Sunday, August 12, 2007

Viking Hoard

Today In Alternate History

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Birthday Contest! Email us alternate birthdays for The Historian (August 14, 1965) and the Co-historian (November 22, 1967)! I have to go perform computer surgery now, so I have a small entry for myself, followed by Steve's excellent work.

“Well, it's good to know that he didn't walk here from back east,” I said. “What kind of an organization do you run, Mr. Dharne?”
He looked me up and down a couple of times before answering. “I am the spiritual leader of a small community.”
“Really?” I tried to express surprise at that, but I don't think I acted it very well, and he was clearly bemused by my attempt. “That fascinates me. I've often meant to study the religious communities of Texas, especially those that choose to isolate themselves - “
“We do not isolate ourselves.” His voice was very cold and sharp, and his followers moved closer to me. I felt very worried about myself. “The society around us forces us out. We cannot help but leave their sickness behind.”

Whatever happened to Leon Trotsky?
He got an ice pick that made his ears burn
StranglersWhatever happened to dear old Lenny?
The great Elmyra, and Sancho Panza?
Whatever happened to the heroes?

~ Lyrics to “What Ever Happened to the Heroes?” - Click to Watch Sample
Punk Band
In 12400, “After the Myths Went Home” was written by Curator of the Hall of Man, Robert Silverberg – “For a while in those years we were calling great ones out of the past, to find out what they were like. This was in the middle twelves--12400 to 12450, say. We called up Caesar and Antony, and also Cleopatra. We got Freud and Marx and Lenin into the same room and let them talk. We summoned Winston Churchill, who was a disappointment (he lisped and drank too much), and Napoleon, who was magnificent. We raided ten millennia of history for our sport.

But after half a century of this we grew bored with our game. We were easily bored, in the middle twelves. So we started to call up the myth people, the gods and the heroes. That seemed more romantic, and this was one of Earth's romanticist eras we lived in.

It was my turn then to serve as curator of the Hall of Man, and that was where they built the machine, so I watched it going up from the start. Leor the Builder was in charge. He had made the machines that called the real people up, so this was only slightly different, no real challenge to his talents. He had to feed in another kind of data, full of archetypes and psychic currents, but the essential process of reconstruction would be the same. He never had any doubt of success.”

It was a future that had been predicted by “the Stranglers” as far back as 1977. The lyrics are available at at Ottosell
~ quotation by Co-Historian Steve Payne from Counter-history – You're the Judge!

In 1975, Dennis Weaver starred on TV as the incongruously mounted police-man McCloud in New York City. A satirical finger was being pointed at not only the British North American Mounted Police, but the increasingly outdated nature of the anachronistic British Vice royalty in general.

~ entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!

"I mention this Italian militiaman because he stuck vivily in my memory. With his shabby uninform and fierce pathetic face he typifies for me the special atmoshpere of that time. He is bound up with all my memories of that period of the war - the red flags in Barcelona, the gaunt trains full of shabby soliders creeping to the front, the gret war-sticken towns further up the line, the muddy, ice-cold trenches in the mountains.

This was in late December, 1936, less than seven months ago as a I write, and yet it is a period that has already receded into enormous distance.
Eric BlairLater events have obliterated 1935, or 1905 for that matter. I had come to Spain with some notion of writing newspaper articles, but I had joined the militia almost immediately, because at that time and in that atmosphere it seemed the only conceivable thing to do. The Anarchists were still in virtual control of Catalonia and the revolution was in full swing."
~ Eric Arthur Blair in “Homage to Catalonia”
Eric Blair - Aka George Orwell
George Orwell
In 1936, Eric Arthur Blair describing his role in the Spanish Civil War, an event that would have huge long-term consequences for the people of Europe. The full article is available at Amazon
~ quotation by Co-Historian Steve Payne from Counter-history – You're the Judge!

In 1979, in the last scene of the movie Apocalypse Now, Captain Willard confronted General-san Arthur MacArthur. Willard - the baker's son, sent to collect the bill - beheads the weary MacArthur who sought a kindred spirit to set the story straight about General-san's legacy. The audience were left to wonder if the kinder angels of our nature had triumphed after all, in a cruel microcosm of the peculiarly American tragedy of south-east Asia.

~ variant from Steve Payne: extensive use of original content has been made to celebrate the author's genius.

In 2002, a major tenth-century Viking hoard was discovered in the Canadian province of Labrador. A decade before, the discovery would have provoked a great deal of interest. At that time, there was a consensus among scholars that the Vikings were the first Europeans to reach North America, centuries before Christopher Columbus.

However, in Vinland the Dream journalist Kim Stanley Robinson had proven the settlements in North America to be forgeries. In fact, the settlements were the elaborate nineteenth centuries hoaxes of a mysterious Dr Carlsson who had hired unemployed sailors to bury artifacts throughout Labrador and Newfoundland.

Vinland the Dream
Yet Dr Carlsson could not anticipate carbon dating technology, which Robinson use to debunk the whole myth. After all, common sense showed that the Vikings were overstretched on Greenland, and the climate was changing dramatically at the time when norseman Leif EirĂ­ksson would have had to have landed.

~ entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!

Otis Redding
Otis Redding
In 1482, to pass the long night of six hundred years at St. George El Mina Castle, a new and vibrant voice sings to Kwame. ”Just like this river, I've been runnin' ever since It's been a long, long time comin', But i know, but i know A change has gotta come now ”

~ entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!

In 1281, the fleet of Qubilai Khan narrowly averted destruction by a typhoon whilst approaching Japan. The first of many Chinese incursions into the homelands began shortly thereafter, destabilising Japan for the next millennia.Qubilai Khan
Qubilai Khan

~ entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!

A Collection of Political Counterfactuals
A Collection of..
In 2003, on this day the compendium “A Collection of Political Counterfactuals” was show-cased by publishers. Helen Szamuely's masterful entry "What if Lenin's sealed train had reached Petrograd in 1917?"" was a keynote contribution, considering the scenario where Vladimir Lenin had been present in Petrograd in 1917 to directly shape events.
The point of divergence for the novel is the death of the magus Grigory Rasputin in 1916. Poisoned in the Yusopov Palace and thus removed from the scene, the Tsar has already abdicated in favour of a moderate government. Ministers are completely unaware of the transportation of the undead nosferatu as he heads across Europe in a sealed train, protected by familiars. The government is of course powerless to intercept his mission. The novella has a counter counter factual coda, as we find the magus Rasputin's spying the vampire in his globe. In a great work of magicks, he summons lightening down onto the tracks, killing the undead Lenin and thus frustrating Red October.

~ entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!

In 1945, two days ride from the destroyed city of Nagasaki, the Forty-Seven Ronin break camp at sunrise. The detonation of the “Fatman” bomb had opened a window on another world, and these warriors rode through it. Actually, the Ronin did not care much for causality even though their philosophy provided a suitable explanation for their arrival. Ronin
And in fact, that was all they cared about, re-establishing the honour of Japan in the face of the perpetrators of this heinous and cowardly attack, or die trying.

~ entry by Steve Payne from Counter History in Context - You're the Judge!

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