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James Harrison

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James Harrison last won the day on June 26 2018

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    The Great Central and London North Eastern Railways, with the Metropolitan thrown in for good measure....

    Victorian/ Edwardian science fiction.
    (Also, Victoriana in general)

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  1. "Poor George. He did have such terrible typhus." (BBC script writer: 'What do you mean the main character doesn't die in the book? What? What? Cavor has a cold and in any case isn't in WotW? Sorry, no, you'll have to speak up, can't hear you over the sound of striking the keyboard.....')
  2. I hear introducing electricity to water can cure anything, principally by inducing a cleansing bout of mortality.
  3. Things are moving forward with the house but I'm anticipating it will be a few months at least before I move in, if all goes well. Then there's the small matter of wanting to take it back internally to something approaching original appearance, which no doubt will be a long term project. RLS will probably become the long term project that gets looked at between bouts of work on the other long term project... to be expected when you buy an Edwardian house really, it goes with the territory. Meanwhile though I've started serious design work and bought a paper download kit for a stable block to pair up with the goods yard offices I built a year or so back. The plan for that, much like the station buildings for Cremorne & Pittance, is to use it as a template for practically a scratchbuild in plastic. Serious design work I hear you cry- when I have a track plan already? Well, you see, the station plan I have is pretty much just Phase One. Also, I'm not particularly happy with the goods yard arrangement and- a lot of planning thus far has been of the 'if I had some space' sort. Now that (fingers crossed) I have the space, and I know how much of it I have (13' by 9', or thereabouts), I can start seeing what will fit. I'm reading a lot of Iain Rice books at the moment, specifically how to avoid a rectangular room leading to a rectangular layout. Initial thoughts are to create almost a triangle with a curved 'bottom'. One straight (actually a long gentle curve) will conclude with Red Lion Square station. That will lead into approximately a 4'-radius curve across the 9' wall on the inside of which will be built a small running shed. The main lines at this point might actually be hidden behind a backscene, so splitting the layout into a couple of vignettes. Once past that and on the other 13' wall the main lines would be back in the open and run through open country side and C&P station before entering a fiddle yard of some description, but not before passing an interchange siding with a narrow gauge network serving a waterworks. You might see here that I've basically taken bits from several Iain Rice plans I like the look of and am trying to hammer them into one design. We'll see how that turns out. Four walls, four vignettes then- a busy town terminus, a small mpd, a bit of a run through open countryside and a neat relatively bucolic bit of industry.
  4. I forget which volume it is, but Dow mentions that Watkin struck a deal with the LNWR. They would drop objections to the London Extension, and he would drop any ambitions of extending to Birmingham, was about the top and bottom of it if I recall correctly. Of course, the Stratford upon Avon and Midland Junction connected with the GCR at Woodford Halse and with the GWR at Stratford, so a through route to Birmingham (Snow Hill) did technically exist even if it were never used as such. By the time it existed too, the GCR had other things on its mind (namely, servicing the debts it incurred building to London, and paying its share of the GC/GW joint line). Basically, by the time the GCR was placed to build to Birmingham, there were compelling financial and political reasons not to; the GWR being a rare ally. The Birmingham traffic would not have been worth turning the GWR against them.
  5. In a way, I'm glad it was quite that poor. For a few years now a friend and I have been talking about writing the book that H G Wells and Jerome K Jerome would have produced had they collaborated (let's not forget the hobby of miniature wargaming was basically created by the pair of them one evening). I imagine Three Men in a Tripod would be hard-pushed to be as terrible as BBC's Bore of the Worlds. Typical extract; We beat it out flat; we beat it back square; we battered it into every form known to geometry – but we could not make a hole in it. Then George went at it, and knocked it into a shape, so strange, so weird, so unearthly in its wild hideousness, that he got frightened and threw away the hammer. Then we all three sat round it on the cinders and ashes and weeds and looked at it. There was one great dent across the top that had the appearance of a mocking grin, and it drove us furious, so that Harris rushed at the thing, and caught it up, and flung it far into the air, and George fired at it with the heat ray. As a liquid puddle of metal fell to the ground we hurled our curses at it, and then we set off and strode away from the spot, laying down a choking screen of black smoke, and never paused till we reached Maidenhead.
  6. I don't say the following lightly. Not At All. That..... well.... it's won the award of "most God-forsaken, awful, ill-conceived and badly executed television programme I have ever had the misfortune to sit through". The previous holder of the title being Ancient Aliens. Yes, somehow the BBC have created something worse than even that.
  7. I'm also reminded that the 1905 period was when Fisher was swinging the axe on the Victorian navy; scores of elderly and obsolete gunboats, corvettes and cruisers being recalled to home waters for scrapping and their crews redistributed as a prelude to building his new fleet (of which dreadnoughts were only a part). Thunderchild could (and knowing the BBC's values on getting things right* probably will be) portrayed as something closer to HMS Warrior or HMS Gannet than top of the range 1905 cutting edge, much as I personally would love to see her presented as a Highflyer or Challenger-class protected cruiser. Incidentally, in the book, the tripods are described as having waded out deep enough that only their hoods show above water. A slightly bigger target than a slender leg to aim a torpedo or a shell at. *sarcasm.
  8. I'm watching His Dark Materials avidly. It has a very different feel to the film, very much... darker. It ventures away from the book in places but Pullman has a credited role as producer so if he's happy to put his name to it then I'm happy to accept it for what it is.
  9. Indeed. Naval gunnery in 1905 was very much of the 'luck and gunner's judgement' school. There was no such thing as a fire control system until around 1911/ 1912 (and even that was then fairly rudimentary). R A Burt's British Battleships of WWI covers the topic quite well.
  10. RLS may soon gain some room in which to take form. 13' x 9', or thereabouts. Now I think that what I want should fit in that space and, if it doesn't, well I'll just have to make some decisions about which bits of the grand plan I'm happy to dispose of, won't I? More of this anon over the next few months I'm sure.
  11. Shortly after the Thunderchild, there's a description of gunfire and dark shapes on the horizon. I read that as the end of the Channel Fleet.
  12. It's been years since I read that; I seem to recall though that the Moon Gun wasn't in the book, but something added into the 1936 film? I suppose it could segue in, if they take the view that after the Martians comes a political vacuum? Or- possibly- WotW finishes with showing a Mr Cavor fooling around with Martian tech in a government laboratory somewhere. And- in the first version of 'The Sleeper Awakes', an un-named character ponders what sort of world the sleeper will wake in. "So much has changed- not to mention the Martians", he says... Going off-piste here I know but hey the BBC started it.
  13. It could be worse. What was that BBC drama a few years ago with the anarchists sponsored by the Russians set in the early 1900s? The train on that was, as I recall, a BR black B1 hauling blood and custard Mk1s. I'm more interested in how the BBC have managed to take a novel which is action-packed from the start (and which it should be remembered had audiences panicked and running for the hills in a 1937 or 38 adaptation) and turn it into a severely plantigrade endurance slog. That first episode I feel I deserve a medal for sitting through it... Other points; are they trying to shoe-horn bits of other Wells novels and 'notes and errata' into it? It feels like somebody on the staff is trying to 'show their working' in it. The whole 'main character has left his wife and has a mistress' is famously akin to Wells' own personal arrangements and the scenes of people trying to live in a ruined wasteland are evocative of a later Wells novel, "The War in the Air" of 1907, which concludes with a scene 40 years after the main story of people in rags attending a service in a roofless church, all organised civilisation having pretty much died on its feet.
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