Old Chronicles, New Contraptions

Quick Reminder

I highly recommend to first read the guide on how to study summarizations from this website, as it is importantly important for me that you will learn the most from this treasure trove.
Hope this helps you, and telling your friends about the website is never bad!!

Revisiting the Prologue: Reconstruction in Poetry and Prose

The Ugly Little Boy
A short story by Isaac Asimov written in 1958, whose plot revolves around a Neanderthal boy brought to present day via time machine stuff, and he can’t move out of the compound because he’ll create a lot of paradoxes. Edith, a woman who works at the compound, sees the human inside the Neanderthal child and treats him as her own son. She sees he is much more intelligent than what the other scientists thought, and names him ‘Timmie’. She finds the good in him, and Edith’s love for Timmie brings her to an argument with her employer who thinks Timmie is just a dumb monkey. Eventually, the lab people are done researching Timmie, and now they want to teleport a medieval peasant, but with the book’s rules you need to get rid of Timmie first, but Edith doesn’t want this to happen so she tries to smuggle Timmie outside the compound, knowing he’ll create time paradoxes. She doesn’t succeed in running away so she tampers with the machine and teleports Timmie to his timeline.

A science-fiction sub-genre that is retrofuturistic and uses steam-powered industrial machinery from the 19th century, and is based on the industrial revolution. The works evolved in this sub-genre are most of the time in alternative timelines. It exploded in the industrial revolution. It also used revolutionized tech from scientists like Charles Babbage who made the analytical engine. The most famous steampunk author is H.G Wells and Jules Verne is often credited with serving as an inspiration for the sub-genre.

The Difference Engine
A novel by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling in 1855, being in an alternate timeline where Charles Babbage perfects his analytical engine, an early version of a computer in which you need to insert punch cards and so the machine can solve complex mathematical problems, and so he develops humanity. The story begins with the three main characters Sybil Gerard, Edward Malory, and Laurence Oliphant finding a box full of precious engine cards. The discovery leads to their near-murder…but by who? It is important to know that Sybil Gerard’s father was a luddite, as the story still takes place during the industrial revolution. The narrator turns out to be a computer gaining consciousness at the end.

Guy Gavriel Kay
Is an author that combines history and fantasy. He bases his story about a certain culture in history – chinese, vikings, native americans, east europeans, germanics, romans, you name it. Then he gets into their old culture, and finds the fantastic and magical bits of their culture, therefore in a story about vikings, he will find nordic figures such as fairies, and gods from the nordic mythology. He’s French-Canadian. He is mainly known for his top tier atmosphere building, and also served as a successor to J R R Tolkien, the creator of Lord of the Rings. So he has been successful for a while because he knows how to make a great atmosphere from combining the historically old culture with its cultural myths as they’re being real, making a fantasy world of how the characters would imagine a fantasy world.

All the Seas of the World
A book by Guy Gavriel Kay. This book is his latest, and came out in April of 2022. It is a drama novel. All the Seas of the World includes reflections on life and living and illustrates the way in which the fates of different people can become entangled as a result of choice and chance. Though the book could readily be enjoyed by fans of A Brightness Long Ago, it can also easily be read as a one-off.

A Dog Has Died - Pablo Neruda
Neruda takes the reader through the different aspects of his dog’s personality. The dog wasn’t over-affectionate or overbearing. The dog did as he liked when wanting. He gave Neruda enough attention to have a close relationship with him. He lastly describes how the dog was joyful in any scenario, and unlike humans, dogs can always be happy. A poem built of 8 stanzas and separated into uneven sets of lines. There isn’t any rhyme scheme and there isn’t a common metrical pattern. Neruda used alliteration, when words are used in succession, and begin with the same sound. He also uses similes by using words such as “like” “as”. Also repetition, the use of a specific word, tone or phrase within a poem, and in this poem in the sixth stanza Neruda uses the word “joyful” three times a row, which emphasizes how joyful the dog was. Enjambment occurs when a line is cut off before its natural stopping point and continues onto the next line. It is in the poem in the transition between lines 2-3 in the third stanza and lines 1-2 in the 5th stanza. Pablo Neruda is a Chilean poet who was awarded the Nobel Prize of Literature in the 70’s. He has also fallen in love with poetry since he was 13, and after getting involved in politics, especially falling in love with communism, Neruda knew how to combine poets with politics. After Augusto Pinochet was in power in Chile, and this guy hated communists, he poisoned Neruda. Pablo Neruda constructs the past in his poem by bringing memories of his dead dog – memories of the past. By giving these memories, he reconstructs the past. Also considered an elegy.

