June 1st, 2010

  • lyorn

Looking for ideas: Losing a key industry

I hope this makes sense...

Setting: A "lost colony" world, already fallen back to a tech level about equivalent of the 1980s. Combustion engines are rare, though, energy is electricity (created by sustainable or SciFi means) or natural gas. There are computer and computer networks, but they are high geek stuff. (Think "War Games".)

I want to set up a technological "time bomb" which will reduce the tech level of the world further with about ten years' delay. Collapse )

Victorian Gesture/Etiquette


I would very much like to find out about gesture in Britain during the 1800's. Things that within social crowds, people would find too intimate, or even too vulgar. As well as that, I'd like to discuss things that people would take as an insult, things that would make them laugh - just social situations in which a single gesture of the hand, head or body would make a resounding impact on a crowd or even an individual person. I have searched Google high and low, and I will be buying a few Victorian etiquette books, but I wasn't sure if these particular questions would be answered.

If what I'm asking for isn't explained properly, then I have an example. As far as I'm aware, when a man holds his packet of cigarettes out for a woman to take via her mouth, it was considered a sign of the man wishing to kiss her! I need more things like that, only covering the general spectrum of emotion - and I would like the information to regard both genders, so that should a situation come up, I could have my character react in a way that was considered correct.

I apologise if this has been asked before, I just couldn't find it when I was looking through.
Tony Ziva McGee - danger

A gunshot wound question I know has never been asked before

Basic setup:
The character being shot is a 28-year-old male in good health, no pre-existing or chronic medical conditions, though it can be assumed (easily) that he has been shot before. When shot this time, he's wearing the "typical" clothing of the old west, including a leather duster (which the bullet will pass through).

The weapon is a .44-40 Winchester Model 1873 (200gr lead bullet, velocity 1245 ft/s) from a distance of 20-25ft.

The timeline is where it gets tricky. Because he's shot in Wyoming in the late spring of 1882, but 12-18 hours later, he's in a hospital in 2007. Yes, this is a time-travel story.

What I need: a wound location that will leave him completely unable to ride a horse within 30-45 minutes (I'm allowing some time for adrenaline and his pure stubbornness to keep him in the saddle). I also need it to be - in 1882 - fatal within a day or two but in 2006 (the 12-18 hour wait time notwithstanding) easily survivable with few to no long-term complications.

My husband (big gun buff) says that the bullet will pass through the coat pretty easily and that being shot from that distance, "He ain't gonna be happy about it." He also says that the bullet most likely won't exit out the other side, both because it's a shorter and slower pistol round and because the leather coat will slow it down considerably. For a wound location, he suggests either the shoulder or the hip (since neither of those will impact major organs but could cause minor-to-major bone damage, blood loss, and infection).

So, are those wounds feasible/believable/doable? Is the gun I've chosen an appropriate one to inflict injuries like these? How long would it be in 1882 (leaning against the wall of a cave after riding a horse for 30-45 minutes) before infection started taking hold? Would it be possible for blood loss/infection to interfere with his memories of certain events that take place after he's shot? Once back in 2007, since it has been 12-18 hours, would surgery be required or would he simply be put on IV antibiotics and fluids?

And if I'm completely and totally off-base with everything, what other suggestions do you have? Basically, I need a GSW to order involving time-travel (and I don't think they come much more "to order" than that).

Thanks in advance for any and everything.

Research so far:
dozens of stories on fatally shot gunslingers in the 1880s, Wikipedia information on the rounds/calibres/velocities of the different Winchester rifles

Google terms: "bullet wound, abdomen, survival, 1882", "historic lethality of penetrating wounds to the hip", "GSW, hip, delayed treatment", "survival, gunshot wound, old west", "gunshot, hip, old west"