Thursday, July 7, 2011

AHWU #6

Editor's Note

Short note today, just want to share with you a rough map I made of all the nations that contain readers of AHWU. If I somehow missed your nation, please correct me.



Not AH: Homefront

When will people learn? The next offender is this blog post where the author tagged the video game Homefront as alternate history.

Here is the back story for the game according to Wikipedia:

In 2013, one year after the succession of Kim Jong-Il, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reunites North and South Korea to form the Greater Korean Republic. The influence of China and the United States decline in the face of continued economic stagnation and a war between Iran and Saudi Arabia disrupting Middle East oil supply, while Europe is cut off by a Russian-Ukrainian "mutual interest" deal. As the United States withdraws overseas troops to deal with domestic instability, including the Texas secession debate and an outbreak of bird flu known as the Knoxville Cough, the Greater Korean Republic annexes Japan and several Southeast Asian countries. By 2022, the United States faces extreme economic turmoil, and massive social unrest. Finally, in 2025, a satellite, launched under the cover of a program to replace the decaying Global Positioning System, detonates a nuclear electromagnetic pulse over the continental United States. The destruction of above-ground electronics across the country is followed by Korean invasions of Hawaii and San Francisco, paratrooper deployments across the Midwest, and the irradiation of the Mississippi River to divide the United States. The American military remains isolated and scattered.


The story appears to be nothing more than a Korean wankfest, which is why I am wondering how there is so much positive reaction to the story. Nevertheless, it is the first sentence that is important. It should be enough to convince you that this is not an alternate history video game. The point of divergence is set in the future, 2012 to be specific, with the succession of Kim Jong-Il. This makes the game a future history, a label the blogger I mentioned above tagged as well, so I will give him credit for that.

This is also a perfect opportunity to point out that future history does not become alternate history. Out of date future history/science fiction, like 2001: A Space Odyssey, does not magically become alternate history when the present passes it by. The intent of the author/creator is what is most important. It is clear from the back story of Homefront that the creator intended the game to be a future history.

Another Alternate History Podcast?

A couple of issues ago I talked about the only alternate history podcast I have been able to find, What If History. Well now that is no longer the case because I have stumbled upon another podcast: AH.com Podcast.

The AH.com Podcast is a community project where AH.com members use Skype and CallGraph to record discussions on alternate history. So far there have been three such discussions, but only one has been edited and released.

I have not yet had the chance to listen to the whole podcast (it is over 2 hours long), but once I do I promise to write a review. So look forward to that in the next issue.

Links to the Multiverse

Review of Hard Magic by Larry Corriea - set in the 1930s, where "magic" has existed since the 1800s.

Alternate History: 1996 - an alternate history of New Zealand politics.

"Images of 1984" - Stories from Oceania - an excellent timeline on AH.com that uses a variety of sources to create a timeline where the world of 1984 is real, based on the "Oceania is only England" theory.

3 comments:

  1. Now there is an obvious distinction between alternate and future history. Where the line blurrs is when the PoD is in the past but the timeline extends into the future. I don't see why that can't be considered Alternate History.

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  2. If you want to consider it alternate history, go ahead. There are fictional works that are not alternate history that I consider honorary alternate history. Do not take what I say as dogma.

    Still, genres need boundaries. When it comes to alternate history, the common demoninator for all of them is the past. Alternate historians look to the past, even if the story has a contemporary or future setting. Future history, on the other hand, looks to the future. The author is attempting to predict a possible future, while still being entertaining. That perspective always exists in the work, regardless of what time the reader may be in. That distinction, as least for me, prevents out-of-date future history from becoming alternate history.

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  3. that "alternate history of New Zealand politics" page looks like it's been hacked - who knew that kiwi politics would be that controversial?

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