Beyond Anachronistic: References in Alternate History stories

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Astrobiochemist

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Apr 20, 2009, 2:29:37 AM4/20/09
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I was watching "Kings" today, which is a modern-day retelling of the
biblical King David story. In this episode, two characters were
discussing the King's right to adjudicate disputes between his
citizens. One character dismisses this with the phrase, "Yes,the
whole cut-the-baby-in-half thing," or something along those lines.
This led me to thinking. "Cutting the baby in half" is a reference
to King Solomon, son of King David. David isn't yet the king in
"Kings," being only a teenager and does not have any children as of
yet. Since Solomon is years away from being born and even longer from
making the famous decision that the reference alludes to, why does
this reference exist in the "Kings" universe?

Now, the real reason is obviously that someone made a mistake. This
is similar to how a Battlestar Galactica character once shouted in
surprise "Jesus!" The reference isn't supposed to exist in that
fictional universe but someone in the production didn't think about it
and the reference was used.

Can anyone think of any other examples of this from Alternate History
stories?

Dorothy J Heydt

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Apr 20, 2009, 9:39:05 AM4/20/09
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In article <46036a5b-7ed3-4d96...@r33g2000yqn.googlegroups.com>,

Astrobiochemist <CCSB...@yahoo.com> wrote:
>I was watching "Kings" today, which is a modern-day retelling of the
>biblical King David story. In this episode, two characters were
>discussing the King's right to adjudicate disputes between his
>citizens. One character dismisses this with the phrase, "Yes,the
>whole cut-the-baby-in-half thing," or something along those lines.
>This led me to thinking. "Cutting the baby in half" is a reference
>to King Solomon, son of King David. David isn't yet the king in
>"Kings," being only a teenager and does not have any children as of
>yet. Since Solomon is years away from being born and even longer from
>making the famous decision that the reference alludes to, why does
>this reference exist in the "Kings" universe?

Because it's taking place in the twenty-first century. The
original Solomon has already lived, done his thing, and died,
and his deeds are in the Bible which it's not impossible the
characters have read.


Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at hotmail dot com
Should you wish to email me, you'd better use the hotmail edress.
Kithrup is getting too damn much spam, even with the sysop's filters.

Michael Grosberg

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Apr 20, 2009, 10:46:19 AM4/20/09
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On Apr 20, 4:39 pm, djhe...@kithrup.com (Dorothy J Heydt) wrote:
> In article <46036a5b-7ed3-4d96-913e-f0489115b...@r33g2000yqn.googlegroups.com>,

>
> Astrobiochemist  <CCSBey...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> >I was watching "Kings" today, which is a modern-day retelling of the
> >biblical King David story.  In this episode, two characters were
> >discussing the King's right to adjudicate disputes between his
> >citizens.  One character dismisses this with the phrase, "Yes,the
> >whole cut-the-baby-in-half thing," or something along those lines.
> >This led me to thinking.   "Cutting the baby in half" is a reference
> >to King Solomon, son of King David.  David isn't yet the king in
> >"Kings," being only a teenager and does not have any children as of
> >yet.  Since Solomon is years away from being born and even longer from
> >making the famous decision that the reference alludes to, why does
> >this reference exist in the "Kings" universe?
>
> Because it's taking place in the twenty-first century.  The
> original Solomon has already lived, done his thing, and died,
> and his deeds are in the Bible which it's not impossible the
> characters have read.

But kings is not alt-hist. Or, at least, so far there had not been any
reference to our own history or world. And I don't think the creators
meant for King to exist in a universe in which our bible exists - That
would raise the question of why the characters, who are religious, are
not aware of their namesakes. The characters in Kings bear the same
relation to their biblical namesakes that the characters in the new
Battlestar galactica bear to the original 1978 series characters -
they're a re-imagining of the story in a different setting.

To the original poster, you could explain this reference by saying
that in the Kings universe the tale is attributed to some other king
of old from their own history.

Will in New Haven

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Apr 20, 2009, 10:53:32 AM4/20/09
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On Apr 20, 10:46 am, Michael Grosberg <grosberg.mich...@gmail.com>
wrote:

As it very likely was, in our own history, attributed to some king or
judge long before Solomon. Just as Arthur got credited with
generations of legends about leaders in the British Isles and possibly
in France as well, Solomon could certainly have been credited with
that one.

--
Will in New Haven
"Yellow, Absorbent and Porous is HE."

David Johnston

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Apr 20, 2009, 11:21:42 AM4/20/09
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On Sun, 19 Apr 2009 23:29:37 -0700 (PDT), Astrobiochemist
<CCSB...@yahoo.com> wrote:

>I was watching "Kings" today, which is a modern-day retelling of the
>biblical King David story. In this episode, two characters were
>discussing the King's right to adjudicate disputes between his
>citizens. One character dismisses this with the phrase, "Yes,the
>whole cut-the-baby-in-half thing," or something along those lines.
>This led me to thinking. "Cutting the baby in half" is a reference
>to King Solomon, son of King David. David isn't yet the king in
>"Kings," being only a teenager and does not have any children as of
>yet. Since Solomon is years away from being born and even longer from
>making the famous decision that the reference alludes to, why does
>this reference exist in the "Kings" universe?
>

I note that Solomon probably wouldn't be named that anyway, just as
Silas is not named Saul and the capital is not named Jerusalem. But
apart from that digression, it would be entirely unsurprising to me if
(were the series to run that long which it won't) "Solomon" did not
quote some old folk tale while making a point about say, the idea of
dismembering the kingdom, and ended up getting credited with actually
doing it in people's memories. That sort of thing happens.

As to your question, there a several times when I've noticed turns of
phrase that might be inappropriate in Alternate History, but nothing
big. Although in a somewhat related thing I could never quite figure
out why in Turtledove's fantasy World War II, they called the guns
"sticks" instead of wands and staves.

Sean Eric Fagan

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Apr 20, 2009, 11:46:51 AM4/20/09
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In article <KIEJ9...@kithrup.com>,

Dorothy J Heydt <djh...@kithrup.com> wrote:
>Because it's taking place in the twenty-first century.

It is NOT taking place in our 21st century. I gave up watching into the first
episode because they'd gone to such great lengths to make it so -- and then
blew their world-building with details such as David playing a piece by Liszt.
And mentioning the Internet.

(I stopped reading, um, DEAD WITCH WALKING, I think it was?, when Our Heroine
started drinking some Starbucks' coffee. I *hate* lazy world-building.)

Dorothy J Heydt

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Apr 20, 2009, 12:02:27 PM4/20/09
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Welllll, let me give you a couple of links to an episode
of _Suburban Tribe_, a webcomic now (alas) pretty much
dead in the water because the artist has got life. The
protagonists (most of them) work for an advertising
agency in Tennessee, and other than that they do the
usual stuff: drink, play games, argue; one of the men
has an unwanted house guest living in his dresser drawer,
one of the women has a cat, and the other woman is in love
with one of the men but has never dared tell him.

Here's the beginning:

http://www.suburbantribe.net/?m=20061006

I consider the whole episode amusing, but here's where the
part begins to which I would draw your attention,
demonstrating that Starbuck's is no longer limited to our
universe:

http://www.suburbantribe.net/?p=774

Joseph Nebus

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Apr 20, 2009, 1:45:15 PM4/20/09
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David Johnston <da...@block.net> writes:

>As to your question, there a several times when I've noticed turns of
>phrase that might be inappropriate in Alternate History, but nothing
>big. Although in a somewhat related thing I could never quite figure
>out why in Turtledove's fantasy World War II, they called the guns
>"sticks" instead of wands and staves.

