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[Epub] ➢ Kelly Country ➣ A. Bertram Chandler – Uc0.info

Kelly Country

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Arthur Bertram Chandler 28 March 1912 6 June 1984 was an Australian science fiction author He also wrote under the pseudonyms George Whitley, George Whitely, Andrew Dunstan, and S.H.M.He was born in Aldershot, England He was a merchant marine officer, sailing the world in everything from tramp steamers to troopships He emigrated to Australia in 1956 and became an Australian citizen He comman

[Epub] ➢ Kelly Country ➣ A. Bertram Chandler – Uc0.info
  • Mass Market Paperback
  • 348 pages
  • Kelly Country
  • A. Bertram Chandler
  • English
  • 06 April 2017
  • 9780886770662

10 thoughts on “Kelly Country

  1. says:

    I Read this over 25ys ago so not easy but do know was a what if book lot like Harry Turtoldove this modern version of Ned Kelly & historical Ned its time travel with Oz twist.
    It also helps if do know something about the life of Kelly which back in 1992 I didn't.
    It jumps around a lot but still fun book.

  2. says:

    Part time-travel and part alternate history, Kelly’s World offers one of the more intriguing premises I’ve seen with regard to time travel. Of course, I liked Simon Hawke’s Time Wars series where the so-called time-travelers went to the “history” in literary fiction, but Kelly Country is a very different take. Chandler uses the exploits of “bushranger” (highwayman, “Robin Hood,” freedom fighter) Ned Kelly from Australia’s real past as his diving board from which he twists and tucks the framing story of time-travel into an alternative history which seems to ask many questions.

    In real life, the “bushranger” dies young. In the alternative history, the “bushranger” lives to marry and have a family. In real life, Australia was an English colony for a long time. In the alternative history, Oz becomes a republic much sooner, as a result of the efforts of the “bushranger.”

    First, he asks how time-travel might be accomplished. In order to potentially avoid the grandfather paradox, Chandler posits that one must be genetically attuned to an ancestor in order to time-travel. Even then, one must enter into the ancestor’s memories in order to view the events. In this way, the time traveler can view the past without interfering with the historical strand. So, the first question is how one avoids the grandfather paradox and the answer is, by merging with the grandfather.

    Second, he asks how one might avoid changing the strand of history. The answer is typical. One avoids this by non-interference. But what would happen if merging one’s memories with those of the grandfather caused the grandfather to act differently than said ancestor acted in the past of the time traveler? Presumably, that would change the era in which the time-traveler lived, but it wouldn’t necessarily cause the traveler not to be born. Yet, if the grandfather never married the grandmother, the age-old possibility of eliminating one’s own birth, hence oneself, comes back into play.

    Third, he asks what would have happened if a national hero became a leader and the family of said hero became “president for life?” Would it have the same effects as a kingdom? Would it merely postpone an authentically democratic revolution?

    All three questions are posited and are basically answered in Kelly Country. I even like Chandler’s answers to those questions. What I have trouble with is Chandler’s style. The short chapters combined with the interruptions (a conceit of having to have the traveler air out his brain and replenish his body every so often) made it extremely hard for me to read and keep up consistent interest. The history sections were interesting; the segues really weren’t.

  3. says:

    review of
    A. Bertram Chandler's Kelly Country
    by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - June 21-27, 2016

    This is probably Chandler's 'masterpiece'. I've written a long review entitled "Grimesblower" that you can find here: https://www.goodreads.com/story/show/... . This review is just the truncated version. I highly recommend reading the BOOK & then reading my full review.

    I read about this one before I read the actual bk. I figured I'd find it one of his better bks & I did. If the writing style weren't so conventional I'd be tempted to give it a 5 star rating but 4 will have to do. Chandler was Australian for the latter yrs of his life & Australian subject matter runs deep thru his bks. Mentions of Aus folk heros abound.

