Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Brainbin, Nov 18, 2011.
Ooooh, it's going to be interesting to see ITTL's Chernobyl (providing it still happens)...
A very cool update (as usual), although if nuclear power is on the ascendancy ITTL, I wonder what will become of the spent fuel problem.
IOTL, the DOE began studying Yucca Mountain, NV as early as 1978, and Congress passed the Nuclear Waste Policy Act in 1982 (during, of course, OTL's Reagan Administration).
Having states voluntarily take on waste from other states is a potential solution to the NIMBY problem, but that only came about IOTL after the country moved significantly to the right beginning in the Reagan 1980s and the federal government started devolving costs back to the states. It seems like Reagan ITTL isn't quite the transformative figure he was IOTL....
One wonders what could cause a meltdown. There are two reactors in the USA which could have a Fukushima-style meltdown due to flooding, at least. (Oconee in SC (near me) and Fort Calhoun in Nebraska.) There are several nuclear materials production facilities which don't have the safeguards that a nuclear plant would have. (Two located near major waterways are Paducah, Kentucky and Metropolis, Illinois. (Yes, THAT one.))
Alas, the MAGNOX design has safety cladding which would contain the fuel elements. I had a story idea for a meltdown at one in the past- but research proved that it wouldn't happen without a LOT more explosive. For those curious, on May 1, 1978, an explosion occurred on the cap of the Berkeley Nuclear Power Station in the UK. Said explosion was set off by a BBC effects technician while filming "The Pirate Planet", an episode of Doctor Who. The reactor was undamaged, but it would be the last time Doctor Who was filmed near a reactor.
Another intriguing post. The description of The Greenpoint Dilemma reminded me a little of Earth II, only with a more distopian setting and downer ending
And of course the yellow-and-black colour scheme, which is nature's way of saying Danger - Keep Away (as examplified by Bees, Wasps and Wolverhampton Wanders).
Coincidently, 1979 is the year that Barnes Wallace died in OTL. He also made use of geodesic structures in the design of the R100 airship and the Wellington bomber. If he dies at about the sime time ITTL, there would be the possibility that he could be commemorated by having these molecules named after him, though I'm not sure that barnsewallacene trips off the tongue as elegantly.
Another great update – except now I want to go rent Greenpoint! (Do people still do that?!) Visually I’m imagining a kind of more crowded Outland or Silent Running look – or would they have invented the ‘grimey heavy-industry spaceship’ look that IOTL was pioneered by Alien?
For the ad at the beginning about clean energy from space - that's gotta be a Moon reference!
It was also interesting to see the SPS crowd being brought back down to Earth, so to speak. I always wondered how a prospective SPS company would avoid tabloid headlines about flocks of barbequed birds piling up on their rectennas. (I guess Ray Delsol would spin it as a solution to the energy crisis and world hunger...)
Great update. I could already tell as soon as you mentioned microwave power that there was going to be a 70s disaster movie involving a satellite cooking people...
I have to say Greenpoint was a lot of fun to create, and I'd love to see it--or at least the "making of" art book, I have a feeling the plot itself would be too preachy for me to stand in a theatre for an hour and a half or more. You've pinpointed one of the three or four inspirations for the plot, actually: Moon was one of the films that drove my conception of the film (including, as you say, the opening commercial) and it very much influences my mental picture of the design. Sort of a used, industrial take on 2001, basically. (And that's how I imagined Greenpoint's creators envisioning it since of course Moon doesn't exist yet ITTL.) Other inspirations included the China Syndrome, the Space Oddessy series (again, as far as my mental image of the look and feel), and the book Lunar Descent. I mention these, of course, just in case anyone should be trying to picture the look of Platform Alpha in their head for any reason.
I wonder- would the discovery of Fullerenes lead to a greater influence of Buckminster Fuller ITTL? (OTL, he was somewhat influential in some circles.)
Thank you all for your positive and insightful responses to my latest update! And now, of course, it is time for my replies to these responses...
Thank you, Andrew! In timeline writing, as in video games, Crippling Overspecialization can have its advantages
If that's the case, I'll assume (and hope) that one of their assistants made that rather grievous error, which was then overlooked until the book went to press.
I believe you're right. It is remarkable how quickly and strongly the Trekkie fandom formed IOTL, and this is ample evidence of that.
