Conquistador Revisited

Discussion in 'Alternate History Books and Media' started by Strategos' Risk, Sep 8, 2005.

  1. Polish Eagle AntiFa Supersoldier

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    The only way I can see a Muslim getting into New Virginia is the same way the blacks got in: finding the portal and being rushed in to prevent the secret from getting out.
     
  2. Grimm Reaper Desperate But Not Serious

    In a previous discussion I noted the rather higher birthrates earlier in the 20th Century and came to the conclusion that @3000 married couples from 1946-1959 could have provided New Virginia's total population in the book so, given the need for skilled manpower still plaguing New Virginia such that they were desperate to accept several thousand Boers and Russians, I would expect that the actual immigration was lower and that the figure of 15,000 in 1950 includes plenty of families who came with children and then had even more after arrival.

    It ALSO suggests the Commonwealth had better throw the melting pot into high gear as the most recent arrivals are liable to make an unexpected percentage of the population in only a generation. Perhaps VERY unexpected given the traditional Boer response to being obliged to 'trek'.

    Based on actual history when one of the Boers tells his partner to find a nice girl and have a dozen kids, he isn't joking.



    Guys, according to the ATL Judaism was assimilated by the much longer lasting and more successful Macedonian Empire, which in turn meant that neither Christianity nor Islam ever developed.
     
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  3. Tyr air in space

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    Is there anti-islamism with Rolfe?
    I can't recall any.
    There probally is of course with it being Stirling's writing (though he isn't as bad as you seem to be saying) but it was more traditional American racism that New Virginia showed; under that arabs are thoroughly meh. A bit swarthy but not blacks. On a par with Greeks or Italians.

    I'd agree European muslims are a bit of a stretch but caucasian christians from the middle east?
     
  4. Bill Cameron Banned

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    Tyr,

    There's anti-brown people-ism which, in Rolfe's worldview, amounts to the same thing.

    As for "white" Muslims... Remember all those Central American laborers? Remember that they have to agree to sterilization in order to remain in New Virginia past their initial labor contracts? Remember how strictly their education is controlled? Remember how Rolfe's granddaughter remarks they don't want them reading Marx or Thomas Paine for that matter?

    Now ask yourself if the same people who set up that system will allow the importation of an alien-to-the-West, evangelical religion with a strong social justice component and whose conditions for conversion only require someone to repeat a single phrase.

    Beginning to see the problem?

    Think again. He was banned from this very site for advocating Muslim genocide.

    Those "Caucasian" Christians aren't white enough, so their religion doesn't matter. You need to realize that it's a matter of skin tone alone and their religion isn't enough to make up for that fact.

    For example, there are "brown" Italians, or Sicilians, in New Virginia only because Coletta was one. True to both Rolfe's and, by extension his creator Stirling's beliefs, the Italians recruited afterward are both "northern" - thus more "white" - and aristocrats, yet another Stirling fetish, as evidenced by the eccentric female relative who leaves Rolfe's granddaughter her estate.

    New Virginia is essentially "Early-KKK" or "KKK-Lite". It's society is more one N.B. Forrest would approve of and less one the current crop of white supremacy knuckleheads would enjoy. IIRC, one of the New Virginia characters disparages even modern white supremacy.


    Bill
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2009
  5. Polish Eagle AntiFa Supersoldier

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    I think they actually mentioned that John Rolfe VI was an admirer of Forrest's Klan before the, quote, "white trash" turned it into what it is today.

    But, like I said before, Muslims can only get in if they stumble on the secret of the portal, in which case they either die or get dragged in.
     
  6. Bill Cameron Banned

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    Polish Eagle,

    Agreed.

    I think the only Muslims that would pass through the Gate are those scheduled for interrogation and death in that order.

    Given the lengths Gate Security goes to in order to protect New Virginia's secret, I wonder how many corpses get shipped through the Gate? It is the best way to make bodies disappear after all.


    Bill
     
  7. Strategos' Risk Oriental Orientalist

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    Yeah, I mentioned that, actually. I was talking about if say after the events of the book they re-tuned the magic radio and ended up in OTL (like what the banned Tom Kalfbus suggested), instead of back in their weaksauce 2009 where Segways were a bigger hit and they have VR glasses but no financial crisis (those bastards!).

