Remember Era of the Kite and Rocket? I’m writing a story set there, but the world needs some more buildin’!
I started a thread on the Alternate History Forum, but here’s what I got so far:
First, I should point out that by “glider” I mean a device that would have allowed Firnas to jump off the top of the minaret of the Great Mosque of Cordoba (the modern Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba) and travel farther horizontally than vertically before landing with minimal injury. Hopefully not too difficult a suspension of disbelief (or of Firnas).
searching for “easiest glider to build” turns up some materials that Firnas would have had access to: wood, wax, leather, and (maybe) papyrus (as a substitute for paper) and silk. Or Perhaps my POD can be a stray shipment of bamboo that somehow makes it into Firnas’s life…
One design is the “armchair glider,” which may have been a stretch for Firnas’s engineering skills, and would present plot problems.I’m more interested in the Chanute glider design, which looks like a biplane you strap to your backWriting the outline of the story, I was thinking of an A-shaped hang glider which seems easy enough to constructBut what if Firnas’s intuition took him to a paraglider?
Probably all of these designs will find their way into this timeline, but for the time being I’m confident that Firnas could conceive of and build one of them. Unless someone has a better idea, I’m going with an A-shaped glider, perhaps inspired by tales of Chinese kites.
“The Goose’s Wing,” is available now in the Tales from Alternate History 2 anthology.