Sunday, January 16, 2011

Del cuarto de los trebejos II

Otra de las precisas crónicas del fraile anglo Mr. Kempis, esta vez escribe sobre una novela de realidad alterna...

In the days of the Raj
By Kempis

The beauty of the literary style known as “Altenate History” is that you change a certain characteristic of a known historic era and transform it into a totally different situation that sometimes surpasses our wildest dreams. That is what S.M. Stirling did when he wrote “The Peshawar Lancers”.

In the 1870´s, a violent series of comets hit Earth, nearly wiping out all civilization, sparing only some cultures. Instead of advancing technologically, the survivors had to piece society back together. In 2025, where boats still run on steam and messages are sent through telegraph, the British Empire, now relocated in Delhi, fights for supremacy against the devil-worshipping Russian Empire and the ambitious Japanese Empire.

In this turbulent era, captain Athelstane King of the brave Peshawar Lancers and his scientist sister Cassandra will play a very important part in saving the future of humankind, helped by a loyal Singh servant, a brave French soldier, an Afghan mercenary, a heir and heiress to the English/Indian throne, a jewish merchant and a Russian seeress.

At the end of the book there comes a very illustrative glossary where the story of the world catastrophe known as “The Fall” evolves, beginning in 1878 when some heavenly bodies fell across Europe, the Atlantic and North America, killing millions. In the aftermath, the climate changed and the survivors had to move to the warmer regions along the equator, referring to this as “The Exodus”. After that there was almost two centuries of chaotic repopulation.

The cultural mix of English and Indian societies is the most interesting part of the book, Stirling wrote it in the style of the Victorian-era adventure writers like Kipling and the language is rich with expressions of that period, making it a very interesting literary and historical experiment where a entire new and exciting world is created by introducing an unconnected element in a long-gone era.

Hope you enjoy it, Sahibs.

No comments: