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railways in fiction and fantasy


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How is this at all possible for trains to travel between worlds? Some sort of magical portal hidden within the old tunnel perhaps, some say it was made by dwarves long ago using the magic of Fiddle Yardus and the Plywood Realm.

 

 

Ah now....

 

From a quick look through this fascinating thread I don't think anyone has mentioned the Railhead series of books by Philip Reeve, in which interstellar travel is achieved via wormholes linking different planets which can only by transited by rail.

 

That would be an interesting basis for a layout sometime.

 

The planets are part of a Galactic Empire, and the Imperial logo is described as something which most people here would find very familiar.

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Ah now....

 

From a quick look through this fascinating thread I don't think anyone has mentioned the Railhead series of books by Philip Reeve, in which interstellar travel is achieved via wormholes linking different planets which can only by transited by rail.

 

That would be an interesting basis for a layout sometime.

 

The planets are part of a Galactic Empire, and the Imperial logo is described as something which most people here would find very familiar.

 

For many years that was how I perceived London - a set of isolated worlds each entered via its own tube station. It took quite a leap of cognition to connect them up at surface level and realise that sometimes it was quicker to walk!

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That would be pretty cool, although I envisioned Beszel as being more Eastern European in feel (I've not seen the TV series, only read the book, so I don't know how the Beeb did it). I'm thinking along the lines of Russian or East German prototypes from the 60s and 70s still at work, while the more economically advanced Ul Qoma has state-of-the-art modern trains. You could include something like a customs point, or platforms at different levels, or even track of different gauges. Maybe you could have a cross-hatched bit with mixed gauge track, say Beszel using metre gauge while Ul Qoma is standard. Or perhaps even an entire cross-hatched station, with figures dressed in two different styles studiously ignoring each other, only reading one of the two train indicators, only looking at some of the adverts. Two lots of ticket inspectors with two queues of exiting commuters.

 

 

 

It's mentioned in the book that both Beszel and Ul Qoma have a railway line to the border. It's actually the same line, but of course they consider them to be two separate lines which happen to be in the same place until they leave the Cities at which point they become one line.

 

The TV series had an underground station with a set of steps with a handrail down the middle, with the two sides belonging to the two cities.

One that occurs to me that I haven't seen mentioned. Was not Professor Branestawm (some here must remember him) responsible for a line linking several of the Pagwells? Presumably the usual unintended consequences ensued, but it's got to be 40 years since I read the books so I can't remember.

 

That sounds very familiar. I'm sure it all did go wrong in the usual way.

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A further report from Arkwright Mills concerning the arrival of the first official train from Ankh-Mopork, in the form of the official comemorative 

photograph.

 

post-6220-0-00719000-1544137145_thumb.jpg

 

From left to right;

Young Bill the fireman behind the boiler on the footplate.

Mr and Mrs Granite-Silicate the troll representatives, Mrs G-S is on the left although it's hard to tell.

Old Fred seated.

The inspector in the green coat.

Up on the footplate; Bill senior the driver, Mrs Bradshaw. Sydney the guard behind the Chief Engineer.

Back down in the fourfoot, the lampman and a couple of unnamed railwaymen from around the yard.

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... an underground station with a set of steps with a handrail down the middle, with the two sides belonging to the two cities...

 

Cue the BDDDB's lovely 'My pink half of the drainpipe'

 

... the first official train from Ankh-Morpork, in the form of the official commemorative photograph...

 

 

Iconograph surely? Glad you haven't attempted  Vetenari, Vimes, Spike or Ethel Snake Moist von Lipwig. Their characters resist visual representation. (Sadly we are never going to see Alan Rickman as Vetenari, the one actor I feel could have successfully achieved a result.)

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I think Charles Dance would do a good Vetinari. Alan Rickman would have been good too.

 

Edit- Turns out I'm not the only one, he's played him in a 2010 adaptation of going postal. I've never knowingly seen it so whether he actually did a good version I have no idea...