    "Every nation has its folk heroes. Very often such heroes are picturesque rogues—and the passage of time has added a spurious glamour to the reputation of many a vicious criminal. The English have their mythical Robin Hood, who stole (it is said) from the rich to give to the poor. They have the real life highwayman Dick Turpin, who just robbed the rich to fill his own pockets. In the U.S.A. there is, among quite a few others, Jesse James. In Australia there is Ned Kelly. He is not only a bushranger in our criminal history but he is the one whose name is most familiar to every Australian. Perhaps it is his famous armor that makes him loom so large in the national imagination, as a sort of living prophecy of the panzer warfare of the twentieth century. Too, there was something of Robin Hood about him. When he robbed a bank he made a great show of tearing up the mortgages that he found in the strongroom. This endeared him to the poor farmers heavily in debt to the financial institutions." - p 7

    Kelly was partially reacting against police abuses of power.

    "Certain sections of the press demanded that some members of the Victorian Police Force who had taken part in the siege be brought to trial on charges of manslaughter.

    "But in those times that would have been going altogether too far." - p 13

    As if anything's changed in that respect. Kelly was in the 19th century, we're now in the 21st (well, according to the calendar most commonly used in the culture I live in). Police & their cronies can still massacre people w/ impunity. Look at the mass murders of the MOVE family in Philadelphia, PA, & of the Branch-Davidians in Waco, TX.

    In Kelly Country Chandler's recurring main character, John Grimes, isn't the usual captain of a spaceship but is, instead, a writer. Grimes is always transparently a stand-in for Chandler, who was a ship's captain as well as a writer, but he's even more so here where instead of being a spaceship captain he's an Australia-based writer.

    "That morning I was doing what I am doing now. Writing. It could have been the same machine that I was using, a manually operated typewriter of German manufacture. I was working on yet-another novel in the never-ending series in which I had become trapped, a further installment of the adventures—and misadventures—of a character who had been referred to by Publishers Weekly as "science fiction's answer to Hornblower." When I was interrupted by the telephone I'd gotten to an interesting part of the story; my hero was putting up a token resistance against the amorous advances of a beautiful, blond, not too alien princess. I used a very appropriate word when my train of thought was disturbed by the insistent ringing. Nonetheless I did not answer the call until I had finished the sentence: ". . . made a major production of filling and lighting his pipe while trying to ignore her attentions."" - p 14

    Chandler is routinely publicized as "science fiction's answer to Hornblower" & the "filling and lighting his pipe" thing is a typical Grimes-as-spaceman scene. Hence Grimes IS Chandler here. I enjoy the way that Chandler adapts his hero to the novel w/o bothering to try to justify the discontinuity (except, perhaps, as something that's implied by the time travel side-effects of the novel). I also enjoy the implication that such a discontinuity is a way of fucking w/ "the never-ending series in which" [the author] "had become trapped".

    I was pleasantly surprised to find J. W. Dunne mentioned, whose bk An Experiment with Time I read the 1st 75pp of 4 decades or so ago. In Dunne's 1934 "Introduction to the Third Edition" he states:

    "Multidimensional worlds of the kind beloved by mystics, and dating back to the days of the Indian philosopher Patañjali, have never appealed to me. To introduce a new dimension as a mere hypothesis (i.e., without logical compulsion) is the most extravagant proceeding possible. It could be justified only by the necessity of explaining some insistent fact which would appear, on any other hypothesis, miraculous. And a new and still more marvellous miracle would need to be discovered before we could venture to consider the possibility of yet another dimension. Even then the major difficulty would remain to be overcome. For why should the, say, five-dimensional observer of a five-dimensional world perceive that world as extended in only three dimensions?

    "The universe which develops as a consequence of what is known to philosophers as the 'Infinite Regress' is entirely free from the forgoing objections.

    "This 'Infinite Regress', I may explain to the uninitiated, is a curious logical development which appears immediately one begins to study 'self-consciousness' or 'will' or 'time'. A self-conscious person is one 'who knows that he knows'; a willer is one who, after all the motives which determine choice have been taken into account, can choose between those motives; and time is——but this book is about that." - pp v-vi, 1973 reprint, An Experiment with Time, Faber and Faber

    ""Finish your chili beef. We've an appointment."

    ""Who with?"

    ""Dr. Graumann. You must of heard of him."