Thank you, Richter! And yes, I felt it was only fair that the microwave lobby get their comeuppance ITTL, much as the nuclear lobby did IOTL. And I went out of my way to avoid casting Jane Fonda in Greenpoint (ironically, she's probably too big a star for that at this point ITTL), so you can consider that a tender mercy
I'm glad you liked it! Mr. Rogers didn't have his OTL triumph of testifying before Senator Pastore, so I decided to give him this instead.
I'll tell you, just as soon as you let me know about your thoughts on the update that I had posted a mere 72 minutes prior to you asking me that
Thank you, Dan! And yes, that cameo was arranged ahead of time with Thande. I usually do my best to match each of my consultants with their respective real-world vocations in finding a place for them in my timeline, and so I asked him which chemistry-related position he would like. He came back with the discovery of buckminsterfullerene without hesitation, perhaps (at least in part) because it is an achievement tied closely to his (OTL and TTL) alma mater
Now, with regards to your question: that really depends on how CANDU reactors can adapt to the use of thorium in lieu of uranium as fuel. Unfortunately, nuclear reactors are so far beyond my field of expertise that we're playing in an entirely different city. If anyone has any ideas on the subject, I would love to hear them.
An astute observation, though rather counter to Nixon's popular association with detente; but then, appearance and reality are two entirely different things.
No, it's a little too early for Verhoeven's star to rise stateside at this point ITTL (in fact, he hadn't even left Europe at this point IOTL, and I don't see why that would be different here), but it's funny you should mention that. When e of pi pitched opening with a parody commercial, I specifically mentioned RoboCop as an OTL example of that technique - which was, unfortunately, still eight years out from 1979. We decided to go ahead with it anyway; the 1970s were fairly avant-garde.
Well, that's what I get for relying on Wikipedia instead of double-checking my chemistry facts with my chemistry consultant (well, de facto, anyway - he's never offered me chemistry advice, and I've never asked, for more-or-less obvious reasons). I will correct that to fit more along the lines of how you're explaining it here.
One of my other consultants did explain this to me, and the actual wording was changed from an earlier draft which did imply that hydrogen was a conventional fuel.
You will note this statement in the present version:
So, in essence, your parenthetical supposition is correct - it's media confusion, which was alluded to elsewhere in the same update: for example, the use of the term "microwave power" to describe space-based solar power (as microwaves are the vehicle for the transmission of power, and not the generation thereof).
Well, we can only hope that perhaps the Capitalist Pig-Dogs might be able to convince the Dirty Commies to follow their example and improve nuclear safety standards.
Thank you again, Andrew, for your lovely compliments and for your insightful commentary. Without giving too much away, suffice it to say that the nuclear issue is not closed just yet. Where the waste is going to go (and remember that thorium produces far less waste than uranium does) will be a question for the 1980s, to be sure.
Thanks for keeping us posted on the potential nuclear problem zones! We shall have to see if any of your predictions will come true.
Thank you, Nigel!
Like I said, it's very much a potboiler. 1970s science-fiction meets 1970s disaster movie. There's definitely a little bit of everything there
Not coincidentally, yellow and black, when used in combination, also denote radioactivity. The Sunburst logo might actually make for a decent "Microwave Hazard" sign.
Naming it for someone else actually isn't a bad idea (it being an AH standby and all), although Thande obviously knows the standards for chemical nomenclature and the culture at the University of Sheffield far better than I do, so if I did decide to change the name, I would want to check with him first.
Thank you, nixonshead! And from which perspective are you referring? ITTL? Because Greenpoint won't be available on CED until 1982 or 1983, and video stores won't become a mainstay until the mid-1980s. IOTL? Well, I certainly don't do it anymore, but I can't speak for anyone else...
Knowing Ray Delsol (which is to say, Jack Nicholson)? He'd probably break out that devious grin of his and say "Well, you know, boys and girls, sometimes to make an omelette, you have to break a few eggs. And sometimes, to power a city that never sleeps like New York, you have to fry a few chickens."
Thank you, Thande! And isn't it just wonderful? Misinformed public hysteria can be so predictable, no matter how chaotic it gets after the fact.
