Monday, 10 September 2012

Differences Between Timelines, Continued

Tom Lehrer sang:

" 'If rockets go up,
" 'Who cares where they come down?
" 'That's not my department!'
" Says Werner von Braun."

In Poul Anderson's Operation Luna (New York, 2000),a comedian says of the von Braun equivalent, al-Bunni:

" 'He wants to put horses in the sky. Never mind whose heads the manure lands on.' " (p. 87)

In our timeline, Murphy's Law is "Whatever can go wrong, will" and O'Brien's Law is "Nothing is ever done for the right reason" but, in the Operation... timeline, O'Brien's Law is the former.

A language unfamiliar to the speaker has greater magical/goetic power so a Seven-Up is called a Hepta-Up (Greek). Instead of televisions, they watch "farseers." (p. 86) They "doppel" or "dopplegang" documents (pp. 107, 111). They distinguish between hardware and spookware. Electric lights are called edisons or saintelmos. Instead of the Pentagon, they have the Pentacle. Telephones are operated by sprites who announce that there is a call. The phone user "resonates," then "disempaths." (pp. 137-138)

Werewolves can survive in sunlight but, before flashlights, only a full moon generated the right wavelength to enable them to transform so a were still in animal form at dawn had to wait till the next full moon and to survive by any means until then. Therefore, they operated mainly at night. Hence, the belief that they were nightgangers. Chinese have less weres, whether from genes or from culture.

Eleven years have passed since Operation Chaos so, of course, the witch's familiar, a cat, is aged and she has a new familiar, a raven. Rheatic forces transmit at infinite speed - which raises the possibility of instantaneous communication as in some sf.

Anderson maintains these and similar background details throughout a 438 page novel.

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