    ""I have," I admitted. "The man who resurrected J. W. Dunne's theories about time.["]" - p 16

    A somewhat odd interpolation occurs, one that's both obvious, not obvious enuf, & underexplicated, just dropped in:

    ""Mr. Duffin has been telling me about you, Mr. Grimes," he said. His accent was that of a New Yorker, I thought. "Perhaps I shall have greater success with you than with the real Australians."

    "I told him, rather tartly, that I was real enough.

    "Duffin said, "Dr. Graumann means the Aborigines, Grimes."" - p 17

    William Bligh, most famous as the person rebelled against in the "Mutiny on the Bounty", is practically an obsession of Chandler's. The author has Grimes as a version of Bligh in The Big Black Mark (see my review here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3... ). SO, for regular readers of Chandler's work it's no surprise to encounter Ned Kelly & Bligh mentioned in the same paragraph:

    "The man had the makings of an orator, a rabble rouser. To me, the twentieth century me, he was preaching to the at-least-half-converted. In my own time descent from convicts was no longer something to be concealed but, instead, to be boasted about. Governor Bligh was at last being looked upon as the tragic hero of the Rum Rebellion and the officers of the New South Wales Corps as the villains. And Ned Kelly, of course, was beginning to be regarded as more of a freedom fighter than a mere bushranger." - p 37

    Since I'm an anarchist, I always look for the use of "anarchy" in bks. Sometimes "anarchy' is used in the fear-mongering way of "violent chaos", more rarely it's used to mean "individualist responsibility". Chandler's a bit more open to anarchy than many. In this instance, the character using the word pejoratively isn't a sympathetic one:

    ""Grimes! You must help! Make a fire on the tracks! You must stop the train!"

    ""Why?"

    ""Damn you, man! You know that the blackguard Kelly intends to do! If he gets away with it there will be anarchy all through the north east of Victoria!"

    "And you won't get your reward, I thought. How much had it been? Five hundred and fifty pounds?" - p 41

    In the outer-space travel novels there's a device called the "Mannschenn Drive" wch enables Faster-Than-Light travel & has time-bending side-effects. Chandler's descriptions always emphasize "precessing flywheels". In Kelly Country a similarly described device is used to enable Grimes to perceive the past thru the eyes of an ancestor:

    "No, not the slowly rotating Mobius strip that I was expecting.

    "It became a complexity of spidery, spinning wheels, set at odd angles each to each, spinning, precessing, seeming ever to be at the point of fading into invisibility but never quite doing so. . . . Precessing, and dragging my mind with them through the warped Continuum. . . . Precessing but spinning ever more slowly. . . ." - p 46

    "Precession is a change in the orientation of the rotational axis of a rotating body. In an appropriate reference frame it can be defined as a change in the first Euler angle, whereas the third Euler angle defines the rotation itself. In other words, if the axis of rotation of a body is itself rotating about a second axis, that body is said to be precessing about the second axis. A motion in which the second Euler angle changes is called nutation. In physics, there are two types of precession: torque-free and torque-induced." - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precession

    In Chandler's variation on time travel the traveler can remember multiple time tracks: "One of me loves Asiatic food—Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese—the other has only memories of what such meals look like and taste like. From the foundation of the Republic onwards there was a very strict White Australia policy." (p 49) W/o getting into too much spoiler detail, the changes wrought by Grimes's experiencing the time of Ned Kelly through his ancestor are an accidental side-effect of Grimes's support for Kelly as a man fighting back against economic oppression. Alas, this backfires & a fear-of-a-'Yellow-Peril' is one consequence:

    "He got out of the car to open a rear door for me. I told him that I would sooner ride in front. This was a mistake as he was a non-stop talker.

    ""Have ye been seein' the mornin' papers, sir?" he asked. "Things are bad in the Nam an' it's gettin' worse they are. Maybe I shouldn't be sayin' this to ye—but I'm after thinkin' that we should ha' pulled out when the Yanks did. I did me spell in the Nam an' I know what it's like. The people there hate our guts—and why shouldn't they? Why shouldn't they be let to have their revolution in peace—like the Yanks had theirs an' we had ours? What's the world a-comin' to if ye can't settle yer family squabbles without all sorts of strangers a-buttin' in?"" - p 56

    Chandler doesn't neglect opportunities to have his 20th century time traveler say things that're unrecognizably funny references to their 19th century auditors:

    ""Did she kill a man, Mr. Reardon?" asked McLeod.

