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Old 12-31-2014, 07:40 PM   #741
warellis
 
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Default Re: New Reality Seeds

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drifter View Post
Thats the trouble though, isn't it? Remember that the Lord of the Rings was published in 1954. Not exactly a time when non-Christian/Eurocentric writing would be easily accepted, at least in the US. Crazy mythologies, especially those based on real life, with non-Classical sources, would not be accepted. Different authors might produce gems, but they keep to a very small audience.

One thing you don't get is Dungeons and Dragons. Without D&D you don't get an RPG industry; no Traveller, no Tunnels and Trolls, no Petal Throne, no GURPS. Gary Gygax becomes an insurance salesman with a weird minatures hobby, Steve Jackson becomes a lawyer.

Call this time Dunsany-1, fantasy literature looking more like Magical Realism, SF not popular beyond a niche crowd. TL is the same but more centralized; Ma Bell and IBM rule the very separate telecommunications and computer industries. No Space Race, satellites replaced with ultra high altitude balloons. The Civil Rights Movement is much more powerful, with authors like Bradbury, Beagle, L'Engel and Le Guin producing resounding literature accepted by a wide audience.

Its 2001 and the Soviets are launching manned aerostats, aiming to tap into Western communications balloons. China and Russia keep squabbling over border disputes, but China is restive with peasant uprisings. Japanese mini-transistor radio/TVs are popular in the US and Europe, small enough to hold in your hand. Tim Powers has the best novel of the year, yet another James Bond "homage".
Wait wouldn't rocketry still have advanced considering both the Soviets and Americans captured so many German rocketry scientists?

And what about SF authors like Heinlein or Clarke, wouldn't they still be producing SF stuff in this timeline? Did Tolkien's fantasy really influence the SF writers of the 1920s and 30s?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prince Charon View Post
Not sure if 'Dirigible' has been used, yet. If so, I'll add a number, once someone suggests an unused one, or a more appropriate name and number.

Dirigible, 1997

Point of Divergence: Wilbur Wright dies in a glider crash in 1902.

Tech Level: Either 6+2 or 7+1, depending on how you look at it.

Mana: Low/wild

Dirigible is a Quantum 5 world with a very odd problem: heavier-than-air powered flight poineers, or those who seem likely to become such, have accidents with alarming and suspiscious frequency. This also tends to happen to rocketry pioneers, though only if they work on large rockets, or otherwise seem likely to achieve suborbital flight. These deaths have had a significant butterfly effect on both history and non-flight-related technological development, indicating a lack of historical inertia. One of the most extreme early examples was WWI, which began in 1915, had France invade Germany through Belgium, and was over by Christmas, due to the British reluctantly siding with the German Empire (officially because of the Treaty of London (1839), but the fact that the Kriegsmarine sold several vessels to the RN at a discount is generally believed to have been the deciding factor).

In the 1930s, people began to seriously wonder what was going on with all these would-be aviators dying. In May 1936, the USA went through five Presidents in twenty-two days, after President Royal S. Copeland committed the US Army Air Division to produce a heavier-than-air, manned combat vehicle. The mysterious deaths, never conclusively proven to be anything other than normal accidents and illnesses, stopped when newly-installed President Rich T. Buckler recinded the order, and served out the rest of Copeland's term of office.

Now, in 1997, there is no League of Nations or United Nations, Imperialism has not been discredited, and Japan is First Among Equals (well, mostly, at least enough that the term is not being used sarcatically) in the Greater East-Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere (which many Homeline SE Asian nations find more than a little disturbing). Government security establishments are justifiably paranoid, particularly as noone has ever discovered who or what was killing these people. Their airships are elegant and sophiticated, and they make use of analogue computers that are a bit better in general than the digital systems Homeline had in 1997.

You can see why Homeline would be curious about this world, but the Cabal might also be drawn in, despite the risks presented by wild mana.
Hm might an ultaterrestrial civilization, like maybe one living on the moon perhaps be here disrupting Terran attempts at heavier-than-air flight? Because if you can build an airplane, you can start building a rocket.

Last edited by warellis; 12-31-2014 at 07:45 PM.
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Old 01-01-2015, 12:22 PM   #742
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Default Re: New Reality Seeds

Quote:
Originally Posted by warellis View Post
Wait wouldn't rocketry still have advanced considering both the Soviets and Americans captured so many German rocketry scientists?

And what about SF authors like Heinlein or Clarke, wouldn't they still be producing SF stuff in this timeline? Did Tolkien's fantasy really influence the SF writers of the 1920s and 30s?
Well, true. Classic SF authors were established by the mid-50s, but I'm imagining a lack of popularity in fantasy and fantastic fiction that Tolkien and Lewis may have powered. Without that basis of popular support, SF stays a niche and many authors that would have otherwise moved into SF and Fantasy either write more prosaic subjects or stick with their day jobs.

