May52010

Explaining History Backwards (Behind the Magic)

Contemplation - Flowers(This is a reboot of a guest blog I did for Alana last year.)

Gentle Reader, I have a confession to make: I’m an archaeologist and I’m constantly distressed by history.

This is, as you may well imagine, professionally terribly embarrassing, but the logic of history all-too-often defeats me. (Of course, this is because history isn’t logical.) One has only to look at the British Empire. I mean really, how did they manage it – one tiny island taking over the world (as Eddy Izzard has it) through the cunning use of flags?

My initial theory was that the British were on the hunt for better cuisine and simply occupied other countries as an afterthought. This is rather close to my theory on the Vikings. Why all that raping, pillaging, and slicing people open from the back to eat out their hearts? Clearly, the Vikings were suffering from a bad case of nose envy. Ever visited a Scandinavian country? Big tall strapping blonds – teeny-tiny noses. There they were and they just got jealous. “Look at all those other European countries, Urk! Better weather AND better noses. Get ’em!” Plus all they had to drink was mead, terribly girly drink for big strapping blonds with horned helmets. “Better weather, better noses, AND ale!”

The thing is, as I poodled about through my previous job I was constantly encountering some new form of oddball historical behavior. I visited Machu Picchu, an enormous ritual center perching atop a mountain no sane person would ever want to climb. I’m holding forth that it’s a Peruvian attempt to compensate for certain deficiencies in the stature arena. And before you slag me off for bias, many of my closest friends are short. And I keep threatening to take them to Peru to go shopping.

Now, back to England. It seems to me that another perfectly valid explanation for the success of the British Empire is that Queen Victoria had vampires (with all their years of knowledge) helping her strategize, and werewolves fighting in her armies, while the other European countries didn’t. At which point it became patently obvious that any such entirely absurd idea would have to become a book. After all, I couldn’t very well write about the Viking nose issue, now could I?

Gail’s Daily Dose
Your Tisane of Smart:
Ancient Greeks introduced wine to France
Your Writerly Tinctures:
Fresh Air on NPR talks ebooks and the future of the publishing industry.

Manakau Library review says, “Read it. Fell in love with it. Want to marry it. Desperately waiting for the next installment in the Parasol Protectorate series!”
SPOILER ALERT! Changeless blurb gives away ending of Soulless. Brave New Writer says, “If you like urban fantasy and are looking for something different, enjoy a bit of steampunk and alternate history, or crave a witty adventure with corsets and crumpets – read this book! (But start with Soulless first.)”
Out September 1, 2010! Even bigger SPOILER ALERT! Really, DON’T READ THE BLURB ON AMAZON if you haven’t read the other books first.
Super Secret Project H: Plugging away.
Super Secret Project F: With agent.
CAKE in Space: Trunked.
See table of contents here.
Short story turned in.

Quote of the Day:
“Don’t take life so serious. It ain’t no-hows permanent.”
~ Walt Kelly

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Posted by Gail Carriger

 

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