    I'm not talking about Eurabia. I'm just saying that as immigration steadily increases, and after a Theo Van Gogh type incident or two, maybe some rich xenophobes with the- acceptable- racial views of New Virginia might get called up. I'm not talking about a lot, just a few families with enough money and resources to be an asset.

    Come to think of it, why couldn't there be an IRA (or UVF, for that matter) family or two that fled the Emerald Isle and had no choice but to relocate? And they probably owned illicit funds and weapons too, so the Rolfes let them in.

    This extension of Conquistador is amusing to me because New Virginia is basically the white nationalists' wet dream of a Northwest Migration project come to life- an all-white colony located on the Pacific coast. Except, the migrants are slightly less racist and probably less stupid than Stormfront types. It's also interesting to imagine the diverse cultures (albeit all European-descended) that could coexist. Melting pot indeed.
     
  8. Tyr air in space

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    Far from a difficult task.


    Where does it mention the Italians being northern?
    I'm pretty sure they were Sicilian.
    And I think you're over-estimating how dark middle easterners are. There are many groups which are WHITE. Even as far as India you sometimes get people with a skin tone equal to a Brit.
     
  9. Bill Cameron Banned

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    Tyr,

    As I wrote, Colleta is Sicilian and the female Italian aristocrat who leaves Rolfe's granddaughter her estate is from Lombardy. Going by the descriptions of the appearences of various characters, Colletta's immediate family, not so immediate family, and trusted neighborhood friends seem to be the only Sicilians while the Italians recruited by New Virginia later on better fit Rolfe's racial preferences.

    And I think you don't quite understand Rolfe's racism despite using the nicely accurate term "more traditional American racism" in an earlier post.

    It's their perceived skin tone that matters and not the actual amount of pigmentation. To borrow another ugly phrase, people from the Middle East are wogs and Rolfe won't deal with them despite their religion or skin tone.

    Rolfe's decisions in this area are emotional knee jerks with a veneer of "logic" applied. He isn't going to accurately define the edges of his racism to the level that you're suggesting. Like that famous Supreme Court justice who couldn't define pornography but knew it when he saw it, Rolfe can't define wogs but he knows them when he sees them and they're not getting in.

    It's white, Christians of European descent only with a very few exceptions resulting from the makeup of Rolfe's old Army unit. Slavs seem to be the outer limit, as a quick perusal of the Family names in the back of the book seems to support.


    Bill
     
  10. Grimm Reaper Desperate But Not Serious

    Another thought I had is that New Virginia has only engaged on colonization on an extremely small scale since the 1960s, or so I recall from the book, recruiting on an individual basis only.

    The exceptions were the two large groups of Boers and Russians and I find it likely that these exceptions were based on those two groups having real political power in their countries, at least to the point that they might be able to erase or alter records so no one would realize several thousand migrants suddenly disappeared off the planet. In that event it wouldn't be plausible to recruit entire blocks of colonists from anywhere which would be unable to cover the trail.

    After all, the Commonwealth is tied to a single source of modern goods and luxuries, and tens of billions in assets plus hundreds or even thousands of their own people are on the wrong side of that gate at any time, including anyone seeking graduate school in advanced subjects.
     
  11. Strategos' Risk Oriental Orientalist

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    Just for kicks I've been going through a .lit version of the book and copying various details of note, especially of the minor mentions of the 2009. Let me know if you want me to find any similar.

    * Tom, the former Army Ranger now Fish and Game warden hero, served in the Hindu Kush.

    * Commonwealth's flag: a black field with diagonally crossed red bars and thirty-two many-pointed golden stars [can somebody make this?]

    * Adrienne mentions "DNA scans are now extremely cheap, fast and accurate, and routine." and "The crime rate's down there, and they tightened up on security a lot during the war, with identity cards and biometric scanners all over the place."