Without public support of fantastical ideas, things like rocketry programs are not expanded beyond mere bomb delivery systems. There is no practical reason to try to get to the Moon, and even today the US Congress has a history of cutting funding to the space program, allowing even weather satellites to go dark, with NASA proposing low cost replacements with balloon based systems. Dunsany-1 has the tech, but not the will, to move beyond the the practical and reasonable, into the fantastic and hopeful. Or its directed that idealism into non-engineering realms.

Granted, its a stretch.
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Old 01-01-2015, 12:53 PM   #743
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Default Re: New Reality Seeds

Not necessarily. Dave Arneson was involved in a roleplaying group at the University of Minnesota run by MAR Barker - so Empire of the Petal Throne/Tekumel could well have easily taken the place of Dungeons and Dragons.
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Originally Posted by Drifter View Post

One thing you don't get is Dungeons and Dragons. Without D&D you don't get an RPG industry; no Traveller, no Tunnels and Trolls, no Petal Throne, no GURPS. Gary Gygax becomes an insurance salesman with a weird minatures hobby, Steve Jackson becomes a lawyer.


.
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Old 01-01-2015, 01:25 PM   #744
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anders View Post
J.R.R. Tolkien is killed during World War I. This has profound effects on the field of fantastic fiction.
I made a Tolkien-less parallell years ago. Never used it.
Lots of handwavium, but here goes:

Tolkien-1
1969 AD
Current Affairs: Modern society is shaken by large numbers of youths turning
their back on not just their parents values and capitalism/communism but on
modern society and civilisation as a whole, embracing a romantic view of The
Barbarian.
Divergence Point: 1941, J.R.R. Tolkien is killed by a German bomb.
Major Civilizations: see Homeline 1969 AD
Great Powers: see Homeline 1969 AD
TL: 7
Mana Level: None
Quantum: 4

In this timeline J.R.R. Tolkien was killed by a German bomb during WW2 (or in
the trenches during WW1), but Robert Howards never committed suicide and
had a decades longer succesful career.
As a result of this, characters like Conan and Fafhrd & Grey Mouser became
the templates for fantasy rather than LOTR. And fantasy still became more
popular in the sixties.
Somehow, this in turn lead to rougher hippies, who distrust “civilisation” and
embrace “barbarism”, although that doesn’t explain Mao’s Red Guards’ sudden
fascination and emulating of the Mongols and other barbarian horsemen
hordes or why the Warsaw Pact’s youths are also embracing barbarism. As
with Campbell some other factor may be at play here. And it’s clearly not
anything as bad as the Gotha virus.
South Asia and the Middle East remain untouched – while one could argue that
they have no reason to look back at barbarians with pride and respect, neither
do, for example, the Chinese and the Greek. Those westerners who look for
ancient wisdom or themselves go to northern Europe, tropical Africa or,
occasionally, Mongolia.
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Old 01-01-2015, 03:44 PM   #745
warellis
 
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Default Re: New Reality Seeds

Is tech advancement the same there?
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Old 01-01-2015, 03:45 PM   #746
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Default Re: New Reality Seeds

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drifter View Post
Thats the trouble though, isn't it? Remember that the Lord of the Rings was published in 1954. Not exactly a time when non-Christian/Eurocentric writing would be easily accepted, at least in the US. Crazy mythologies, especially those based on real life, with non-Classical sources, would not be accepted. Different authors might produce gems, but they keep to a very small audience.
....
I'm not a fan of the Big Man view of history except in a very few cases. The world is so chock full of mythologies, some more amenable to gaming than Tolkien's mix of European, Italian, and biblical stories.
I doubt that without him, there would have been zero major trail blazing fantasy writing for decades.
It smacks too much of assuming there would be no Calculus without Newton, evolution theory without Darwin, or WWII without Hitler.
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Old 01-01-2015, 03:45 PM   #747
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Default Re: New Reality Seeds

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Originally Posted by Drifter View Post
Without public support of fantastical ideas, things like rocketry programs are not expanded beyond mere bomb delivery systems.
The Space Race was notoriously kicked off by early Soviet successes scaring the pants off the Americans. Somehow, I doubt that Kruschev and the 1950s Politburo were big Tolkien fans, or inclined to worry about public support for the fantastical. Actually, their programs were probably well underway before LotR really took off anywhere. Likewise, Clarke proposed the communications satellite - the most eminently practical application of space research - back in the '40s.

Actually, I could much better believe that deletion of Tolkien would save the modern western fantastical tradition from a fifty-year digression into what Mike Moorcock calls Epic Pooh. I'd worry most about the damage this would do to the environmentalist movement. A shift of interest towards more Howard/Leiber/Moorcock barbarian gothic sex'n'violence is certainly one possibility; another is a somewhat stronger popularity for actual SF.
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Old 01-02-2015, 03:04 AM   #748
Xenarthral
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warellis View Post
Is tech advancement the same there?
In Tolkien-1?
Yes. you can say a lot about Tolkien, but I don't think he had had much effect
on the advancement of technology by 1969.
The real diverging regarding science and technology, like what Phil Masters
noted regarding the damage to the environmentalist movement, is still in its
early phases.
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Old 01-02-2015, 01:05 PM   #749
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Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
More likely you would get different authors creating worlds with mythologies not so Christian or Eurocentric as Carol or Tolkien.
Or creating other equally Christian and Eurocentric but more limited ones. But would a world shoehorned into non-Western values be better? Democracy, anti-slavery, votes for Women, anti-Racism, and Religious Tolerance, have all been Western values. Would we be better off without them?

