View Full Version : Conquistador
May 27th, 2004, 08:15 PM
Just finished this new book by SM Sterling. Not flawless by any means, but still a very good take on alternate history and transdimensional travel in one book. A nice touch was making the "OTL" itself a slightly divergent AH so any errors in fact or prediction can be rationalized away, I suppose. Good characters and well-written, if at times a little repetitive. I particulaly liked how Sterling presented the discovery of the transdimesional gate and how it's discoverers used it to get rich and developed a massive false front to explain their growing wealth and keep it hidden. Like all the other Sterling I've read, it's very imaginative and believable at the same time (something not all that common in AH writing). Plus, I can't help but like an alternate universe in which the Americas are never discoverd by europeans and remains about like it was pre-contact and the evolution of scientific, technological civilization doesn't happen anywhere (I just don't have much faith in the inevitability of cultural/technological evolution).
Anyone else read it and what do you think?
May 27th, 2004, 09:57 PM
I have a question? I probably missed reading it the first time. HOW did John Smith or whoever get over to the new land? I don't like their method of taking over. WHO THE HADES gave them the right to take over. Might makes right? OK I realize Smith and his friends walked in. THIS I am uneasy. I apologize if I appeared strong about this but I DO NOT like people thinking they have support of others-God especially to do what they want.
May 28th, 2004, 03:07 PM
John Rolfe IV accidentally opened the gate with his shortwave radio set. Silly, but that's how it happened.
I think the moral concerns you raised are dealt with fairly well in the book, but clearly Stirling's aim was not to preach about things, but to speculate about how normal people might respond when given sole power to enter, explore, and exploit a new world while still safely connected to where we came from. If found his answer both realistic and interesting.
June 17th, 2004, 02:25 AM
Ugh. Good idea, lousy writing. The family aristocracies were really annoying, with their ideas of traditional caucasian honor and stuff like that. The portrayal of the near future (2008?) was farfetched. A national fingerprint database? 3D VR glasses? Segways everywhere? Also, the references to alternate history in the novel is as subtle as a hit to the head with the shovel. Yes, the heroine just happens to like the genre, and just happens to own all of the best-selling titles. The worst part was how the evil Afrikaaner rebels all had the same names as the Guns of the South bad guys. If the novel exists in the universe, naming your children after the villains is simply a bad idea.
I liked what the altworlders' opinions of our world, though. Their favorite movies are Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and the Mummy series? Would the Scorpion King count?
June 24th, 2004, 10:23 AM
If Alexander had established an empire it would have increased, not decrease, technological diffusion between Asia and Europe. There is a coastline connection between China and India. They were always in trade relationships. If Alexander's empire had controlled the Silk Road and the Danube, then the Islamic renaissance would have begun a millenia sooner. When Rolfe got to California it would have been empty because the human population would have been building space habitats for a thousand years.
Imagine when Fish and Game showed up in flying saucers.
January 19th, 2005, 06:29 AM
[QUOTE=wkwillis]If Alexander had established an empire it would have increased, not decrease, technological diffusion between Asia and Europe.
-- true, but that doesn't imply a Scientific Revolution. That's a very unlikely historical development, which happened exactly once, and which required a whole series of convergent and highly improbable intellectual, theological, historical/political and economic events.
Make any major change in human history before about 1500, and it's vanishingly unlikely that the Scientific and Industrial revolutions would happen at all, for the forseeable future.
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