Sunday, September 17, 2006

JED's Changed History

Link to the Original Story: Changed History - JED

Yes, I know it's mine, and yes I know it's not exactly "1984," but I like this lil' ole story nonetheless. So the pitch for this one was to write a story dealing with an alternate history, based on one thing that had gone differently, of an item currently in the news. The item I picked up in the news was the great immigration debate. The thing I changed in history was that the US hadn't accepted European refugees as readily during the early stages of WWII. It was really fun following a (admittedly highly speculative) chain of events leading from this to Germany getting the atomic bomb first, to the bombing of Europe, to negotiated detante with Japan, to American isolationism, to the submerssion of pop culture within 1960s style paranoia, to a single training camp for what is basically the US National Gaurd. Of course, this also gave me a wonderful opportunity to express my political philosophies, something that I don't think I've had a chance to do up until now. I'll let the stories high horse speak pretty much for itself, but I will say that I strong-handedly make the case that the loss of freedoms is no way to protect freedom. And freedom is the essence of the good 'ole US of A, at least as I see it.

As for the story itself, this was a fun narrator to explore. He was a little cliched maybe, but I tried to play up his own fear and insecurity and guilt as an antidote to being swamped by his rabid revolutionary ideology. I also find very appealing the notion that the American spirit lives on, no matter how badly it is crushed or smothered by fearmongers. Lets hope thats true.

I think it's interesting how we both managed to have a major focus on the development and use of the atomic bomb, even though in my story that had little to do with the events surrounding its creation or use at its base. Retracing the steps of history, and then seeing a different retracing through JED's story, definitely hammers home how precariously close we have been to nuclear holocaust, and this from someone who has never been a big anti-nukes hippie.

Overall, I enjoyed this story, and I find JED's treatments of history interesting. There is something of the cliche in here, and the idea of a dystopian future where freedom is twisted into a tool of repression is, well, regretfully close to home these days, but still powerful. As with JED on mine, I found this story far more interesting for the world it represents than for the story itself, but it was a good story nonetheless.

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