30 April 2012

"Y" is for...

YANKEE

   When I was a kid, I thought that 'yankee' was only half of a word, and being called one was good enough to start a fight in the schoolyard down here in Texas. However...

   One of the common aspects of Victorian Science Fiction is an alternate history, not just an alternate technology, and one of the most popular variants of alternate histopry is one in which the American Civil War continued far longer than it did in our history, or in which the Confederate States somehow managed to prevail in Mister Lincoln's War. Which, if you have studied that conflict, is really unlikely.



   In my VSF Universe, the War Between the States lasted longer than in the real history, but the South still lost. Just like in the real world, the war sparked a lot of incredible development in technology. Add that to the possibilities of VSF, and you get some interesting developments. The GASLIGHT game has some material set in an alternate Civil War (Victoria Hawkes, etc.), and there is the RPG Deadlands, where the war is still going on a decade or so later. Deadlands is an overlooked horror/VSF crossover, I think largely because of its setting in the American West. But when you can go to Mars, the West is not really that far a frontier any longer!

4 comments:

Rab said...

In my VSF universe, the war never happened; France and Britain saw the opportunity to hobble an emerging rival and, under the guise of 'preventing unconscionable bloodshed' pressured both sides into signing a treaty of 'perpetual amity' with a combination of threats and promises of aether technology. The Brits 'sponsor' the North and the French, the South. Obviously, the two sides are about as friendly as North and South Korea, so there are still border actions and all sorts of skulllduggery...

I'm enjoying following your alphabet, by the way.

J Womack, Esq. said...

That's an interesting take on the alternate history. Why did you determine that France sided with the South rather than the British, whose textile industry was a lot more dependent on Southern short staple cotton?

And skullduggery would certainly abound! Do you have any 'open' cities, like Casablanca or Lisbon in World War II, where tons of nefarious cloak and dagger activities are happening?

Eli Arndt said...

Don't forget the New Confederacy on Mars where wealthy families aided Jefferson Davis in setting up a colony there. Using a re-purposed Verne gun built in Mexico to launch an advance team to set up the colony, wealthy families and military supplies as well as loyal troops were shot to Mar's surface. Etherships were also used to smuggle supplies to the budding colony which then gladly accepted refugees after the War of Northern Aggression.

On Mars, the Confederates made allies with several lesser powered Martian city-states and formed a coalition where Martian manpower and resources were used to build Earthly steam tech and weapons.

-Eli

Rab said...

Mr Womack,

Thanks; interesting is what I aim for! As for the North/British, South/French pairings, I have to admit I hadn't considered the cotton trade as a commodity, but more in terms of its unfortunate... employment... situation. I know that some manufacturing towns in Britain supported the Confederacy (cotton towns) but my fairly scant reading gave me the impression that the political class were fairly solidly Unionist.

Anyway, open towns will definitely be a feature. I hadn't decided whether to use real places or remain totally within the realms of fiction. Any suggestions?

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