Sometimes it's subtle things. For example in the anthology
_Alternate Presidents_ about other people who, technically speaking,
might have won a United States Presidential Election, there's a story
about if Aaron Burr had out-maneuvered Thomas Jefferson in the Election
of 1800 and got to be President. Among other things this brings on a
war with Great Britain in 1807, resulting in the United States conquest
of Canada.

As part of the flavoring the story includes segments from the
contemporary newspapers or popular culture or such, including, for the
War of 1807, a refrain from a suitably modified version of 'The Battle
Of New Orleans' to fit the new destination for Gen'ral Jackson. But
that song was not even vaguely contemporary; it was written in 1936 by
teacher/folk singer Jimmy Driftwood. It's astoundingly improbable that
in a United States which turned Aaron Burr into a routinely-reelected
King there would be a song remotely like the one we know.


For a vastly dopier example there's Stephen Baxter's _Anti-Ice_,
in which, centuries after a weird antimatter meteor has destroyed
Australia and created a Second Moon, and British explorers have found
the power supply and used it to create a supercharged Industrial
Revolution, complete with city-destroying antimatter bombing to end the
seige of Sebastopol, and the government of Britain has inexplicably moved
to Binghamton, Prussian chancellor Otto von Bismarck figures he can
subtly nudge France's Napoleon III into a foolish declaration of war by
suitably editing the Ems Telegram in July 1870. While both are attending
the Second Great Exposition, of course. So things aren't *exactly* the
same as in our timeline.

--
Joseph Nebus
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

David Johnston

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Apr 20, 2009, 2:33:23 PM4/20/09
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On Mon, 20 Apr 2009 15:46:51 GMT, s...@kithrup.com (Sean Eric Fagan)
wrote:

But Dead Witch Walking isn't in an alternate universe is it? It's in
the future-uture-uture. There's no reason why she wouldn't drink
Starbucks coffee.

Franco

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Apr 20, 2009, 2:40:25 PM4/20/09
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> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------­---

I mentioned a while back that in Laumer's Imperium the British royal
family is named Windsor. In fact, it should be Saxe-Coburg Gothe.
Their family name was changed to Windsor as a result of anti-German
sentiment during WWI, which did not occur in the Imperium's alternate
timeline.

Wayne Throop

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Apr 20, 2009, 2:59:39 PM4/20/09
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: David Johnston <da...@block.net>
: But Dead Witch Walking isn't in an alternate universe is it? It's in

: the future-uture-uture. There's no reason why she wouldn't drink
: Starbucks coffee.

Eh, I don't remember the details. My fuzzy memory sez it's althist with
a recent divergence. But "recent" only somewhat; iirc, the divergence
was well before starbucks-in-our-world. But there's no *strong* reason
the name couldn't have been independently derived, given the similar
background of whoever came up with it, what with the recent divergence
and all.

In any event, I'm prepared to forgive even more implausible parallels
post-divergence I've encountered in various urban fantasy works, and
similar things in general. Hey, I even forgave Tricky Dick Milhouse in
L.Neil Smith's stuff, and Rob S. Pierre in Webber. And I'm not bitter,
no I'm not bitter.

The imprints on the wall have been plastered over, and the books
were still finished, so I can't have been *too* upset, can I?


Wayne Throop thr...@sheol.org http://sheol.org/throopw

Dorothy J Heydt

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Apr 20, 2009, 3:27:19 PM4/20/09
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In article <12402...@sheol.org>, Wayne Throop <thr...@sheol.org> wrote:
>
>In any event, I'm prepared to forgive even more implausible parallels
>post-divergence I've encountered in various urban fantasy works, and
>similar things in general. Hey, I even forgave Tricky Dick Milhouse in
>L.Neil Smith's stuff,

I don't think I've read that one. But are you familiar with
Goldin and Mason's _Jade Darcy and the Zen Pirates_? In which
the wicked faction supporting a candidate called Wealthy-and-
Powerful-House-by-the-Mill, whom Jade calls Millhouse for
short, is defeated by the faction supporting the candidate
The-Peach-Frog-at-Twilight-Singing, whom Jade calls Peaches.

And Jade complains that the Millhousians, who have committed
several murders in their attempt to get their candidate in,
seem to be getting away scot-free. And her companion says,
"Their alliance is in shambles, they are personally
disgraced, they lost their place in history which was very
important to them, and any power they had hoped to wield in
the new court is lost to them forever. If there were such a
thing as capital punishment for political factions, they have
just suffered it. Don't you think that's a form of justice?"

"No," says Jade, "but I guess it'll have to do."

These references are not exactly subtle; but then they appear
in a work as full of nonsubtle references to films and SF
personalities as a fruitcake is of nuts.

>and Rob S. Pierre in Weber.

Now, that name, in an oeuvre that was plainly French
Revolution with the serial numbers imperfectly filed off,
won my lasting ire. But I was ready to quit reading that
series anyway, and did.

>The imprints on the wall have been plastered over, and the books
>were still finished, so I can't have been *too* upset, can I?

I never actually *throw* books against the wall. But I can
think of a few that have gone into the recycled-paper bin.

Sean Eric Fagan

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Apr 20, 2009, 3:33:37 PM4/20/09
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In article <rtfpu4ljd9uu00rg0...@4ax.com>,

David Johnston <da...@block.net> wrote:
>>(I stopped reading, um, DEAD WITCH WALKING, I think it was?, when Our Heroine
>>started drinking some Starbucks' coffee. I *hate* lazy world-building.)
>But Dead Witch Walking isn't in an alternate universe is it?

I don't know what book you're thinking of, but DWW is definitely an alternate
universe.

A virus spread by tomatoes wipes out, what, 60% of humanity? In the 1960s.
(Or was it the 50s? I think 60s.) No space program -- all the money instead
goes into genetics. The human genome is sequenced early on. Oh, and now that
they're so closely tied with humanity, all the supernaturals come out of the
closet, so to speak.

There's a whole bunch I hated about the books, but the real deal killer for me
was, as I said, Our Heroine drinking Starbuck's coffee. It's lazy, and
completely unnecessary -- there was no reason to mention a specific
brand-name, but the author did it just because she didn't think about it.

Similarly, in the show _Kings_, David plays a piece by Liszt simply because
the writers felt a desire to show how well-educated he was, and didn't think
about the implications.

Bill Snyder

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Apr 20, 2009, 4:15:57 PM4/20/09
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On Mon, 20 Apr 2009 19:27:19 GMT, djh...@kithrup.com (Dorothy J
Heydt) wrote:

>In article <12402...@sheol.org>, Wayne Throop <thr...@sheol.org> wrote:
>>
>>In any event, I'm prepared to forgive even more implausible parallels
>>post-divergence I've encountered in various urban fantasy works, and
>>similar things in general. Hey, I even forgave Tricky Dick Milhouse in
>>L.Neil Smith's stuff,
>
>I don't think I've read that one. But are you familiar with
>Goldin and Mason's _Jade Darcy and the Zen Pirates_? In which
>the wicked faction supporting a candidate called Wealthy-and-
>Powerful-House-by-the-Mill, whom Jade calls Millhouse for
>short, is defeated by the faction supporting the candidate
>The-Peach-Frog-at-Twilight-Singing, whom Jade calls Peaches.

[snippage]

>These references are not exactly subtle; but then they appear
>in a work as full of nonsubtle references to films and SF
>personalities as a fruitcake is of nuts.

I must be in real trouble, then, because even after racking my
brain, the only thing I can make out of Peaches is a Python ref.