    "Not without definite proof the Collettas are up to something. Not only would creating a stink be a godsend to the Imperialist faction, but I'd have to step on the corns of a lot of influential Settler business interests, restrict their trans-Gate exports and capacity to earn FirstSide dollars—and the Commission's monopolies are unpopular enough as it is. That would bring in the Families they're affiliated with—you know they can't afford to ignore their clients' complaints. Not if they don't want them looking for new patrons." There was a hint of frustrated anger in his voice.
    His father grinned, not unsympathetically. "Well, I did set this place up with a more decentralized power structure than I might have if I'd had perfect precognition," he said. "Though efficiency isn't everything… but I think that does reinforce Adrienne's point."

    * The action on FirstSide takes places from June of 2009 to August, with an end in December. The bulk of the book has technically happened already!

    * Offshore banks were a lot less secretive these days, at least as far as U.S. government "requests" were concerned; there had been a couple of spectacular cases of strong-arming during the later mopping-up years of the war, and none of the little countries that specialized in no-questions-asked wanted a repeat while memories of Uncle Sam's heavy hand remained fresh.

    * Now that the war's over and the Asian part of the Pacific Rim is booming harder than ever, the market for animal parts has heated up again.

    * Things aren't quite so wild and hairy in Russia proper these days, not like it was in the nineties, and the 'Stans are getting downright respectable.

    * The FBI has voice analysis that can figure out a suspect was born in the U.S. but raised in a Vietnamese-speaking household. Damn!

    The woman Salvatore Colletta married had been a junker's daughter from east of the Elbe, whose surviving family had had very good reasons for jumping at a one-way passage through the Gate in 1946—reasons beyond the Russians overrunning their ancestral estates, and having to do with certain political decisions they'd made in the 1930s. The von Traupitz family soon discovered equally good reasons for a matrimonial alliance with one of the founders and overlords of New Virginia.

    * " he advanced to bow deeply and kiss the Colletta Prime's hand with a murmur of " Bacciamo le mani"; that was a custom of the Collettas that had spread widely among the Families, like the Rolfes' riding to hounds or the von Traupitzes' student saber duels or the Fitzmorton boar hunts with spears." Holy crap they're all colorful ethnic stereotypes, who woulda thunk?

    *The earlier distributions nearer the Gate had gone to the American majority among the Thirty or to the English, German-Balt, Franco-Algerian and British-African creations. There had been quite a gap between the last of those and the time the Russian Batyushkovs and Afrikaner Versfelds were granted committee status in the 1990s.

    * The book mentions that Dimitri Batyushkov, the head of the Russian KGB exiles, has a six-wheeled Land Rover. Hahaha what?

    * "there were several thousand Russians in the Commonwealth now, and they had been very useful in this land-rich, labor-starved economy. Inevitably they were still mostly at the bottom of the occupational pyramid, working in factories, mines, fishing boats, farms."
     
  12. Bill Cameron Banned

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    SR,

    Very interesting stuff, especially...

    Several thousand? All since what, 1989-90 or so?

    Say it starts in 1989 and there's 7,000 by 2009. Have the arriving Russians who aren't married or don't have children quickly getting married and having children too. We're still looking at 4 to 5 thousand men, women, and children immigrating to New Virginia. That's quite a number of people "disappearing" in Russia, being smuggled into the US somehow, and moving through the Gate in a relatively short time. And smuggled in during the 6 or 7 year span of heightened security that was part of the "War on Terror" too.

    While this isn't as bad as the orbital battlestations in Stone Dogs that seemingly don't orbit, Stirling has definitely served up another whopper anyway.


    Bill
     
  13. Strategos' Risk Oriental Orientalist

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    Should I bother continuing to read through and making annotations of the book?
     
  14. Strategos' Risk Oriental Orientalist

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    More notes!

    * The Anglo-Kenyan claims in 1962 that "I will certainly be able to get several hundred new settlers, possibly a thousand. And as you say, Rhodesia may provide more fairly soon, and I have contacts there—relatives and friends. They won't all be farmers and planters, of course. Small businessmen, skilled workmen, civil servants. A few white hunters, too—they'd kill for a chance to move here."

