Dale Cozort's Alternate History Newsletter 

Volume 14: Number 3 --- June/July  2011
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July 2011 Main Page

Lenin Lives Longer

Give Lenin another 5 to 20 years

AH Challenges

iPads, Spain in World War II, etc.

No British/French Guarantee For Poland

How does that change World War II?

Excerpt: Exchange Sequel

Trapped in an alternate reality with a bunch of convicts. What else could go wrong?

Church of the Space Saviors

A very different alien invasion

Multiple Human Species?

How could we have ended up with multiple surviving human species?

Comments Section

Point Of Divergence is an amateur press magazine and also a forum for discussing AH and AH-related ideas.  Here is my comment section.

The big things this two months: (1) The practical joke.  With Robert Alley and Jim Rittenhouse’s assistance and some help from my friend Lisa Brackman, I concocted an elaborate practical joke for Point of Divergence distro 65, sent the distro off, and then waited for a reaction.  And waited.  And waited.

The joke: (elaborate, and apparently abortive for most of the targets): "The zine from another timeline."  I got together with Jim and Robert and we cooked up a scheme to put together a zine that looked like it came from a slightly divergent timeline--the result of a inter-dimensional post office mix-up. The point of divergence was that Jim was able to carry on as editor.  Robert Alley stuck around, and we got a couple of new members.

We didn't expect anyone to actually believe that they got a zine from a different timeline.  The reaction we were expecting was an interval of puzzled "What?  Wait a second.  What's going on?" followed by light bulbs going on as people put the pieces together and got a good laugh out of it.

So how did we do the seemingly other timeline elements?  I gave Alley as much of distro 64 as I could online and we worked together to come up with supposed zines from Lisa and Johnny from distro 64 that we could comment on.  Alley did his comments based on that info.  Jim and I were going to collaborate on an elaborate zine from Jim, but I ran out of time, so we just used some of the preliminary notes to put together something for him.

What about the new faces?  Lisa is real, but unfortunately too busy with her next novel to be a regular contributor.  Her novel
Rock Paper Tiger is real and has been quite successful.  We've been friends for several years and I was able to talk her into allowing me to use some of her stuff to create a zine supposedly from her.  If you want more of her China adventures, feel free to visit her blog at http://papertigertail.blogspot.com/. Johnny Grey, unfortunately, will not be appearing in these pages again either, unless I decide to write another zine supposedly from him.  Unfortunately, Johnny and his entire persona is a product of my demented imagination.  I decided to come up with a total southern wank person, and a neo-confederate wet dream scenario, and then just write as over-the-top as I could.  It was one heck of a lot of fun. I did borrow (with permission) some pieces of the persona.

As a part of the persona, I wrote the Dies The Fire fanfic, figuring that no one would suspect me of writing fanfic.  A considerably improved version of "The Man Who Broke The Speed Limit" is posted on a Steve Stirling fan fiction site with me as author.  Firefox doesn’t give me a direct link for some reason, but if you go to http://www.smstirling.com/ and look for fan fiction you should be able to find it.

I decided to add to the other-dimension quality of the distro by putting in part two of my Exchange sequel without putting in part one, and having Alley comment on an imaginary part one.  My comments also refer to imaginary zines in previous distros from Robert, Jim, Lisa, and Johnny.

There are quite a few other clues to the other-dimensional nature of the zine hidden in the zines and in some of the messages I posted on the Yahoo list. 

 I backslid a bit from my Microsoft-free writing goal this past several months.  My 15 inch Acer is just enough easier on my eyes that I tend to use it more than my Macbook Air.  I still use the Mac a lot, but it’s almost interchangeable now, with the slight edge to the Acer.

I spent much of the last two months either getting ready for, or attending a two week science fiction novel writing workshop in Lawrence Kansas.  I workshopped the still unnamed sequel to Bear Country.  Very worthwhile.  I got some real insights on the plot.  I also got to chat with the Sturgeon (science fiction short story) and Campbell (science fiction novel) award winners.  Both were very approachable and very nice, especially the novel award winner, Ian McDonald, author of The Dervish House. 

We had a great group at the novel workshop.  Kij Johnson taught it.  She is an excellent wordsmith.  If you want to get the flavor of her writing, check out her short story 26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss.  It’s online and free at http://www.kijjohnson.com/26_monkeys.htm.  Definitely worth a read.  Kij is a wonderful writer, though every one of her stories is very different, which has probably kept her from building up the kind of fan base she might have if she had followed a formulaic ‘just like the last one only different’ path.  She is a very interesting lady and well worth the read. 

My suite-mate was an interesting character.  He’s a former college baseball player, who went into airforce intelligence as a Russian linguist, then into Physical Therapy.  He sold his practice a few years ago, and decided to take up writing.  The guy is extremely social, to the extent that by the end of the two weeks even the Dunkin Donuts guy knew his name.  That worked out well because it offset my naturally quiet nature.  The ex-athlete bit also helped because we went down to the gym and worked out almost every day.  We also had a Brit, who was very bright and nice, a guy who actually made of living in a theatre troupe for fifteen years, a lady who played the bagpipes and does food reviews, a guy who worked for one of the intelligence agencies as an interrogator, an artist who is getting into writing, and a guy with every extant Dr Who episode on his hard drive and also plays the bagpipes, to mention just a few.  We clicked more than any other group I’ve been a part of, and I hope we keep in touch. 

Somebody showed us a video of a honey badger with a hilarious new audio track (honey badger doesn’t give a sh*t) and we unofficially became the honey badgers.

I also found a piece of a BEM story that I had written and abandoned a couple of years ago.  It felt like something I should finish, so I’ve written another 8,000 words on it, though I’m still not finished with it.  You may see some of it this issue.

My writing plans for the near future:

·         Do some final polishing on my novel Char and seriously market it, hopefully by the end of July.

·         Do one more revision of All TImelines Lead to Rome and start marketing it, hopefully by end of August.

·         Finish the rough draft of my novel Snapshot, with a goal of mid-September. (I should have only about 20,000 words left on that)

·         Revise the outline of the Exchange Sequel, starting in mid-September, and then write the first half of the actual story in October.

·         Finish the rough draft of the Exchange sequel in November as my NaNoWrite novel, if I don't already have it done by then.

·         Somewhere among all of this, find time to work on my novel Mars Looks Different, finish some short stories, and do some promotion.

Is all of that going to happen in that time-frame?  I would be surprised if it does, but setting ambitious goals do help me reach at least some of them.

One of the problems I have to deal with is that as I get better at writing I look back at what I’ve written before and am unhappy with it.  For example, I had Char at a level I was happy with at least twice, but as my writing gets more sophisticated I see issues I didn’t before and need to rewrite to bring the older stuff up to my current standards.  Some of the scenes are pretty good.  Others definitely need work.  The difference between having something almost right and having it right takes far longer than writing itself. 

I have a fair-sized AH scenario section this time, but as has become all too common lately, most of my efforts are focused on the novel sections and the new BEM story.


Posted on January 3, 2012.


More Stuff For POD Members Only

What you see here is a truncated on-line version of a larger zine that I contribute to POD, the alternate history APA.  POD members get to look forward to more fun stuff.