Discussion in 'Alternate History Books and Media' started by JSmith, Nov 14, 2009.
"Heavy Water" - an AH comic book.
As you might have guessed from the title, and it being an AH story, this is a Nazi Germany wins The War by getting nukes first AH story. It ultimately does not work as a comic book, or as an AH story.
Our story begins in 1943, Norway, where a stern blonde Nordic fella in a parka with a sniper's rifle on some kind of mission hears an odd sound and goes to investigate it, switching from a rifle to a handgun in the process. He comes across a stunned young stern blonde Nordic fella in a silver mesh Quantum Leap outfit with either drool or vomit dripping off his lower lip. The Leaper asks the fella in English, "What year is it?" The native fella does not much care for this type of conversation and after a half-page of confused threats, our Leaper's insists he is Ben Haukelid and that he is looking for Knut Haukelid and that is he from the future and he's here to help him. To which our native stern blonde Nordic fella naturally replies, "I am Knut Haukelid." We then smash forward to an alternative future in New London, Reichsland, where Ben Haukelid goes about his Winston Smith from 1984 day, including his work in the memory hole of the archive in Speer's wet dream of a building. There he meets a ravishing rebellious redhead gal who naturally opens his eyes to how wrong all is around him and gets him in contact with The Resistance, who have built a time machine and want to change the past to save their present. To the surprise of no one reading this, Ben holds the key to unraveling the POD that led to this nightmare world: the Heroes of Telemark failed and the Nazis were able to use Norwegian heavy water to build a bomb which they then used to bomb London. Now, lets please aside the AH plausibility of the heavy water present in Norway at the time of WW2 outbreak being used to actually build a functioning nuclear bomb and focus on the story itself, which now twists and turns in such a fashion as to sideline the man The Resistance was planning on sending to the past and instead massively unprepared everyman Ben goes into the past instead. Much confusion results and many people die, but the good guys win in the end, and the timeline is restored.
To begin with, this is not a comic book story. The pacing, dialogue, twists and character turns are all wrong for it. This is a movie script from the early 2000s that was then adapted to comic book form. You can see the tell tale signs of it, from the cold open, to the by-the-numbers character-arc and three act breakdown. As a result of clearly starting life as a 90+ minute movie that was never made, it is a meat and potatoes story, lacking all garnish or veggies. There is no time for world building despite over a half of the story taking place in New London, because you do not want to bore the audience at home and have to hit that action beat every ten minutes, erm, pages. There is no time to watch a character mature, just throw an exposition and a handful of dialogue about how our heroes do not see themselves as heroes and are just everymen thrown about by the winds of fate. There is no time to have a fully defined female character, just make her a magical manic pixie girl who inspires our hero to cowboy up. Had this been a real graphic novel, with proper graphic novel pacing, we might have gotten something more. Instead we slam bang through it all so we can get to the gunplay every ten pages. And don't get me wrong, I love gunplay, but only if I care about the people getting shot at, if they're ciphers and cliches or if I know which ones must survive for the story to continue, it just becomes an exercise in drawing blood on walls and visualizing gun sounds ("Brakka Brakka" for an MP40 submachine gun in case you are wondering, and "BRAZZZAT" and "Brazzap" for an energy based guns of Future Gestapo).
The art is nice, if bland, though there are not many creative ways one can draw snowy wastelands. The Speerian monstrosities that make up New London are creative, but only last one splash page, after that we are restricted to one good shot of Xenomorph inspired Gestapo hovercraft, Nazi IKEA apartments and grungy underground bunkers of The Resistance until we get to Norway. Once in Norway, and once we get past the snow, we kinda realize all the clean shaven Norwegian characters look alike, and come to think of it, you can only visually tell them from the German soldiers by their headgear and uniforms. Maybe it was a profound statement about how we are all brothers, or it was just lazy art. The only way to tell the Haukelids apart from the others is by the fact they are only clean shaven blonde Norwegians in the story. In case you are wondering how the two are related is not exactly touched upon, but Ben claims his father brought Knut's journal out of Norway and hid it as a family heirloom.
