. Babbage's Difference & Analytical Engine, Monturiol's Ictinea II Submarine, Leyden Jars, Daniel Cells etc...), though I also have Britain intervening more on behalf of the South during the American Civil War (I mean other than supplying arms and ships).  This results in North America being Canada, the USA and the CSA (Confederate States of America), with an uneasy peace between north and south.  Britain's reasons for not intervening more heavily were to avoid war with the US, this has been narrowly avoided due to the north being too weak after the Civil War to risk war with Britain, Canada and the CSA.  However, it wouldn't take much to kick start something. The Russians have been defeated in the Crimea, but again, may well be holding grudges, but most importantly, the increasing power of Prussia under Bismarck is looking to come to a head soon.  If and when war does break out with Prussia, Captain Trevelyan will happily prey on Prussian shipping in the North Sea in the name of Her Britannic Majesty Queen Victoria.

Not thought too much about it though, my understanding of 19th Century politics may be horrifically off in some way that makes such a deviation fomr reality most unlikely, but hell, this is SP, right?
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Dangerdean
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« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2011, 08:22:35 pm »

     Another post I wish I could delete.

Why? Admittedly the thread has diverged a little from your original question, but it still provoked interesting discussion.
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barb dwyer
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Same planet ~ different world


« Reply #18 on: September 11, 2011, 01:11:51 am »

Ultimately, being a woman,
it would have to be sometime
around that whole apple eating incident.

Instead of that
which would require rewriting
the history of humankind;

I've contemplated when *did*
events split off and instead roll down
a different leg of reality in 
the biforcated trousers of time...

Again, being a woman has to be the primary consideration
so I'll tend to say that there was an early
women's liberation movement just before,
following/during the reign of Elizabeth I
in which women became people,
could own property, be elected,
(if there were such things for men,
then there were also such things for women)
could self-educate and self-actualize-

could go to war and defend one's honor and one's Queen.

in a past where
a human being was a human first
a person second
and a gender...third.

ANd one's religion was one's own business
an no one had the right to murder another
simply their idea of the Infinite was of their own perception .

And subsequently, women enjoyed their creative and dynamic role
as equal partners in the dawning industrial revolution.

My apologies for verbosity.

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Space Captain Toby
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« Reply #19 on: September 12, 2011, 01:59:29 pm »

I don't really have one, as the stories are set in the future and involve an equivalent future empire as opposed to a changed real one. However, there is a rough future history, including at least one dictatorial world government and probably the odd apocalypse. As history has demonstrated in the past (where else?!) things can go back as well as forward!

Oh, and there were Martians, but Wells exaggerated and the government passed it off as fiction. Geoff Wayne tried to blow the lid off the conspiracy, but foolishly sought to do so in song. Never a good plan. And there was a mathmatician in 1850s Oxford working on dimensional travel, but more of that some other time...
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Mortim
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Mortim
« Reply #20 on: September 13, 2011, 08:29:03 pm »

The work that I've done in the 'alternative history' branch has often been either a secretive sub-set of real history as mentioned above, or as a result of an unexplained change/changes. I personally prefer to steer clear of trying to define exactly what has changed as I believe it stifles my ability to illustrate the world as I see fit.

That said, a key theme I keep returning to is the over-extended expansion of the British Empire and the consequences that holds. In my head I've always assumed that this was brought about by a difference in attitude towards the sciences, and strong private/political agendas that would have seized opportunities given a more rapidly changing world.

I'm also intrigued by the idea that humanity will one day reach a state of social and technical equilibrium, broken only by a cataclysmic change. It opens up some new ideas for moments in past history that could have carried on indefinitely until a technological marvel abruptly throws it into a new age.

I've always fancied picturing the Italian Renaissance through some steampunk-tinted goggles.


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Space Captain Toby
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« Reply #21 on: September 13, 2011, 09:25:14 pm »

Quote
I've always fancied picturing the Italian Renaissance through some steampunk-tinted goggles.

Funny you mention it: that was essentially the idea behind the first story I wrote. A lot of paint and blood got spilled! It's still looking for a publisher, but hopefully the bloody saga of revenge and flying machines will one day see print!
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D.Oakes
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« Reply #22 on: September 13, 2011, 09:46:57 pm »

Quote
I've always fancied picturing the Italian Renaissance through some steampunk-tinted goggles.

Funny you mention it: that was essentially the idea behind the first story I wrote. A lot of paint and blood got spilled! It's still looking for a publisher, but hopefully the bloody saga of revenge and flying machines will one day see print!

The art history nerd just pushed the steampunk nerd aside and demands to know a very excited....WHAT?!   Grin
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Inflatable Friend
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« Reply #23 on: September 13, 2011, 10:11:33 pm »

I think I'm in with the 'Hidden History' crowd, at least on the current project - a short diary style piece set in 1917.

It varies on the individual project though, I don't tend to work within a single defined universe across projects.
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Space Captain Toby
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« Reply #24 on: September 15, 2011, 01:37:18 pm »

Well, without wanting to hijack the thread, the idea was of an imaginary city in an alternate (supercharged) renaissance, where Leonardo-type machines worked, with submarines, clockwork armoured cars and so on. It was a revenge story and was told without jokes. There were a lot of references to existing people and art, although given the circumstances they tended to come out slightly differently.

Anyhow, I'm trying to find a publisher. One day, probably far into the future, maybe.
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