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  #41  
Old February 22nd, 2011, 01:46 AM
Sift Green Sift Green is offline
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Originally Posted by Mad Missouri View Post
The DtF books have magic in them. They seem to have real wizards and witches, both sides now are using magic. The bad guys use magic to force soldiers to open gates in PPA forts. And the good guy's use magic to confuse that neo-Roman infantry unit they ambush. Both sides main faith seem to have grown larger and stronger base on the fact their prayers really work. The interesting thing is, he seems to hint in more than one place that maybe it's not real magic but the help of a technological advanced alien race or far future humans. That whole, "advance technology seeming like magic to a lesser developed people" thing. If it turns out to be help not magic, is he going to show that in the end both main faiths (wiccans vs. CUT.) are really based on lies? From what I've read Stirling has gotten a big following among members of the modern pagan movements with this series. How is that going to go over when they realize he was making fun of their faith? I wonder if the point he makes in the end is that peoples belief in God/Gods in general is stupid.
Its kind of sad how many authors you would expect to be smarter then that aren't.

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I stopped buying his books in this series after the 3rd, but I have read kept reading the newer ones through my local library. Heck you can read about a third of his newer books on the smstirling.com website. Whatever you do, do not purchase number 4, unless you want to cry about how badly you were ripped off. Get it from a library. I plan on reading the next 2 also. But I am not expecting great things. I guess I just like watching a train wreck.
I wish you luck on your train wreck watching endeavor.

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Originally Posted by Mad Missouri View Post
I agree about his odd hate for modern society. That's one of the reason I found the CUT bad guys so unbelievable. I thought Stirling was trying to go for a neo-mongol type bad guy at first. But then he had them go all anti-tech which was really odd. I can sort of believe the CUT cult becoming a minor power in their area seeing how that faith claims to have large stores of food and tools but I doubt they'd be able to defeat major advanced power like the Mormons. How would a group that anti-tech field the needed siege machines to take a walled town? Storming the walls by weight of numbers isn't too easy when the town has machines throwing firebombs on your troops hundreds of meters before the walls.
Yes, and to make it more annoying, the CUT shouldn't have that kind of numbers. They live in what is now Montana and Wyoming, not the kind of places that currently have that kind of population, and wouldn't have it after the kind of physics breaking disaster. Plus, their is a noticeable Mormon presence in Wyoming, meaning Deseret would have already had strong inroads in the area.

Of corse, it would make sense for him to nerf the one group that would have retained the organization necessary to preserve modern knowledge and what we think of as higher civilization, and possibly combine some of what used to work with the new 'magic' that seems to be working. After all, it would ruin the neo-medieval feel if your sword and spear using armies are defeated by a group of Mormon Tech-wizards using Polybolos mounted on clockwork wagons. (Anyone else think that would make a fun timeline?) It's something that seems to happen in every 'Society is now in the new Dark Ages' work that I have seen.
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  #42  
Old February 22nd, 2011, 02:06 AM
Polish Eagle Polish Eagle is offline
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Originally Posted by Sift Green View Post
Of corse, it would make sense for him to nerf the one group that would have retained the organization necessary to preserve modern knowledge and what we think of as higher civilization, and possibly combine some of what used to work with the new 'magic' that seems to be working. After all, it would ruin the neo-medieval feel if your sword and spear using armies are defeated by a group of Mormon Tech-wizards using Polybolos mounted on clockwork wagons. (Anyone else think that would make a fun timeline?) It's something that seems to happen in every 'Society is now in the new Dark Ages' work that I have seen.
I think there's a lot of potential in a rewrite of DtF, either through taking the scenario and making it more realistic, or tweaking it subtly (like someone earlier suggested, getting rid of steam and combustion but keeping electronics, or just getting rid of the magic). In fact, perhaps we should start a DtF Redux thread, like we had months ago for Peshawar Lancers that led to a whole group of "realistic" PL timelines.
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  #43  
Old February 22nd, 2011, 02:15 AM
tehShifty tehShifty is offline
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Originally Posted by Polish Eagle View Post
I think there's a lot of potential in a rewrite of DtF, either through taking the scenario and making it more realistic, or tweaking it subtly (like someone earlier suggested, getting rid of steam and combustion but keeping electronics, or just getting rid of the magic). In fact, perhaps we should start a DtF Redux thread, like we had months ago for Peshawar Lancers that led to a whole group of "realistic" PL timelines.
I whole heartedly second this idea.
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  #44  
Old February 22nd, 2011, 03:08 AM
hopper2cool hopper2cool is offline
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The biggest problem I have with DTF is that people act the way the plot requires them to act way to fast.
Now give the various groups 20 to 50 years then maybe. But the way that people take to feudalism in about 1 month is completely unrealistic.
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  #45  
Old February 22nd, 2011, 05:19 AM
Jackson Jackson is offline
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Originally Posted by hopper2cool View Post
The biggest problem I have with DTF is that people act the way the plot requires them to act way to fast.
Now give the various groups 20 to 50 years then maybe. But the way that people take to feudalism in about 1 month is completely unrealistic.
Of course it is, but if you know anything about Stirling, realistic is not an option.
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  #46  
Old February 22nd, 2011, 05:45 AM
Panther2G Panther2G is offline
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Originally Posted by Sift Green View Post
After all, it would ruin the neo-medieval feel if your sword and spear using armies are defeated by a group of Mormon Tech-wizards using Polybolos mounted on clockwork wagons. (Anyone else think that would make a fun timeline?)
That sounds hilariously awesome.