    * Most of the thirty or so men there were in wolf-gray militia uniforms, wearing peaked caps with neck flaps and the von Traupitz double-lightning-bolt-and-eagle Family badge on their shoulders; there were three men in Frontier Scout khaki as well. The Scouts were the Commonwealth's wilderness and frontier experts. As a sideline, they handled relations with Indian remnants who'd survived the plagues.

    * the British-African immigrants were popularly and unflatteringly known as when-we's.

    * The Colletta opened his mouth. Rolfe cut in smoothly, "Of course, if the committee doesn't have a consensus, we could refer the matter to the House of Burgesses."
    Salvo looked as if he'd just swallowed a green persimmon, rather than been reminded of a mistake. He had been loudly against establishing a representative body at all, however limited its powers, and that had cost him badly in the elections. His own affiliates had voted for his candidates, of course, but few others. The Rolfes had a bigger affiliation and had done much better among the unaffiliated free-agent Settlers, which in turn gave them more clout on the committee. And it was highly unlikely that Salvo would want to set a precedent for giving the Burgesses more authority. He subsided, visibly relaxing back into his chair.
     
  15. Strategos' Risk Oriental Orientalist

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    More notes. I'll bold the demographic stuff, since it's what I'm most fascinated with.


    * In 2009 on Firstside there's a device named a scanner hood- it's used to monitor brain activity, but a variant of the same electronic process could produce an artificial analogue of natural sleep to hasten healing these days. (Sleep induction)

    * In the 2009 of the book, there are display glasses that "looked like old-fashioned Ray-Bans" and have "tiny mirrors and lasers began to shine images onto his retinas." 3D-glasses. Professional movies would "would have given a seamless wraparound 3-D effect, with only the fact that you couldn't alter the viewpoint by turning your head to tell it from the real thing."

    * Dueling among the Thirty was legal in New Virginia, but very rare; the Old Man could resurrect laws a hundred years dead, but even he couldn't erase what that century had done to the minds and ways of men. Not all at once, at least. It did happen every now and then—her grandfather said that there should be an ultimate restraint on discourtesy, a limit past which you could go only at risk of life and limb.

    * By 1954, there were nearly twenty thousand people altogether in the Commonwealth.

    * It's confirmed that they got Dutchmen from the East Indies to settle in New Virginia, and French from North Africa.

    * The FBI had set up the system during the [War on Terror]; computers collating input from retina scanners, fingerprint and voiceprint scanners, and public surveillance cameras running face recognition software and reading things like license plate numbers. It had been extremely useful, but it had also never been popular—there were already calls for dismantling the whole system.

    * This national grid is sufficient is able to track people's movements for years, realizing that Adrienne Rolfe spends large amounts of time in the warehouse to the gate. Big Brother wins again.

    * Modern night-sight glasses are not much bulkier than sunglasses, and there was less of the green glow.

    * A standard-issue FBI tool: looks like blank Yale with a miniature doorknob on the handle. It hummed a little as she inserted the key end, then went through a series of barely audible clicks before turning inert. Sensors of the key adjusts it automatically.

    * neurotone: Think of it as a chemical equivalent of electroshock, which mimics the effects of a moderately severe concussion very closely," Adrienne said, working the plunger with her thumb until a bead of clear liquid appeared on the tip. "Developed for the GSF—the Gate Security Force—here on FirstSide; not that the developer knew who we were or what we wanted it for. Usually the subject wakes up with a splitting headache and no memory of the recent past. The past day or two."

    * His data was burned into a file with some sort of read-only central databank; people had talked about that for years during the war, especially after the Charleston disaster, but the ACLU had always killed it.

    * Nostradamus: the Commonwealth Information and Communications System. "… imagine that the U.S. government ruled the whole civilized world, that it owned AOL, and AOL was the whole Internet, everywhere. That it owned and operated every ISP, and there was only one type of modem and one set of software for it, and the super-AOL owned all the cables and servers and the whole communications industry and the telephone net and all the TV stations and online databanks and the public library as well. It's an intranet, a closed system. No computer-to-computer contact outside it at all, unless you use floppies, and those can be read anytime you upload to a computer in touch with the system. And you have to use your ID card and get a scan anytime you log on, even from a public terminal. ... It's been updated frequently since—all high-broadband fiber now" Floppies? Barbarians!

