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Posted: 12/22/2002 2:11:47 PM EDT
I'm a big fan of Vern, one of my favourit Japanese animators, Miyazaki, used Vernian style fiction as a basis for a lot of his early storylines, and a lot of his fictional technology in later ones. I've always had a secret fascination with "high tech" things from the end of the victorian era, sort of just post "Wild Wild West" buy not as gaudy as WWW. I've been thinking of, for some time, putting fingers to keys (pen to paper?) on a military fic along the lines of "Rainbow Six", but with British Empire (or maybe French or Italian just for the oddity of it) Special Forces equipped with the latest in military arms of the time...Cei-Rigotti automatic rifles as used by Boer cavalry in the Boer Wars, Mauser 96, Bergmann and Reiger automatic pistols. The occasional Maxim. Armored airships, early tanks, submersable torpeado boats, the technology is endless. Like looking back through the "tree of life" at all the weird looking early animals, the ones that made it and evolved, and the ones that were strangely specialized and died out... To me its the most fascinating era in history, when for the most part society still had a code of conduct, and even a dress code. The world still had an innocense to it, and there were still great unexplored mysteries in the Amazon and the deserts of Egypt. Gentilemen carried pocket pistols and smoked cigars and pipes, ladies were expected to be modest, polite, and marrage and the family were still No1. The era of the craftsman had reached its zenth and mass-production was still a few years off. The nicer places in the world were filled with hand tailored clothes and hand tooled exotic woods and polished brass. Even military weapons had immaculate finishes of finly oiled wood and hot-blued (and polished) steel. A proper bayonet was part of every issued long arm, and men were taught how to use it. Uniforms and field gear were still were made of cotton, wool, and leather. A good pair of field boots still came up past the calf. The day of the armored crusier and dreadnaught had dawned and the most powerful weapons systems in the world still had to be hand aimed and operated by living human beings. No BVR warfare. If you want to be impersonal and inhumain you have to be impersonal and inhumain in person, no hiding behind a push button or a computer screen. There is an image that haunts my mind to this day of a British or American masted, armored warship (Think USS Maine) riding at anchor in a tropical harbor in the orient at sunset. My heart aches to return to that time, when things were simpler, and a small group of people with rifles could change the world. I'd give every bit of progress we've made up to now to go back then.
Link Posted: 12/22/2002 2:16:59 PM EDT
Wow - excellent ideas there! Kind of reminds me of the Roleplaying game Space: 1899 - set in the Victorian era, but with Jules Verne-like spacecraft and adventures. There are a few books out there like those of William Forstchen (The Lost Regiment series) that are similar to this vein - you might want to check them out. A story of a regiment of Civil War soldiers who get magically transplanted onto a harsh fantasy world of horrific creatures.
Link Posted: 12/22/2002 2:36:12 PM EDT
Check out the book "the Difference Engine", by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling. It's a story taken place in a Lord Babbage "mechanically computerized" Victorian London. Like most Gibson novels, there are several sub-stories that eventually merge into the big picture. Alot of what you speak of is reflected in this book. The main story line takes place during the Crimean war era, and the Brits have clockspring operated auto-rifles, and computers aid in calculating artillery trajectories (as in WWII). Japan is trying to get involved in the computing industry by developing smaller versions of the factory-sized mechanical computers.
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