The first great alternate history book I remember reading was Guns of the South. It was by Harry Turtledove and told the tale of a group of South African racists that wanted to change history by giving the Confederate Army machine guns. It was an interesting read and spawned countless sequels set in the alternate universe. I read The Man in the High Castle at about the same time. I also grew up watching The Twilight Zone, which featured a lot of alternate history stories, time travel stories, and parables of one sort or another.
Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote an interesting article for the Atlantic about the HBO project called Confederate. Like several other people, he thinks the very idea of a show about a world where the South won the US Civil War is not just a bad idea, but a downright wrong idea. In his opinion, the South did win the Civil War. I read his book, Between the World and Me, and I was with him right up til the end. His solution to the problem of his son being exposed to American racism was one that any racist would approve and applaud, he took his son and moved to France. Nice out if you can swing it.
I’m a fan of Science Fiction and I’ve watched my share of really bad TV, read my share of really bad books, and seen countless really bad movies. But I’ve always had high hopes that the next TV show, book, or movie will be my next favorite. More often what happens is the proposed project never happens. A show that had a great pilot is never picked up. A script with a great premise is never shot. A book bounces around a hundred publishers and never sees the light of day. Of course, it’s easier now to get work out. Anyone with a cellphone can make a TV show, a movie, or a novel and put it online. But that’s not really the same.
If it were up to me, Breaking Bad would still be on the air, Game of Thrones would never end, and Supernatural would have been canceled in its second season. There’s way too much TV now to keep up with. Some of it I like, most of it I ignore, none of it offends me to the point that I would wish it had never existed. Well, except maybe Star Trek Enterprise. That was pretty awful.
I do agree with Ta-Nehisi Coates on at least one point, a TV show where Native Americans kept the Europeans out of the Americas would be a fun show to watch.
You might notice I didn’t talk much about Confederate, because there is nothing, as of yet, to talk about. Those of us who have been waiting for years for the next Star Trek know that these things can take time. and often, never happen. Maybe Confederate will never happen, or maybe it will be changed for the better by the many complaints about it.