Sunday, November 7, 2010

Paper 2

So I know this is a little early, but I came up with my paper topic shortly after we read Boneshaker. It just came to me and I think I can make it work. As a history major, the fact that Priest used alternate history in her book fascinated me. So what I plan on writing on is the use of alternate history in Boneshaker. Questions to ponder:

Why use alternate history?
What's the point?
Would the story be affected greatly if Priest didn't mention the extended Civil War?
What other science fiction pieces and to what ends?
Is alternate history a characteristic of steam punk (since it's set in the Victorian Age)?
Is the extended Civil War the only aspect of alternate history in the novel?

Suggestions? Comments? Criticisms? Funny jokes for the day? All would be greatly appreciated.


John Harris said...

Here's my take on it:

The alternate history is essential in this story. If the civil war wasn't still going on then it is very likely that the American government would have taken some kind of action to settle things in the north west (I, at least, would find zombies and a gas that produced a crazy drug being used all over the country to be pretty big concerns). If she hadn't mentioned the civil war, then I think we would have been wondering why no organized body had come to take care of this.

I do think alternate history is essential characteristic of steampunk. Its all about steam and analog technology being advanced well beyond they actually were and electricity is just making it on to the scene. And I think the extended civil war is the result of other aspects of alternate history (like the placement of the transcontinental railroad and the development of steampunk-style technology).

Katy said...

Wow. That was a detailed response! Thanks so much. You have a point. The government would have stepped in if something wasn't distracting them. I appreciate the feedback.

Elizabeth said...

I think this is an amazing paper topic. I do feel like you have bitten off a huge amount to tackle in one paper. However, I think that if you're up to it there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to come up with answers to those questions. I would try combining the first two questions if you start to feel overwhelmed.