    ""She did that."

    ""Come on, Frank," said McLeod to Brown, "let's be getting the bones and spud peelings out of the way."

    "They drifted off.

    ""How to win friends and influence people," I said." - p 99

    Naturally, the 19th century people aren't going to recognize that as a Dale Carnegie quote that came along after their lifetime. For that matter, 21st century readers may've forgotten it by now. Then again, Chandler can use his fictionalized Ned Kelly era character, Red Kitty (perhaps a name inspired by "Red Emma" Goldman), give a contemporary quote that's a personal favorite for me:

    ""You do not know? You really do not know? I find this hard to believe. Karl Marx, Miss Kelly, has written books that will shake the world, that will change the world. They will become the bibles of the toiling masses."

    ""Don't blaspheme, woman!" flared Kate. "There is only one Bible!"

    ""And religion," said Red Kitty, "is the opium of the people."" - p 103

    "The full quote from Karl Marx translates as: "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people"."(1843) - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opium_o...

    ""I make no claim to be an angel," said Red Kitty. "I saw that the Superintendent was about to murder Ned, so I . . . intervened. Luckily I had thought to bring my pistol with me when I came down from my room to see the fighting. I had already heard about your brother, of course, and about his valiant fight against the capitalist oppressors. I had heard the police boasting about what they had done at Glenrowan. There was only one side that I could possibly be on."

    ""And so you have cast your lot among outlaws," I could not help saying.

    ""I am a servant of the revolution," she told me." - pp 107-108

    In the rerouted present that's the outcome of all this, Australia's quite a different place but there's a "Ned Kelly" in power:

    "He quieted down. "So I'm like the first Ned, ye say? Game as Ned Kelly . . . That goes for me, I hope, as well as for him. I gave my word that I'd save the Nam from the commies—an' when did a Kelly ever break his word? And now tell me—what was she like?"

    ""Kate?" I asked.

    ""No, not Kate. red Kitty. My great-grandmother."

    [..]

    ""She sounds quite a girl," said Ned.

    ""She was. But you wouldn't have liked her."

    ""An' why not? After all, she's me great-grandmother."

    ""And also a communist," I said. "A faithful disciple of old Karl himself. And do you think that she'd have liked what you're doing now in Asia?"" - p 113

    Chandler references Calamity Jane in other novels by having one of his characters named after her. In Kelly Country he mentions another prominent figure of the 'Wild West', Buffalo Bill:

    ""But I'm telling you, Mr. Kelly," said Donnelly as he resumed his seat, "that you have backers in the United States. I represent them, as well as Francis Bannerman, Dr. Richard Gatling and . . . others. There is the Harp In The South Committee in New York, with a distant cousin of yours at its head. . . ."

    ""A distant cousin of mine, Major Donnelly?"

    ""Yes. Colonel William Cody, better known, perhaps , as Buffalo Bill. he is interested in what you are attempting to do in this country of yours. he is a romantic. . . ." He looked around the table. "As are we all."" - p 130

    Long ago I read somewhere that Buffalo Bill got his name by hunting buffalo by shooting them from trains & then hopping off & cutting their tongues out to send back to restaurants in the east - leaving the rest of the body to rot. Not surprisingly, this disgusted me. However, the wikipedia entry doesn't mention that. I don't know what to trust:

    ""Buffalo Bill" received his nickname after the American Civil War, when he had a contract to supply Kansas Pacific Railroad workers with buffalo meat. Cody is purported to have killed 4,282 American bison (commonly known as buffalo) in eighteen months, (1867–1868). Cody and hunter William Comstock competed in an eight-hour buffalo-shooting match over the exclusive right to use the name, in which Cody won by killing 68 bison to Comstock's 48. Comstock, part Cheyenne and a noted hunter, scout, and interpreter, used a fast-shooting Henry repeating rifle, while Cody competed with a larger-caliber Springfield Model 1866, which he called Lucretia Borgia after legendary beautiful, ruthless Italian noblewoman, the subject of a popular contemporary Victor Hugo play of the same name. Cody explained that while his formidable opponent, Comstock, chased after his buffalo, engaging from the rear of the herd and leaving a trail of killed buffalo "scattered over a distance of three miles", Cody - likening his strategy to a billiards player "nursing" his billiard balls during "a big run" - first rode his horse to the front of the herd to target the leaders, forcing the followers to one side, eventually causing them to circle and create an easy target, dropping them close together." - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffalo...