The fundamental problem of not starting life as a comic book and being brought to life as a comic book hurts in other aspects as well. Our hero is the American film hero for the 2000s, the white guy hipster indecisive fella who must stress his averageness at every turn and goes at great pains to portray himself as just another guy who stumbled into it all, but cannot let down his new gal and his newfound pals. You can well imagine him played on the big screen by a bland slab of pale, a more grown up and far more Nordic version of Michael Cera perhaps or post-Spiderman 3 Tobey McGuire with platinum hair. Frankly after a while, you want the guy sent from the future to save humanity from a nightmare Nazi dominated world to... do more, be more, and speak less.
Time Travel RPG that ripe for making Alt Universes: http://site.pelgranepress.com/index.php/category/products/timewatch/
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Mirror Broken
Writers: David Tipton and Scott Tipton
Art & Colors: J.K. Woodward
This is an ongoing mini-series (six issues planned) and I had the pleasure to read the first two. The Star Trek Mirror universe probably does not need an introduction on an AH site, so I will instead focus on what this particular Mirror universe tale brings: continuity between the Mirror universe of The Original Series and Deep Space 9. In the Original Series, the Terran Empire is at the height of its imperialist might. In Deep Space 9, the Empire has been destroyed and humanity has been enslaved by the species it once shoved aside. This mini-series aims to bridge the divide between the two polar extremes. It is not the first attempt to create a Next Generation era mirror universe story, but previous attempts are no longer in canon due to changes that came after they were published (Dark Mirror) or were merely cast aside due to pique (Rise Like Lions & Worst of Both Worlds).
The Terran Empire of Mirror Broken has been squeezed back to Earth's solar system and is crumbling. Aging warships such as I.S.S. Stargazer patrol the shrinking frontiers and doom and gloom pervades. But Captain Picard (with a gray goatee) of Stargazer learns of a top secret warship being built and wants to get his hands on it. Three guesses as to its name. He is aided in his quest by the ship's inquisitor Deanna Troi, wearing an outfit that is demi-dominatrix, Data and Barclay. I will not spoil how Barclay is introduced, but would urge all to get the Free Comic Book Day copy of the Broken Mirror prequel to learn of why Barclay is by Picard's side.
Along the way to capture the new warship, Picard calls upon old and new reluctant allies, such as the proposed's warship's engineer Geordi LaForge (shaved bald, but with a goatee, naturally) and a certain first officer of the secret warship named Riker (milky white eye due to a scar and braided beard). Mirror universe tropes abound (assassinations, agony booth and etc.), but what makes it very good, is that the characterizations ring true, the art is good (more on that in a minute) and the story moves.
The art is stylized, but I like it. It cannot be easy to draw a comic depicting fictional characters whose appearance is known to the intended audience. After all, one does not exactly draw Jean Luc Picard as one wishes, one draws Patrick Stewart as Jean Luc Picard and then one can put one's own spin on it. The art does not distract from the story, however, and compliments it.
There is two other things I must say, in addition to "buy this comic if you're a Star Trek and AH fan," first, it is an ongoing series, so until the story is complete, it is hard to judge how successful it turns out. Second, in one of the scenes, Picard goes to look for Riker and finds him in a seedy bar. He tries to recruit him, but that does not go well early on and soon the two are fighting. In the midst of the fight, Picard executes a different Picard maneuver - he gets behind Riker and hits him with a German suplex.
Roger Ebert once observed that if you watch enough movies you will find one that seems to have been made just for you. Ladies and gentlemen, I am a Star Trek fan, I am also a Star Trek: The Next Generation fan, I am also a Mirror Universe Star Trek fan, as well as an AH fan, but I am also a pro-wrestling fan. So, when I found myself reading a Star Trek The Next Generation Mirror Universe AH story featuring Picard executing a German suplex on Riker... it is as if the comic book came alive on my tablet, ensconced me in a virtual hug and whispered ever so gently into my ear, "it's all for you."
I, therefore, may be biased.
Haven't seen this posted anywhere
1901, the Polish immigrant turned anarchist assassin Leon Czolgosz sought to strike terror in the captains of industry by killing President McKinley. The assassin never completed his task. In a world where Theodore Roosevelt never became president, where the Progressive Era remained stillborn, America’s native sons and immigrant workers turn increasingly to militant trade unionism and socialism to put food on the table.
