The Rise of Silph is set in the now historical world of the United States from 1967 to 1999, and is partially a story about the discovery of Pokémon, as well as an exposition of the technological and cultural developments that happened in that time, based on the research that I've done about it. The events of the world happen along with the discovery of Pokémon, and add background to the story. Along with that, some of the world's events will be influenced by the story, and eventually, the world will become entirely fictional, completely unbased in the events of the real world.
This commentary will run one post per chapter, similarly to the fic itself. There are many spoilers in here, exposing my intentions of the fic. If you wish to make your own inferences as to what the fic is talking about, please refrain from reading.
Donovan himself was born in 1952, in "Bayesia Town", in an unspecified state. Bayesia Town is named after Thomas Bayes, the mathematician who inspired Bayesian filtering. All the other towns and cities that are named in the Pokémon fashion in this story are also named after notable mathematicians. Goldback City is named after Goldbach, and Airdows Town is named after Erdos. Even Donovan's address, 144 Penrose Drive, is named after a mathematician - Sir Roger Penrose, who discovered infinite aperiodic tilings, now named Penrose tilings after him. However, this is anachronistic, as Penrose only discovered the tilings in 1974, seven years after this chapter takes place.
The hippies in Chapter 1 were protesting against the war in Vietnam. By then, the United States was nearing its peak involvement in the Vietnam War, and were making the loudest protests.
The computer was also starting to gain traction by this time, although they were still using large circuit boards and building-sized units (albeit a step up from the vacuum tubes of the early 1950's). What Donovan had said about the stock markets not being runnable on computers was definitely true - a single person's data on the stock market would take up at least 50 to 60 bytes per trade, and data was commonly measured in the kilobytes back then. A single building-sized computer contained perhaps at most a few billion bytes of data - nowhere near enough to have all those poor floor traders' transactions recorded. Today, of course, that is no longer a problem, as a few billion bytes of data would fit onto a device the size of a fingernail.
Colour television only began to become widespread in the 1960's. Donovan, being in a relatively isolated neighbourhood, would not have as much access to this technology. 1967 was near cutting-edge for technologies such as these.
Computers, by then, had already been brought to the general public's attention, but Donovan was fascinated by these things, as he grew up in an environment where they did not exist. The general public, as well, considered computers a thing of business; something that would never be used in the home. Such a magazine article that would propose something as sensational as putting computers in the common American household would definitely be something very futuristic, if not almost in the realm of fantasy.
Donovan's concerns about global cooling are somewhat premature relative to the general public - the movement against global cooling (not global warming, mind you; that came later) did not start until the early 1970's, about four or five years later.
By 1967, the moon landing project had only started, and their first mission, retroactively called Apollo 1, ended in a launch failure and the death of three astronauts. It was not until Apollo 7, over a year later, that men were successfully sent into space by the US in the hopes of reaching the moon.
The "July 21, 1968" prediction is entirely fictional; it was simply a reference to the "May 21, 2011" prediction that came 43 years later :3
The Pokémon that Old Ernie was babbling about are Charizard, Magneton, and Alakazam respectively. Of course, when it's 1967, being alive for both world wars isn't really much of an achievement. (You'd only have to be 49 years old for it to be true.)
The butterfly the size of a small dog was a Butterfree. The crow wearing a hat was a Murkrow. And, of course, the yellow mouse-like creature that was frightened by Donovan... Pikachu.
There will be more commentary placed here as the chapters fill up.