And I heartily agree with the previous comments about the US Army Vs an SCA group. I am Army, and I've got lots of SCA friends, so I've seen both in action. And I can confidently say that any given group of Soldiers would tear the SCA guys apart, especially if the SCA kids were standing between the Soldiers and food.

I'd always thought it would have been a hilarious short end to Norman Arminger's career if one of the Soldiers of cops he killed in his little "Look How Cool My Norman Armor Is!" demo at the beginning of the first book had simply thought to stab him instead of slashing, or aime for one of the many points armor does not or cannot cover, like the neck or joints. That's how you use a bayonet, with a stab, damn it.
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  #47  
Old February 22nd, 2011, 06:10 AM
Ephraim Ben Raphael Ephraim Ben Raphael is offline
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That sounds hilariously awesome.
.
Welcome to the site!

Anyway I agree with you completely, simply because certain modern technologies are now impossible doesn't mean that medival is better or that the world will revert to what it was like back then.

There would be new types of armour, new types of weapons, new techniques for making things- but they'll be based more on the last 200 years than a thousand years before.
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  #48  
Old February 22nd, 2011, 08:46 AM
Drachasor Drachasor is offline
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Originally Posted by Ephraim Ben Raphael View Post
Welcome to the site!

Anyway I agree with you completely, simply because certain modern technologies are now impossible doesn't mean that medival is better or that the world will revert to what it was like back then.

There would be new types of armour, new types of weapons, new techniques for making things- but they'll be based more on the last 200 years than a thousand years before.
Also, there's quite a lot (most) of chemistry that doesn't require high pressure to do. The books so far pretty much completely ignore all chemistry...and from what I've heard I doubt this changes after book 3.

More generally while a lot of our current manufacturing processes use electricity to work, that doesn't mean it is impossible to create many composite materials and the like without electricity. True a large amount of the industrial base was lost, but that doesn't make it impossible either; just more difficult.

Potentially as well one could make rapid-fire ballistas that run on human generated water pressure or otherwise powered by people not aiming them. It might not be impossible to design a feeding mechanism so that you could even stack multiple ballista "bows" on top of each other (say 2 or 3) and still have them use ammunition, providing a machine-gun-esque rate of fire.

They clearly can make flame-throwers as well. The range disadvantage doesn't exist really in a battlefield where melee could play a heavy role. Similarly, being heavy isn't as big of a deal when it would be such an effective weapon against medieval troops. Granted pressurized air couldn't be used as a propellant like modern flame-throwers, but you can theoretically put liquids under constant, high pressure without needing a lot of tech. Potentially you could even make water-cutters to use on enemy troops as well (and there are ones that can cut through steel quite easily).

Overall I am not sure melee fighting would actually survive that well in the long run at least. Heck, even in the short run flame-throwers might nearly kill it (and cavalry charges). Of course, the series doesn't explore this much. We wouldn't go back in time with tech, we'd go to military technology that isn't as good as explosion/combustion-based solutions.

Edit: Currently debated whether I should bother reading the last 90 pages of the 3rd book in the series.

