Saturday, 4 March 2017
Future Nostalgia II
A historical novel set in the twentieth century might present fictionalized versions of, e.g., Queen Elizabeth or Tony Blair. The novel dates if its view of those historical figures comes to be seen as outmoded. An alternative history novel can give us those same characters but in a changed situation so there is less danger of outmodedness. Previously undisclosed documents can shed new light on how the Queen or the Prime Minister did respond, e.g., to the death of Diana but how they would have responded to the Change will remain forever a matter of conjecture. None of us can know for sure how we would have responded to such an event.
So maybe the alternative histories remain immune to the passage of time and will always be as fresh when read as they were when written?