Tuesday, August 2, 2011

On "The Titans of Camp Four" by Brian Trent (5474 words) ***

A lot of science fiction is primarily about ideas. All else one finds in literary fiction--characters, setting, plot--is placed below the general concept on the degree of importance. That's certainly the case here. Trent's idea, however, is so intriguing and so well put down that one can't help but read on and on.

A few years ago I saw an animated short film that was drawn as if the Victorians had discovered--or rather written about--space travel. Imagine, if you would, what "new" technology would have looked like to a Victorian, and imagine a Victorian pushing the limits of knowledge to project a future. Naturally, it seems likely a writer would put steam engines in space, and that's what this cartoon did.

Trent does a similar thing here. The story is based around the plot device of having a man go to work on the moon to find out what a particular "secret camp" is doing--and whether it even exists. But the alternative history behind the story is what intrigues here. He's got Grecians flying planes, Romans inventing trains, the inventions being forgotten with the centuries (and not widely adopted at the time for political reasons). Find out more about the camp here at Atomjack Magazine.

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