Last edited by Drachasor; February 22nd, 2011 at 08:54 AM..
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  #49  
Old February 22nd, 2011, 03:21 PM
PipBoy2999 PipBoy2999 is offline
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I hate how the South East is assumed to be a dead zone. I would think that Alabama, Georgia, Florida, etc would eat themselves. Outside of Atlanta, sure, but most of the south is still pretty rural. A new Confederacy, based upon the agricultural traditions of the south and protected by the massive military presence of the many bases would not be out of the question.

Also, did NO ONE look in the library for books on chemical weapons? Sure, I got how the British were going around the world eliminating chemwep stockpiles. Great. Good on 'em. Mustard and chlorine gases are not difficult to make. Why go all hand to hand when you can lob a glass catapult shot full of mustard gas at the phalanx advancing towards you?
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  #50  
Old February 23rd, 2011, 03:51 AM
kent kent is offline
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My problems with the books are the same as others have stated. Also why no hot air ballons? He lost me as a reader(buyer) after the 2nd book.
Now I wait and read portions online but never buy the book. His anti-modern, human rants are just to much. To have a group thinking Lord of the Rings is a bible was the final act.
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  #51  
Old February 23rd, 2011, 05:09 AM
Drachasor Drachasor is offline
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Originally Posted by kent View Post
His anti-modern, human rants are just to much.
I think the following comic is a great satire of science fiction that attacks technological progress in general:
http://dresdencodak.com/2009/09/22/c...ience-fiction/
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  #52  
Old February 23rd, 2011, 06:34 AM
Mad Missouri Mad Missouri is offline
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Not all the weapons in the series are medieval. They use flame throwers on the Australian ship in the 1st book, and they talk about them protecting the gates of walled cities and castles. I think they mention hot air balloons being used over major castles.

I do not remember any siege machines but their field artillery machines are very advanced. They are cocked by water pumped by form a second wagon, but also have a back up geared system on the axles.

One of the more stupid things Stirling does is the whole "machete" being the standard sword of most areas. His argument was that garden stores would have lots on hand and that swords based on that design would be standard after a while. The counter he never answered was that most garden stores have too few to arm enough people and if that's all it takes why not hammers and roofing axes. I argued that the large numbers of civil war sabers both real and reenactor copies would give that type a better chance for cavalry. But he wouldn't listen.

I also love the way he makes fun of rural people. Denim bib coveralls and John Deer ball caps become high society clothes in Iowa.
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  #53  
Old February 23rd, 2011, 07:01 AM
Drachasor Drachasor is offline
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Originally Posted by Mad Missouri View Post
Not all the weapons in the series are medieval. They use flame throwers on the Australian ship in the 1st book, and they talk about them protecting the gates of walled cities and castles. I think they mention hot air balloons being used over major castles.
They are generally very primitive though and the few exceptions, at least in the first 3 books, do not come across as that advanced compared to medieval weaponry. There's just a LOT more that would be possible than he considers because besides a small thing here and there, he clearly wants to just stick to medieval tech rather than exploring the possibilities.

As a somewhat minor nit-pick, he also seems pretty down on crossbows, though I think they'd be a far more likely standard weapon than bows and they can be better than even a longbow as well. They can easily allow people to use a far higher draw weight than they'd be able to do, train easier (leaving more time for other activities which is quite beneficial), and can be more accurate (less strenuous to aim). Crossbows also delivered more kinetic energy than bows, penetrating armor more easily.
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  #54  
Old February 23rd, 2011, 07:07 AM
Don Lardo Don Lardo is offline
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Here you all are talking about all the things you hate about the DtF series, yet...

... you've all read most of the series and most of you have bought all the books too.

It would be funny if it wasn't so very sad. Stirling must be laughing all the way to the bank.

You know why most published AH is shit? Because you buy it, read it, and discuss it no matter what. You only get what they know you'll buy and, because they know you'll buy shit, that's what you get.

Want the AH genre to improve? Then stop automatically buying anything with "alternate history", "Turtledove", or "Stirling" on the cover. Be discerning and hit them in the only place they pay attention to; their wallets. Stop buying, reading, and discussing shit and you'll be amazed when shit is no longer on the menu.
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  #55  
Old February 23rd, 2011, 07:12 AM
Drachasor Drachasor is offline
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Well, I actually just borrowed it from my brother and I stopped about 90 pages away from the end of the third book (hmm, nook pages at any rate, standard settings). At that point I just couldn't force myself to read it anymore. So I didn't waste any money at all.


