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August 16, 2005



Wrt point 11:

Stephenson's tweak is as far as I can tell the only grounds that people have for calling the Baroque Cycle Alternative History. I don't see what the prejudice is against Historical fiction, unless perhaps it is because Historical fiction is all about ginat purple squids in codpieces.


Yes, that and Qwhlm or how ever the unpronouncable island is written. I actually find it really interesting that he chose to change the persons and aims in the Restoration regime. On the face of it seems a somewhat quixotic thing to do with little payback.

And yes, there is an essay in trying to figure out the very uneasy relationship between fantasy, alternative history and straight historicals.

On the other hand, I am really fascinated about how Daniel sees himself brokering a sort of compromise, a new world system which does not answer all the questions: he still came back from the dead. So I am thinking that the heavy isotope gold, the alchemy that works and the more pro-puritan English government somehow all represent that part of the system Isaac and Daniel did not manage to explain, that in religion and "magic" there are still stuff we don't understand.

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