Dodo - Henry Carlile
In the poem Carlile talks about the Dodo, which is an example of a life form that was so useless - having too small feathers to fly, having too big legs to run, even humans didn’t want its feathers for hats, and now being extinct and having its bones scattered and  locked across museums. As we all know, the dodo is extinct (I literally didn’t know). He feels like the dodo is useless and miserable. It connects to the theme with the fact that the dodo is the past, extinct, while the poet brings up the dodo topic, and by that reconstructing the past. Henry Carlile is a poet from San Francisco that has most of his poems located in the landscape of the Pacific Northwest. He has been a famous poet for over 50 years now. Also the poem represents the past (dodo) reconstructed (in a museum as a stuffed animal).

The Dodo - Hilaire Beloc
Is a humorous poem that talks about the dodo and the fact that it’s extinct too, yet in a much humorous way. The dodo was once roaming on the land, but now he can’t speak or move – he’s in the museum exhibit. That’s why the past, the dodo, is reconstructed as a stuffed animal. Hilaire Beloc is one of the most controversial poets of early 20th century England. There is rhyming in the poem, it sounds like a children's song. The Dodo also has a hidden meaning, as the Dodo resembles the natives who didn’t know how to deal with the colonialists, and their culture is now being put only in museums.

Brazilian Telephone - Miriam Greenberg
A poem that talks from a perspective of a mother who usually sees a bunch of children in the peach orchard hanging out, and the poem starts in a point where one of the children gets from the library an old textbook of old science experiments, and the group of kids decide to try one of the experiments on one kid, and also they steal most of the stuff for the experiment from the mother’s house and some old ruins. They did one of the experiments on a kid, by putting two electrodes on his nipples. The child with the electrodes mews, and the kid with the textbook tells them he thinks this is called “the Brazilian telephone”. The poem is a short story in a poem structure, and it uses memorable quotes of the children. Miriam Greenberg is the daughter of a Jewish New Yorker and an anthropologist, and so she grew up in Texas. It connects to the subject because the children use an old book and retry it.

The Municipal Gallery Revisited - W. B Yeats
The poem talks about the poet going to the municipal gallery in Ireland, having a lot of portraits of soldiers and Irish war stuff, then the poet realizing that Ireland in real life, fighting wars, is different from the quirky Ireland the Irish poets tell about - two different countries. He then watches a few portraits of his friends in real life, who were poets such as John Synge and Augusta Gregory, and remembers that war glory is not important, and the real glory is the friends you made on the way. It connects to the subject because he remembers his friends from the past who shaped Irish history, who are also in museum portraits too. W. B Yeats is one of the most famous poets in the 20th century. Most of his poems are about Ireland. He got a Literature Nobel Prize.

On Shakespeare - John Milton
This was part of the introductory material to the Second Folio, a collection of Shakespeare’s plays. Milton loves Shakespeare by stating that nothing is as worthy for greatness as Shakespeare. He also suggests that Shakespeare’s works live on within the hearts and minds of his audiences. It connects to the subject because Shakespeare, the past, is still on our minds and hearts. The poem is built by one long stanza, rhymes, uses rhetoric words and alliteration. John Milton was an English poet and lawyer in the 17th century. He was adored and compared to Shakespeare by a lot of people. His poem was put inside the Second Folio by an anonymous person.

At the tomb of Napoleon - Robert G. Ingersoll
It is a quote by Robert G Ingersoll that is kinda like an essay too. The essay starts by the poet being near the tomb of Napoleon, and what he says is divided into two parts. The first one talks about how the poet saw Napoleon in all of his doings – capturing a lot of countries and giving a lot of glory for their country, France. The second part then talks about the cost – how Napoleon made a lot of widows and orphans, and how he was pro war anti peace, so it’s not good and therefore he would rather be a peasant than this murderous monster. At the end he looks at the tomb with shame. It is kinda an essay of criticism on Napoleon. Ingersoll is a poet but mainly a lawyer who was successful in America, and he was in defense of the fact that there’s no proof for god – therefore god doesn’t exist.

Kyoto - Basho
Is an early version of Haiku, and talks about the fact that Basho, a Japanese poet, feels a strong desire to go to Kyoto, a city in Japan, by hearing the cuckoo in Kyoto. Basho may be the most famous Japanese poet, and he basically invented the haiku format we know today, the form of 17 syllables. He lived during the Genroku Period, a sort of Japanese Renaissance. His poems are about Japan. He first lived in Kyoto, but then moved to Edo, therefore in this poem he remembers the iconic cuckoo in Kyoto, and so he longs for it. The interesting structure of this poem is that it’s in the form of Haiku.

