Saturday, January 19, 2008

Changes

"No Martians yet. Nuts." Robert put his V-shaped chin on his hands and glared at the canal.

Dad had brought an atomic radio along, strapped to his wrist. It functioned on an old-fashioned principle: you held it against the bones near your ear and it vibrated singing or talking to you. Dad listened to it now. His face looked like one of those fallen Martian cities, caved in, sucked. dry, almost dead.

Then he gave it to Mom to listen. Her lips dropped open. "What--" Timothy started to question, but never finished what he wished to say. For at that moment there were two titanic, marrow-jolting explosions that grew upon themselves, followed by a half dozen minor concussions.
 - Planet Mars
Planet Mars
Dad listened. So did everybody. Dad's breathing echoed like fists beating against the cold wet wharf stones. In the shadow, Mom's cat eyes just watched Father for some clue to what next. Dad relaxed and blew out a breath, laughing at himself.

'The rocket, of course. I'm getting jumpy. The rocket.' ~ The Million Year Picnic (January 2008).

In 2008, astronomers watched a football pitch-sized lump of rock hurtle through space at a speed of 45000 km/h. The fragment, which had been christened WD-5, was on a collision course with Mars. The impact on 30th January would subsequently be known as the Martian Armageddon. During the period December 2001-November 2005 humans from Earth had colonized the deserted planet, occasionally having contact with the few surviving Martians, but for the most part preoccupied with making Mars a second Earth. WD-5 changed all that. Captain Wilder and family had family had returned home using his private rocket that he had concealed from government service. On their million year picnic, Wilder had promised his children that they would see some Martians on the Minnesota River..
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1948In 1950, the acclaimed author George Orwell real name Eric Arthur Blair died in Airstrip One after a three-year battle against tuberculosis.

Until the last, news had been positive and it was hoped Mr Orwell was improving. On Friday morning he had a long talk with a friend about his plans for the future.

However, a few hours later he suffered a fatal haemorrhage in a London hospital.
1948 - George Orwell
George Orwell
Blair had been taught at Eton by Aldous Huxley, remembering him as another incompetent and hopeless teacher who couldn’t keep discipline. By coincidence, both teacher and pupil would following similiar career paths in literature and journalism.

Huxley wrote Brave New World, whilst Orwell penned Nineteen Forty-Eight, an anarchistic vision of the future partly based on the indiscipline of Eton.

Returning to his own dystopian vision of "Brave New World", Huxley continued:

Within the next generation I believe that the world's leaders will discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient, as instruments of government, than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging them and kicking them into obedience.

Nineteen Forty-eight gave a full contemporary history of the world. After the Second World War, the United Kingdom descended into civil war, eventually becoming part of the new world power of Oceania. At roughly the same time, the Soviet Union expanded into mainland Europe to form Eurasia; the third world power, Eastasia—an amalgamation of east Asian countries around China and Japan—emerged some time later.

There was a period of nuclear warfare during which hundreds of atomic bombs were dropped, mainly on Europe, western Russia, and North America. The civil war which ended with the Party taking over, the merging of the British Empire and the United States.

During the Second World War, Orwell repeatedly expressed the idea that British democracy as it existed before 1939 would not survive the war, the only question being whether its end would come through a Fascist coup d'├ętat from above or by a Socialist revolution from below. (Orwell greatly supported and hoped for the latter, to the extent that he joined and loyally participated in the British Home Guard throughout the war, in the expectation that it would become the nucleus of a revolutionary militia). Later during the war Orwell pointed to events that proven him right "What really matters is that 'the war and the revolution are inseparable'."

Alternate Historian's note, Writing originally in 1945, Orwell originally called the novel Nineteen Forty-eight, initially believing the vision to be that close. He subsequently revised the date when rewriting on the island of Jura in 1948.
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In 1942, senior officials of the Nazi German regiment attended a meeting in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee. The purpose of the conference was to inform senior Nazis and senior Governmental administrators of plans for the 'Final solution to the Jewish question'. Rommel's unchecked advances in North Africa meant that the Final Solution would be arriving in the British Mandate in Palestine real soon.
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In 1917, at Aqaba in the Transjordan leader of the misnamed Arab revolt Auda Abu Tayi orders the execution by beheading of Colonel T.E. Lawrence. His duplicity had been laid bare for all brothers to see when he had carelessly left his autobiographic works, the Seven Pillars of Deceit open in his tent. Tayi had been dismayed to understand that the forthcoming Balfour Declaration would promise a Jewish Homeland in Palestine. His white brother Lawrence was no more and no less than a British Agent using Arab troops to defeat the Turk and thereafter impose his own hegemony on Arabia. President Yasser Arafat paid tribute to Tayi in 1997 on the eve of the half-centennial in East Jerusalem. Without his bold intervention, the Palestinian people would be second class citizens in a secular Jewish State.
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In 1649, the traitor Oliver Cromwell was tried for treason and other 'high crimes' as the authority of Stuart rule was re-established following the English Civil War.
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ChangesIn 2009, following his inaugural address Barack Obama made reference to youth icon Tupac Shakur. Changes had predicted 'we're never going to see a Black Presidency', failing to anticipate a Rice vs. Obama campaign race.
Changes - Tupac Shakur
Tupac Shakur
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Stephen R. DonaldsonIn 1968, Stephen Reeder Donaldson languished in Vietnam. By inclination a conscientious objector, he had been compelled to serve in the armed forces.