--
Bill Snyder [This space unintentionally left blank]

Michael Grosberg

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Apr 20, 2009, 4:24:20 PM4/20/09
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On Apr 20, 6:46 pm, s...@kithrup.com (Sean Eric Fagan) wrote:
> In article <KIEJ95.1...@kithrup.com>,

> Dorothy J Heydt <djhe...@kithrup.com> wrote:
>
> >Because it's taking place in the twenty-first century.
>
> It is NOT taking place in our 21st century.  I gave up watching into the first
> episode because they'd gone to such great lengths to make it so -- and then
> blew their world-building with details such as David playing a piece by Liszt.
> And mentioning the Internet.

Actually, that's intentional. The world of Kings is clearly meant to
be Our World in all the background details with the biblical story
artificially grafted over it. It's an artistic choice, not sloppiness.
This way you don't have to waste time on infodumps or have akward
invented jargon and you can get to the interesting part which is the
human drama.

Further examples of similar works:
The intentionally-anachronistic Shakespearean movies that have become
quite popular in the nineties - Julie Timor's Titus Andronicus or Ian
Mckellen in Richard III or Buzz Lhorman's Romeo+Juliet.
Battlestar Galactica, which is set in a world with both humvees and
"All along the Watchtower" and FTL ships and killer AI robots.
The worm Ouroboros, set on "Mercury" (which sports a moon just like
earth's) and in which the heroes quote poets from our world with no
explanation.

Dorothy J Heydt

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Apr 20, 2009, 4:33:01 PM4/20/09
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In article <6rlpu4tvrr2ocq1fk...@4ax.com>,

Perhaps you are too young?

Millhouse is Richard Milhouse Nixon, President of the US from
1969 to 1974, one of the worst Presidents we've had in this
century. Peaches is Jimmy Carter, from Georgia the Peachtree
State, President from 1977 to 1981 and now working for
Habitat for Humanity, who is a very good, honest and virtuous
man ... as a result, he was rather an *ineffective* President,
but still a better man than Nixon. The paragraph you
snipped, about how the Millhouse party was in ruins and had
lost all its political clout, did not (alas) turn out to be
true of the Republican Party, but there was a time back there
when we had hopes.

Kurt Busiek

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Apr 20, 2009, 4:48:55 PM4/20/09
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Millhouse is easy, but since Carter didn't beat Nixon -- and Carter may
have been from Georgia, but his image was more connected to "peanut
farmer" than to "peaches" -- I can see why the connection wasn't
obvious. Had the Nixon character been nicknamed "Golden" for his home
state, I doubt it would be an easy connection either.

It may be more clear in context, of course.

kdb

Bill Snyder

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Apr 20, 2009, 5:14:56 PM4/20/09
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On Mon, 20 Apr 2009 20:33:01 GMT, djh...@kithrup.com (Dorothy J
Heydt) wrote:

I'm only a couple of years younger than you; but I'd never in this
world have gotten Carter from "Peaches."

Tim McDaniel

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Apr 20, 2009, 5:49:59 PM4/20/09
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>I was watching "Kings" today, which is a modern-day retelling of the
>biblical King David story. In this episode, two characters were
>discussing the King's right to adjudicate disputes between his
>citizens. One character dismisses this with the phrase, "Yes,the
>whole cut-the-baby-in-half thing," or something along those lines.
>This led me to thinking. "Cutting the baby in half" is a reference
>to King Solomon, son of King David. David isn't yet the king in
>"Kings," being only a teenager and does not have any children as of
>yet. Since Solomon is years away from being born and even longer from
>making the famous decision that the reference alludes to, why does
>this reference exist in the "Kings" universe?
...

>Can anyone think of any other examples of this from Alternate History
>stories?

Would this qualify from Katherine Kurtz's _King Javan's Year_, set in
a kind of Wales circa AD 925?

Thank you for your input, archbishop.

You could fanwank^W view it as a translation from the original
Gwynneddan (or whatever), making it sound modern and dismissive as a
good translation in mood of the original.

--
Tim McDaniel, tm...@panix.com

Sean Eric Fagan

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Apr 20, 2009, 5:59:34 PM4/20/09
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In article <9cacb085-0b0d-4f1c...@p4g2000vba.googlegroups.com>,

Michael Grosberg <grosberg...@gmail.com> wrote:
>Actually, that's intentional. The world of Kings is clearly meant to
>be Our World in all the background details with the biblical story
>artificially grafted over it.

And you can't do that. Our world does *not* have a recent
highly-industrialized, highly-populated country that formed from a group of
smaller nations within the past few decades. That's not grafting; that's
simply deciding not to think about it.

It was not done for artistic reasons -- it was done out of laziness. When the
very next words you typed were "otherwise they'd have to do all sorts of
infodumps," that should tell you that the world they've set up is
inconsistent.

The fact is that there is simply no way to have the world they set up and ours
-- the story they're telling is too much a part of our cultural heritage, and
since they couldn't figure out a way to include it, they ignored it. (For
example: there was no reason ot name the tanks "GOLIATH" except laziness.
They could have simply let the viewers make the metaphoric connection
themselves... but instead, they went for the lazy and obvious.)

Wayne Throop

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Apr 20, 2009, 6:30:42 PM4/20/09
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: s...@kithrup.com (Sean Eric Fagan)
: The fact is that there is simply no way to have the world they set up and ours

: -- the story they're telling is too much a part of our cultural heritage, and
: since they couldn't figure out a way to include it, they ignored it. (For
: example: there was no reason ot name the tanks "GOLIATH" except laziness.
: They could have simply let the viewers make the metaphoric connection
: themselves... but instead, they went for the lazy and obvious.)

I stopped watching, not so much becaused they were being lazy and obvious,
but because they were being boring. Eight deadly words issues.

Though I suppose that can be taken to be due to laziness; expecting the
"ooooh, they're retelling biblical history!" to both flesh out the characters,
and substitute for actually portraying events in an interesting way.

Matthew Malthouse

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Apr 20, 2009, 6:40:05 PM4/20/09
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On Mon, 20 Apr 2009 21:49:59 +0000 (UTC), tm...@panix.com (Tim
McDaniel) wrote:

> >Can anyone think of any other examples of this from Alternate History
> >stories?
>
> Would this qualify from Katherine Kurtz's _King Javan's Year_, set in
> a kind of Wales circa AD 925?
>
> Thank you for your input, archbishop.
>
> You could fanwank^W view it as a translation from the original
> Gwynneddan (or whatever), making it sound modern and dismissive as a
> good translation in mood of the original.

You could.

But it still jars horrendously so I find it difficult to be that
generous.

Matthew
--
Mail to this account goes to the bit bucket.
In the unlikely event you want to mail me replace usenet with my name

Robert Bannister

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Apr 20, 2009, 8:02:09 PM4/20/09
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There are many reasons why a person would not go to Starbucks even it
exists.

--

Rob Bannister

Robert Bannister

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Apr 20, 2009, 8:05:53 PM4/20/09
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Sean Eric Fagan wrote:
> In article <9cacb085-0b0d-4f1c...@p4g2000vba.googlegroups.com>,
> Michael Grosberg <grosberg...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> Actually, that's intentional. The world of Kings is clearly meant to
>> be Our World in all the background details with the biblical story
>> artificially grafted over it.
>
> And you can't do that. Our world does *not* have a recent
> highly-industrialized, highly-populated country that formed from a group of
> smaller nations within the past few decades. That's not grafting; that's
> simply deciding not to think about it.

Perhaps not in recent decades, but in the last 100 and a bit years there
are the examples of Italy, Germany and Jugoslavia.


--

Rob Bannister

William December Starr

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Apr 20, 2009, 9:22:04 PM4/20/09
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In article <KIEp6...@kithrup.com>,

s...@kithrup.com (Sean Eric Fagan) said:

> It is NOT taking place in our 21st century. I gave up watching into
> the first episode because they'd gone to such great lengths to make
> it so -- and then blew their world-building with details such as
> David playing a piece by Liszt. And mentioning the Internet.
>
> (I stopped reading, um, DEAD WITCH WALKING, I think it was?, when
> Our Heroine started drinking some Starbucks' coffee. I *hate* lazy
> world-building.)

