The End of Texas by Juan Batista is 175-page e-book that is more counterfactual essay than alternate history. Originally it cost $9.99, but complaints on Alternate History Online caused Batista to decrease the price to $4.99. The cost is still too high considering that this novel embodies many of the flaws inherent in self-published works of alternate history.
Following a long introduction where Batista presents a revisionist history of Texas, Batista discusses a scenario where Governor Rick Perry's infamous 2009 pro-secession speech is slightly modified. The alternate speech inspires the Texas independence movement, largely made up of violent militia types, to push through a vote for secession on the next ballot. In response, a counter-secession movement grows among the liberal and Mexican regions of Texas that take advantage of a loop hole in the Joint Resolution for Annexing Texas to the United States to form new states from Texas. Perry, thinking he has nothing to fear, allows them to hold their conventions and watches in horror as the new liberal states emerge and change the outcome of the health care debate.
|Adelsverein was a planned, but failed, state.in the novel.
Batista makes a lot of generalized statements about Texan and American culture, without always backing them up with sources. As an attorney, I also noticed that he misunderstood American law, including the constitutional right of travel and the supremacy of federal drug laws. Probably the worst offense, however, is what happens after the new states come into being. The new state governments each pass a liberal agenda and evolve into better places than the one they left. This seems to much like utopianism to be a plausible alternate history. In many ways The End of Texas is the liberal version of Ball's New Frontier. In this case it is the liberal who have the right of way and the conservatives who are ruining America. In reality both novels are wrong, history rarely offers a simple solution to our problems.
If I can say one thing good about The End of Texas it is that Batista points out a major misconception that authors wanting to write a balkanized North America should take notice of. An individual American state is rarely homogeneous and if you do write a timeline where America breaks into different pieces, remember to do your research on the cultures that reside within your new nation. That fact, however, is not enough for me to recommend this novel.
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Mitro is founder, editor and contributor of Alternate History Weekly Update. When he is not busy writing about his passion for alternate history, he spends his time working as a licensed attorney in the state of Illinois and dreams of being a published author himself one day.