08 May 2012

Place, Show and Also Ran, Part 2

   Here we go with Part Two of the followup to the "A to Z" of Victorian Science Fiction. I want to thank Elderac for making some excellent suggestions in the comments on Part One. He was spot on with some obvious misses on my part. If you have something to add, please, leave comments! I check to make sure they aren't spam or something I wouldn't want my kids to read, but honest criticism I do not mind! It makes my projects better in the long run.

   Also, I found the 'original' list of ideas for the "A to Z," and want to go back and include them. And so, without further ado...

"A" is also for... AETHERGRAPH

   An aethergraph is, essentially, an incredibly long-ranged heliograph. Using a powerful Babbage Engine, an aethergraph transmitter, like the one pictured below, calculates the precise angle needed to send messages to one of the relay vessels in orbit around the planets and in chains across the Deep Aether. Once out of atmosphere, a signal can be sent millions of miles by the combination of massive mirror and precise control.
Aethergraph Transmitter, Victoria Landing, Mars
"A" is also for...  ATLANTIS

   Among the 'original' list of ideas that I failed to mention was Atlantis. I think everyone is familiar with the legendary sunken or lost continent of Atlantis, where the technology of the Ancients is still active. In my personal VSF universe, I don't use Atlantis as anything other than alegend and a spur to deep-ocean exploration, but in the When the Navy Walked Universe, it is very much alive and kicking!

Ruins of Atlantis? Ignore the skindiver...

"B" is also for...   BONGOLESIA

   An imagi-nation originally developed by Mike Murphy for his modern game AK-47 Republic, Bongolesia was once an African colony, which I have appropriated for my VSF Universe. In that timeline, it is the source of an amazing plant, the Bongolesian Oxygen Plant (Oxygenesis bongolesia) which produces an extraordinary amount of oxygen.

"B" is also for BABBAGE ENGINE

   This entry could just as easily have been dedicated to Charles Babbage, the genius inventor who designed it. Or it could have fallen under "D" is for Difference Engine - and it almost displaced dinosaurs there. The machine that Babbage built is, for all intents and purposes, a mechanical computer. In VSF, it often takes the place of computers in 'hard' science fiction. In my VSF Universe, they are very small and very powerful, and are fabricated and placed in all sorts of devices and applications. Babbage Engines run automatons, and calculate the angles for aethergraphs and aethergation.

"F" is also for... FREEMASONRY

The Square and Compass

   Freemasons are, by the late 1800s, a well-established secret society. Rumors of their conspiracies, wealth and power are already widespread. They can be used (I do not make use of them) as patrons, foes, whatever. For another good use of Freemasonry in colonial / Victorian Science Fiction gaming, watch The Man Who Would Be King, with Sean Connery and Michael Caine.

"H" is also for... HELIOGRAPH

   The heliograph is an ancient signalling device, updated and improved by the use of that American boffin Mr. Morse's simple code. It requires no wires, no power source, and is easily transported. All one needs to use it is a bit of sunlight and a clear line of sight. Telescopes or binocular scopes are useful for reading messages at greater distances.

   That's all for tonight, ladies and gentlemen.

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