Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Characteristic Scenarios

SM Stirling presents two characteristic scenarios:

(i) an entire novel is set in an alternative history;

(ii) his characters learn to travel between alternative histories.

Stirling's Draka History advances from scenario (i) to scenario (ii) in Volume IV, Chapter One.

A New Race Draka from 2442 loose on Earth/2 in 1995 immediately transports us to a different although familiar scenario - a divorced detective conducting an NYPD Warehouse Massacre investigation, but with some odd features. Even if the narrative had begun here, we would soon have realized that we were moving into science fiction or horror territory. In fact, the discovery of a species that does not belong in the evolutionary history of this Earth reminds us of Stirling's Conquistador while, soon after, a reference to "'Playing Frankenstein...'" (Drakon, p. 51) reminds us of the entire sf literary tradition.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I've read DRAKON more than once and I was convinced Stirling set that novel on our Earth. BUT, as he himself explained, that's not necessarily so. By having, for example, the Rolfe name survive centuries longer than it in our time line in CONQUISTADOR, Stirling wanted us to think of that as being on a different Earth from ours.