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July 13, 2008

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Waltzing in 1807?

Well, it is an alternate reality so it is possible that the waltz would have been invented earlier. On the other hand, my wife tells me(*) that the existence of those huge flying creatures doesn't seem to have changed their History drastically - at least not up to their 'Present' obviously since the Little Corporal has actually set foot in Great Britain.

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(*) I'll probably be able to read the series when the last book has come out, which will be nice if I find myself loving it.

The waltz was certainly invented before 1807. I can document it back into the late 1700s in France and it originated in [what is now] Germany/Austria; the exact date is lost in time. The question is when it began to be danced in England. 1807 is too early in our history, but Novik has an easy out because I'm pretty sure the French were waltzing by then and they're attending the party where the waltzing occurs in VoE. Very reasonable alternate history which does not require the waltz to have been invented early.

My guess about the date of the invasion (1807) appears to have been spot on, judging by the newspaper headlines here. I was too busy being nervous about dancing to actually have noticed these at the party itself!

November 1807 makes sense as the Battle of Jena-Auerstadt where Napoleon defeated the Prussians was October 14 1806* in our time (near the end of Black Powder War in Temeraire-time), so their adventures in Africa take about a year.

Also, nice pictures.

* I looked this up, but don't have Black Powder War to hand; I'm pretty sure it took place in Autumn in the book, in which case I expect that it was October 14; why change the dates if you don't have to?

I don't normally love books about wars, but I really need something to read. Would you suggest I pick these up? And what's the name of the first in the series?

The first is known as Her Majesty's Dragon in the USA, but its original British title is Téméraire. My understanding is that the latter would have meant nothing to most Americans. Besides, it's a French word. Eek!

How many more books are there supposed to be in the series? Or is it open-ended?

Besides, it's a French word. Eek!

It's the habit of not only not renaming ships that have been captured, but then reusing that name leads to there being an Achille on both sides of the battle of Trafalgar.

an Achille on both sides of the battle of Trafalgar

I dare not think what the Regency Era's Blackadder would have made of that.

Raven -
You can read some excerpts on Naomi's webpage to see if they're to your taste. They're not solely war books, though most of them have a battle scene or two.

Serge -
I believe she's contracted through book six. Not sure what happens after that, but I expect if she wants to write more her publisher will be enthusiastic. And there's another eight years of Napoleonic Wars to go, if she chooses...

if she wants to write more her publisher will be enthusiastic

...especially if Peter Jackson does turn the existing books into movies.

I have the first three books, but I have SF books demanding my attention first. I don't know when I'll get to hers.

Thanks! They sound great!

I dare not think what the Regency Era's Blackadder would have made of that.

The idea of Blackadder in a world with dragons is a scary thought...

Raven... Especially with Baldrick around.

Baldrick: I'm glad to say you won't be needing that pill, Mr. B.
Blackadder: Am I jumping the gun, Baldrick, or are the words "I have a cunning plan" marching with ill-deserved confidence in the direction of this conversation?
Baldrick: They certainly are.
Blackadder: Well, forgive me if I don't do a cartwheel of joy; your record in this department is hardly 100%. So what is it?
Baldrick: We do nothing...
Blackadder: Yup, it's another world-beater.
Baldrick: No, wait. We do nothing... until our heads have actually been cut off.
Blackadder: And then we... spring into action?

its original British title is Téméraire. My understanding is that the latter would have meant nothing to most Americans.

You know, I never even thought to look it up. I foolishly assumed it was a proper name and totally missed the obvious cognate relationship with "temerity." I've now remedied this, and think "reckless" is a fine name for a dragon. A picture of the original ship is here.

"reckless" is a fine name for a dragon

There probably is one so named in Téméraire fanfic. I am of course assuming that such fanfic exists, but for once such assumption on my part isn't likely to be farfetched.

Oh, the fanfic exists. Naomi even supports it; she came out of fanfic herself and is very fanfic-positive. Look at her involvement with the Organization for Transformative Works.

My quick-translation of "téméraire" was "reckless"; is that really off or am I missing something subtle in your comment?

she came out of fanfic herself

I thought I had read something to that effect elsewhere when fanfic was discussed a few months ago.

As for translating téméraire as reckless, you were not off the mark at all. On the contrary. Here's what I found on a translation site.

téméraire
adjective
[person, plan] reckless;
[judgment] rash;
courageux mais pas ~ brave but not foolhardy.

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