Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Fun with History

Okay, it's back to what passes for normal around here. I actually hit my minimum "work time" quota yesterday in doing research reading, but today I need to work on copyedits, which feels more like work and less like reading. The research for this book is going to be interesting because I'm coming up against ripples from my alternate history premise that I'll have to deal with. There's a lot of stuff that happened in the 1800s because of the aftereffects of the American Revolution that wouldn't have happened in my world, but then there's some that may or may not have happened anyway, and in those cases I have to do my best to project how they might have progressed from that point in changed circumstances.

Fortunately, thanks to a Twitter post from the New York Times reviewing a new book on American history, I found an older book by the same author at my library that covers exactly the topic I was curious about. It's a potentially touchy subject that I hope to treat well -- something that didn't go well in real history but that I might be able to "fix" in my world, but on the other hand, is fixing it a way of erasing what did happen? I imagine that the people who are looking for things to find offensive will find something to be offended by no matter what I do, but I hope that most people will find it interesting and maybe even thought-provoking. I'm not famous enough to really get a lot of attention (and if I do get singled out for attention, it would likely raise my profile). I guess I just need to do what feels right for my story and the people in it and try to be honest about how things might go.

At any rate, this reading is already getting scene ideas brewing in my head as I find myself mentally inserting my characters into the historical events as they're depicted in this reference, and then I'm also mentally trying to move things forward by 100 or so years and imagining how it might have progressed. That's what's fun about playing with alternate history.

Really, reading history books and that counting as work makes my job so cool. Then to get another sense of revolutions, TCM is showing Reds on Friday night, and I've never seen it, though I've wanted to. Every time I was planning on it or thought I was going to see it, something came up or fell through -- including the time I showed up at the campus theater when it was supposed to be playing and they were showing something else. Now watch it get pre-empted this time. I'm so looking forward to a quiet, do-nothing weekend. Well, do-nothing other than research for a book, even if some of that involves watching a movie.

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