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Author Topic: Infos on the 1760s?  (Read 1179 times)
Germany Germany

« on: July 25, 2014, 12:24:28 am »

Greetings, literary fellows!

I am at the moment working on a small Science fiction story set in London during 1763 (While not exactly steampunk, it's still set in an alternate universe where Kepler and Newton invented space travel, so I think it still fits in here). Originally it was only supposed to be a relatively short piece and I picked the date rather arbitrarily, but now as I keep working on the plot (at least in my notebook) and the British Monarchy becomes more and more important to the story, I realise that I don't actually know that much about it.
I want to make the story as historically acurate as possible (ignore the fact that the interplanetary trade between Earth and the rest of the solar system is flourishing), so can anyone recommend some material or documentaries on the Seven Year's War or the early reign of George III? I feel Wikipedia is usually not the place to learn something as complex as that because there is simply an information overload.

By the way, here is the link to the story, if you're interested:
« Last Edit: July 25, 2014, 12:26:09 am by Pantaleon » Logged
United States United States

« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2014, 03:50:15 am »

From what I've heard, writers research far more than they put in the story. A biography (as detailed as you want to get...there's loads of 'em) of Newton, Kepler - unless I've got the wrong one, Kepler died in 1630, Newton in there's no reason you couldn't have a protagonist influenced by them...

Some of the fun is just looking at the technology of 1763, the Royal Society was offering prizes for such things as an accurate clock (don't remember the actual date, but it was around that time, give or take a coupla decades) There was a series involving Newton by  Gregory Keyes, (one was A calculus of Angels). Depending on what you have in mind, it's a good flavor of when they were alive.

Sounds like fun...

« Last Edit: July 25, 2014, 03:20:59 pm by pakled05 » Logged
Snr. Officer
France France

« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2014, 08:47:27 am »

As Pakled05 says, Kepler and Newton pre-date your setting (Kepler by a century!), so if those two had developed space travel, then your world in 1760 would be very different to our world at that time!

The Seven Years War, the French and Indian Wars, George III? Those things may never even happen in your world.

My opinion is that rather than research the real 1760s, your time would be better spent researching the period when Kepler and Newton were alive, and the century preceding them, and then extrapolate from that what the 1760s would be like in your world.

Here are three links to help you find out more about the little man who sat on the shoulders of giants.

Germany Germany

« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2014, 12:55:30 pm »

I am pretty comfortable with Kepler and Newton and their lives already, actually. My idea was to set the story about fifty years after Newton so that the technology he invented had enough time to become widespread.
Still, extrapolating from the earlier 1700s is a really good idea, that should make things easier and also quite a bit more plausible.

Still, thanks a lot for the links, one can never know too much about Newton Wink
Peter Brassbeard
Zeppelin Captain
United States United States

« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2014, 04:25:50 pm »

A practical spacecraft, presuming it isn't easily reproduced by rivals, would have an immense impact on military balance.  Potential of movement for troops.  Long distance communications which are largely limited to the speed by which a physical package can be carried, unless relayed by optical telegraph to a space station.  And maybe most important, a rock coming in at orbital speed has several times it's weight in Blam on impact.  Which all ignores the energies of whatever propels them.  If the technology has been around a century, it's been used at least once in war.

What restricts building of spaceships, and who can build/buy them?  Some rare material?  Some secret knowhow?  If at all practical I see the government where they are first developed doing all they can to restrict the knowhow or critical resource needed.

What kind of performance do they have?  Fast passage, near Holman transfer between planets, or even stages?

What happens when a spacecraft malfunctions?  What kind of Bang might be delivered?
Germany Germany

« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2014, 04:40:25 pm »

Well, the idea of the setting is this: the solar system actually is the way people thought it was back in the 17th/18th century. That means, planets are inhabitated, there is breathable air in space and everything is just a whole lot easier. Here's a small excerpt which gives you a brief rundown of the history of space exploration:

Although in 1623 Johannes Kepler had already created sails which could catch the sun wind, there hadn't been a real use for them. Kepler had demonstrated his sails by shooting a small satellite into low Earth orbit with a cannon, but still it was impossible to move manned vessels away from Earth's gravitational grasp. Newton's oars changed that. They allowed men to push against the gravitational fields and heave ships high enough above the clouds for the sun wind to fill their ray sails. After that, there were no more obstacles between mankind and the exploration of the universe. Three years after Newton's invention the first ship dropped anchor on the Moon. In 1712 the Saint Hugh landed on Mars, and another year later the first man set foot on Venus. Today, after mere two generations of men exploring the heavens, humanity's ships can be found anywhere between the scorching deserts of Mercury and fertile meadows of Saturn and a Martian shipmate is no more unusual than a Russian one.

You could compare it to the Age of Sail transferred into space, and while the technology is widely known, it's still difficult and expensive to build a space ship (as you'd expect) and some nations are better at it than others.

Any comments and suggestions on the topic are always welcome! Don't have to be directly linked to the story either, really.
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