Dale Cozort's Alternate History Newsletter 

Volume 14: Number 4 --- October  2011
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It's 1955 in a world where World War II didn't happen.

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

Life rarely goes according to plan, and the last few months have illustrated that in my writing plans.  Remember my grand plans from last POD?  I'm going to review the plans and what actually happened.

 My writing plans and what actually happened:

-      Do some final polishing on my novel Char and seriously market it, hopefully by the end of July. (done, but not until early September)

-      Do one more revision of All TImelines Lead to Rome and start marketing it, hopefully by end of August. (About half done)

-     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)  (barely started)

  Revise the outline of the Exchange Sequel, starting in mid-September, and then write the first half of the actual story in October. (not even started)

-   Finish the rough draft of the Exchange sequel in November as my NaNoWrite novel, if I don't already have it done by then. (still on track, hopefully)

-   Somewhere among all of this, find time to work on my novel Mars Looks Different, finish some short stories, and do some promotion.  (Unlikely to happen until February 2012)

So, still a ways to go on those goals.  The main reasons I didn't get everything done I intended to: (1) I rewrote about a fourth of the scenes in Char from scratch.  They just weren't up to my current standards.  (2) I took a creative writing class and had to write three short stories (6000-6500 words each) and quite a few thousand words worth of exercises.  They are all alternate history and one complete and one partial story are in this issue. (3) I got sucked into writing another Dies The Fire fanfic, and wrote over 26k on it.  Totally wasted effort, but fun.  If I can't do a little bit of fun writing once in a while what's the point?  The fanfic is tentatively called This Old Man Goes Rolling Home.  I won't have room for it this issue, but you'll probably see it at some point if it turns out okay.  That's an issue.  I'm writing it totally seat of pants, with no plot planning whatsoever and no idea what happens next.  I may write myself into a corner--wouldn't be at all surprised if that happens.

 My goals for the next two months are simple: (1) Get the All Timelines revisions done.  (2) Prepare for Nano, where hopefully I'll get the rough draft of the Exchange Sequel finished. (3) Finish one more five hundred word short story.  I would be nice to finish Snapshot, but I doubt that will happen until after November.  We'll see.

Other parts of my life: I've been doing a lot of bike riding, and in late September I worked up so I could do a 25 mile bike rally (the baby length--the real bike geeks were doing 50 to 100 miles).

 I've also been obsessing a bit about our economic future.  I don't see how the current situation where we outsource so much of our tax base is sustainable.  And given the ban on current politics in the APA I had probably better shut up about that. 

The death of Steve Jobs hit home to me.  I've always admired the guy, though I'm well aware of some of his faults.  His birthday is one day before mine.  In terms of life accomplishments there is no comparison, of course.  I'm not at all sure I would have wanted to trade lives with him, even without the pancreatic cancer on his part.  Part of the sadness is that now there isn't a single one of the personal computer pioneers left in charge of a major US computer company.

 I don't care how often MBA types claim that a manager can manage anything.  The truth of the matter is that someone who intimately understands an industry will manage circles around somebody with a spreadsheet knowledge of what is going on.  There are depths of interdependence of variables that nobody can figure out without a solid understanding of the industry.  Jobs was successful because he defined markets.  He was able to do that because he understood them.

 Current reading: I'm currently working my way through Charles Stross's Merchant Princes series.  The first three are good stuff involving a couple of alternate timelines and a group of people with the genetically mediated ability to go between them.  Given the premise, the first three stories read well.  The development is very logical if you buy the initial assumption, which is the way things ought to work in an alternate history.  Good characters.  The author puts them in a sea of hurt, which is what good authors do to their characters.  However, after book three the series goes off the tracks, with a mixture of Turtledovitis (way too many POV characters) and tin hat Bush-era politics.  Too bad.  Memo to self: don't go down those roads.

 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 fiction.   

Posted on February 4, 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.