Well, since I am finishing off layover in Singapore I felt that it might be appropriate to write a post that is somewhat uniquely Asian in flavour (though at this stage I am unsure if I am actually going to get around to completing it, let alone posting it, before I return to Australia – as it turned out, I didn’t). Anyway, we decided to visit the aquarium on the island of Sentosa, and as some museums are apt to do (though I’m not really sure if you can call it a museum, it is probably more like a zoo for fish, though we don’t call them zoos for fish, we call them aquariums – but I digress) they had a display at the entrance to the aquarium, looking at the various ports of call a ship would visit on its way back from China back in the days of the sailing ships.
Well, after finishing off my post regarding a counter-factual scenario in which the Soviet Union didn’t collapse my creative juices continued to fire, once again thanks to the Alternate History Hub. Once again it is a scenario that stems out of the Cold War, however, instead of seeing how the Soviet Union could have avoided its collapse, we will instead be posing the question as to how could have the tables have been turned and the United States end up on the losing side.
Back in 1995 I was invited by some friends to go and watch a cinematic production of Richard III at a small art-house theatre in one of Adelaide’s Eastern Suburbs. I had heard of Richard III (the King that is, but then again most of us who have watched Black Adder, or even paid attention to a particular carpark in England, have probably heard of the guy), however I had never actually seen the play. Being Shakespeare I had no problems going, however I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect.
We basically left off with the Netherlands at war with the Spanish and many of the artists fleeing to the North from what is now Belgium, bringing their styles and skills with them. Initially, this was a form known as mannerism, which focused on the raw beauty of the subject, in an idealised setting. However, in Italy, Caravaggio was starting to make his mark, with a much more realistic feel to his paintings, a more down to Earth, grittier style. As such, this began to filter north to start influencing the Dutch, resulting in a change in style and a movement away from Mannerism.
Okay, there are probably quite a few things that Tony Abbott will be remembered as saying:
Once again I was watching one of those really informative videos on the Alternate History Channel (and I will embed the video, as I usually do, below) and it fueled my imagination – this time in regards to the Russian Revolution. However, as I was thinking about how I would tackle this I suddenly realised that so many different things could have happened that would have had a significant effect upon the way the modern world would turn out, it is difficult to simply take just one path.
I’ve just finished reading a book on the French Revolution of the Napoleonic Wars entitled Revolutionary Europe 1785 – 1815 (and you can also read my review of the book here, namely because I discuss, albeit briefly, some ideas that I won’t be talking about in this post). Anyway, I have to say that the author, George Rude, seemed to gloss over a number of important events, one of them being the Battle of Austerlitz. In fact this is what he says:
(Czar) Alexander, who had taken command of the Austro-Russian forces, fancied himself as a commander and was easily persuaded by an incompetent chief-of-staff that Napoleon was in a weak position and could be defeated. Infatuated with the prospect, he let himself be lured to the village of Austerlitz in Moravia, where Napoleon, in the most decisive of his victories, cut his army in two and inflicted a loss of 27,000 men.
When I was selecting the next lot of books that I was planning to read (I generally grab about five or six and put them on a pile on my dining room table so I don’t have to spend time working out my next book after my last one, and so that I always have at least two or three books in my bag in case I finish one while I am out) my eyes passed over this old Jules Verne book. To say that I’m a fan of the father of science fiction is a bit of an understatement, and since I hadn’t read this book in a while I decided to grab it. I really enjoyed it the first time I read it, and when that Brendan Fraser film came out I have to say that I enjoy it every time I watch it (I also own a copy). Actually, isn’t it funny that films are characterised more by the main actors than they are by the directors, unless that director happens to be Quentin Tarrantino (among others), but that is just a side note.
I would open this post by saying that I’m sure every school boy has heard the story of how 300 battle hardened warriors held a tiny pass against a foe whose numbers literally dwarfed them for three days before being betrayed by a shepherd and then fighting valiantly to the last man. However, thanks to Zac Snyder and Frank Miller, this story that was once relegated to the high school and university classes was released to the world in the form of a graphic novel and one awesome movie.
Once again on my explorations of Youtube I came across a video produced by the Alternate History Hub (and I must admit that they produce some really interesting videos that inspire me to explore much deeper) speculating what would have happened if Persia had managed to invade Greece. The problem that I find with a lot of their productions is that their conclusions tend to be ‘this was so long ago it is impossible to know what would have happened’. Well, there is a whole field of counter-factual history where historians explore the ‘what might have been’ with regards to these particular historical events.