But with thier strict business plan to open a new branch every 0.4
microseconds, Starbucks had no choice _but_ to expand horizontally
across the metaverse!

-- wds

William December Starr

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Apr 20, 2009, 9:31:57 PM4/20/09
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In article <KIEzD...@kithrup.com>,

djh...@kithrup.com (Dorothy J Heydt) said:

> In article <12402...@sheol.org>,
> Wayne Throop <thr...@sheol.org> wrote:
>
>> In any event, I'm prepared to forgive even more implausible
>> parallels post-divergence I've encountered in various urban
>> fantasy works, and similar things in general. Hey, I even
>> forgave Tricky Dick Milhouse in L.Neil Smith's stuff,
>
> I don't think I've read that one.

It was a tiny throwaway line in his first novel, THE PROBABILITY
BROACH. In the Liberetoonia-verse, Milhouse was, um... dang, now
I can't remember whether he was (a) a used-car salesman or (b) a
second-rate burglar. Definitely one of those two. I think.

But as I said, unlike Weber's Rob S. Pierre that was just an
off-stage character somebody mentioned in passing, of no
significance to the story. (Iirc, Smith's historical timeline of
the North American Confederation, tacked onto the end of the book as
an appendix, included an incident in 1865 in which famous actor and
orator John Wilkes Booth was murdered on stage by an obscure
Illinois politician...)

-- wds

Brenda Clough

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Apr 20, 2009, 9:58:37 PM4/20/09
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In both these cases, although I concede the basic complaint, you need to
understand what the author was trying to do. He was probably not
ignorant. Instead he was probably trying to throw a bone to the reader.
What does the reader in the street know of the Battle of New Orleans?
Besides the presence of Old Hickory, the folk song is probably about
it. (And not the original version, either, but the cover done in the
'60s.) Likewise, the number of people who will recognize 'Windsor' is
far larger than the number who will realize what Saxe-Coburg-Gotha implies.

Brenda

David Johnston

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Apr 20, 2009, 10:14:29 PM4/20/09
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On 20 Apr 2009 21:31:57 -0400, wds...@panix.com (William December
Starr) wrote:

>In article <KIEzD...@kithrup.com>,
>djh...@kithrup.com (Dorothy J Heydt) said:
>
>> In article <12402...@sheol.org>,
>> Wayne Throop <thr...@sheol.org> wrote:
>>
>>> In any event, I'm prepared to forgive even more implausible
>>> parallels post-divergence I've encountered in various urban
>>> fantasy works, and similar things in general. Hey, I even
>>> forgave Tricky Dick Milhouse in L.Neil Smith's stuff,
>>
>> I don't think I've read that one.
>
>It was a tiny throwaway line in his first novel, THE PROBABILITY
>BROACH. In the Liberetoonia-verse, Milhouse was, um... dang, now
>I can't remember whether he was (a) a used-car salesman or (b) a
>second-rate burglar. Definitely one of those two. I think.

Wasn't he a used car salesman in The Two Georges? But I like
alternative versions of people.

Steven L.

unread,
Apr 20, 2009, 11:44:05 PM4/20/09
to
Astrobiochemist wrote:
> I was watching "Kings" today, which is a modern-day retelling of the
> biblical King David story. In this episode, two characters were
> discussing the King's right to adjudicate disputes between his
> citizens. One character dismisses this with the phrase, "Yes,the
> whole cut-the-baby-in-half thing," or something along those lines.
> This led me to thinking. "Cutting the baby in half" is a reference
> to King Solomon, son of King David. David isn't yet the king in
> "Kings," being only a teenager and does not have any children as of
> yet. Since Solomon is years away from being born and even longer from
> making the famous decision that the reference alludes to, why does
> this reference exist in the "Kings" universe?

It's hard to believe that they made such a big mistake in attributing it
to Saul rather than Solomon. Remember that Galboa is an advanced
technological society with sophisticated citizens, stock market
investors, scientists, etc.. They wouldn't be impressed with the "cut
the baby in half thing," and probably considered it a cheap cliche that
every king pays lip service to, from ancient times thru modern times.
And I think that's what the writers were depicting.


> Now, the real reason is obviously that someone made a mistake. This
> is similar to how a Battlestar Galactica character once shouted in
> surprise "Jesus!" The reference isn't supposed to exist in that
> fictional universe but someone in the production didn't think about it
> and the reference was used.


>
> Can anyone think of any other examples of this from Alternate History
> stories?

Occasionally, an author may use this device deliberately to make a
satirical point.

For example, in the story "How the South Preserved the Union," by Ralph
Roberts, the North secedes from the Union circa 1850, and the Southern
President appoints a "National Security Adviser" to help handle the
crisis. They fight the Civil War to preserve the Union. Then the South
frees the slaves, who become citizens and by the 1880s, call themselves
"African-Americans."


--
Steven L.
Email: sdli...@earthlinkNOSPAM.net
Remove the NOSPAM before replying to me.

Steven L.

unread,
Apr 20, 2009, 11:52:17 PM4/20/09
to
Sean Eric Fagan wrote:
> In article <9cacb085-0b0d-4f1c...@p4g2000vba.googlegroups.com>,
> Michael Grosberg <grosberg...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> Actually, that's intentional. The world of Kings is clearly meant to
>> be Our World in all the background details with the biblical story
>> artificially grafted over it.
>
> And you can't do that. Our world does *not* have a recent
> highly-industrialized, highly-populated country that formed from a group of
> smaller nations within the past few decades. That's not grafting; that's
> simply deciding not to think about it.

From the official Kings website, it appears that the kingdom of Galboa
has almost exactly the same population and area extent as New York State
in our universe. In fact, the capital city is a digitally disguised New
York City.

Which suggested the following scenario to me:

In 1776, the American colonists declare their independence from Britain,
but Britain puts down the rebellion. Britain continues to spawn more
colonies in the Americas, in territory they capture from the Spanish Empire.

Eventually, in the 20th century, Britain gives all these colonies their
independence. But having had no history of unity, these colonies go to
war against each other. European history runs as it did in our universe
(explaining the reference to Lizst), until the 20th century when Germany
takes over Europe.

Galboa (a.k.a. New York State) has to fight for survival against armies
from New England and the South (a.k.a. Gath).

James Nicoll

unread,
Apr 21, 2009, 12:08:26 AM4/21/09
to
In article <gsj7md$pnu$1...@panix2.panix.com>,

William December Starr <wds...@panix.com> wrote:
>In article <KIEzD...@kithrup.com>,
>djh...@kithrup.com (Dorothy J Heydt) said:
>
>> In article <12402...@sheol.org>,
>> Wayne Throop <thr...@sheol.org> wrote:
>>
>>> In any event, I'm prepared to forgive even more implausible
>>> parallels post-divergence I've encountered in various urban
>>> fantasy works, and similar things in general. Hey, I even
>>> forgave Tricky Dick Milhouse in L.Neil Smith's stuff,
>>
>> I don't think I've read that one.
>
>It was a tiny throwaway line in his first novel, THE PROBABILITY
>BROACH. In the Liberetoonia-verse, Milhouse was, um... dang, now
>I can't remember whether he was (a) a used-car salesman or (b) a
>second-rate burglar. Definitely one of those two. I think.

