Date: 2010-12-14 10:00 pm (UTC)
msmcknittington: Queenie from Blackadder (Default)
1. I think you need to up the conflict when Adarios is stuck in 1970. Like what if he ends up being injured when he comes through the gate, and at first he thinks that the reason he can't open a gate is because he's hurting too much to do it? Then someone takes him in, and he heals up and discovers he just can't open the gate regardless, but by that time he's been drawn into a conflict involving his "rescuers" in 1970. Or maybe there's just enough magical energy for him to open a gate enough to get a message to his wife and cousin but not send himself through?

And does it have to be 1970? If you kick it back to the 1920s or the 1930s, then drifters/hobos are a possibility and a strange guy who's dressed weird wouldn't be that much of an issue. Hey, he's just a hobo! You also have the possibility of traveling vaudeville acts, musicians/bands, or circuses, and I doubt any of them would bat an eyelash at a weird drifter in need of a job and some food. Also, if it's rural, my family owns a farm, and there were a couple hired hands who lived here while my dad was growing up in the '60s and '70s. We even have a little two-room cottage where the hired hands lived.

2. Eugenics might actually be the answer to your problem! What if the scientists were trying to produce the perfect man, free from being sullied by "inferior races", and what they ended up with was this guy who is not what they expected. So they decide to "destroy" him, as one does with lab rats when the experiment is over. This would match up pretty nicely with Marion coming to realize that she cannot hitch her pony to that cart any longer.

Also, something I keep in mind while writing is a quote from Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett: "Sometimes you needed a bastard." It's OK for villains to do horrible things, because sometimes they need to be bastards. So, pragmatic though your villain is, he can still destroy/threaten to destroy Marion's life or career with a lawsuit or by firing her without a good reference. Gossip travels fast in science communities, so there's the possibility that her career is over and she's soon destitute. And then all her friends desert her because her name is dirt in the community. Up the ante! Sometimes you need a bastard!

Or maybe his lawyer's an asshole. Or his secretary or assistant.

Also, something keep in mind about steampunk and dieselpunk is that people in those setting frequently have achieved a level of technology that is equal to ours using the prevalent technologies of the day. So, even if the steampunks haven't discovered electricity and applied it like we have, they still have computer-like apparatuses using cogs and gears and steam engines and such. It doesn't have to be entirely plausible in the real world, because it's not the real world. It's fantasy.

And just because people were using iceboxes in their homes doesn't mean the possibility for greater refrigeration wasn't there -- check out this history of refrigeration. "The first known artificial refrigeration was demonstrated by William Cullen at the University of Glasgow in 1748." It's fantasy! Run with it! You can make things up and exaggerate!

So pretty much I've changed the window dressing, but I'm still stuck with the question "how is Marion the first person to think something ought to be done about this?"

What if she's not? What if there's a preexisting underground radical movement? What if one of her colleagues left the project before she did because of ethical issues? What if there's an organization like the American Civil Liberties Union that's willing to take up the lawsuit?
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