Reviews

A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Sunday, December 27, 2020

The World of 1820

We have previously glanced at the worlds of 1920 and 1870. Leaping now a further fifty years back, takes us to 1820 and the alien world of Jane Austen. Virtually nothing of the modern exists. People travel by stage coach, not railroad. Canal barges and bleeding are the latest in high tech. For longer distances, there are frigates and schooners. (Between now and 1870, railroads, steamships, and the electromagnetic telegraph will transform life, not least by allowing information to travel faster than a courier on horseback.) A new kind of blast furnace is about to revolutionize iron-making, hence making rails and bridges, and kick-starting an "industrial revolution." But the British Admiralty has rejected a new-fangled electrostatic telegraph on the grounds that flashing mirrors and relay towers (solar-powered telegraphy, or heliography) is perfectly adequate. At least when the sun shines. We might call the 1820-1870 era the fuse that lit the explosion of 1870-1920. For now, the world is solar and wind powered.

Whoa, What's This?

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