Second rate burglar who gets shot and killed, I think.
--
http://www.livejournal.com/users/james_nicoll
http://www.cafepress.com/jdnicoll (For all your "The problem with
defending the English language [...]" T-shirt, cup and tote-bag needs)

Wayne Throop

unread,
Apr 21, 2009, 12:19:55 AM4/21/09
to
: "Steven L." <sdli...@earthlink.net>
: From the official Kings website, it appears that the kingdom of Galboa

: has almost exactly the same population and area extent as New York
: State in our universe. In fact, the capital city is a digitally
: disguised New York City.
:
: Which suggested the following scenario to me:
:
: In 1776, the American colonists declare their independence from
: Britain, but Britain puts down the rebellion. Britain continues to
: spawn more colonies in the Americas, in territory they capture from
: the Spanish Empire.
:
: Eventually, in the 20th century, Britain gives all these colonies
: their independence. But having had no history of unity, these
: colonies go to war against each other. European history runs as it
: did in our universe (explaining the reference to Lizst), until the
: 20th century when Germany takes over Europe.

I would be interesting if they thought it out in even that much detail.
I doubt they did, but it'd be interesting. Is there any way to tell
if they did?

Mike Ash

unread,
Apr 21, 2009, 12:52:08 AM4/21/09
to
In article <12402...@sheol.org>, thr...@sheol.org (Wayne Throop)
wrote:

The one map that's been shown on the show has the involved countries
sitting on a *western* coast, definitely nothing like New York, or
anything else in the real world that I can think of. You can see it here:

http://img5.imageshack.us/img5/7713/vlcsnap10307.png

Question is, is the map a mistake, or is it intended to be allegorical
to the modern day without the restriction of identical geography, or are
they just not thinking about it? Hard to say, any would be possible.

As for the way to tell, I think the answer is to wait for it to come out
on DVD and then listen to the commentary and watch the behind the scenes
features, if they have any. With only 13 episodes and a storytelling
style that's very light on exposition and backstory, it's going to be
hard to say anything just from what's aired.

I have to say, although I have no idea what their worldbuilding
intentions are, I have been immensely enjoying the show. It's a pity
that it has absolutely no chance of getting renewed beyond the 13
episodes that have already been shot.

--
Mike Ash
Radio Free Earth
Broadcasting from our climate-controlled studios deep inside the Moon

ncw...@hotmail.com

unread,
Apr 21, 2009, 2:42:03 AM4/21/09
to
On 21 Apr, 02:05, Robert Bannister <robb...@bigpond.com> wrote:
> Sean Eric Fagan wrote:
> > In article <9cacb085-0b0d-4f1c-8aae-2de160078...@p4g2000vba.googlegroups.com>,

> > Michael Grosberg  <grosberg.mich...@gmail.com> wrote:
> >> Actually, that's intentional. The world of Kings is clearly meant to
> >> be Our World in all the background details with the biblical story
> >> artificially grafted over it.
>
> > And you can't do that.  Our world does *not* have a recent
> > highly-industrialized, highly-populated country that formed from a group of
> > smaller nations within the past few decades.  That's not grafting; that's
> > simply deciding not to think about it.
>
> Perhaps not in recent decades, but in the last 100 and a bit years there
> are the examples of Italy, Germany and Jugoslavia.
>

Or you could consider it to be an alternative EU that became more
centralised than in our world.

Cheers,
Nigel.

William December Starr

unread,
Apr 21, 2009, 4:28:05 AM4/21/09
to
In article <gsjgrq$9bb$1...@reader1.panix.com>,
jdni...@panix.com (James Nicoll) said:

> In article <gsj7md$pnu$1...@panix2.panix.com>,
> William December Starr <wds...@panix.com> wrote:
>
>> It was a tiny throwaway line in his first novel, THE PROBABILITY
>> BROACH. In the Liberetoonia-verse, Milhouse was, um... dang, now
>> I can't remember whether he was (a) a used-car salesman or (b) a
>> second-rate burglar. Definitely one of those two. I think.
>
> Second rate burglar who gets shot and killed, I think.

Yes, apparently the used-car salesman meme entered my brain via me
hearing about it occurring in Turtledove and Dreyfuss' THE TWO GEORGES.

-- wds

Calmeilles

unread,
Apr 21, 2009, 4:38:48 AM4/21/09
to
On 21 Apr, 02:22, wdst...@panix.com (William December Starr) wrote:
>
> But with thier strict business plan to open a new branch every 0.4
> microseconds, Starbucks had no choice _but_ to expand horizontally
> across the metaverse!

Until it implodes bringing down civilisation with it, creating the
Coffee Even Horizon and eventually giving rise to myriad clones
archaeologists called Lintilla.


Matthew

Michael Urban

unread,
Apr 21, 2009, 9:34:21 AM4/21/09
to
In article <gsiqm7$so6$1...@reader1.panix.com>,

Tim McDaniel <tm...@panix.com> wrote:
>
>Would this qualify from Katherine Kurtz's _King Javan's Year_, set in
>a kind of Wales circa AD 925?
>
> Thank you for your input, archbishop.
>
>You could fanwank^W view it as a translation from the original
>Gwynneddan (or whatever), making it sound modern and dismissive as a
>good translation in mood of the original.

From Elfland to Poughkeepsie. Kurtz didn't learn anything from
le Guin's essay, evidently.

Dorothy J Heydt

unread,
Apr 21, 2009, 10:17:29 AM4/21/09
to
In article <gsk02l$qrf$1...@panix1.panix.com>,

William December Starr <wds...@panix.com> wrote:
>In article <gsjgrq$9bb$1...@reader1.panix.com>,
>jdni...@panix.com (James Nicoll) said:
>
>> In article <gsj7md$pnu$1...@panix2.panix.com>,
>> William December Starr <wds...@panix.com> wrote:
>>
>>> It was a tiny throwaway line in his first novel, THE PROBABILITY
>>> BROACH. In the Liberetoonia-verse, Milhouse was, um... dang, now
>>> I can't remember whether he was (a) a used-car salesman or (b) a
>>> second-rate burglar. Definitely one of those two. I think.
>>
>> Second rate burglar who gets shot and killed, I think.
>
>Yes, apparently the used-car salesman meme entered my brain via me
>hearing about it occurring in Turtledove and Dreyfuss' THE TWO GEORGES.

Well, way back when Nixon was actually running for the
Presidency, the phrase "Would you buy a used car from that
man?" was going around a lot. But as time goes on, more and
more people are too young to remember that.

gort

unread,
Apr 21, 2009, 10:31:26 AM4/21/09
to
On Apr 20, 1:33 pm, djhe...@kithrup.com (Dorothy J Heydt) wrote:
> In article <6rlpu4tvrr2ocq1fkkaafleil54v1n7...@4ax.com>,
> Bill Snyder <bsny...@airmail.net> wrote:
>
>
>
> >On Mon, 20 Apr 2009 19:27:19 GMT, djhe...@kithrup.com (Dorothy J
> >Heydt) wrote:

>
> >>In article <1240253...@sheol.org>, Wayne Throop <thro...@sheol.org> wrote:
>
> >>>In any event, I'm prepared to forgive even more implausible parallels
> >>>post-divergence I've encountered in various urban fantasy works, and
> >>>similar things in general. Hey, I even forgave Tricky Dick Milhouse in
> >>>L.Neil Smith's stuff,
>
> >>I don't think I've read that one. But are you familiar with
> >>Goldin and Mason's _Jade Darcy and the Zen Pirates_? In which
> >>the wicked faction supporting a candidate called Wealthy-and-
> >>Powerful-House-by-the-Mill, whom Jade calls Millhouse for
> >>short, is defeated by the faction supporting the candidate
> >>The-Peach-Frog-at-Twilight-Singing, whom Jade calls Peaches.
>
> >[snippage]
>
> >>These references are not exactly subtle; but then they appear
> >>in a work as full of nonsubtle references to films and SF
> >>personalities as a fruitcake is of nuts.
>
> >I must be in real trouble, then, because even after racking my
> >brain, the only thing I can make out of Peaches is a Python ref.
>
> Perhaps you are too young?
>
> Millhouse is Richard Milhouse Nixon, President of the US from
> 1969 to 1974, one of the worst Presidents we've had in this
> century. Peaches is Jimmy Carter, from Georgia the Peachtree

I didn't get the reference. When you first mentioned it, I thought
Peaches meant Peachum or Mpeech.

