The Atlantic asks Harry Turtledove, writer of counterfactual histories. He points out that, in fact, the alternatives are written not to be realistic, but to throw interesting dramatic light on the world we do inhabit.
Alternate history isn't really about the world you're creating," he added. "It's about the world in which you live, and gives you and your readers a funhouse mirror in which to see the real world." It's a reflection, he says, that we can't get any other way.
In other words, it's SF. When pressed, his suggestion isn't particularly edifying:
"If the British Empire included all of North America north of the Rio Grande as well as India, it would be incontestably the strongest state in the world," he responded. "The French Revolution wouldn't have happened, both for lack of example and because it began when a political crisis and a famine coincided with a government bankruptcy that sprang from the money the government paid out helping the American colonists gain their independence—and giving perfidious Albion a shot in the eye."
Or perhaps it would merely have been delayed, because the causes of the French Revolution ran deep.
Sans American revolutionary success, my money is that the world would be much as it is now. America would just have become independent anyway, as Canada did, in a slower and less constitutionally dramatic way. How awesome would THE DOMINION OF AMERICA have been? Quite.
Here's one for the mental hopper: a comedy where, the morning after dropping a twinkie wrapper in a new particle accelerator, U.S. President Bill Murray wakes up to find that he is now U.S. Prime Minister Bill Murray, and must navigate his ignorance of the tiny-yet-critical details that have changed--and learn how to restore the reality he's used to.
This would not only be a comedy of errors with broad Transatlatic appeal, but would provide employment for science writers who like to point out the paradoxical absurdities within movies featuring time travel.
The Cobham catalog, exposed by The Intercept, features countless pages of surveillance gadgets sold to U.S. police to spy on American citizens: tiny black boxes with a big interest in you. In the creepily bland feature lists and nerdy product names is a whisper of a dark future; perhaps darker than anyone can imagine.
This image depicts the most commonly-found stylesheet colors on the web’s top sites—Paul Hebert did an amazing amount of analysis and this is just one of the intriguing visualizations he came up with. Most of these are obvious staples, especially HTML red and blue, though it’s interesting how far the blue “cluster” is from the […]
With the cacophony of an election year ablaze with unparalleled drama being fought on the front lines of Twitter, we find ourselves slowing down and staring at it like a bad accident. The need for escapist relief is perhaps more dire than usual right now. This fall, if it’s drama you crave, but the Hillary […]
With Xamarin, coders can develop native apps for both iOS and Android without learning two different programming languages. Obviously, hiring one programmer rather than two is beneficial for companies and makes Xamarin experts highly in demand.You can easily learn Xamarin online with this Xamarin Cross-Platform Development Bundle. It will teach you to use Xamarin and code […]
TV antennas are making a comeback, and the Ghost Indoor HDTV antenna is a great example of why. Unlike the old bunny ear-style antennas, this compact antenna is barely noticeable and picks up channels easily. Plus with the addition of streaming services like Netflix, we find ourselves with plenty to watch without a pricey monthly cable bill. The Ghost […]
I’ve never really felt the need to purchase a smartwatch because a lot of them aren’t very functional, but at just shy of $30, the Martian Notifier Smartwatch was worth checking out. For that low of a price, it actually does feature an impressive amount of functionality, and comes in handy when you don’t want to be carrying around your […]