Monthly Archives: June 2016

Fiction adapting to reality

So this weeks hot news is that Britain has voted to leave the European Union, a decision I view as being the wrong one but that’s a rant for another day. Over the weekend – while still in a state of disbelief – the thought crossed my mind how does this effect my writing?

Now for once I’m not talking about the economics – although God knows given the way sterling has nosedived against… everything, I’m glad I didn’t have anything new come out this month – I’m talking about the settings of my work. For those who haven’t read the Nameless War, it is only set a few decades into the future and it is one where nation states still exist, including the United Kingdom. My current WIP is set even closer to the present and spends much of its time in the UK.

Out in the real world, the Brexit vote has made it very uncertain what way things are going to go. Given that within the last two years Scotland only narrowly voted to remain in the United Kingdom, but last week voted to stay in the EU, there is a fair chance that the Scots will now attempt to bailout. As for Northern Ireland – a province sandwiched between two countries, neither of which really want it – that’s anyone’s guess. I’m not going to speculate here how likely any of this is, what I am going to speculate on is how or whether I reflect it in my work.

There are a couple of options. The first would be to keep things so ambiguous that no matter what ways things go, it won’t be wrong as such.  The problem with this is that you might find the work ends up lacking a sense of realism. Also attempting to twist words to avoid saying a particular detail might leave the reader feeling the book isn’t particularly well written.

The second possibility is go with yesterday’s status-quo. Basically ignore the uncertainty and proceed with things as they were until a new point of certainty has been established.  The virtue of this approach is safety, it will be for at least a time correct. Comic books do this periodically with US Presidents, I suspect opinions vary on whether it is a good idea or bad but it does very definitely date the work within a maximum of eight years. In the case of Brexit you could find the work dated before it’s even published and that could be a problem. In my experience most science fiction readers will accept that the older a book is the more allowances have to be made for the fact that it was written in a different time. If that different time was only six months ago that’s possibly a harder one to ask.

The third and final option is to decide what way you think things are going to go and run with it. Frankly unless your story is flat out about the possible consequences of the change I think this is the riskiest option. Unless you are a dab hand with the old crystal ball you will probably be wrong without – unlike option two without the virtue of every having been right.

So folks any thoughts or additions on the matter?

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A challenge to Brexit

Last week I was attempting to arrange voting by proxy in the impending Brexit referendum. Long story short I can’t because I’ve been living outside the UK for too long. My vote would have been to remain in the EU;  not going to claim the EU is perfect (at least not with a straight face) but it seems like the only logical choice when the Brexit’s campaign hinges on ‘it will be alright on the night’.

So since I can’t vote I’m going to issue a challenge to the leaders of Brexit and give them an opportunity to nail their colours to the mast. What I would like from them are their predictions for the UK’s performance in the following economic indicators:

  • Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
  • Income and Wages
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Consumer Price Index (Inflation)
  • Currency Strength
  • Interest Rates
  • Corporate Profits
  • Balance of Trade

For 2026 – ten years after Brexit if it happens.

Here’s the fun bit though – if these targets aren’t met you leave. You take responsibility for having lead Britain down the wrong path and you leave. You relinquish whatever state jobs or titles you’ve gained, surrender to the to exchequer whatever pension entitlements you have accrued from state employment and leave the country. Most of you are at least well off, so you can afford to up sticks, unlike the people you’ll have lead into an economic cul-de-sac.

There are a couple of caveats to keep things fair.

  1. If Britain votes to remain in the EU, then don’t worry about it.
  2. If Britain does leave but attempts to reenter before 2026 then that is the point at which we measure the indicators, we don’t wait for the ten year mark.
  3. You can set the bar as low as you like. Assuming you lack the confidence and self respect to do so.

So there’s the challenge. Do you have the guts to take it?

Edmond Barrett is a British Expat living the Ireland who is perfectly aware that since not many people read this blog currently it is very unlikely to ever reach the Brexit leadership and is currently contemplating whether to apply for Irish Citizenship.

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Jutland Centenary – 04:15 The High Seas Fleet Escapes

Via signal intercepts forwarded from London Jellicoe finally learns of the position of the High Seas Fleet but interception is now impossible. The Battle of Jutland is over.

 

 

 

 

First Post of this Series is HERE

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Jutland Centenary – 03:55 Seydlitz crosses Horn Reef

The most critically damaged of the German battlecruisers the Seydlitz crosses the Horn Reef. Having been hit by over twenty heavy caliber shell Seydlitz is barely afloat and only reaches harbor due to the assistance of pumping ships.

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Jutland Centenary – 03:10 Battleship Pommern explodes

As the German fleet forces its way past the rear of the Grand Fleet it is subject to attack by British destroyers, the battleship Pommern receives a torpedo hit from HMS Onslaught. This detonates the secondary armament magazine sinking the ship. There are no survivors from Pommern’s crew of 839.

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