Reds! chronicles a world turned upside down, where the heart of world capitalism succumbs to communist revolution. It is a tale of ordinary men and women turned to revolution, of a tragic civil war spurred on by reaction, culminating in the death of the old United States and its rebirth in the Union of American Socialist Republics.
Is that our very own @Jello_Biafra I spy here?
Yes it is, thanks to the good folks at Sea Lion Press
Unsong: The Novel
For those of you who don't know, Unsong was this popular blog where the Messiah, magic, and mayhem leaks back into the world during the 60's turning it into a religious chaotic planet that fears Hell and the demons that live within it. Eventually, humanity became used to this chaos and managed to exploit the angels and dark magic to their advantage It has great humor, world-building, characters, and it's available on Goodreads. Over 600 pages long, its worth a read if you like some good puns. If you don't, then read it and ignore the puns.
Many years ago, I releazed a little AH book in French.
Now it cames in english and it's available for preorder.
Prends mon argent directement et ne pose aucune question.
I have something to read this summer.
Well, if you're a french reader. I've wrote bigger and better books
Why does it appear the AH published genre seem so barren and empty now?
I don't know if I agree with that. Here are just a few AH that have been published in 2017 so far: https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/113200.Alternate_History_in_2017
I know its incomplete so any recommendations?
Being someone who actually doesn't care about Star Trek, I have to say I'm also enjoying the comic.
I know enough to be familiar with the basic characters and what not.
Where and when? Could not find it on Amazon. I have a degree in Latin American Studies so I have an interest.
Now and on amazon.
As it's a very short book and my first I'mnot sure if it will be interesting for someone having a degree in Latin American Studies.
Noticed something that would give most people here a stroke: MacArthur's Luck: The race for Berlin is on!
"January 1945: As Hitler’s Germany and Tojo’s Japan collapse, General George Marshall dies unexpectedly days before the critical Yalta Conference. His successor as US Army Chief of Staff, General Douglas MacArthur, flies halfway around the world to butt heads with Josef Stalin and change history."
Oh this gets better. Barry Goldwater guest stars as a major and Robert Heinlein as a commander, both appear on the Pacific front.
Now, this is where it gets fun: the author is a military historian (degree and published and peer reviewed and everything) of the Confederate Armies and the Wehrmacht. I wonder if this is him just letting his freak flag fly and having fun, after spending time researching Model and Raus and other monsters in painstaking historical detail. "Hells to the yeah, I can make Barry Goldwater show up and bomb the shit out of Tokyo, 'cause it's fiction, baby! It don't gotta make sense! I earned this. I had to follow the freaking Wehrmacht retreat from Leningrad, corpse by corpse. I need this, man. Let me!"
Une forme d'histoire alternative... la pseudo-histoire
Not pure alternate history but about pseudo-history and how it looks alternate history.
Only available in French a the moment.
For fans of Rick Riordan and Brian Selznick, author-artist Armand Baltazar introduces Timeless: Diego and the Rangers of the Vastlantic, the first in a new science fiction/fantasy series that explores a world painted new by the Time Collision. Integrating art and text, this epic and cinematic adventure features more than 150 full-color illustrations.
You’ve never seen Earth like this before: continents reshaped, oceans re-formed, cities rebuilt, and mountains sculpted anew. Dinosaurs roam the plains alongside herds of buffalo, and giant robots navigate the same waters as steam-powered ships.
This is the world Diego Ribera was born into. The past, present, and future coexisting together. In New Chicago, Diego’s middle school hallways buzz with kids from all eras of history and from cultures all over the world. The pieces do not always fit together neatly, but this is the world he loves.
There are those, however, who do not share his affection. On his thirteenth birthday, Diego learns of a special gift he has within, a secret that is part of something much bigger—something he cannot understand. When his father, New Chicago’s top engineer, is taken by the Aeternum, Diego must rescue him and prevent this evil group from disrupting the fragile peace humanity has forged.
Separate names with a comma.