Welcome back to another blog hop, with #OpenBook. Here’s this week’s prompt.
What historical/public figure would you most like to learn more about? Would you ever write about them?
I very nearly didn’t join in this week. You see, I hated history at school, I gave up studying it at the first available opportunity.
I blame the syllabus, because looking at what was going to be taught, I thought it was dealing with boring events and times. Things like the feudal system in Medieval England, and the lead up to the Norman Invasion of 1066.
Now I’m older and wiser, I’ve taken it upon myself to learn the history that I wanted to know about, such things as the industrial revolution, the rise of the East India Company and the way the United Kingdom projected itself across the world. The first and second world wars and their causes.
And now that I’ve been able to study what interests me, I find that history isn’t boring at all.
The people from history who interest me are statesmen and explorers. Such men as Winston Churchill, T.E. Lawrence, and Richard Burton (not the actor). As well as the industrialists and scientists who built the modern country I live in and whose inventions we still use today. People like Wedgewood, Thomson, Rutherford and Brunel. In many ways, the modern world is a product of the things that they (and many others like them) saw, said and did.
Which is not to say that they were perfect. Nobody is. There are parts of their characters and deeds that people today are uncomfortable with and I understand that. Whilst not supporting or condoning everything in their lives, I think that it’s a mistake to judge yesterday’s events and decisions by today’s standards. People in the past behaved differently, their world was another place and they saw things in a way that, while we may disagree with it, was logical to them. If we transpose our morals to their actions, we miss the point and risk belittling their achievements. Even in our own lifetimes, things that the younger versions of ourselves saw as normal are now considered unacceptable.
Would I write about them? The answer is – not directly. But (and as usual, it’s a crucial one), as an author of science fiction, I have the luxury of being able to write my own version of history. The history of the future. In doing so, I can create men and women in the image of those I admire and ascribe events to them. Good and bad, noble and reprehensible.
Things that haven’t happened in this world (yet) but are well known to the people of the future – as facts from their past. They can make of them what they will.
And that’s where the real fun lies.
Let me know what you think about this week’s subject.
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