    * The Commission—which we Rolfes and our friends run, more or less—believes in leaving a minimal footprint back there and limited expansion here; that's why our faction is called the Conservatives. The Collettas are more ambitious… Oh, hell, it's complicated, sixty years of politics. The Collettas are the head of the Imperialist party here. They want to conquer this world, more or less, and rule all the natives as slaves, more or less. They don't put it quite that way, and don't mention that they'd also like to be kings, emperors, themselves. They're buddy-buddy with the Batyushkovs, who I think still have political ambitions back FirstSide, not just here, ambitions in Russia.

    * Rolfeston, Pop: 29,855.

    * Most of the butchers in NV are Balts and Germans. A bunch of them entered in the forties and the businesses stayed in the same families.

    * "Wait a minute," Tully said shrewdly. "What's a day's pay here? Entry-level, grunt work."
    "Two dollars and all found," she said. "Three-fifty if you're finding your own eats and bunk. That's for a day laborer, a deckhand on a fishing boat, that sort of thing. The deckhand might get paid in a share of the profits plus fish."
    Nickel a pound for filet mignon and three cents for shrimp still sounds pretty cheap , Tom thought.
    "Where's the catch?" he said aloud. "Taxes? Housing?"
    "You can get a two-bedroom house around here for two thousand," she replied. "And taxes are low; mostly local school taxes, that sort of thing. No more than a tenth of your income, less for the bottom of the pyramid."

    * "Well, food and housing are cheap," she said. "So are clothes and shoes—most things made here in the Commonwealth are low-cost—except gas, which is kept expensive deliberately, ten cents a gallon. Stuff from FirstSide can get pricey, especially if it's big and bulky. Cars are a luxury—ordinary people in Rolfeston usually rent one if they want to get out of town, and use public transport or bicycles inside..."

    * Central Committee of the Gate Control Commission, representing the Thirty Families—Thirty-two, strictly speaking—some of them men who served with him in the Pacific, the rest relatives from back in ol' Virginny, then a few more with each wave of immigrants. The Rolfes, the Fitzmortons, the O'Briens, the Collettas, the Hugheses, the Ludwins, the Carons, the Pearlmutters, the von Traupitzes, the Chumleys, the Versfelds.

    * "Blackfoot is a translation of pied noir . North African French, like the folks who own this restaurant. When-we's are"—she nodded toward another party at a nearby table, three generations in khaki shorts and bush jackets, from a white-haired elder down to a clutch of tow-thatched children—"that comes from 'when we were in…' Kenya or Rhodesia, usually, which they're always going on about. You've met some of our Afrikaners, quite a few of those over the last fifteen years, and Russians and some Balkan Slavs—all of 'em with reasons to find a bolthole, the biggest groups of immigrants we've had in my lifetime. It was the same back in the forties, Granddad got Germans and Balts with, ummmm, a strong incentive to go somewhere they'd never be found; a fair number of Italians; east Europeans running from Stalin; and Brits tired of rationing and things going downhill. Plus we've always had a steady trickle of Americans; they're about half the total, and much the largest single group."
    "There haven't been more than a few hundred Involuntaries all up, and most of them settle in well enough. Meanwhile, all the original groups have been intermarrying enthusiastically, the melting pot in action. The ones in the first twenty years were the most numerous; by now three-quarters of the Settlers were born here, and nine-tenths of the Thirty. I was, and my father was too, and my nieces and nephews, and some of them have kids already. With our rate of natural increase we double every generation even without immigrants. And of course, nobody leaves."

    * P-63: an immunosterilizant the Chinese had developed back around the turn of the century. It made the body's immune system sensitive to some of the proteins on the surface of sperm, programming it to treat them as foreign tissue. It was quite popular back on the other side of the Gate because it didn't have any other symptoms; in fact it mimicked a common natural cause of infertility that had been a complete mystery until the 1990s.

