The allure of dystopian alternative histories

(K. Brent Tomer),

ALTERNATIVE histories are like “alternative facts” at the moment: seemingly everyone is peddling them. First, Amazon gave us “The Man in the High Castle”, a loose take on Philip K. Dick’s novel envisioning America under Nazi and Japanese imperialist rule. Then the BBC, hungry for a piece of the alternate-history pie, responded with “SS-GB”, an adaptation of Len Deighton’s novel envisioning—what else—Britain under Nazi rule. “The Man in the High Castle” has just been recommissioned for a third season; “SS-GB”, midway through its five-episode run, looks set to be a handsomely mounted flop.

The shows have prompted the inevitable onslaught of think-pieces proclaiming the value of such stories at a time when even the Washington Post, not normally excitable, feels compelled to change its slogan to “Democracy Dies in Darkness”. But the genre is hardly new. Nazi-themed alternate histories date back to the months after the second world war. The latest instalments under this pulpy premise explore, with mixed results, what it means to resist—or collaborate with—an occupier.

But what if “SS-GB”…Continue reading

via K. Brent Tomer CFTC The allure of dystopian alternative histories

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