In Dreams Awake

Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.

(Henry David Thoreau)

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Babushka

 The internet has changed the world.

 Well, we all know that, eh? I couldn't have written my books without it. I do a lot of research, with up to a dozen windows open on my PC at the same time. For Risen King I needed details on Celtic and Saxon gods, warfare, language and clothing, among other things, for the story to work. The big one is language, because finding an English-Saxon dictionary in the library would be really hard, but I can find one online in moments.

 But the changes can be surprising. For example, between a third and a half of my blog's readership is in Russia, and I don't understand that at all.

 I've never been to Russia. Only sold a couple of books there. And I hardly know a thing about the place, except the one-line caricatures we see on the evening news. Russia is such a vast and diverse country that I think it's probably impossible to ever know the country well unless you're Russian in the first place - and even then, you'd have to work at it. What does a guy from St Petersburg know about fishermen on the Tunguska river?

 Well, maybe a lot in fact, because if Russians read the blog of some British bloke, they might read one another's blogs too. If Tunguska fishermen write blogs.  Might be too busy trying to dodge honking great asteroids.

 But you know, it's important we do read one another's thoughts, because it's the great blessing of the web. Rely on the news and we in the West might think Russians are mostly ex-KGB, and all of them want to conquer Ukraine. But we don't have to rely on the BBC, or CNN. We can just have a chat. I can find out what Tunguska fishermen think about, and learn what the babushka system actually involves. I just bet I'll also find that Russians aren't so different from us.