Tag: History

Worldbuilding Wednesday 8/22/18: Perfumes

The making of perfume is almost as old as human agriculture. A perfume-making operation dating to around 4000 BCE was unearthed on the island of Cyprus in 2005, which is when humans were still in the Bronze Age. The Indus Valley civilization produced perfumes a few hundred years later, and Babylon in 1200 BCE. It …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 8/8/18: Heraldry

  Crests of modern cities in Germany. Top row, left to right: Stuttgart, Nurnberg, Tubingen. Middle row: Atzelgift, Honigsee, Nachtsheim. Bottom row: Falkenfels, Trechtingshausen, Flogeln. The production designers for George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones TV series have done a smashup job creating a fantasy world like Medieval Europe (in spite of those ice-zombies …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 7/18/18: Steampunk Jargon

  One of the things that really makes Steampunk literature, and Victorian literature in general, is the use of odd English words to describe little odds and ends that need describing, like parts of machinery, personal items of clothing, genitalia, obscure occupations, and other fluff. Charles Dickens was a pioneer of these charming names, through …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 7/11/18: Himalayan Mountaineering

Chances are, when you think of the Himalayan mountains, you see sharp, snow-capped peaks, desolate valleys, and peaceful yaks. Or, maybe this. This was my favorite ride as a teen at the Jersey Shore. At night, all lit up, it was truly spectacular. Even then, however, I knew people didn’t ski or stay at ski …

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Where Wizards Stay Up Late [Reading Challenge 2018]

Where Wizards Stay Up Late by Katie Hafner and Matthew Lyon Simon and Schuster, 1996 [Challenge # 4: A book about a historical event that took place in your lifetime.] Of all the books I’ve read so far this year, Where Wizards Stay up Late, a history of the development of the Internet, was the …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 7/4/18: Alternate Americas

Because it’s the Fourth of July, my mind turns to other versions of the United States of America. Perhaps, if some butterfly was crushed on the dirt paths of time, this country would be the United Provinces of America. Or still part of Britain and called the United Colonies. Maybe Amerigo Vespucci’s name was never …

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Early Medicine

Early Medical Procedures were rough on everyone, except the physician who sometimes enjoyed them.   (Artwork by Christopher Fisher)

Worldbuilding Wednesday 6/13/18: Let’s Talk About Christopher

Christopher is one of those names it’s easier to find modern times than in in the past. There’s Christopher Columbus of course, but since his fall from American grace over racism and slavery concerns, I don’t feel too comfortable giving him publicity, so Christopher Marlowe, whose picture is here, will be my go-to man for …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 5/23/18: Eurospy

In the early 1960s James Bond was the coolest fictional character ever. He weathered life-threatening situations with humor and aplomb, handled fisticuffs as well as martinis and expensive suits, and was always able to bed beautiful women. Dr. No, released in 1964, inspired a whole trend of spy movies and parodies of spy movies, like …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 5/16/18: Plague and Pestilence

Many fantasies are set in a never-never-land of times gone by. Usually it’s Medieval Europe. But the Roman Empire, Bronze Age Britain, and Dynastic Egypt also get their times in the sun. All have one thing in common: the dearth of plagues. Which, admittedly, are hard to incorporate into uplifting adventure stories. They’re depressing, and …

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