Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

I’m thankful for this blog. I’m thankful for…

  • The fun I’ve had writing on this blog.
  • The books and posts I’ve enjoyed reading, and the authors I’ve found.
  • The ever-expanding scope of Fuldapocalypse, going even more into a place to review even more types of fiction (and for me to experience that).
  • The release of Command: Modern Operations, which I wrote the manual for.
  • And so much more.

Alternate History Types

There are five main types of  alternate history, I’ve found. Three are only technical: Alternate Presents, Alternate And Historical But Not AH and Secret History. Two are more firm: Alternate History As Setting, and Alternate History As Genre.

Alternate Presents

This is the kind of “Alternate History” that’s only so in the most nominal fashion. Almost none are ever sold as alternate history, and if it’s mentioned at all, it’s as a “ok, I guess this happened” when talking about the background. So if there’s a fictional city it takes place in, it’s an “alternate present”.

Really, almost all fiction falls into this category. The only fiction that doesn’t is historical fiction that contains no made-up characters and is explictly trying to reenact a historical event as quickly as possible.

Alternate And Historical But Not AH

This is a strange classification, and it mainly has to do with events in a piece of historical fiction that A: diverge from actual history, but, B: Doesn’t change the grand-scheme events, and C: Isn’t really sold or promoted as “alternate history.”

The prime example I have of this is, of all things, Kelly’s Heroes. Yes, there’s an ahistorical gold raid there in World War II, occurring long before the movie was made. But it’s not sold or considered alternate history, and doesn’t explore the ramification.

Secret History

This is when there was a big divergence in the past but which didn’t cause an actual change in history as we know it until the moment of the story. The Casca series is “Secret History”-yes, an immortal Roman mentored Genghis Khan and killed Adolph Hitler, but the Mongols still achieved what they did and Hitler still died in a bunker in Berlin in 1945.

And speaking of that mustached man, my favorite “secret history” divergence comes from Jerry Ahern’s Survivalist series. That has many styles. It’s post-apocalyptic action, then it becomes science fiction, and then the “secret history” part kicks in with the plot point of Hitler’s dead body being kept in a New York facility. Did that change anything up until Book 1? Not really.

Those three are only really considered alternate history in the most broad view.

Alternate History As Setting

A lot of alternate history, and, more importantly, a lot of stories that aren’t sold as or even considered alternate history fall into this category. There is a big divergence, and it did have an effect.

And yet, it’s there as a setting, a backdrop, to a main story taking place in a clear genre. Lots of “Alternate History As Setting” pieces are sold as alternate history. Others basically aren’t-a stereotypical steampunk story, The Yiddish Policeman’s Union, and Hotline Miami (three very different pieces of fiction) are all “Alternate History As Setting”.

Alternate History As Genre

This is the top of the pyramid and is reserved for works where the alternate events themselves are front and center, driving the plot. It encompasses a lot of Harry Turtledove’s fiction and essentially every work written in the “pseudo-history book” style.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

As with every category, not everything fits exceptions and there’s bound to be countless exceptions/works of fiction that don’t clearly belong to any one or could reasonably be considered both. But I’ve found a lot of stuff can fit pretty neatly into them.

CMO IS OUT!

Command: Modern Operations, the sequel to Command: Modern Air Naval Operations, is out now. And I wasn’t a bystander or even just a beta tester-I wrote the manual for it in all its 353-page glory.

I’m very, very excited for this, and I hope you are too.

Get it at its official page here.

The Most Strangely Prominent Book

David Alexander’s Marine Force One is not prominent or popular by any standard. The best you can say is that it led to a few more book in its series. It has its quirks, but it’s a very middling novel. That’s the reason why I cite it so much in later Fuldapocalypse reviews.

Like the elusive “replacement-level player” in sports analysis, the “51% book” is a term I use a lot, used to describe something that’s merely adequate in all forms. And this was one of the most 51% books imaginable. It’s so middling it somehow stands out as something that is the perfect example of a decent book.

The Super-Pickup Truck

So one of my automobile what-ifs, occasionally acted out in Automation, is “what if you put a supercar engine in a pickup truck?” (In-game, not really that much, all things considered, though I’m not the best at optimizing)

And it turns out that that indeed happened in 2004, when Chrysler put the V10 engine from the Viper in a Dodge Ram to create the Ram SRT-10.

Having a Personal Ending

What prompted this post was an announcement that Starbreeze/Overkill is beginning work on new content for Payday 2 again, as part of a desperate attempt to milk their lone cash cow even further to try and bide time for Payday 3 development. (It’s probably the least bad thing to do, but that’s another story)

Now that game, in its weird plot progression from story-less homage to classic heist movies to ridiculous tie-ins to what could have been a Jon Land novel just ended well. Having some sort of follow-on just seems like disrupting a good moment. Though I’m waiting until I see the content before I pass judgement on it specifically, I can feel comfortable saying that in my personal canon, the saga ends with confronting an evil dentist next to an alien MacGuffin in a cave underneath the White House.

And well, it’s not the only one where I’ve felt like I’ve had a stronger “personal ending”. There’s another, far more famous setting that I have a personal ending for, and, unlike Payday’s, it wasn’t originally planned as the official conclusion. That would be Jack Ryan. For all its other faults, The Sum Of All Fears is a near-perfect conclusion to the saga of Jack Ryan, Cold Warrior. And finally, I haven’t had much interest in the recent revival of the Survivalist series. I might check them out, but as far as I’m concerned, the story of John Rourke ended in Death Watch (if not the ninth/tenth book, a more ideal stopping point).

An area where I didn’t have a personal ending comes from the Blaine McCracken novels, mostly just because how disappointing the last-for-a-while installment, Dead Simple, was. I also don’t have them in many settings that are inherently open-ended.

But some settings/franchises/series just have a moment that seems so appropriate that I can’t help but go “That’s where it deserved to end.”