    Whatever the story ultimately is, the above massacre-as-competition still repulses me - even tho I'm a meat eater. Was there a "Harp In The South Committee" that Buffalo Bill was part of? Not as far as my superficial searching on the internet determined. There was, however, this:

    " The Harp in the South is a novel (ISBN 0-14-010456-9) by New Zealand born Australian author Ruth Park. Published in 1948, it portrays the life of a Catholic Irish Australian family living in the Sydney suburb of Surry Hills, which was at that time an inner city slum." - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Har...

    Maybe Chandler was referencing that. Chandler goes further in his reimagining of American-Australian alternate history by having an American offer help in arming the Ned Kelly led Australian revolution:

    ""What is in it for you? For America, I mean, rather than for you, personally, and your employer, Mr. Bannerman?"

    "The major sat lumpishly, still staring at the countess, his cigar smouldering, for gotten on the table before him.

    "Then he said, "All right. I'll spill the beans. The U.S. of A. is a Pacific Rim nation. So is Canada. So is Australia. And we're all of us white men's nations. We have a common enemy. The Asiatic hordes."

    ""The Yellow Peril," put in Byrne. "The Chinese."

    ""No, Mr. Byrne. Not the Chinese. The Japanese. They are clever—and treacherous. Mark my words, all of you! In years to come they will burst out of their little islands to attempt to conquer the world. And who will have to stop them? The white Pacific Rim nations, that's who. Canada. Australia. The United States."

    ""So you want Australia to become part of the American Empire, Major?" asked Red Kitty interestedly.

    ""We are not imperialists, lady," said Donnely stiffly.

    ""I wish that I could believe you, sir. Our struggle is against British imperialism. Are we to win this fight only at the cost of being swallowed up by a greater and even more ruthless empire?""

    "He looked at her reproachfully and said, "We do not want dominions, lady. Only strong and loyal allies."" - p 138

    I find that to be a very interesting exchange. Given that this is in the 1880s & in the light of WWII, The Korean War, & the Vietnam War, this considerably predates the US military activity against Asia that I'm familiar w/. Chandler has the racist term predate its credited time of coinage:

    "In 1895, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany invented the phrase Yellow Peril, in effort to interest the other European empires in the perils they faced in their invasions of China. To that end, the Kaiser of Germany used the Japanese military victory in the Russo-Japanese War (1904–05) to evoke racialist fear among the white peoples of Western Europe, by misrepresenting Imperial Japan as an ally of China, who jointly would overrun the Western world." - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_...

    It's also interesting that Chandler has the American Major represent the Japanese as the threat. This, of course, is born out by Japanese imperialism of the mid-20th century. It cd be sd that Japan started WWII w/ their invasion of Manchuria on September 18, 1931. More conventionally, perhaps, WWII is dated as having started when the nazis invaded Czechoslovakia on March 15/16, 1939.

  4. says:

    Good fun. Definitely written in a dated Golden Age of SF style, but this alternative history still holds up. The text posits a history where the trainful of police officers never arrives at Glenrowan, and the story of Ned Kelly takes some very interesting turns after that... a must read for aussie fans of alternative history, and anyone who digs A. Bertram Chandler's stuff.

  5. says:

    Part time travel and part alternate history. I might have liked it more if I knew more about Australian history? But there was just too much description of battles and fighting and too little character development for me.

  6. says:

    I wish I knew more of the history of Australia, but as this is an alternate history novel, I’m not certain it would help.

  7. says:

    Just ok time travel story about a different Australian history timeline. Maybe it would have been better if I knew more about Australian history, and then again, maybe not. I just had a hard time getting into it and was almost surprised I stuck with it through the end. The last chapter was actually really good. It just took too long to get there.

  8. says:

    1987 grade D-

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