A Brief History of Toa Payoh - Koh Buck Song
Toyah Payoh is a city in Singapore that translates to “big swamp”. It once had big swamps. The poet tells how some people think that Toa Payoh doesn’t have any history, and then explains how in fact it is important. Why is it? It was one of the first cities to become a satellite city in Singapore. It held the first Asian world cup, the queen of Singapore lived there, and it is a symbol of modernisation, as it was one of the first places to be reshaped from a city to a town. Koh Buck Song is a Singaporean writer and poet born in 1963, and his poems talk about Singapore’s development, being fictional or non-fictional poets.

Kubla Khan - Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Is a famous romantic poem about the kingdom of Kubla Khan, specifically about the city of Xanadu. Kubla was a powerful ruler who was very powerful, to the level of when he ordered the building of a dome with caves of ice in sunny places. At the end it is revealed to be a dream of the poet, just like reality, the night after he read a book about Kubla Khan. Colerige likely read about Kublai khan on drugs and then  had a dream where the poem was apparently revealed to him, so he started writing it when he woke up but couldn't achieve the two hundred lines he planned because he was apparently interrupted by a "person from Porlock" (which literally has its own wikipedia page and has become "a literary allusion to unwanted intruders who disrupt inspired creativity") causing him to forget it.

The Czar’s Last Christmas Letter - Norman Dubie
The poem is from the perspective of Tsar Nicolas II, after Russia became communist and now he’s not a czar anymore. It looks like a letter, but in 2 lines for each paragraph. He tells his mother that he regrets going to WW1, and the fact that his last royal general, Illya, died by the Bolsheviks. Soon, he died too, as the headline of the poem suggests. Norman Dubie is a poet from America that loves 20th century history. He likes to see the perspective of the losing side in historical events. 

Re-creation as Recreation

Operation Sherlock
Talks about five brilliant but wack kids getting dragged onto a deserted island by their scientist parents, and they decide to beat the adults at their own game. Not much else to talk about here.
The article talks about video games being deployed for education.
The first example given is of Viking Age, a free add-on for Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, that allows you to venture through early Viking Britain and that has now been adapted into the school program of 52 institutions across the UK. Previous games created by Ubisoft that allowed you to venture through Ptolemaic Egypt and Greece during the Peloponnesian War, are all supposedly “curated by historians and experts”. The second example is a very early one, of a game called “The Oregon Trail”, created in 1971. When
Paul Dillenberger, the creator, showed The Oregon Trail to his students, the effect gaming could have in a learning environment was apparent. Although since then there have been numerous attempts to integrate gamification into the schooling system, it never seems to work. One thing that does work though, is how much interaction playing these sorts of video games creates between the time periods and historical events they're based on and the audience. It also discusses how video games can be used to explore ideas that are not present in traditional academic curricula, such as the history of minorities and LGBTQ history. It also discusses some of the pitfalls of using video games as teaching tools, such as their tendency to be developed by a predominantly white male population and their tendency to be based on Western interpretations of history. The author also looks at how technology has been beneficial during the COVID-19 pandemic in providing access through digital means and examines ways by which educators have taken advantage of this situation.  Finally, the article argues that video games can be an effective tool for teaching, as they encourage active learning, which leads to higher retention and understanding than traditional passive methods. The short article (and the 9-minute video attached) both talk about how some video games give up on authenticity in favor of inclusivity. They give the example of “Kingdom Come: Deliverance” which suffered from major criticism because they fail to include any non-white characters. The game designers said that it was only a reflection of the time and place of the game (Medieval Bohemia), and the explanation was not accepted by many. They also give the example of Assassin's Creed Origins, which depicts boys and girls attending school together, something that certainly didn’t happen in Ancient Egypt. In the BTS they said that “the team felt it was not necessary to prioritize historical sexism over inclusive gameplay”. This game also covers up nude statues and censors them, and this is another way a game can be less accurate yet feel authentic. The video first of all talks about the difference between authenticity and accuracy (we usually refer to games as accurate when they are authentic). Authenticity is trying to get the feeling of the time period, and making sure that game overall feels accurate. It then gives the example of Call of Duty: WWII when talking about game designers that are willing to be flexible for the historical basis of the game. The game uses WWII to present its story, but they also allow players to play as female soldiers, despite them never serving on the frontlines. Total War presented Russia as unified when they were actually falling apart. They say that it shows it is possible to be authentic to a time and place while also trying to be inclusive.

