September 23rd, 2010

friends - joey - pensive

England in the 70's

I need help with a few questions. I’ve done the basic Google searches, and I’ve also searched this comm, and didn’t find exactly what I wanted.

My story is set in England, summer of ’76. Four 16 year olds take a road trip from Northampton to Liverpool.

Question 1: How long would that trip take? I found this site which says about three hours, and I was wondering if that’s accurate, and if it’s accurate for the 70’s. Seems an awfully short trip (and then I’d have to have some sort of mishap that would make it longer).

Question 2: What kind of car would they have? The car belongs to one of the boys’ mother, who is a History teacher. I want something that’s cheap but reliable. I was thinking of a Beetle, they were very popular and cheap here in Brazil, but I have no idea if they would be good for a story set in England.

Question 3: When they get to Liverpool, they obviously find some accommodations. Would they be asked for id’s to prove they’re of age? Is it realistic enough that they find a place that doesn’t ask (i.e., somewhere dodgy where the owner doesn’t care who comes and goes)?

Question 4: There’s a scene in my story where they are asked by a group of girls to a party in a someone’s house. In my head, is this big party like the ones in movies, with teenagers drinking and dancing and having sex in spare rooms. Is this accurate for the place and time?

Thanks in advance.

EDIT : I totally forgot to mention that the one doing the driving has a fake driver's license, since he is only a few months short of 17. I was just wondering if the other boys would need some sort of fake id too.

there's blood on my ice cream

It's the Zombie Invasion - what would still work?

I have a question regarding a story I'm writing. There's a zombie outbreak - on a scale of 1-10 in terms of severity, I'd say it's an 8 - and I have four people trying to get around on unfamiliar territory. They're basically tourists in the US (round LA) so they don't really know anything much.

✗   How likely is it that anything satellite-related would still work, most importantly cell phones and GPS?
✗   Could you still access the Internet, either via computers or by phone?

I tried different search terms, like end of times satellite availability, internet availability etc - nothing useful.
The main problem is that if you google anything with zombie or invasion in it - you get a either links to fun trivia, video games or survival guides (some of which just assume that modern communication would be working flawlessly in such a case).

WOW, so many great responses. Thank you all so much for your input, comments and links!

1970s AU setting bachelor pad & jobs

I am writing an AU setting which is vaguely set in the 1970s, say 1975-1977ish. I am being deliberately vague when it comes to the details of the setting, but the main character lives in a small coastal city with a large number of well-to-do residents and several up scale vacation homes in the countryside. I do want some verisimilitude though, rather than just making things up wholesale. I’ve googled the obvious search phrases “sales 1970s”, “electronics 1970s”, “women in sales 1970s”, “apartment buildings underground garage,” etc, but it’s hard to find useful information.

1. I was thinking of making the main character a car salesperson. However one of the other characters is a female co-worker who needs to be an equal, or at least not just a secretary or a coffee fetcher with a fancy title. Would a female salesperson be believable for the period? If not are there any alternative jobs that would be believable for a woman? Note if necessary I could make her a relative of the sales manager and / or the franchise owner.

2. Given the setting and the fact that the dealership has to provide a fairly high income to the two lead characters, just how big would it have to be? I know that is rather vague, but I need some sort of ballpark figure and even finding modern numbers is hard not to mention 1970s.

3. What would be a good set of toys and gadget for a single male with a nice chunk of disposable income (e.g. top ranked salesman)? He’s not a movie or music nerd, so he wouldn’t go out of his way to find the latest greatest thing. I once had a website that had tons of ads for upscale electronics, but I can’t find it anymore.

4. Would an upscale apartment building with an underground garage be out of place for the era and setting? It’s hard to discover when this sort of thing began to be common.

5. Just what kind of security would such an apartment building have? I am assuming a doorman, but would there be an actual security guard? Also what kind of staff would be at hand in terms of janitors, maids, whatever?

What happens to a corpse in the water?

Setting: Present day, southern California

Previous Search Attempts: This Slate article gives a pretty comprehensive answer to the behavior of dead bodies in the water, and includes links to more detailed sources. Super relevant to anyone with questions how to tell whether a body was dead before going into the water or not, how to tell if someone was a drowning victim, etc.

I've also Wiki'ed "Drowning," Googled variations of "What happens to bowel bladder of drowning victim," and also turned up a semi-helpful PowerPoint link called Death by Trauma that includes an informative section on Drowning - very science-y and technical (too much so for my purposes). Nothing is said about the bowel/bladder.

What I want to know is, does the body void itself (bowel and bladder) in the water as it would on land?

I've confirmed that it often will on land (depending on different scenarios), but I haven't been able to determine whether this will happen if a person drowned and the body was left in the water for 6-7 hours at least. Let's say the water is fairly temperate/warm, it's a contained pool of freshwater, and outdoors.

Any help would be great! Thank you!

ETA: This community is the BEST. Answer seems to be unanimously that the body WOULD void itself in the water.

Extra Follow-Up: What would a body left in the water smell like when retrieved from the water?
elegant lady

Victorian Railroad and London Underground: Travel time, routes, atmosphere

Ok so the setting is 1874. I've got two characters who need to get to Manchester. They start out in South Kensington. Trying to figure out this route in the meantime. Found some websites on the Victorian Railway, Victorian technology, have read through Wikipedia articles about railway routes and underground routes, have googled using the terms victorian travel routes, underground, railway

-While in London I'd like them to travel on the underground as much as is plausible (they're trying to throw off some baddies tracking them) Doing my research I found that the Metropolitan District Railway started in South Kensington and (am I right to assume this?) went all the way to Hammersmith at the time. Was it a straight shot or would they be getting off and on at different stations? Getting through that what route would they take from there and what tube stations were along the way?

-What were the conditions like on the tubes of the time? Claustrophobic, dimly-lit and no privacy is the impression I am getting so far if this is correct Was there a way to go from carriage to carriage en route or get off the carriages in case of an emergency? How were they lit?

-What railway station would they be most likely to take to Manchester once they were out of London? and what would that route and conditions be like?

-And most importantly, what is a realistic time frame in which to place all this madness (give or take a few days?)

whuff sorry so involved but any answers I can take I'll be grateful for, folks