Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Alternate History inspirations, and plans for my Alternate History novel

This is a reposting of a forum post I made on a private messageboard for my Creative Fiction Writing class. The Fall semester has concluded, so it's only a matter of time before I can no longer access that messageboard. Therefore, I have decided to preserve my major posts to that board by reposting them onto this blog.

I've read various alternate history snippets online an untold amount of times on various websites since I had home Internet access.

Some physically-printed book series that my Dad has read is by Harry Turtledove - One series about what if someone gave the Confederates AK-47s in the Civil War. Another one by Harry was what if an alien race invaded Earth during WWII - then the Axis and the Allies would have all united together against our common foe. I have skimmed upon them every now and then, read summaries, et al. but never got quite into those stories.

However, I have not yet found one SINGLE work of Alternate History where someone is sent to the past to improve history, prevent its adversities, and succeeds in doing so. (Or maybe I forgot. You can refresh me on this here; I'm all eyes.)

I like to read Alternate History because I wish to know: What if these events were prevented? What if a course of an event that could have EASILY happened in a different way, happened in that different way? What if that historical figure lived to a ripe old age? What if, what if, what if? I adore plenty of different types of hypotheticals, including what would've happened if somebody improved the 20th Century.

This happens in another planned novel of mine: "Perfecting the Past." A super-corporeal traveler from the future lands in 1900 with only two resources from the future: Immense wealth (Exactly $(((2^45)-1)/100) - lets see if any of you Math majors can figure that out), and future knowledge. He possesses a suitable body - his chosen embodiment is a 15-year-old Japanese immigrant whose family settled in the Lincoln, NE area. The protagonist has to use tools available of the era to change history and invent many devices decades early.

Four examples of altering history that the protagonist commits:

1. He immigrates 11-year-old Hitler (and his family) to America, and enrolls him in the most prestigious art school in the nation.

2. He strands Leon Czolgosz on a lone island off the coast of Jamaica, therefore preventing the assassination of President McKinley. (For "Exercise 3" in our class, I submitted his apology letter for Leon, to Professor Varnadore.)

3. He finances the construction of a bridge from Key West to Havana, therefore bolstering Cuba's economy. (Incidentally, he sets in motion whatever it takes to admit Cuba to the Union as a US State.)

4. He puts a man in space by 1925.

As the events of the entire "Perfecting the Past" novel series will take place from February 14, 1900 all the way through his death on September 1, 1990, I expect this project to take the rest of my life to finish. Optimistically, I can hope to finish the last novel of this series by my early retirement years.

I will give you one spoiler of what happens near the end:

The protagonist walks his author to Kindergarten a week and a half before he dies.

1 comment:

  1. Have you read Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Colmbus by Orson Scott Card?

    They actually succeed in their attempts to redeem history.