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I think Charles Dance would do a good Vetinari. Alan Rickman would have been good too.

 

Edit- Turns out I'm not the only one, he's played him in a 2010 adaptation of going postal. I've never knowingly seen it so whether he actually did a good version I have no idea...

He did.

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Can I put an alternative forward for Vetinari; James Mason, in his SS commandant role.  That soft, rational voice, so full of menace; 'come now, squadron leader, ve are both civilised men.  Perhaps, had it not been for zis terrible var, we could even have been... friends.  Now, vot vas your mission'?

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From a quick look through this fascinating thread I don't think anyone has mentioned the Railhead series of books by Philip Reeve, in which interstellar travel is achieved via wormholes linking different planets which can only by transited by rail.

 

That would be an interesting basis for a layout sometime.

 

The planets are part of a Galactic Empire, and the Imperial logo is described as something which most people here would find very familiar.

 

Perhaps I've been rather slow on the uptake despite my comment about my perception of London.

 

Now back in Ankh-Morpork - in Thud I think - Vimes & co. are exploring the subterranean tunnels dug by the fundamentalist dwarves; Carrot is interpreting the various runes: Vimes traces out a circle with a bar through it; "What does this mean?" "Oh, that's just an underground sign". (Read the book for the actual words of the exchange...)

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Perhaps I've been rather slow on the uptake despite my comment about my perception of London.

 

Now back in Ankh-Morpork - in Thud I think - Vimes & co. are exploring the subterranean tunnels dug by the fundamentalist dwarves; Carrot is interpreting the various runes: Vimes traces out a circle with a bar through it; "What does this mean?" "Oh, that's just an underground sign". (Read the book for the actual words of the exchange...)

 

Yes, I think that is Thud.

 

And I'm embarrassed that I had read the book several times before I spotted that one. Though I think the actual wording was a bit less obvious - I think Carrot just said that it represented a mine (or tunnel?) rather than actually saying underground.

 

(I got the one in Railhead first time though)

 

And yes, I'm very familiar with the view of London as little islands round different underground stations. It took me years to realise that Lancaster Gate is only a short walk from Paddington.

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What Carrot says in response to Vimes description is that it is the 'Long Dark' rune, just the symbol for a mine, nothing to worry about.

 

How I would love to see some specimens of what a younger Pratchett inserted into business communications while working as a press officer for the CEGB. Would his talent for seeing the comic potential of outwardly innocuous collections of words have gone unused?

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My recollection of a radio interview he gave, was that the 'wizards' of discworld were a direct lift from the nuclear physicists responsible for the engineering of nuclear power plant. He had to translate their arcana into something comprehensible, in order that all of us 'knowlessmen' would feel comfortable that this was being competently managed by our expert team, rather than a vulnerable balancing act near the brink of incompletely understood potential for disaster.

 

(When his ' Ponder Stibbons' got to head up the school of inadvisably applied magic and they devised 'Hex' as their thinking engine I was quite hopeful he would plunge on into a self aware Hex initiating the dystopian nightmare of autonomy, simply to see by what neat twists he would dig the discworld out of that hole. Sadly not to be...)

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My recollection of a radio interview he gave, was that the 'wizards' of discworld were a direct lift from the nuclear physicists responsible for the engineering of nuclear power plant. He had to translate their arcana into something comprehensible, in order that all of us 'knowlessmen' would feel comfortable that this was being competently managed by our expert team, rather than a vulnerable balancing act near the brink of incompletely understood potential for disaster.

 

(When his ' Ponder Stibbons' got to head up the school of inadvisably applied magic and they devised 'Hex' as their thinking engine I was quite hopeful he would plunge on into a self aware Hex initiating the dystopian nightmare of autonomy, simply to see by what neat twists he would dig the discworld out of that hole. Sadly not to be...)

 

He certainly seemed to have a good understanding of the academic mindset.

