Sunday, March 30, 2014

Da Vinci's Demons 2.2: Renaissance Radio

Radio had enormous influence on the world politics of the 1930s and 1940s, when it first became a device in many households in America and Europe.   As I detail in The Soft Edge, a radio broadcast from Adolf Hitler after a bomb put him the hospital in 1944 confirmed his leadership and kept him in power for almost another year.   Radio was also used by FDR, Churchill, and Stalin to rally their publics against Hitler, and, in FDR's case, to establish a direct relationship with the American people during the Great Depression.

Radio, of course, did not exist in the time of Leonardo Da Vinci, not even in his sketches, many of which were prescient about the future.  But radio played a major role in last night's Da Vinci's Demons 2.2, and worked perfectly as an instance of the historical science fiction in which the series really excels.   Much like Hitler, Lorenzo Medici is badly wounded (Lorenzo actually worse than Hitler). Much like Hitler, Lorenzo's tenure as leader is in dire jeopardy, because the populace is not even sure he's alive.  In Hitler's case, his Minister of Propaganda and Popular Enlightenment, Joseph Goebbels, went to his hospital room with a microphone and a hook-up to Germany's radio system, via which Hitler was able to assure the German people that he was ok and still in charge.  In Lorenzo's case, the genius Leonardo creates a radio system on the fly, via his understanding of acoustics, and Lorenzo uses it to assure the people of Florence and ratify his power.

Just to be clear, Lorenzo in both history and in Da Vinci's Demons has nothing else in common with Adolf Hitler.  To the contrary, Lorenzo was a benevolent despot, a classical Renaissance prince who brought his city and people much prosperity.  He actually helped maintain a measure of peace among the contentious Italian city states, and his reign is considered the high point of the golden age of Florence.

If the series moves to New World as it's been promising to do, I'll miss Lorenzo and Florence.  On the other hand, in real history, the real Lorenzo died in April 1492, so there's not much more of his story for Da Vinci's Demons to tell, if it wants to remain true to history.   In any case, the first two episodes of the second season have been outstanding, and I'm looking forward to more.

See also Da Vinci's Demon's 2.1: Science Fiction v Fantasy

And see also Da Vinci's Demons:  History, Science, and Science Fiction ... Da Vinci's Demons 1.7: Leonardo Under Water with a Twist ... Da Vinci's Demons Season 1 Finale: History, Science Fiction, Time Travel

Interested in a story with a passing reference to Leonardo?   Try The Plot to Save Socrates ...

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