QuantumBranching's avatar

Years of Rice and Salt

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Trying to illustrate the final state of affairs in "The Years of Rice and Salt", Kim Stanley Robinson's AH novel in which one of those annoying magically mutated black plagues wipes out Europe, leaving Islam, the Hindus, and the Chinese to fight over the future of humanity.
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anonymous's avatar
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BobHopeXIVRedux's avatar

Hey man, you got linked in an article on the BBC website!!

aom777's avatar
Good map broski. I'm a big KSR and finally got my hands of the book, so far I've enjoyed it. It's definitely filled with his own biases and such, but I'm willing to forgive a lot of that since the scale of the writing and world building is so vast. Really nice map you've done here, I feel like the book gets a bit weaker towards the end but I love the focus on the societies rather than just the leaders. Really helps with the immersion.
SinaDelendaEst's avatar
Is the Burmese League, and Burma being the main power in Southeast Asia, canonical in the books?

The maps and descriptions I've found online contradict each other regarding the situation of Southeast Asia in the Years of Rice and Salt-verse. Some have it being China-dominated, others India-dominated, this one has Burma being the dominant power, another map mentions a nation called Mindanao in the RL Philippines. Which is it?

Complicating the matter is that in our timeline, Islam reached the archipelago parts of Southeast Asia. Did that happen in this timeline too? If so, Southeast Asia should have been another battleground in the Long War between Dar al-Islam and the rest of the world. Yet strangely, I've never seen it mentioned.
Eheucaius17's avatar
Is Judaism still a big thing in this world?
kartografiisto's avatar
Where in the book does it say that the Travancoris colonised Inka?
grisador's avatar
Quite interesting
husk55's avatar
Ah, the Years of Rice and Salt. A cool premise, but kind of ruined by the Author's own biases. And; I sincerely doubt that the Native Americans WOULDN'T get screwed over.
Eheucaius17's avatar
Well, the Aztecs and Incans may have survived as cultures, though there would probably be severe political upheaval with the plagues and all.
QuantumBranching's avatar
No amount of Buddhism will convert the smallpox virus to nonviolence.
husk55's avatar
Agreed. No matter who contacted the Native American's first,the inevitable first contact plagues would still devastate them.
WargofAnthropo-cene's avatar
This is one of my favourite books as well. I started reading it as my birthday present. Or five days before my birthday. I loved it. Could you re-confirm what K.S.R.'s biases in the novel are?
goldengate66's avatar
Pretty cool map; although, the book was too politically correct for my tastes. And; the Interior of North America populated by Scinisized Native Americans with a Norwegian and Chinese Minority, was just liberal wish-fulfillment.
QuantumBranching's avatar
Well, you have to expect some of that with KSR, that's just the way he rolls - and in the actual book, it's even worse: they aren't particularly sinicized, and if I recall correctly they have conquered the east coast entirely: not sure what happened to the Muslims! (I made up the bit about the Norwegians).
goldengate66's avatar
It's been awhile since I read the book, but I think a New Norway was referenced. Key emphasis on 'think.' But I do remember some Japanese Samurai guy uplifting the Native Americans, sure, things like that have happened in our own timeline; but the Natives are still going to have to suffer from all the diseases from the Old World.
QuantumBranching's avatar
Yeah, even if a slower colonization process bought them some time, it's unlikely their population would bounce back enough by modern times to count as a major power (even if we make the unlikely assumption that the immense variety of native peoples would somehow create a unified state - there's another racist assumption, that the peoples of North America can somehow be treated as a homogenous entity...)
inhumandecency's avatar
I think the idea is more that they managed to form a politically unified entity for diplomatic and military purposes. That's similar to "China" and "The Islamic World," which are both hugely heterogeneous entities, but they still have political reality both in the novel and in real life.
QuantumBranching's avatar
Not sure you should lump those together: the entity know as "China" has a hell of a lot more political reality in our world than the one called the "Islamic World"...
goldengate66's avatar
It also sounds very politically correct and the Author clearly shows his bias here. While, i'm not going to directly call a Native American Superpower 'ASB;' I will point out that the Native American cultures are just as diverse as say the European, or Asiatic Cultures. A Homogenous entity is a very big stretch; even with Samurai Jack uplifting them. XD
QuantumBranching's avatar
Mind you, I'm rather liberal myself: I just have little patience for the fluffy Buddhism/magical mystical native Americans segment of the left...
goldengate66's avatar
Ah, i'm sorry if I sounded offensive. And, I defiently agree with you on that. Although, the Aferlife segments were pretty cool.
OatmealFTLOTUDO's avatar
I'm almost done reading the book.
This is really cool.
GiddyAutomaton's avatar
Wow, that is quite a timeline. Thank you for pointing it out. Sorry for not replying earlier; you've given me a lot of food for thought. My first map/infodump should come soon.
anonymous's avatar
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