Michael Grosberg

unread,
Apr 21, 2009, 10:31:34 AM4/21/09
to
On Apr 21, 12:59 am, s...@kithrup.com (Sean Eric Fagan) wrote:

> And you can't do that.  Our world does *not* have a recent
> highly-industrialized, highly-populated country that formed from a group of
> smaller nations within the past few decades.  That's not grafting; that's
> simply deciding not to think about it.

Also, we don't have vampires in our world. That has not stopped Laurel
K. Hamilton from writing novels in which there are (and always were!)
vampires in a world much like our own.

And, ah... you *can* do that. It's art. You can do pretty much what
you like. Are you the type of person who criticizes Alice in
Wonderland for the lack of scientific rigor in its worldbuilding?

Dorothy J Heydt

unread,
Apr 21, 2009, 12:14:54 PM4/21/09
to
In article <583b6991-7bab-434f...@w35g2000prg.googlegroups.com>,

gort <adwe...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>On Apr 20, 1:33 pm, djhe...@kithrup.com (Dorothy J Heydt) wrote:
>>
>> Millhouse is Richard Milhouse Nixon, President of the US from
>> 1969 to 1974, one of the worst Presidents we've had in this
>> century. Peaches is Jimmy Carter, from Georgia the Peachtree
>
>I didn't get the reference. When you first mentioned it, I thought
>Peaches meant Peachum or Mpeech.

Mpf. All I can say is, that for someone who lived through
the 1970s, the reference was not merely obvious, it jumped up
off the page and stuck itself into your nose, crying "Yaaaah!"

The past is another country.

Dorothy J Heydt

unread,
Apr 21, 2009, 12:16:10 PM4/21/09
to
In article <5bbb7514-c5d2-4f17...@j12g2000vbl.googlegroups.com>,

Its mathematical logic is pretty good, though. Martin
Gardner points out some nice bits in _The Annotated Alice._
E.g., the wood where things have no names .....

is the world itself.

Kurt Busiek

unread,
Apr 21, 2009, 12:46:14 PM4/21/09
to
On 2009-04-21 09:14:54 -0700, djh...@kithrup.com (Dorothy J Heydt) said:

> In article <583b6991-7bab-434f...@w35g2000prg.googlegroups.com>,
> gort <adwe...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>> On Apr 20, 1:33 pm, djhe...@kithrup.com (Dorothy J Heydt) wrote:
>>>
>>> Millhouse is Richard Milhouse Nixon, President of the US from
>>> 1969 to 1974, one of the worst Presidents we've had in this
>>> century. Peaches is Jimmy Carter, from Georgia the Peachtree
>>
>> I didn't get the reference. When you first mentioned it, I thought
>> Peaches meant Peachum or Mpeech.
>
> Mpf. All I can say is, that for someone who lived through
> the 1970s, the reference was not merely obvious, it jumped up
> off the page and stuck itself into your nose, crying "Yaaaah!"

Speaking as someone who lived through the 1970s, no, not for everyone.

kdb

Walter Bushell

unread,
Apr 21, 2009, 1:23:14 PM4/21/09
to
In article <gsj7md$pnu$1...@panix2.panix.com>,

wds...@panix.com (William December Starr) wrote:

> In the Liberetoonia-verse, Milhouse was, um... dang, now
> I can't remember whether he was (a) a used-car salesman or (b) a
> second-rate burglar.

In The 2 Georges by Harry Turtledove and Richard Dreyduss, Milhouse was
the "Steamer King" and had a major chain of used car lots.

Joe Bernstein

unread,
Apr 21, 2009, 1:50:18 PM4/21/09
to
In article <2b8232df-9a58-462a...@v4g2000vba.googlegroups.com>,
Will in New Haven <bill....@taylorandfrancis.com> wrote:

> On Apr 20, 10:46 am, Michael Grosberg <grosberg.mich...@gmail.com>
> wrote:

> > But kings is not alt-hist. Or, at least, so far there had not been any
> > reference to our own history or world. And I don't think the creators
> > meant for King to exist in a universe in which our bible exists - That
> > would raise the question of why the characters, who are religious, are
> > not aware of their namesakes. The characters in Kings bear the same
> > relation to their biblical namesakes that the characters in the new
> > Battlestar galactica bear to the original 1978 series characters -
> > they're a re-imagining of the story in a different setting.

My. I'm relieved to find I'm not the only rasfw reader watching this.

I've been cautiously impressed so far, and given that we're talking about
re-interpretation of the Old Testament by an American broadcast network,
that's roughly equivalent to finding a forty-carat diamond in a
discarded box of office papers, or some such.

That said:

> > To the original poster, you could explain this reference by saying
> > that in the Kings universe the tale is attributed to some other king
> > of old from their own history

> As it very likely was, in our own history, attributed to some king or
> judge long before Solomon.

I'm not of the persuasion that it's ever wise to retcon *for* the
creators, especially for the creators of TV shows.

What's wonderful about <Kings> is precisely that they're doing a
stunning job of reworking the books of Samuel in a modern setting,
clearly animated, among other things, by a desire to make sense of
the fact that David worked for Saul before turning against him. (Or
to put it another way, Saul is one of those characters in the Bible
who seem not to have gotten a fair shake, and the show's creators
are making a real effort to round him out without violating the text's
insistence that he did Bad Stuff.)

So it's important that they have good detail control of their things
Biblical, and in many respects they do (as best I can tell, not, so
far, having re-read Samuel in this decade), but this one slipped away
from them.

Now, you can argue as you have that this is just generic folklore,
and you're probably right, though I haven't gone and looked it up.
But I'm not sure the folklore is generically in the specific context
of a royal judgement - in India, for example, it wouldn't shock me
if an equivalent involved a Brahmin instead. And anyway, I'd bet heavy
money that in *this* context, they *were* trying to evoke Solomon,
and didn't stop to think first.

Furthermore, note something about where the re-imagining does in fact
fail. We routinely hear about the wars prior to King Silas's peace
and enthronement. We do not, however, hear about anything before that.
The creators of the show are probably wise to keep prior history
mysterious, since by and large the story they seem to be trying to tell
would not be well served by that history. (If they manage to avoid
cancellation and get to the Ark of the Covenant episode, that'll be
a different story, but I can't imagine them getting that far.) But the
flipside is that I don't think you get to treat most of your *modern*
world's history as a blank, and then put embarrassing mistakes down to
that very same blank. Seems to me that's cheating.

Joe Bernstein

--
Joe Bernstein, tax preparer, bookkeeper and writer j...@sfbooks.com
<http://www.panix.com/~josephb/>

Joe Bernstein

unread,
Apr 21, 2009, 2:00:01 PM4/21/09
to
In article <KIEzo...@kithrup.com>, Sean Eric Fagan <s...@kithrup.com>
wrote:

> Similarly, in the show _Kings_, David plays a piece by Liszt simply because
> the writers felt a desire to show how well-educated he was, and didn't think
> about the implications.

What implications?

Do we have any evidence that the creators of <Kings> are even trying to
do alternate history? A breakpoint? An attempt to carefully work out
that breakpoint's implications? Or, in particular, any attempt to observe
the known laws of the universe? (Butterflies do not, to my knowledge,
normally follow human politics closely.)