The Oregon Trail
Originally, this was a wagon route and emigrant trail in the US that connected the Missouri River with the valleys of the state of Oregon (I didn’t know this was actually a state). Then in 1971, more than a hundred years later, Don Rawitch recruited his teacher friends Bill Heinemann and Paul Dillenberger and the three of them developed with the production of the Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium (MECC) the first game based on it, which was an educational text-based strategy game in which the player was a wagon leader guiding a party of settlers from Missouri to Oregon, and there they needed to buy supplies, fix their wagon if broken, and struggle with the historical settler’s struggles. The trail took something like 12-14 days, and so in the game players were given the option to buy, hunt, build camps and other stuff to survive the trail. Every mini event that happened during the real trail also happens in the game, with even dates and stuff. The game was updated to other school softwares but still remained a strategy game, yet now it is not text based anymore. People criticize the game as it has too many random events, and you need more luck than skill to be good at it. Then the game was criticized that it encourages colonialism, but these critiques are from today’s generation and at the time who the fuck cared? On top of that gameloft now has the balls to continue the series of reboots of this game, making it less luck based every time. Top 10 students in the US are in the leaderboard. The original version of the game can’t be played, as it doesn’t exist nowadays.

Seven Cities of Gold
Also known as the Seven Cities of Cibola, was a popular legend that was told by the Pubelos, a native american tribe to the Spanish colonists in the 16th century, and the legend told that there are seven cities in the American Southwest that are filled with gold and other riches. It led to a lot of Spanish leaving the Pubelos’ camp and going to search after these cities, although they were not found (just like end cities in minecraft!).  In 1984 Dan Bunten, aka Danielle Bunten Berry with Ozark Softscape developed with the production of Electronic Arts the video game based on it. The game is strategy based, and in it you are a Spanish explorer setting sail to America to explore the area and please the Spanish court. It is one of the earliest open world games ever. You get to be aggressive or friendly with the natives, making your own path unique. It’s not that inaccurate with the fact that the Spanish explorers weren’t actually friendly with the natives as the game suggests.

Sid Meier’s Pirates!
So we all know pirates used to rule the Caribbean with all of their might and power, right? If not, please watch Pirates of the Caribbean or play Sea of Thieves…
Now, Sidney Meier made in 1987 an open world video game where you play as a pirate in that time period, and in it you can roam real spots in the Caribbean sea and live a true life of shanties and rum. Again, if you don’t know what pirates do, watch PotC, or play SoT. It is known that there were also bosses of the top 10 most powerful pirates to ever roam the seven seas. The problem with its accuracy is that the bosses didn’t live during the same time.

Call of Duty
In CoD, you get to
 play as a special missions soldier and do some special missions for the American Army. There is not too much to talk about in the franchise, as most of them are made up, except for CoD: WW2, where Activision decided to make the weapon designs historically accurate.

Ghost of Tsushima
A game made by Sucker Punch Productions and published by Sony, based on a story from 1274, where the samurai Jin Sakai who was on a mission to protect the isle of Tsushima from the first Mongol invasion of Japan. In both history and game the Mongols were defeated by Jin’s skills with a sharp katana. The player has the option to choose between doing stuff stealthy or dramatic by killing everyone in a big bloodshed. The style of the game is influenced by Shadow of the Colossus. On top of that, historically, who led the Mongols in the invasion was the Mongol emperor Kublai Khan, the guy who Kubla Khan is based on in the poem Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It is important to note that Jin Sakai follows the Bushido code throughout the game.

Age of Empires
The game is based on human evolution between ages. Humans were once hunters, then used copper, Iron, and kept expanding. That’s what the 1999 game by Ensemble Studios owned by Microsoft wanted to have. The gameplay is “world of warcraft meeting civilization”. What I mean by that is that as a player you develop a civilization from hunters to an iron age empire. You need to do whatever you can with the given resources to advance your civilization. You advance from the Stone Age to the Tool Age to the Bronze Age and then the Iron Age. Players may choose a civilization out of 12 different ones, such as the Greek, Roman, Ancient Egyptians, East Asians etc.

Assassin’s Creed
Partially based on the long conflict between the order of assassins, an order of arabic assassins that lived in the mounts of Persia and Syria and strived for free will and like human rights, and the Knights of Templar, Chirstian crusaders that came to the holy land and have allegiance to the pope, believing that the only way for peace is order. Some developers at Ubisoft, Patrice Desiltes, Jade Raymond, and Corey May created a mish mash of historical fiction and science fiction and the historical story and so made the assassin’s creed game. Just like god of war, it's an action adventure game. The game is not accurate to the story, but is pretty accurate for the time frame of history. Each and every new installment takes place in a different era.

