Monday, 17 August 2015

Would We Still Be Here?

If, e.g., World War I had not occurred, then many people would have lived longer and many lives would have been completely different. I think it follows that, a couple of generations later, the entire population, certainly in Europe, would have comprised genetically different individuals. Even a couple copulating at a different time would have produced different offspring and we are imagining far greater changes than that. Even an individual who did somehow inherit exactly the same genetic makeup as someone in our history would have a completely different upbringing and life experience so they would hardly be the same person. By the same taken, clones brought up in completely different environments would soon diverge. When, in Poul Anderson's "Delenda Est" and "Amazement Of The World," earlier history has been significantly altered, it is taken for granted that the entire twentieth century world population is different.

On the other hand, a minor change, like the War beginning or ending a few hours earlier or later, would probably not affect very much so how big does a historical change have to be before it changes the population? In SM Stirling's Marching Through Georgia, in 1783, the Dutch Cape Colony is renamed the Crown Colony of Drakia and this new colony proceeds to become a world power, later renamed the Domination of the Draka. Yet, in the subsequent history, we recognize the names of:

Thomas Carlyle
Louis Pasteur
Oscar Wilde

Also, events like the Great War, the stock market crisis and the Spanish Civil War occur on schedule. The Eurasian War beginning in 1939 is followed by the "Covert Struggle" between Alliance and Domination.

Thus, the premise of the Draka series is not only that a new world power was founded back in 1783 but also that the subsequent history continued to parallel ours in many ways, even including the participation of certain named individuals. However, an Oscar Wilde who had grown up knowing of a Domination of Draka and who even emigrated to the Domination would not be exactly the same Oscar Wilde as the individual of that name in our timeline.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Of course I agree that a world which had been spared the Sarajevo assassinations and the resulting WW I would have been completely different within about two generations from the one we know. I would like to think it would have been a better world, but we can't possibly know. And, even tho a world which saw a Crown Colony of Drakia beginning in 1783 had many of the same persons you listed as in OUR timeline, I agree those persons would more and more have had different lives than the ones we have seen in our non Draka time line.


David Birr said...

I've seen a reference that specifies that Hitler in the Draka 'verse is blond -- so he's obviously a different person in at least one way, but with the same name, politics, and position. "The more things change, the more they remain the same"?

Paul Shackley said...

Right. I thought it was a bit odd that exactly the same people seemed to exist. But that could be one of the rules of parallel universes, that some such universes differ from each other in some ways but not in others.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, David!

I remember that as well. Not sure in which of the Draka books I saw that. I also remember reading that the Hitler in the Draka timeline had lost an eye in that line's equivalent of WW I. So, yes, there will be differences as well as similarities.