What they're doing is re-interpretation of myth. Complaining that they
aren't doing their alternate history right is sort of like complaining
that a version of <Alice in Wonderland> in modern dress is bad alternate
history because the Queen of Hearts no longer runs Wonderland, having
died decades ago. (No, not exactly like - after all, <Alice> isn't myth.
But the same general sort of misunderstanding.)

Sean O'Hara

unread,
Apr 21, 2009, 2:13:00 PM4/21/09
to
In the Year of the Earth Ox, the Great and Powerful Dorothy J Heydt
declared:
> In article <6rlpu4tvrr2ocq1fk...@4ax.com>,
> Bill Snyder <bsn...@airmail.net> wrote:
>> On Mon, 20 Apr 2009 19:27:19 GMT, djh...@kithrup.com (Dorothy J
>> Heydt) wrote:

>>
>>> In article <12402...@sheol.org>, Wayne Throop <thr...@sheol.org> wrote:
>>>> In any event, I'm prepared to forgive even more implausible parallels
>>>> post-divergence I've encountered in various urban fantasy works, and
>>>> similar things in general. Hey, I even forgave Tricky Dick Milhouse in
>>>> L.Neil Smith's stuff,
>>> I don't think I've read that one. But are you familiar with
>>> Goldin and Mason's _Jade Darcy and the Zen Pirates_? In which
>>> the wicked faction supporting a candidate called Wealthy-and-
>>> Powerful-House-by-the-Mill, whom Jade calls Millhouse for
>>> short, is defeated by the faction supporting the candidate
>>> The-Peach-Frog-at-Twilight-Singing, whom Jade calls Peaches.
>> [snippage]
>>
>>> These references are not exactly subtle; but then they appear
>>> in a work as full of nonsubtle references to films and SF
>>> personalities as a fruitcake is of nuts.
>> I must be in real trouble, then, because even after racking my
>> brain, the only thing I can make out of Peaches is a Python ref.
>
> Perhaps you are too young?
>
> Millhouse is Richard Milhouse Nixon, President of the US from
> 1969 to 1974, one of the worst Presidents we've had in this
> century. Peaches is Jimmy Carter, from Georgia the Peachtree
> State,

How are you supposed to know that "peach" is the relevant part as
opposed to frog and singing?

--
Sean O'Hara <http://www.diogenes-sinope.blogspot.com>
New audio book: As Long as You Wish by John O'Keefe
<http://librivox.org/short-science-fiction-collection-010/>

Dorothy J Heydt

unread,
Apr 21, 2009, 2:41:37 PM4/21/09
to
In article <756glqF...@mid.individual.net>,

Because Jade, who doesn't like long elaborate Restaal names,
abbreviates this name, not as Frog or Singing, but as
Peaches. In mentioning the book upthread, I had to search
diligently to find an example of the full name, as
distinguished from the constant reference to "Peaches" (he's
a fairly important character).

Tim McDaniel

unread,
Apr 21, 2009, 2:55:34 PM4/21/09
to
In article <gski0t$7be$1...@reader1.panix.com>,

(1) I think Kurtz's most recent Gwynedd books, as I recall, had a much
more high-fantasy feel to the speech.

(2) I mentioned the essay to Kurtz, and I dimly recall her replying
something along the lines of "that wasn't the effect I am looking
for".

--
Tim McDaniel, tm...@panix.com

Mike Van Pelt

unread,
Apr 21, 2009, 3:52:43 PM4/21/09
to
In article <KIEzD...@kithrup.com>,
Dorothy J Heydt <djh...@kithrup.com> wrote:
>>and Rob S. Pierre in Weber.
>
>Now, that name, in an oeuvre that was plainly French
>Revolution with the serial numbers imperfectly filed off,
>won my lasting ire. But I was ready to quit reading that
>series anyway, and did.

I was pretty annoyed by "Rob[e]SPierre", too, but kept
going anyway, and like the series.

Now, with both governments run by sympathetic characters,
who, if they could just get some honest communication going
that's not filtered/altered by the evil intermediaries...

It's not an "idiot plot, won't talk"; both sides are acting
reasonably based on what information they have, not knowing
that they're the targets of a "man in the middle" attack.

Dorothy J Heydt

unread,
Apr 21, 2009, 4:28:53 PM4/21/09
to
In article <49ee23e7$1$19524$d36...@news.calweb.com>,

Mike Van Pelt <m...@calweb.com> wrote:
>In article <KIEzD...@kithrup.com>,
>Dorothy J Heydt <djh...@kithrup.com> wrote:
>>>and Rob S. Pierre in Weber.
>>
>>Now, that name, in an oeuvre that was plainly French
>>Revolution with the serial numbers imperfectly filed off,
>>won my lasting ire. But I was ready to quit reading that
>>series anyway, and did.
>
>I was pretty annoyed by "Rob[e]SPierre", too, but kept
>going anyway, and like the series.

To each his own. Some people love Weber, spaceship porn and
all. I read the first couple because my husband had read me
funny bits out of them.

Thus I found out that the only funny, or fun, bits in them
were the ones he'd already read to me.

Sea Wasp (Ryk E. Spoor)

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Apr 21, 2009, 5:12:30 PM4/21/09
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Mike Van Pelt wrote:
> In article <KIEzD...@kithrup.com>,
> Dorothy J Heydt <djh...@kithrup.com> wrote:
>>> and Rob S. Pierre in Weber.
>> Now, that name, in an oeuvre that was plainly French
>> Revolution with the serial numbers imperfectly filed off,
>> won my lasting ire. But I was ready to quit reading that
>> series anyway, and did.
>
> I was pretty annoyed by "Rob[e]SPierre", too, but kept
> going anyway, and like the series.
>

While I thought it was funny.


--
Sea Wasp
/^\
;;;
Live Journal: http://seawasp.livejournal.com

Wayne Throop

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Apr 21, 2009, 7:02:54 PM4/21/09
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: Mike Van Pelt <m...@calweb.com>
: It's not an "idiot plot, won't talk"; both sides are acting

: reasonably based on what information they have, not knowing
: that they're the targets of a "man in the middle" attack.

Agreed, but... well, they both had enough information to highly suspect
a MitM attack, or at the very least intervention by a third party playing
"let's you and him fight" games, but they still both decided that the best
way to handle it was to devote only token or at best minimal resources
to researching their suspicions, and going ahead and fighting just like
the puppetmasters said. That's pretty annoying. Sure sure, many words
were spent justifying just *why* resources to research the true situation
were few and far between, but they were weak as water, weak as water.

And the most recent book ("Storm from the Shadows") spends many many
many words advancing the plot not very much at all, but does end up with
enough evidence of puppet strings to wake up Elisabeth. And then ends
on a cliffhanger with Manticore's remaining naval assets about to be
destroyed by Mesa, following the mutual beheading of Haven and Manticore
at the end of the previous one. I was hoping to see Zilwicki and Cachet
digging into the Mesan conspiracy in this one, but no such luck.

Next book: war with the Solarian League, with only tattered remnants of
either Manticore or Haven naval power against an endless sea of Solarian
League industrial resources. Big question is, will Manticore team up
with Haven (since Haven happens to still have Bolthole, which would
be very convenient indeed after the cliffhanger plays out) to kick some
Mesan butt? Also will they do the logical thing and consult with the
Beowulfeans re: Mesan bioweapons (among other issues), since they
hate the Mesans more than just about anybody? And what about Naomi?

Oh well. So it goes.

I just want to hang on long enough to see the Mesans burn in hell.
Or at least be turned over to the Audubon Ballroom. Is that so wrong?
That being so, I should have switched to libraries long since, but again,
oh well.