Railroad Tycoon
In the industrial revolution during the 18th and 19th century, the steam train became extremely popular, and so Sidney Meier decided to create a business strategy game where you play as a businessman that builds railroads, and it uses accurate stock market prices to have the player think about what he spends his money on, and on top of that the player competes with other AI businesses that try to out-business him. You can start your railroad company in four geographic locations which are Western USA, Northeastern USA, Great Britain or Continental Europe. You can take loans and do whatever you want business-wise.

Gameloft’s the Oregon Trail
Gameloft recently created a more recent version of the Oregon trail. Here, Gameloft wanted to change three main aspects of the game that will make it much better for the new generation. First, and the most important one, is the fact that now the game is much more skill based. In the original Oregon Trail, the biggest factor of the game was luck, as you could’ve been rammed by a bull or bit by a snake at almost every given moment. However, now, in Gameloft’s more recent version, they added a mechanic of advancing the travelers who are in your wagon. These can be priests, farmers or other people just like the other games, but now each one has special statistics that makes them helpful at different situations. A priest will regenerate your health with bandages, a butcher will make food for the rest of the travelers, and a carpenter will rebuild your wagon if it is broken. You get to interact with them more and make them more loyal, and so you get to be more rewarded if you are more strategic and friendly to your buddies. The second aspect they changed, is the graphics of course. It’s still in the same angle as the original game, but now with much better graphics, instead of pixelated pixels, it’s more 3d models and such - stuff that will fit more the young generation. Lastly, Gameloft stated that the original game encouraged colonialism, and to fix it they now hired three Native studies scholars to integrate Indigenous perspective and presence into popular narratives of the game.

Catan changing its name
Basically Catan is a board game by Klaus Teuber, in which four players play as settlers on an island with different biomes, and so you can trade resources to build cities and empires expand and then there’s an economic war between the players and friendships are made and broken. The game was originally named “the settlers of Catan”. Catan refers to the name of the Island. Now, people criticized the game for encouraging colonialism, as the players get to settle in an Island that is not theirs (anything to say, Australia?). As a result, they decided to change the name to “Catan”.

Once More, With New Feelings | Historical Distortion
The Gandhi debate
The movie Gandhi is a movie from the 80’s and it talks about Mahatma Gandhi, the Indian historical hero who made the bad British colonialists go out of India and other colonized places, while still being a symbol of peace. The director Richard Atterenbough wanted to make a historical “all hits of Gandhi”, going after all of his successes. For that, he had Ben Kingsley, a white Hollywood actor, but still he wanted him to look Indian so he painted his face in Indian skin color. At the time it was not controversial, and so a lot of Indians were happy that a Hollywood actor played such an important role in their hearts. Kingsley’s real name is actually Krishna Pandit Bhanji, and he’s a son of a British mother and an Indian father, but nowadays when people say the casting is racist, they say that the actor who plays the one who wanted the British to go away is 1⁄2 British. Nevertheless it is the extreme opposite of the criticization in Hamilton, in which the black actors play their own oppressors.

Woman King
A movie released just a few months ago, based on the Agoodjies, the women warriors of the ancient Kingdom of Dahomey led by King Gezzo in today’s Benin, who fought against the Oyo Empire and the Mahi tribe, who wanted to capture their people to sell them to white people as slaves. The movie tries to sell us that Dahomey was an anti slavery kingdom, although in reality King Gezzo sold a lot of black people as slaves to the white colonialists too, making the movie distorted. The article also claims that if the production wants to base their movie on a historical society that was anti slavery, they should do it on Toussaint L’Ouverture, the hero of the Haitian revolution, and coincidentally the son of a woman that was sold as a slave by the Dahomey kingdom.

A film based on the true story of the Scottish Warrior William Wallace, and his efforts to lead a rebellion against England in the 13th century. It distorts the acts of the rebellion, by putting a finger on the wrong battle as the battle that led to Scotland getting independence, and distorts the complex mindset of William Wallace to a straightforward hero, and making the complex appearance of England a simple evil one.

A Disney film based on the Powhatan Native American woman that helped establish a peaceful relationship between the tribe and the English settlers in Virginia. It is distorted because Pocahontas was not a teen in real life, and on top of that, the movie makers created a whole romantic relationship between her and John Smith, a relationship that didn’t happen at all. The relationship between the Powhatans and the English were very violent unlike what is seen in the movie.

A film that is based on the battle of Thermopyale, where 300 spartans fought against the Persian army. It is pretty accurate except for the fact that the Persians were portrayed as one dimensional villains, though they had a lot of reasons to strike the spartans. Also, the Persians didn’t get as much culture and history as the Spartans in the movie.

Hello Visitor! Let's keep in touch! Discord: Nadav Gil#9291 | Mail: pwaasources@gmail.com | Instagram: @nadav_gil_4v2c.plus.2r