Dale Cozort's Alternate History Newsletter

Volume 11: Number 1 --- March  2008


Why Don't More Historians Use Alternate History

Book Review: Opening Atlantis

Soviet/Japanese war 1936 

Spain Joins The Axis - June 1940 - part 2

Scenario Seeds: Longer Lived Leaders

Scenario Seeds: Politically Potent Sons

The Polish-German War of 1939-Machines Versus Magic

Char Excerpt





POD, the Amateur Press Association (APA) that I write this for, has made it to issue 50. I am now co-editor of the APA. We do have some slots open, so if you like to write alternate history and think you might enjoy POD e-mail me. I wanted to make this an outstanding issue, but fate intervened. I had about 41 pages done and was shooting for 50 pages (to go along with the 50th issue thing). I had a nice little scenario with trolleys and dirigibles, all done very plausibly (at least in my opinion). I was working away at a pretty good scenario where the Nationalist Chinese remained in power in China, and it became a "be careful what you wish for" situation for the US. Then, as I said, fate intervened. As I worked on the China scenario, one of our three cats stepped on the switch to the outlet strip the computer is hooked up to. He didn't throw the switch into the off position. He just moved it enough to make the power go off for a split second, then come back on.

Unfortunately, that split second must have come at a bad time for the hard drive. At first the problem didn't seem too bad. I lost half an hour to an hour's work because for some reason autobackup didn't pick up. I said "Oh well" and just kept going.

Then the real disaster started. The hard drive started going bad, but not in an obvious way. The computer slowed to an agonizing crawl, and then slowed down even more, to the point where nothing was happening at all. The hard drive worked just enough to tantalize me for several hours, getting into Windows a couple of times before freezing. Finally it stopped booting.

It's a dual boot Windows/Linux system and it stopped with an error message just before I was supposed to choose Linux or Windows. Then came the real disaster. I decided to reinstall Linux, thinking that the cat problem had corrupted the drive locally in the Linux/Windows choice program. Well, I went through the Linux install and tried to reboot. Nothing. Not only that, but I found out later that instead of reinstalling on my internal drive it repartitioned my external backup drive, wiping out my backup, and turning the loss of maybe a couple of hours worth of work into the loss of everything I did for eight days-everything I had for the zine.

So, back to the drawing board. I tried a spare disk I had laying around. Couldn't get it to work at all in several hours of trying. Finally I ran out and bought a new drive. Had trouble even there. The software on the CD that came with the drive wouldn't recognize it. Fortunately I had an earlier revision of the software from a drive I bought from the same company earlier. It worked. I spent several hours getting the drive formatted, Windows installed, drivers hunted up (this is a system I built myself, so I had to hunt down all of the driver disks), and enough software installed to get the computer minimally functional. Loads of fun. Actually, very time-consuming.

I then spent several hours trying to recover the lost scenarios and other stuff on the backup hard drive. No luck at all on that front.

The cats don't understand why I don't let them anywhere near the computer anymore. You may be wondering why the one cat is still alive. I'm a very patient person, though this little incident really tried that patience.

On other fronts, I'm done with Gather contests for the time being. My novel Char made it to the final 5 in the TruTV (formerly CourtTV) Search for the Next Great Crime Writer contest, and got a lot of good reviews, but it didn't win. I did get $500 for being in the final five, which didn't feel too shabby. Ironically I also got a $50 Borders gift card for my comments on one of the other entries. All in all, not bad. I spent a hunk of the check on the new hard drive.

Char is vaguely like a cross between Encino Man, Twin Peaks and (apparently) Fargo. I still have yet to see Fargo, but I'm told that the sheriff in Char has a lot in common with the sheriff in Fargo.

So, what have I got for you this time? I put links to the a link to the first chapter of Char here. It qualifies. The title character is from an alternate time-line. I did manage to put together a respectable number of new or continued scenarios, and in spite of the best efforts of my cats I did reach a little over 50 pages on the print version of the zine. I continued the scenario where Spain jumps into World War II in June 1940. Part one of that is in the February 2007 issue. You may also enjoy the Japanese/Soviet War in 1936 scenario. There is also the usual crop of scenario seeds, a book review and miscellaneous essays, and of couse, something completely different.

This page has had hits since I posted it on June 9, 2008.


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.