shaydchara: a pen and notebook (Default)
[A note about my panel notes - I jot down the things I find interesting, not necessarily with the connecting thoughts or any concern for flow. Sometimes things are quoted verbatim; sometimes paraphrased - I'm not good at noting the difference.]

Creating a Successful Alternate History
When we talk about alternate histories, Steampunk is an obvious standout, but there are contless ways of using the principles of alternate timelines in fantasy and science fiction. By combining thorough research with a few basic rules of thumb, we can re-examine our present by rewriting our past.
Derek Kunsken (m), Stephen Hunt, Neil Jamison Williams, Ed Greenwood, Matthew Johnson


[Two things: 1 - Note lack of women on panel. 2 - They never did get to the "few basic rules of thumb".]

1 - What is appeal of alt history?
EG - "lazy writer" - interesting setting without research
-- to play with answers to "what if", consequences of changes
SH - agrees with lazy writer
-- imagination -> parallel reality theory pushes button
-- Sliders fan
NJW - loves history, teaches on impact of technology
-- choas and random intersection of events
-- how to backtrack and build up to alt history you want
MJ - to comment on, or invite reader to consider, differences between then and now
-- what does x say about y now
DK - interested in "not being here"
-- world-building
-- history weirder and more convoluted than what we can come up with (eg Ottoman empire)

2 - What is your favourite alt history setting?
MJ - don't know
-- would like to see approach -> not academic longform, but slice followed to certain point and influence of it on culture
-- avoid writing history textbook for history that didn't happen
NJW - 19th century, 1837 rebellion
-- exercise in writing in Victorian style
-- also Cold War
SH - Trigan Empire, Greek/Roman
-- Roman empire surviving to today
EG - medieval Europe that never existed or didn't stay existing
-- thousands of tiny principalities, etc
-- The War of the Two Peters, Robin Hood etc, highwaymen
DK - cliche detector set too high
-- likes Italy, Middel East, Mesoamerican, Chinese

3 - Future history? Does it count as alt history?
EG - appeal is in something we think we know
-- looking at limitations of past
-- Portugal -> cork trees that can only be harvested every 25y. Gives long view.
SH - live lies ourselves, mystery of time
-- personal resonance of multi-verse

4 - Fave examples of alt history?
[Actually, not going to include these, until I do some digging and see how badly I mangled names when trying to catch them.]

5 - Advice?
NJW - don't be lazy writer unless focus is action/adv
-- ground in plausible with research
-- made sure world pervades characters
EG - but don't let research become timesink
MJ - don't let history be story
-- characters need reason to be in that time, to be living that time
SH - worldbuilding
DK - try short fiction
NJW - remember that historians argue with each other
MJ - what if earlier beliefs of history were true?
-- eg what if Elizabethans had been right about Arthurian colonies?
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shaydchara: a pen and notebook (Default)
Shay D.

January 2014

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