 

There was a scene where one of the wizards leaves a note along the lines of "Under no circumstances is anyone to remove this stick. Not even to find out what happens if they do,"

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He certainly seemed to have a good understanding of the academic mindset.

 

There was a scene where one of the wizards leaves a note along the lines of "Under no circumstances is anyone to remove this stick. Not even to find out what happens if they do,"

Along which lines I very much enjoyed the particular anecdote of the chemistry master who got me through A level. He was proud of the fact that the newest building among his alma mater's chemistry laboratories was still being shown to new grad students as 'This newer facility resulted from Dr X's decision not to deploy what he considered a redundant safety feature'.

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I think Charles Dance would do a good Vetinari. Alan Rickman would have been good too.

 

Edit- Turns out I'm not the only one, he's played him in a 2010 adaptation of going postal. I've never knowingly seen it so whether he actually did a good version I have no idea...

 

Sir Terry also suggested Jeffrey Jones, although he's since become persona non grata in the acting world.

 

Perhaps I've been rather slow on the uptake despite my comment about my perception of London.

 

Now back in Ankh-Morpork - in Thud I think - Vimes & co. are exploring the subterranean tunnels dug by the fundamentalist dwarves; Carrot is interpreting the various runes: Vimes traces out a circle with a bar through it; "What does this mean?" "Oh, that's just an underground sign". (Read the book for the actual words of the exchange...)

 

Yep. And in the same book, it's mentioned that rails have been laid to remove the ore carts, at the same time as Vetinari is looking thoughtfully at the tunnels. I guess the original idea was that Ankh-Morpork's industrial revolution was going to go in a more magitek direction with the discovery of the Axles, but Pterry later decided there was more story potential in the real world technology. I would imagine that future books would have included some Disc equivalent of the Metropolitan Railway - the locomotive on the cover of the paperback edition of Raising Steam looked the spitting image of a Metropolitan A class. Alternatively, maybe the gauge of the dwarf tunnels would have resulted in something like the early cable-hauled Glasgow Subway.

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Operating the cable winch sounds like a Troll job if ever there was one!

 

Charles Dance is a bit to lightweight to my mind for Vetinari, plenty of mendacity but not quite enough menace.  Alec Guiness, in George Smiley mode with that soft, measured, seductively reasonable voice, might make a fist of it...

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Iconograph surely? Glad you haven't attempted  Vetenari, Vimes, Spike or Ethel Snake Moist von Lipwig. Their characters resist visual representation. (Sadly we are never going to see Alan Rickman as Vetenari, the one actor I feel could have successfully achieved a result.)

Pratchett says he imagined Vimes as a younger, slightly bulkier Pete Postlethwaite.

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Regarding model railways in the movies, I would like to see the complete Addams Family train set. Such a brief cameo in whichever of the fillums it appears in.

 

 

Pratchett says he imagined Vimes as a younger, slightly bulkier Pete Postlethwaite.

 

I can see that, but the image in my head for Vimes is basically Oliver Cromwell. Not quite enough of both the driven bloodymindedness and the menacing and barely under control beast, in the late Mr Postlethwaite, wonderful actor though he was.

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Operating the cable winch sounds like a Troll job if ever there was one!

 

 

 

Or golems, given their strength and inability to get bored. 'Snuff' featured an ox-powered paddle boat, so that's a third possibility.

 

I remember reading in 'The Art of Discworld' (I think) that Terry didn't really like using magic to solve problems in his books because "it doesn't show the working," so perhaps the concept of an effectively magic-powered railway was unsatisfying to him.

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  • 5 months later...

Youjo Senki, manga about a pseudo WW2 europe but with magic. a manga is japanese and is like a comic, also called visual novel. the latest chapter, No 39 has some good drawings of Princesses although they could be photos photoshopped to look like drawings

youjo senki c39 (2).JPG

youjo senki c39 (3).JPG

youjo senki c39.JPG

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