"Gee, it really sucks that I just murdered 40,000 innocent
civilians as a bit of psychological manipulation to get one
guy to do what I wanted, but eh, I'll get over it, especially
since it'll help the master race take over the galaxy."

--- Paraphrase of two pages of internal musing
of a Mesan mustache-twirler

W. Citoan

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Apr 21, 2009, 8:58:56 PM4/21/09
to

Those two examples are not alternate history. I suppose we could
subcategorize alternate history in terms of "hard" & "soft" in much the
same way we do with science fiction, but there is some expectation of
consistency (obviously of varying degrees) with the real world that
is not true in fantasy.

- W. Citoan
--
The moral behind the movie 'The Matrix' is even if you are the almighty
'One' you still have to answer the telephone.
-- Anonymous

Wayne Throop

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Apr 21, 2009, 9:22:55 PM4/21/09
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: "W. Citoan" <wci...@NOSPAM-yahoo.com>
: Those two examples are not alternate history. I suppose we could

: subcategorize alternate history in terms of "hard" & "soft" in much the
: same way we do with science fiction, but there is some expectation of
: consistency (obviously of varying degrees) with the real world that
: is not true in fantasy.

There have been several settings that propose a world that's the same
as ours up until some relatively recent event where it's discovered
that magic works. Ones that spring to mind are Randall Garrett's Lord
Darcy setting, J.Gregory Keyes' Newton's Canon setting, Wen Spencer's
Tinker setting, or Melissa Scott's Silence Leigh setting. It makes some
sense to call them alternate histories. ( Those are basically ordered
with earlier time of divergence first, and Tinker has a very recent (or
perhaps near future) divergence, and Silence Leigh quite far furture. )

Quite a few urban fantasy settings fit here, most often of the "magic
was secret until even X", often in the recent past. Briggs' Mercy
Thompson series, for one example.

And then of course you have things like Liaden, which doesn't make
sense to call alternate history, unless it's really far FAR futureward,
and/or after a Singularity, and even then not exactly "alternate", but
does freely mix magic and technology. Similarly for Zelazny's Creatures
of Light and Darkness, which is explicitly far future history.

In any event, is there a *better* term than althist? Possibly with
a modifier of "magic". "Magic althist". It seems like a perfecly
cromulent term to me.

Derek Lyons

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Apr 22, 2009, 2:22:36 AM4/22/09
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Bill Snyder <bsn...@airmail.net> wrote:

>On Mon, 20 Apr 2009 20:33:01 GMT, djh...@kithrup.com (Dorothy J
>Heydt) wrote:
>
>>Millhouse is Richard Milhouse Nixon, President of the US from
>>1969 to 1974, one of the worst Presidents we've had in this
>>century. Peaches is Jimmy Carter, from Georgia the Peachtree

>>State, President from 1977 to 1981 and now working for
>>Habitat for Humanity, who is a very good, honest and virtuous
>>man ... as a result, he was rather an *ineffective* President,
>>but still a better man than Nixon. The paragraph you
>>snipped, about how the Millhouse party was in ruins and had
>>lost all its political clout, did not (alas) turn out to be
>>true of the Republican Party, but there was a time back there
>>when we had hopes.
>

>I'm only a couple of years younger than you; but I'd never in this
>world have gotten Carter from "Peaches."

How young are you? I'm 45 (and was thus barely 10 when Watergate went
down), and I got it.

D.
--
Touch-twice life. Eat. Drink. Laugh.

http://derekl1963.livejournal.com/

-Resolved: To be more temperate in my postings.
Oct 5th, 2004 JDL

William December Starr

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Apr 22, 2009, 2:27:16 AM4/22/09
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In article <KIGL4...@kithrup.com>,

djh...@kithrup.com (Dorothy J Heydt) said:

> gort <adwe...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>> djhe...@kithrup.com (Dorothy J Heydt) wrote:
>>
>>> Millhouse is Richard Milhouse Nixon, President of the US from
>>> 1969 to 1974, one of the worst Presidents we've had in this
>>> century. Peaches is Jimmy Carter, from Georgia the Peachtree
>>
>> I didn't get the reference. When you first mentioned it, I
>> thought Peaches meant Peachum or Mpeech.
>
> Mpf. All I can say is, that for someone who lived through
> the 1970s, the reference was not merely obvious, it jumped up
> off the page and stuck itself into your nose, crying "Yaaaah!"
>
> The past is another country.

I dunno. I was born in 1957 so I definitely was of the age of
reason during both Watergate and the Carter administration, but if
the "Peaches" reference hadn't arrived joined at the hip with
"Millhouse," thus strongly encluing me as to in what context to
think, I _never_ would have associated it with Carter. "Peanuts,"
yes. "Peaches," never.

-- wds

William December Starr

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Apr 22, 2009, 2:30:08 AM4/22/09
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In article <756glqF...@mid.individual.net>,
Sean O'Hara <sean...@gmail.com> said:

> Dorothy J Heydt declared:


>
>>>> I don't think I've read that one. But are you familiar with
>>>> Goldin and Mason's _Jade Darcy and the Zen Pirates_? In which
>>>> the wicked faction supporting a candidate called Wealthy-and-
>>>> Powerful-House-by-the-Mill, whom Jade calls Millhouse for
>>>> short, is defeated by the faction supporting the candidate
>>>> The-Peach-Frog-at-Twilight-Singing, whom Jade calls Peaches.

[ * snip-snap-snup * ]

>> Millhouse is Richard Milhouse Nixon, President of the US from
>> 1969 to 1974, one of the worst Presidents we've had in this
>> century. Peaches is Jimmy Carter, from Georgia the Peachtree
>> State,
>
> How are you supposed to know that "peach" is the relevant part
> as opposed to frog and singing?

"Pluck your magic twanger, Froggy!"

-- wds

William December Starr

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Apr 22, 2009, 2:42:28 AM4/22/09
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In article <gski0t$7be$1...@reader1.panix.com>,
ur...@panix.com (Michael Urban) said:

That's not necessarily a bad thing. I've read that essay.
There's Good Ursula and there's Bad Ursula, and then there's
Insufferable Snob Ursula...

-- wds

Bill Snyder

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Apr 22, 2009, 6:38:46 AM4/22/09
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On Wed, 22 Apr 2009 06:22:36 GMT, fair...@gmail.com (Derek
Lyons) wrote:

>Bill Snyder <bsn...@airmail.net> wrote:
>
>>On Mon, 20 Apr 2009 20:33:01 GMT, djh...@kithrup.com (Dorothy J
>>Heydt) wrote:
>>
>>>Millhouse is Richard Milhouse Nixon, President of the US from
>>>1969 to 1974, one of the worst Presidents we've had in this
>>>century. Peaches is Jimmy Carter, from Georgia the Peachtree
>>>State, President from 1977 to 1981 and now working for
>>>Habitat for Humanity, who is a very good, honest and virtuous
>>>man ... as a result, he was rather an *ineffective* President,
>>>but still a better man than Nixon. The paragraph you
>>>snipped, about how the Millhouse party was in ruins and had
>>>lost all its political clout, did not (alas) turn out to be
>>>true of the Republican Party, but there was a time back there
>>>when we had hopes.
>>
>>I'm only a couple of years younger than you; but I'd never in this
>>world have gotten Carter from "Peaches."
>
>How young are you? I'm 45 (and was thus barely 10 when Watergate went
>down), and I got it.

Old enough to have sweated out the first draft lottery. But since
Carter didn't defeat Nixon, didn't run against Nixon, didn't
succeed Nixon, etc., I'd never have connected the two.

--
Bill Snyder [This space unintentionally left blank]

Paul Clarke

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Apr 22, 2009, 7:44:05 AM4/22/09