    * "In 1947, some Latvian refugees recruited as Settlers brought over viral hepatitis and typhus both. They got flown in and shoved through the Gate quick to avoid trouble about visas."

    * "The [Southern] Agrarians thought laissez-faire capitalism was a dastardly subversive plot, and that Adam Smith and Karl Marx were six of one and half a dozen of the other. Things were different back then—real conservatives like the Agrarians worried about pollution and thought factory smokestacks were ugly and wanted people to be in touch with the land and nature. Commies and leftists and liberals loved steel mills and coal mines and wrote folk songs about building dams and bridges."
    "That's a switch," Tom admitted, a little startled. His brows knitted in thought. "That explains a bit of what I've seen here."
    "It does. Just don't think the Old Man's a Green. Some of the results are the same, but the attitude's completely different. Anyway, Granddad was quite taken with the Agrarians back at VMI. Considering that for us Rolfes everything had been going to hell since 1783 or so—we were the ones who wanted to keep the Articles of Confederation and reject that newfangled Constitution—it's not surprising. Most of the people the Thirty Families brought in here agree with him, roughly. So do most of their children, and the grandchildren, my generation. They came here to get away from modern life, remember, and they raised us here with not much of an outside world to offset their influence. Even the Thirty Families don't live FirstSide anymore. We visit, we shop, we do business there, but this is our home."

    * "[Total population is] About two hundred thousand, according to Nostradamus," she said. "Just over three thousand in the Thirty Families, a hundred and fifty thousand Settlers, and fifty thousand nahua; there may be ten thousand or so wild Indians left in what you'd call California, say thirty or forty thousand between the Rockies and the sea from Baja to Alaska, but we don't have much contact with them. More than half of us live around the bay; there are pockets of settlement down the coast to San Diego—we get our oil from the Long Beach field—and another outpost up around the site of Portland in Oregon. A few thousand in Hawaii and the Australian colony near Adelaide. And a chain through the Sierras to Nevada, with some small outposts further east; that's the hardest to keep up, so far from the sea."

    * Tom was in the Rangers and Tully was in the Tenth Mountain Division.

    * "The farmers are tenants, allod tenants. The way it usually works is that the head of the Family, the Prime, keeps a seat—a home place—from his domain, and hands out the rest in estates of a few thousand acres to his kids and collaterals—everybody but the Prime and the eldest of the firstborn's line are collaterals... I'd need the Prime's approval to sell. I can't subdivide it or alienate it outside the Family. The landholders rent to farmers on shares; they provide the land and fixed assets, buildings and fences and irrigation and so forth, pay any taxes, and get three-tenths of the crop. The farmer finds the labor and working capital, the machinery and livestock, and keeps the other seventy percent."
    "Allod? It means 'inalienable'; I think it's a German word originally. As long as the tenant keeps the land in good heart and pays his share, he can't be turned out, nor his heirs; the landholder only gets a say and part of the price if the tenant wants to sell it outside the farmer's bloodline. Not that anyone would lean on his tenants anyway—good ones are too hard to find! Most landholders rent their land except for a home ranch around their country house..."

    * "A large majority had been born in the Commonwealth, and many were second or third generation; a majority of their grandparents had come from America, with a bias toward the upper South, and the rest had ancestors who were German, French, and Italian, with a scattering from all over Eastern Europe. The immigrant minority included Russians, Afrikaners, and a few Croats and Serbs."
     
  16. B_Munro Member

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    Since you've been reading in detail, is there ever any explanation of how the "gate" opened besides "messing with a radio?"

    Bruce

    "Offshore banks were a lot less secretive these days, at least as far as U.S. government "requests" were concerned; there had been a couple of spectacular cases of strong-arming during the later mopping-up years of the war"

    A Republican administration strong-arming banks? Now there's pure fantasy...
     
  17. Strategos' Risk Oriental Orientalist

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    I'm pretty sure they don't go into detail about the opening of the gate at all. I'll need to reread it but messing with a radio seems pretty much all that happened to me.