Edit: Hmm, no recommendations on any good book that might explore steam-only or otherwise oddly constrained technology in a realistic manner?
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  #56  
Old February 23rd, 2011, 07:19 AM
PipBoy2999 PipBoy2999 is offline
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I actually enjoyed DtF far more than I thought I would and look forward to the next installment. I get them on kindle and they're good airplane reading (which I seem to be doing an awful lot of lately ).

As for good steampunk reading, check out Steampunk I and Steampunk II anthologies. Picked both up at B&N. Some crap, but mostly pretty good stories.
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  #57  
Old February 23rd, 2011, 07:59 PM
Mad Missouri Mad Missouri is offline
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<snip>
Hello Don,

Good to see you again. I doubt the reason AH is in your opinion in such bad shape is because of this thread. That may be the stupidest thing you've written.

If AH is in such bad shape maybe it's because you don't understand who writes AH. Which series of Stirling books are AH? The Draka? The rest are fantasy, military sci-fi, or at best ASB like the ISOT series. None of those are AH.

Why don't you stay in Grant at Gettysburg and other threads you like and leave the rest of us along.
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  #58  
Old February 23rd, 2011, 08:16 PM
Don Lardo Don Lardo is offline
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Originally Posted by Mad Missouri View Post
That may be the stupidest thing you've written.

Thank you.

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Which series of Stirling books are AH?
All of them seeing as they're discussed here on the net's largest AH site.

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The Draka?
AH and there are several threads on this forum discussing the series.

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The rest are fantasy, military sci-fi, or at best ASB like the ISOT series. None of those are AH.
None are AH? Then why are they discussed here? There's even a board for ASB topics and ISOTs.

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Why don't you stay in Grant at Gettysburg and other threads you like and leave the rest of us along.
Tell you what, put me on Ignore then you'll never see me again.

Until then I'll repeat my advice to you all: You will only get what you are stupid enough to buy.

Don't like the Emberverse and other series? Don't buy them, don't read them, and don't discuss them. Once the publishers and authors aren't making sales, they'll change.
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  #59  
Old February 23rd, 2011, 08:27 PM
Mad Missouri Mad Missouri is offline
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They are generally very primitive though and the few exceptions, at least in the first 3 books, do not come across as that advanced compared to medieval weaponry. There's just a LOT more that would be possible than he considers because besides a small thing here and there, he clearly wants to just stick to medieval tech rather than exploring the possibilities.

As a somewhat minor nit-pick, he also seems pretty down on crossbows, though I think they'd be a far more likely standard weapon than bows and they can be better than even a longbow as well. They can easily allow people to use a far higher draw weight than they'd be able to do, train easier (leaving more time for other activities which is quite beneficial), and can be more accurate (less strenuous to aim). Crossbows also delivered more kinetic energy than bows, penetrating armor more easily.
Light support weapons mounted on US civil war era type field artillery carriages using steel springs providing the power to throw large arrows, round balls, or napalm bombs. Those machines are cocked fast by water power that acts on pistons in the main machine. The water comes from second tank wagons and moves through armored hoses to the weapon. Also the have a geared system that uses the movement of the axles to cock the weapon as the move back. The they talk about medium and heavy machine but we never see them in action. When did any medieval army field something that advanced?

Which book are you counting as number 3? Are you reading, Meeting at Corvallis or Sword of the lady?

As to the crossbows. The books show all the major powers on the good guy side but the neo-Celtic clan using crossbows. The PPA has them, the Bear Killers for their non-A list militia, the free cities, all of them are using crossbows. In Meeting at Corvallis they show that the Bear killers have deployed modern crossbows with some sort of cocking system built into the stock that doubles or triples the rate of fire over a standard crossbow. By the start of the second Emberverse series the PPA mentions that they have upgraded to the new style crossbows. And farther in the series it mentions that Iowa has the same sort of advanced crossbow but with a different design.
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  #60  
Old February 23rd, 2011, 08:39 PM
ScorchedLight ScorchedLight is offline
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Okay I think while we all have different opinions regarding the level of crappiness of the emberverse series we can all agree on just how much the hominids series sucks.
I disagree!
Between the illiterate (literally!) civilization that could build advanced computers, the anvilicious message about deep ecology and atheism, the impossible sex lives of the nazirthals, the wafer thin critique of humanity and the Marysueishness of the Nazi Neanderthal, saying that Hominids sucked just doesn't describe the atrociousness of the series.

The criminal part of the book is that at no point we invade and "liberate" the Neanderthals.
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