Tag: History

Worldbuilding Wednesday 9/15/21: National Parks

On first glance, it’s pretty hard to tell which poster is of a real place, and which poster is fictional, yes? Brightly colored travel posters that look like silkscreens began in the 1930s, as part of a Works Administration Project (WPA) funded by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, designed to give employment to otherwise unemployed artists. …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 6/16/21: Gallic Chieftains

  Where did the name of Mr. Tumnus, the helpful faun of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, come from? Gallic chieftains, of course! Where -umnus and -umnos were frequent components, as in names Togodumnos and Dumnorix.  Of course, these were also latinised; the only way we know these names today is through Roman …

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Secret Agent [Reading Challenge 2021]

Secret Agent Britain’s Wartime Secret Service by David Stafford BBC Worldwide, 2000 [Challenge # 12 : A book featuring spies or espionage.] Super-spy shenanigans, the kind we’re familiar with from James Bond movies and Cold War espionage novels, began in WWII — in the offices of Britain’s Special Operations Executive, a secret agency separate from …

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Atompunk

Atompunk: A retro-futuristic aesthetic centered around the technology of the 1950s extended into the 21st century and beyond. It often depicts “traditionally American” values such as the nuclear family and a suburban lifestyle; conversely, the totalitarian regimes of Communist Russia and its satellites with their emphasis on technological power. I define its heyday as the …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 3/3/21: Fairy Tales III

This illustration by Arthur Rackham appeared on the cover of a book of Grimm’s fairy tales given to me by my parents. I forget the name of the story, but in it, the child hero, who is peeking out of the stove at the illustration’s approximate center, is hiding from the ogre. He has been …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 2/17/21: Fairy Tales II

The plasticity of fairy tales is demonstrated by these illustrations of Beauty and the Beast from over the years. In the original fairy tale, the Beast is never explicitly described, so artists had to use their imaginations. From the top left, going clockwise, he’s a spotted hyena, a wolf-boar, a very weird walrus-mole hybrid, and …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 2/10/21: Fairy Tales I

Fairy tales were not intended for children. I repeat that, fairy tales were NOT intended for children. Just take a look at the Kay Nielson illustration for Cinderella above. Despite the name, Kay is a he, a classically trained Danish artist who worked heavily during the first half of the 20th century. The moment depicts …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 1/27/21: Let’s Talk About Shakespeare

William Shakespeare is considered by many to be the greatest writer in the English language. He left behind a legacy of 39 plays and 154 sonnets that are still being performed and read today. Just to hear the name “Shakespeare” among someone’s interests is a mark of high intellectual discernment, and used as an adjective, …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 1/13/21: Ancient Empires

  Over the summer as I was immersed in Narnia I read a lot about the Old Testament, and in turn about the ancient civilizations of the Near and Middle East. Most people know of Ur, Assyria, and the Phoenicians, but there were many others more obscure — Adiabene, the Girgashites, Hayasa-Azzi. Some were kingdoms, …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 12/2/20: States of Confusion
xxxx (Gulf Coast)

States may not be able to change their names without a lot of legislature, but it’s possible to change their flag. Mississippi was just fine with this state flag for 126 years, even though it featured the Confederate flag that in recent years has gone from being a symbol of rebel pride to racist tyranny. …

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