Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Alternative Cities

(The image shows the Bristol of Earth Real.)

Poul Anderson describes an alternative York in an AI emulation in a far future. SM Stirling describes an alternative Bristol in 10 AE of the Nantucket timeline:

the Stars and Stripes and the crescent Moon on green above a pentagon-shaped earth-and-timber fort with cannon on its ramparts;
a roaring, bustling town with a population of four or five thousand;
smells of woodsmoke, coal smoke, freshly cut timber, brick-kilns, mortar, hot iron and brass;
sounds of hoofs, hammers, machines and steam;
brick-paved streets;
factories, docks, carpenters, smiths, wainwrights, saddlers, hospital and school;
many shops advertising for apprentices;
a halidom near a church;
the innovation of a police force, necessary in a large community without lineage ties.


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    Very Andersonian, these lists Stirling gives us of what we see, smell, experience, etc., in busy towns and cities!

    One minor complaint I have is how Stirling has Nantucket continuing to use the US flag for its own national banner. Yes, Nantucket used to be part of the Massachusetts, which used to be part of the US, but that NATION simply does not EXIST "when" Nantucket now is. I would have preferred the Nantucketers adopting a more "Nantucket" like flag. Perhaps one which included the old US flag in the canton, to indicate descent from the US?


    1. Sean,
      Makes sense. I think that the Terrestrial tricolor should be blue for oceans, white for clouds and green for life with different communities and traditions being able to add their specific symbol in the lower part of the green stripe.

    2. Kaor, Paul!

      I dunno, doesn't the flag you suggest resemble too strongly other tricolor flags like the French, Irish, Italian, or Romanian standards?

      I like what we know of the flag used by Poul Anderson's Terran Empire. If we can go by the description seen in Chapter 1 of ENSIGN FLANDRY of the sky illuminations honoring Emperor Georgios' birthday, the Imperial flag was a stylized sunburst on a dark blue field.


    3. Kaor, Paul!

      And we repeatedly see the sunburst being used as a symbol of the Empire in these stories.


  2. Paul and Sean:
    Robert Heinlein (I think in "The Green Hills of Earth") spoke of Earth's flag as green, not making clear whether it included any markings in another color.

    Isaac Asimov referred to the "Spaceship and Sun" symbol of the Empire. Although he explicitly described the spaceship as an "oblique cigar shape," at least two artists portrayed it instead as something more like an arrowhead.

    I used to be very much interested in designing flags or symbols for science-fictional nations of my own conception. One, for a "Terran Hegemony," has a dark blue field with a 16-point golden sunburst laid out in fashion similar to the "Nordic Cross." A circled Greek cross (astronomical symbol for Earth) in green, gold, and a lighter blue overlies the sunburst.

    Another of my ideas, for what I called simply "The Empire," features a stylized eagle in gold on dark blue. Backing and encircling the eagle is an array of white 5-point stars I intended to give the impression of a wreath of oak or laurel leaves. Below the eagle and wreath is the motto "Senatus Populique Imperii" -- which, if my Latin is correct, expresses "The Senate and Peoples of the Empire." (Note the plural.) They were the good guys of ten millennia in the future, "a union of intelligence throughout the stars, with liberty and justice for all."

    1. Kaor, David!

      I remember Asimov's symbols for his Galactic Empire but not Heinlein's notion of a green flag for Earth.

      Very interesting, these comments about flags! The one for your "Terran Hegemony" even resembles in some ways what I think was the flag of Anderson's Terran Empire.

      And the flag for your "Empire" reminded me of the flag of the old Holy Roman Empire, a single headed eagle on a deep gold field. And I certainly hope such a realm would have liberty and justice for all!

      Thanks! Sean