Saturday, 4 March 2017

After The Change

Novels of the Change by SM Stirling.

After gunpowder and modern technology have stopped working, the survivors of this catastrophic "Change" reorganize society around agriculture and pre-industrial technology and, once a year on the anniversary of the Change, they publically and ritually test some gunpowder if only to confirm that it still does not work. How else would they know for sure?

Right. That is exactly what they would do. An alternative historian should give us the impression that he has visited the alternative Earths described in his narratives:

the Draka would think that public impalement of rebels was necessary;

a flying carpet transport company would have to pay for damage to a church when its spell stopped working above consecrated ground;

if there were clocks in Caesar's time, then there would be steam trains in the seventeenth century.

So:

think of an alternative history novel by Poul Anderson, SM Stirling or Harry Turtledove;
identify the premise (magic works; aliens invade during WWII; etc);
identify an implication of the premise that you wouldn't have thought of but that the author did think of and that you must now agree seems "Why didn't I think of that?" obvious.

(I hope that, when people do come to speak of "the Change," it will be something positive.)

1 comment:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    Agree, if something as horrible as the Change happened in real life (shudders), then I can easily imagine leaders of the survivors presiding over annual ceremonies testing gunpowder to see if it still no longer works.

    It's hard to think of anything positive about the Change. Whatever good things we see appearing after the Change came at far too high a price. Only wannabe tyrants like Norman Arminger would have wanted something so ghastly. It was the sudden, immediate, and total collapse of the old society which gave such persons their chance to actually live out their dreams and ambitions.

    Sean

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