Ramblings and Musings

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Tuesday, April 20, 2004

What if Napoleon had won at Waterloo? 

What if Napoleon had won at Waterloo?

A while back, I posed the question’ what if Napoleon had won at Waterloo?’ to myself and considered it. The problem was that it was very hard to see Napoleon producing a victory, even assuming he wiped out the main British army. There was a Russian and a Prussian force travelling to France as well, even Napoleon would be unable to win against such odds. So, at first glance, a nappy victory at Waterloo is about as significant as a Japanese victory at Midway.

But it might have been very important indeed. It was Britain that won the battle and hence the war, therefore the British founded the Pax Britannica, based on their victory. If the victory had gone to the Russians or the Prussians, they might have been motivated by the desire to see France humbled or crushed. Can you imagine a German prince or Russian prince on the throne of France? Not to mention Russian troops based in France.

The British would have difficultly objecting. Britain did not have a large army (and what they did have would have been wiped out at waterloo) and a strong navy would have little effect on Russia. We might get a unified Italy (plus the papal states) and a unified Germany early.

Any other thoughts? Anyone want to do an AH on it?


posted by Chris  # 4/20/2004 10:59:00 am

Friday, April 16, 2004

Site problems 

Site Problems

The site should be back up tomorrow.

posted by Chris  # 4/16/2004 03:42:00 pm

The sad story of 1945 

The sad story of 1945

From an email on the STIRLING list:

Subject: Re: 1945 and why it was not finished
Author: John Ringo
Date: 07 Mar 2004 11:41 AM
Long, weird, story that I've heard several versions of.

The short story is that Baen and Tom Doherty Associates agreed to do
a collaborative novel with Bill Fortschen and Newt Gingrich (Bill
and Newt's idea IIRC) during the height of Gingrich's popularity.
The base idea was Newt's, Bill was to do most of the writing. Newt
agreed to "push" the book towards the major non-SF market, thus
giving it a huge potential market share and Baen and Tor agreed to
do major advertising. (Major for SF houses, anyway.)

As it turned out, the book came out just as Newt was in crash and
burn mode. He refused to discuss it publicly, they ended up with a
huge number of unsold copies/returns and it nearly crippled Baen
books financially.

Some of the unofficial longer story items:

The IRS, for some unknown reason, suddenly found it important to
audit Baen books. Not only once, but every single year after 1945
came out until the Bush administration was elected.

Significant portions of the book required rewriting, and since there
was no one else to rewrite it, other people being a bit too busy,
Jim had to. Jim's motto, in everything, is "less work for Jim." This
was "more work for Jim."

The overall financial impact was high enough that Jim had to ask
some major writers to forego a portion of their royalties during one
period. Some did, some forced him to stick to the letter of the
contract. But even in the case of those who did, it created some
strained relationships that may or may not have contributed to a few
semi-major authors walking away from Baen books.

To say the least it created strained relationships between Jim and
Bill Fortschen. There was also the subject of the advance that had
been paid based upon a very high sales number. Gets very sticky when
a book crashes and burns like that one did.

And for years thereafter, until they changed warehouses and pulped
the last of them, whenever Jim went in the warehouse the one book
that was noticeable, because it took up about 25% of the shelving,
was 1945. The one time that Jim took a major gamble on a book. And
he nearly lost the whole shooting match.

You're not going to, ever, see a 1946 as long as Jim Baen is the
head of Baen Books. Not from Baen, anyway.


posted by Chris  # 4/16/2004 03:40:00 pm


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