Slavery was largely pushed from universal respectability to the margins of perverted criminality by Western values. Should we bring back slavery in order to be less Western?
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Old 01-02-2015, 09:01 PM   #750
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Getting rid of specific novels seems to be a popular idea, but let's go farther...

The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha was deemed heretical and treasonous, and furthermore lead men to violence and delinquency. Nonetheless, as Cervantes rots in prison for his crimes and the burning books smoulder, the courts and temples of Europe agree with Quixote's fictional friends- novels and other such works of fiction are the source of madness and sin, suited only for burning.

The following 400 years of western culture drifted away from Homeline. Plays and poetry remained the only widespread use of print for entertainment (and epic poetry was cast in suspicious light unless it was focused on religion). Though the wealthy and influential certainly could write, communication amongst the masses was mainly done through speech.

Literacy grew much more slowly, and as a result, technology was slowed by a lack of an educated working class. Perhaps the loss of fantastic thinkers, too, resulted in less creativity and inventiveness. By the 1700s, the cultural disdain had worn into the zeitgeist. The American revolution stalled with insufficient support from the people, and as a result, European revolutions were also slowed.

By the 1850s, the demand for educated, literate workers drove companies to run corporate schools. On one hand, children were educated somewhat effectively and kept out of factories until they were ready to be employed, usually around the age of 13 (after 2-6 years of corporate schooling). On the other, they were usually required to work for the company for at least 20 years thereafter, often trapping generations of workers into working for a single company. For the world's poorest, life had been practically identical to Homeline, but more and more, this corporate serfdom spread out into the world.

Gradually, written entertainment returned to acceptability, although not prominence, mainly caused by supposedly factual "travel diaries," usually no more accurate than Gulliver's Travels....

Around 1910, the pace of corporate growth accelerated and the use of steam power (instead of water power or treadmills) demanded more education and more workers. The average industrial worker was better-educated than his homeline counterpart, although he was poorer in both relative wealth and technology. Technology was making leaps and bounds, but still needed to catch up to Homeline's century-long head start.

The next forty years were those of explosive technological and industrial growth in the western world as well as Asia. The educated, corporate-indoctrinated working class produced far more technical minds than Homeline saw at the time, and though the names were different and the dates a decade or two late, it saw the widespread use of electricity, the first heavier-than-air flying machine, radio communication... a kind of tweaked TL 6.

The decade-long War (simply called the War, although it was technically a series of three overlapping conflicts) of the 1950s was terrible and barbaric, despite the further development of TL 7 technologies. In the end, a confederacy of Germanic states, allied with several powerful corporations, agreed to a truce with Great Britain, marking the end of official hostilities. The other European states, caught between the two powerful nations and their own disenfranchised masses, splintered. Through the next 20 years, already entrenched "company families" throughout Europe saw their governments shift and crumble while their employers remained.

The 60s and 70s saw the two great powers slowly expand their colonial influence, driven by corporate demand for new markets. Proxy wars were common in South America and India; North America was almost entirely controlled by Great Britain (except for the fragile ex-colonies of Russian Alaska and New Portugal), Australia was safely at hand, and Africa was controlled by the Germans following the War. Indochina had smattered colonies from both of the Great Powers, but growing, skirmishing Japan, Korea, and China could only agree on keeping Western Devils out. Eventually, corporate and scientific growth slowed as a combination of factors caused a global economic downturn.

In 1972, Chinese scientists successfully tested a nuclear bomb, and the resulting Eastern War lasted for six years. German-backed Korea and Britain-backed Japan both invaded Chinese territory; Korea was nuked twice (both times in port cities, by suicide submarines), Japan once, at Hawaii. In the end, China was fully dominated by Korea and Japan.

The 1980s were tense, paranoid. Nuclear secrets ended up in Korean, Japanese, German, and British hands, and all sides sought countermeasures. The build-up was good for business, and a resurgence in corporate power resulted in new technologies throughout the world.

The current date is 2010. The past 30 years were dominated by computers and spaceflight. Today, the average civilian has a portable phone with kilobyes of local storage, and a connection capable of transferring it all to their corporate mainframe in under a minute, often to satellite communication networks. Japan and Korea are growing hostile over the same old dispute over former Chinese territories, and the threat of Dirty Bombs from Brazilian terrorists hovers overhead. Despite the tensions, though, it's a positive time. Corporate profits are at an-all time high, and the the generation currently in corporate schools looks upward, through the thinned ozone layer and the smog-choked skies, and thinks man may one day visit the moon, as soon as there's an economic reason to do so....

Last edited by PTTG; 01-02-2015 at 09:34 PM.
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