• Hi Guest!

    The costs of running this forum are covered by Sea Lion Press. If you'd like to help support the company and the forum, visit patreon.com/sealionpress

Traditions in AH

Hendryk

Nothing ever ends
Published by SLP
Location
France
#7
Salt emphasizes the historical effect of the point of divergence; these works emphasize the emotional effect of the point of divergence.
Sometimes, in fact, that emotional effect can be laughter, and I wonder whether in the following years broadcast AH may come up with more light-hearted shows in the vein of La Maison Bleue. Comedy, too, has cathartic potential, and in today's world a lot of people are looking for catharsis. After all, there's a comforting aspect to looking at what may have happened if a different decision had been made in the past, and realizing that actually we wouldn't be noticeably better off.
 

SpanishSpy

Well-known member
#8
Sometimes, in fact, that emotional effect can be laughter, and I wonder whether in the following years broadcast AH may come up with more light-hearted shows in the vein of La Maison Bleue. Comedy, too, has cathartic potential, and in today's world a lot of people are looking for catharsis. After all, there's a comforting aspect to looking at what may have happened if a different decision had been made in the past, and realizing that actually we wouldn't be noticeably better off.
La Maison Bleue isn't the only example of that - there's a Swedish show in which PoD is a different house ruling Sweden that @Ares96 mentioned to me in a Zoom call that strikes me as doing similar.
 

Charles EP M.

Well-known member
Published by SLP
#9
There isn't much AH comedy I can think of off the top of my head other than Maison Bleue and various Sliders eps (our own Comedy Throughout The (P)Ages doesn't count because we had to write it), I wonder why that is?
 

Coiler

Connoisseur of the Miscellaneous
Published by SLP
Location
Nu Yawk
#10
There isn't much AH comedy I can think of off the top of my head other than Maison Bleue and various Sliders eps (our own Comedy Throughout The (P)Ages doesn't count because we had to write it), I wonder why that is?
While I still don't know the underlying reason why, I think there has been a precedent of self-seriousness in alternate history, sometimes to excess.

If I had to try and explain, I'd say different "traditions" have different reasons for pushing in that direction. The "internet"/pseudo-historical traditions concerned with at least nominal plausibility don't want anything goofy, and the dry tone doesn't lend itself to humor. The "print-broadcast"/popular fictional alternate history has a lot of (I've seen this with Turtledove) a lot of solemn THIS IS THE MASTER OF ALTERNATE HISTORY in its marketing. A lot of the popular topics (southern/Axis victories) don't lend themselves to the most obvious humor. AH that's trying to make a serious point about something clearly doesn't want to muddle it with silliness.

So it's a bunch of different ways to move in the same direction.
 

David Flin

A home of love and laughter.
#11
There isn't much AH comedy I can think of off the top of my head other than Maison Bleue and various Sliders eps (our own Comedy Throughout The (P)Ages doesn't count because we had to write it), I wonder why that is?
I suspect that the fact that AH struggles to get taken seriously at the best of times (just look at the prevalence of sneers by Respected Historians about the worthlessness of Counterfactual History) has something to do with it. There's a sense among many AH authors that the genre has to prove that it is Serious and Meaningful.

There's also the fact that comedy is bloody tough to write well. Much harder than mindless adventure, or romance, or technothrillers. Given the paucity of AH writers in the mainstream, and that quite a few of these aren't inclined towards humour, it's hardly a surprise that there aren't that many AH comedy.

That said, I'd point to Mark Twain's Connecticut Yankee, Poul Anderson's High Crusade, and L Sprague de Camp's Lest Darkness Falls (not strictly comedy, but it doesn't take itself too seriously).