So here we are at Friday again, and not a moment too soon. My week took a turn for the crap around Wednesday afternoon, and has taken great pleasure in annoying me ever since. So I’m really looking forward to the weekend, which I can only hope will break the crap-streak and things will take a turn for the better.
So before we start, a quickie. If you’re a fan of console gaming, I’m sure you’ve already heard that the newest Assassin’s Creed is set in Victorian London. I’m not much of a console gamer, but my sons are (and my daughters, too, to a lesser extent). My lack of savvy is why it took me five months to find out about Assassin’s Creed V; Younger Son mentioned it in passing this week, and of course I had to go look it up. What I found was this video, apparently some experts talking about the upcoming game. The reason I include it here is because they have some beautiful screenshots and samples of game play. Gorgeous stuff. I may end up playing it myself, it’s just that tempting. Here, take a peek:
Okay, moving on. Writers are advised to get an online presence ASAP; it’s supposed to be a good marketing tool. Okaaaaay, I can see that working for some. For me, well, I have not been very good at this part of the job. I have a Twitter presence, but it is marginal at best. I’m just not a chatty type of person, as a rule. But there are people in this world who practically live on Twitter, and do all sorts of creative things over there.
I first heard about some of the fun stuff happening on Twitter when I read about a fellow who did a “real time” re-enactment of War of the Worlds (which I lost and can’t find again, but it was awesome!). So I started looking around and found that lots of people are playing around on Twitter, re-enacting historical and fictional events. So rather than doing the usual three installments thing I usually do on Fun Fridays, I’m going to just give you a bunch of links that lead to stuff on Twitter and elsewhere that would be of interest to anybody into Steampunk, Dieselpunk or New Pulp.
Histagrams.org comes from a simple premise: what if Instagram had been around for more than just the last couple of years? There are lots of captioned pictures as with the image above, the sort of thing that’s on Instagram, but they’re related to historical events, both real and imaginary, from biblical times right up to the present day. Problem: they’re not organized in any fashion whatsoever, so finding stuff related to the Steampunk and Diesel/Pulp time frames means surfing the entire collection.
Drunk History was a short-lived YouTube channel (associated with the Funny or Die webseries) that was pretty much exactly what the name implies. Basically a person got loop-legged drunk and tried to explain an event from history; what he described was then acted out by professional actors (some fairly big names for a web series: Jack Black, Will Ferrell, and Ryan Goslings are among some of the people who played parts). Yeah, sounds weird, right? That’s because it is. There are less than a dozen postings on the above link. But somehow the idea got picked up by Comedy Central and from there ran another fifty episodes or so. Again, don’t look for things to be in historical order, and fair warning: this is waaaaaay not safe for work, there’s some hardcore language going on.
Here, take a peek:
BBC History Magazine has a website called History Extra, which has just tons and tons of interesting stuff on it. None of what they discuss is investigated in any depth; however they give the best links so you can find more information. While I was surfing it, I found their Top Ten Victorian Podcasts. Again, exactly what it says in the title (handy, that). This gives links to podcasts from the BBC presumably, wherein experts talk about stuff like Victorian funerals and cemeteries, life on a Victorian era farm, and boarding schools in the Victorian era. I like podcasts; as can be guessed from my writing audio drama, I am an audio-focused person. So I enjoy these; you might like them, too.
There are a bunch of Twitter “timelines,” for lack of a better term. In these, they pick an event in history and post information about that event, in more-or-less real time. That’s not a good explanation. Let me give you a for-instance. WW2 Tweets from 1943 has been posting events, obviously, from World War II. All the stuff that happened on February 12th 1943 gets posted on February 12th, in order; if multiple things happened, they get posted in time-of-day order. Tweets From WW1 is doing the same thing for World War One. Civil War Reporter is doing the same thing for the American Civil War. CBC D-Day Live is a real-time broadcast of the Normandy Invasion. TwHistory keeps a listing of a bunch of them. I like these because they give an idea of scope and progress. You read along and you start to understand how long things ran, and what order events happen, in a more visceral way than just reading a timeline in a history book. The downside (in my mind) is that they lack immediacy. They’re giving you dry statements of fact at each posting: “at noon today, the Battle of Whichever started in Someplace French, outside Paris,” just like you’d read in a history book.
For some immediacy, try Whitechapel Real Time. Whitechapel Real Time is a realtime posting of the Jack the Ripper murders, same as before. BUT! Instead of having posts like, “Annie Chapman was found at the corner of X and Y,” the posts are from the point of view of people who were there. “#Donovan You can’t trust these working girls. Chapman claims ‘she hasn’t sufficient money for bed‘” is posted just before Annie Chapman went out into the streets to earn money as a prostitute (I’m guessing some of the time frames are guesses, for obvious reasons) or “#LetterWriter’The knife that I done these murders with it is a small handle with a large long sharp blade sharpe both sides’.” Characters include the victims, beat cops who were the first responders, bystanders and people who were only reading about the events in the news, detectives, reporters, suspects, and of course, Jack himself (presumably the Letter Writer mentioned above). There are pictures and links included from time to time, describing and showing important landmarks associated with London of the time period, and of the murders. I LOVE THIS. I love the immediacy of it all. Yes, a lot of it has to be fictionalized (how would we know what was said by bystanders?), but that’s okay.
Another one like this is Robert Falcon Scott. It’s a little different from the Whitechapel one, as it’s written as a personal Twitter feed with only one speaker, Robert Scott, and purports to describe his last, fatal expedition to Antarctica. This one began and ended in 2012, so it can be read in its entirety.
One last prize, and this one is a giggle. Bite Sized Dracula is a Twitter retelling of the book Dracula. Sort of. There are a number of posters to this listing: Arthur Holmwood, Dracula himself, Jonathan Harker, etc. They’re all carrying on these conversations — some serious, most silly, all very entertaining — while the events of the book are going on. It’s as though all of the characters from the book all had twitter accounts and are tweeting their reactions to events. This caught my eye because Dracula was originally written in the epistolary form (letters, newspaper clippings, telegrams, etc), so Twitter is a logical 21st century extension of that idea. That’s what got my attention. What kept me reading is how funny it is. Just go look, you’ll see what I mean.
Okay, that’s it for me. I still have a crap-ton of sewing to do to be ready for Vandalia next weekend. Next weekend! EEEEEEEK!!!! Who knew it was slipping up on us so quickly? Anyway, you know the drill: tweet, comment, share, email. If you have a suggestion for Fun Friday, give me a shout at ajwriter-at-ajclarkson-dot-net. I’ll be back on Monday, I hope; until then, be good, and if you can’t be good, don’t get caught.