Much later, and after dropping out of his Ph.D. program and moving to New Jersey in order to write fiction, Donaldson made his publishing debut with the first 'Covenant' trilogy in 1977. That enabled him to move to a healthier climate. He now lives in New Mexico.

Donaldson's two year compulsory military duty would be the deep undercurrent of his escapist fantasy writing. In 'The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever', the protagonist was a leper struggled with disempowerment in a Land he did not really believe in.
Stephen R. Donaldson - Unbeliever
Unbeliever
This is the Land,' Lena said joyfully, as if the outspread earth had a power to thrill her. 'It reaches far beyond seeing to the North. Is it possible that you do not know this?'. 'I don't know anything, ' he groaned into the open fall. ~'Kevin's Watch'.
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In 1994, prosecutors of the traitor Aldrich Ames were confronted with a nightmarishly difficult decision. It had been safetly assumed that since Ames had betrayed the US to foreign powers, little damage could be caused through revelations in the media. Not so, said he producing the Ames dossier.
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In 1981, the Iranian Hostage Crisis ended as Ronald Reagan’s successor was sworn into office. True to their word at last, the Iranians released the embassy personnel they had been holding for over a year once Edward Kennedy was sworn in as President of the United States. To thumb his nose at the Iranians, Kennedy lent Ronald Reagan Air Force One to fly overseas and retrieve the hostages.
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In 1981, the Iranian Hostage Crisis ended as the Reverend Jesse Jackson’s successor was sworn into office. Having negotiated the release of the students in Tehran in 1980, Reagan and Bush had conspired with the terrorists to release the students only after the inauguration. They send Jackson to Germany to meet the students, a duplicious act of false humility to reinforce his weakened authority. And the President of Iran today is the very channel through which Reagan and Bush acted.
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In 1953, on this day President Douglas MacArthur was inaugurated in Washington DC. In his address he drew parallels with the career of Paul Von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg, German Command in Chief also recalled from retirement twice, once to lead the military, once for the Presidency, both in late middle age and at a time of national crisis. Unlike the 'Wooden Titan' Hindenburg, Brass Hat was back to get a result. In theory he was promoted from retired Six-Star General to Commander in Chief. In practice he was given the keys to the hydrogen bomb. Also Bacteriological weapons that Unit 731 gave Brass Hat in 1945 to secure the amnesty of the Japanese scientists against trial for the extermination of 200,000 Chinese citizens during World War II. Quite a cocktail when combined with a determination to make war with the China to re-unite Korea and re-instate Chiang Kai-shek.
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In 1971, the British Government reacted somewhat irritably to the European Space Agencies who described Apollo 13 mission mechanical failures as a self-inflicted wound. The British really would have to do something about this quality control problem for next time. Mind you, they had won the race to the Moon, so there.
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Through the mirror of my mind, time after time I see reflections of you and me
Reflections of the way life used to be, reflections of the love you took from me
Oh I'm all alone now, no love to sheild me, trapped in a world that's a distorted reality
Happiness you took from me and left me alone with only memories
Through the mirror of my mind through these tears that I've cried reflects the hurt I can't control
Cause although you're gone I keep holding on to the happy time Ooh, when you were mine ~ Poem Fragment discovered by builders at 2648 W. Grand Boulevard Detroit, Michigan 48208
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History students of Afrocentric sixties have speculated that the poem fragment was written by Diana Ernestine Ross, a member of the little known Supremes who disbanded in late 1963.

Ross sang lead on all but one of the group's early singles. These singles were not successes, and Ross worked as Motown CEO Berry Gordy, Jr.'s secretary for additional income.

It is generally believed that Gordy was also the father of Ross's first child.

The poetry fragment was discovered when the studio was demolished in the early 1990s to make way for a shopping mall, with both Gordy and Ross dissappearing into obscurity.
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3 comments:

JO said...

"Nineteen Forty Eight" ???????

Alternate Historian said...

Hi Jo
Hope you get this message since you commented anonymously and I cant be sure .. writing originally in 1945, Orwell originally called the novel Nineteen Forty-eight, initially believing the vision to be that close. He subsequently revised the date when rewriting on the island of Jura in 1948. See also the link on the post for description of this point.

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