Yes, when it comes to the plot, look, and feel of the movie, these things were all e of pi's doing. I came up with the kernel of the idea, the characters, the cast and director, the title, and the production details and release information. You might say that he baked the cake, and I decorated it (and ate it, of course)
I want you to know, nixonshead, that I did not put him to this or encourage him to say it in any way, shape, or form. Though since he did mention it...
I suppose it could be a possibility, although architectural trends usually turn over very slowly, so it probably won't be in evidence before 1986.
So, you went and killed the microwave. And with that, relegated the entire university-age population of the Western world to a status of complete dependence on fast-food.
Indeed - if luck is with our fellows in the Redhead's world, perhaps we'll see a period of chumminess (linking to TVTropes is a risky thing...) between the Capitalist west and the Communist east - when it comes to nuclear standards, if nothing else.
Which through a chain of thought involving nuclear power, 1966 and 1987, and Communists, leads me to wonder what is going on with science-fiction literature?
My thoughts on the recent update, it was okay. That's all. Others might think differently, but I thought it was okay.
If you do a remake of The Lone Ranger, have Clayton Moore involved in some capacity. Don't have the production company sue him to stop him from wearing the Lone Ranger mask (this derailed Legend of the Lone Ranger before it ever got released, IMO and deserves a worst publicity award).
Secondly, Magnum PI is probably butterflied away, meaning that we won't get to see the "Did you see the sunrise?" scene, which changed how TV heroes behave (although I'm sure there will be an TTL version of it).
Fortunately, all you need to solve that is a hot plate or an electric kettle, and plenty of ramen
You mean, we might see the Commies going from Dirty to Chummy? Well, perhaps shared nuclear power standards could evolve as a corollary of MAD...
An intriguing question. Perhaps I shall have to find time to explore literature amidst all the other genre media we'll be covering.
Well, I appreciate your candor. And in response to your question, The Trial of the Century will be covered in the update after the next one.
Your suggestions have been noted and logged. Thank you, as always, for your continued interest in this timeline
This doesn't have anything to do with my comment, does it?
No, it's been scheduled that way for months. From the More to Come for this cycle:
Brainbin almost always writes posts in the order he outlines them in the more to come, and the Trial of the Century has always been planned as the capstone to this cycle. Brainbin was, I think, being teasing because this information is pretty easily available. I have to say, I would appreciate some more in depth thoughts--I put a lot of creative energy into Greenpoint and I know the Brainbin did too. If it was just, "okay," what made it "not great," but also, "not bad"? Brainbin holds his work to a very high standard, and I worked hard to live up to it in this update, and it takes both positive and negative critique to keep to that.
Whatever changes are made, I hope the events behind Jay Thomas' famous Lone Ranger story he tells on Letterman every Christmas still occur.
Just finished catching up. Brainbin I'd like to thank you for inspiring me to join AlternateHistory.com.
Incredibly interesting timeline, I especially enjoyed the section on Journey of the Force, being a massive Star Wars geek. Though, since you've butterflied away Harrison Ford's career my counterpart ITTL will have to be named after someone else.
Interestingly enough Dark Horse is actually making a comic adaption based off George's original draft.
Anyway, can't wait for more!
Microwave ovens seem too convenient to kill off altogether...mind you, I'm sure there are people in other TLs who would think public attitudes to nuclear power in OTL are unrealistic. I could see microwave ovens still being used by eccentric types, the same kind of people who might have a wind turbine in their back garden or a car that runs on chip fat...but they would probably only be built in small numbers for industry.
(Corollary to that: you've probably held back microwave reactor chemistry, which means alternate me will have to find something else to do his PhD on )
Now there's an example of a timeline consequence for you...I wonder if people like Tolkien, George Lucas, JK Rowling, Gene Roddenberry etc. ever realise how many people in future generations' names they are deciding when they hesitate over what name to give a popular character. (Especially Tolkien, seeing as he changed all his characters' and locations' names about five times with every draft of everything he wrote!)
That was previously posted here - I think it's a great idea. I'd like to see someone do the same thing for the first draft of The Silmarillion, which is VERY different.
Also, welcome to the board!
Lucky for your alternate self, microwave energy (TTL's nickname for space-based solar power) doesn't have much to do with microwave ovens and the backlash against the former really doesn't do anything to the latter.
Separate names with a comma.