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Vignette Sunday: No Heaven Above

Charles EP M.

Well-known member
Published by SLP
Wonderfully bleak. I say "wonderful". It's especially nice if this works whether Verne was correct or if it's all bollocks - not like Sir Henry and his men are getting in, after all.

(I am unsure if I'm meant to take away that the 19th century has crapped up the climate or if the POD is partly "what if Kelvin's theories were true")

This bit sticks out:

He'd asked about morals – how could they be sure a colony comprised almost entirely of young men would not fall to vice? There were, he was told, a small number of young girls of unimpeachable virtue, brought from homes and ladies schools across the country. These, he could be assured, would see to it that the gentler side of society was maintained."
The implication in here is horrifying.
 

Kato

Plain with Left Beef
Patreon supporter
Published by SLP
Location
Birmingham
Pronouns
she/her
Thanks @AndyC for selecting one of mine, and thank you also for continuing to promote the challenge and its past entries through this series.

Wonderfully bleak. I say "wonderful". It's especially nice if this works whether Verne was correct or if it's all bollocks - not like Sir Henry and his men are getting in, after all.

(I am unsure if I'm meant to take away that the 19th century has crapped up the climate or if the POD is partly "what if Kelvin's theories were true")
Thank you. Indeed, while I didn't plan the ambiguity, I'm pleased that it developed that way. Likewise Sir Henry was a character who naivety developed and grew as I wrote him. I quite enjoyed sending up both idyllic rural England nostalgia and technocracy (the "society would basically be awful for almost everyone in a real steampunk setting" element).

I really love Journey to the Centre of The Earth because the science is, by the knowledge of the 1860s and the limits that knowledge placed upon what was possible or probable, more or less spot on. Verne gets to write what would otherwise be fantasy if it came a century later. There's no room for Hollow Earths, or Kelvin's theories about the Earth's residual heat, in modern sci-fi.

The POD would effectively be "WI: Verne and Kelvin's models held true", which obviously isn't hard AH, but does allow for some fun world building and scenarios.

Actual climate change in the pre-modern era is under-explored, I feel. There's definitely AH potential in things like the Little Ice Age and Medieval Warm Period, if you shift their timings by a century either way. Also you've got the effects of mass die offs and farmland reverting to forest/grasslands as a result of Europeans introducing new diseases to the Americas, and the various Mongol invasions of China, India and the Middle East. And that's before rolling the dice as to when our current interglacial is 'due' to end.

I think there might even be an article series in it...

This bit sticks out:

The implication in here is horrifying.
Its an act of charity really. After all, these are girls without references.
 

David Flin

An evil Socialist, apparently.
Its an act of charity really. After all, these are girls without references.
Glad to see one of the bits I highlighted in an earlier article has informed.

I'm not entirely sure that girls without references would be described as being of unimpeachable virtue, but that can easily be justified as marketing talk.

It's hard to over-emphasise how important references were. To quote from the Memoirs of Margaret Powell from the 1920s: "It was most frightfully important then. People were frightened that you might steal things, that you might be working inside for a gang of thieves, that you might introduce immorality into their sons, any blessed thing ... It was useless to explain why you didn't have a good reference ... Employers weren't interested in your feelings, and maids were two a penny, and employers felt that however badly they treated their servants, it was better than the poverty they had been used to."

You got the well-meaning philanthropic element of the character absolutely spot on here.
 

Tabac Iberez

Impetious
Published by SLP
Unfortunately you're then effectively in Steampunk territory and let me tell you those authors will cut a bitch for trying to muscle into their domain
Buddy, I'm already neck deep in steampunk territory, and unless they can actually get a good publishing house together the attempt to "cut a bitch" will fall dramatically flat. Since we're far enough aboveboard that we're not living and dying on the razor edge of the Twitter, they don't really have an effective avenue of attack that won't end up with a net zero effect on the press. To quote the good Mr. Barnum, “I don't care what the newspapers say about me as long as they spell my name right.”

After all, no matter where we go in the public eye, it's hard to go down from unknown!
 
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