    A few things I missed earlier:

    * First and foremost, we need a legal system; it's getting just too time-consuming to have everything referred to the committee when some Nazi bashes a good ol' boy over the head or a Lithuanian knifes a Pole…"
    "Over who should own Vilnus, of all things completely meaningless here," Pearlmutter said; the case had been a ten-days' wonder in Rolfeston. "With Poland and Lithuania occupied by the Russians, too. Meshuggeneh!"

    They were willing to accept Poles? Aren't they kinda low on the ladder of white ethnicities?

    * You know the alternate-worlds theory? It was in that comic book you were reading—"
    "It was a graphic novel, not a comic book!" Tully said, with a hint of his usual goblin grin. "Yeah, I know the concept. South wins the Civil War, Hitler wins World War Two, that sort of thing. Been some pretty good movies that used it."

    For some reason, the first time I read this part it really annoyed me. Probably because there haven't been any major alternate history films at all, and it seemed to me at the time that Stirling was saying there would be by 2009. I don't know why it pissed me off so much. Maybe it seemed wanky to me that Hollywood would be able to get into a niche topic like AH. (If it did, he and Turtledove would stand much to gain).
     
  18. The Doctor Well-Known Member

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    How did you know about Obama back in 2005? I never even heard of him till the primaries? :confused: I also thought he hadn't really gaining any outside attention till 2007 or so?
     
  19. Strategos' Risk Oriental Orientalist

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  20. Strategos' Risk Oriental Orientalist

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    The travelogue continues to ch. 12 in Napa town, which I'm not going to bother to paste all of the details, only the ones that amuse me. However, it does do a lot of nice description about NV life.

    * A high school diploma in NV is equivalent to a FirstSide BA. Uh huh.

    * "Santa Barbara is Commission territory, like Rolfeston—common ground, not part of any domain. The justices of the peace there are elected neutrals who have to take anyone who comes; and it's a holiday resort, a lot of honeymooners go there."

    And we visit the Rolfes in ch. 13.

    * They greet Old Man Rolfe Godfather-style. New Virginian culture is a farce.

    * "Think of it as a salute, Mr. Christiansen," he said softly. "In any organized society there must be forms, gestures of respect. I am founder and master of this nation. My fellow Virginian Washington followed a similar policy of emphasizing formal etiquette during his presidency, for much the same reason; I've often found his solutions useful when an analogous problem came up."

    What is this pompous ass talking about- Washington wanted to be called "Mister President" not anything fancy! Inbred patrician.

    * The evil Colletta mastermind has a customized C-130 that holds a giant cargo hold that has furniture and amenities inside and is basically a portable suite. I wish I was a supervillain.

    * These days DNA tests were routinely done as part of a coroner's examination.

    * Stirling loves to describe food in minute exquisite detail as much as Tolkien did.

    * Apparently there were missionary groups that "do vaccination programs against smallpox and measles and so forth for children brought into their stations" in the Mohave.

    * "The food reflected the mix of people who'd gone into founding this strange country: the Southern take on traditional Anglo-Saxon cooking, but with a heavy Latin influence via Italy and southern France, and a dash of German and East European." Mongrels!

    * Inside joke: one of the Thirty Families are the Morrisons, "from Pennsylvania, originally", whose motto according to the appendix is 'Down Stryphon!' It's a reference to the Paratime series by H. Beam Piper.

    * There's a Francsican missionary settlement in the San Gabriel mountains that has mixed-blood converts. There are some anti-Vatican II Catholics in NV, though "a sprinkling" among the total Catholic population. All stripes of regressives in the white world, unite!

    * Apparently Tom has served in Iraq (Kurdistan?), Afghanistan, Turkenistan, and his battalion was sent to the Philippines at one point to fight Abu Sayyef. This man is as big a Mary Sue as Adrienne is.

    * "The local Indians didn't use tomahawks before we got here. Some Families idiot back in the early days evidently gave them the idea, probably because he'd read Last of the Mohicans too many times and thought that Injuns just weren't proper Injuns unless they chucked hatchets about with bad intent, and took scalps. Incidentally, the local tribes didn't do that either—not this side of the Sierras—until it was suggested to them."

    Fuck New Virginia.