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'Dark Rose' review

SpanishSpy

Well-known member
Published by SLP
A character who is an expert ‘Arabist’ gives a potted history of the Israel-Palestine conflict to MI6 (the expert thinks Jewish immigration kicked off in 1945 and it was the silly Americans & not Britain that committed to Jewish states, but never mind that) and it's explicitly a litany of being screwed over
As the forum's resident 'Israel guy,' I
 

Gary Oswald

It was Vampire Unions that got us Vampire Weekend
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Very much enjoyed Charles' extensive talk of this book. They're very much not my sort of thing but I admire how utterly batshit techno thrillers got post cold war in terms of geopolitics.

OTOH, as a guy who just wrote a short story about an irish republican regime restoring the high kingship as a quixotic attempt of restoring their legitimacy in order to motivate their people for a foreign war, I felt personally attacked by the shots fired at Queen Maeve. But good to know there's an audience for that, I guess.
 

Hendryk

Nothing ever ends
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One of the key ideas of the fight back is that Ireland needs a symbol, something to rally people, something that can represent the nation to the world. And so, the government –in–exile temporarily reinstate the monarchy, crowning a random nineteen-year-old girl at Tara as the High Queen. And it works!
Are we absolutely positive that Mike Lunnon-Wood isn't the pen name of someone from the other place?
 

Skinny87

binders full of sexy anthro tanks
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This brings up an interesting point that I was thinking about the other day when reading the updates @Charles EP M. was making as he read through Dark Rose. Now as Charles points out, this novel explicitly wasn't written as an Alternate History title and was a product of that awkward time period when technothrillers no longer had The Big Bad USSR to use as the bad guys and had to cast around for someone else; or as I call it, the 'Larry Bond problem' in which Mr Bond's doorstop-sized technothrillers had an air of quiet panic as he cast around for bad guys for plots that clearly had the USSR in that role before it collapsed, and hence why the !EU and even South Africa become the focus of his novels. But reading Dark Rose now, it comes across as Alternate History because of how our timeline changed.

But it also made me consider that Dark Rose as a pseudo-AH novel also casts an interesting light on AH as a genre, because AH has this inherent attitude of being plausible, or at most three-quarters plausible. Hence why @Geordie noted with dismay that the Carden-Lloyd Lives timeline has bogged down into highly tedious debate about gun calibers for theoretical AFVs; and even when @Meadow and @Lord Roem had Harold Wilson actually be a communist plant in Downing Street, it could still be backed up by historical facts like the Mountbatten Conspiracy, and Heathrow Airport being occupied, and so forth.

What his meandering thought has come to is this point - why can't AH also be fantastical and semi-realistic or even completely unrealistic like Dark Rose? Is there anything stopping the genre having a sub-genre like that? Can we have Switzerland occupying Scotland, or a Reverse Gulf War and Saddam Hussein occupying London or something? Does this go back to the concept of whether AH is a setting or a background?
 

Gary Oswald

It was Vampire Unions that got us Vampire Weekend
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What his meandering thought has come to is this point - why can't AH also be fantastical and semi-realistic or even completely unrealistic like Dark Rose? Is there anything stopping the genre having a sub-genre like that? Can we have Switzerland occupying Scotland, or a Reverse Gulf War and Saddam Hussein occupying London or something? Does this go back to the concept of whether AH is a setting or a background?
I think most AH is that. That's steampunk. That's most mainstream AH of the likes of 'naughts and crosses' or 'man in the high castle'. That's stuff like the Eyre Affair or the various different 19th century conflicts but with dragons/magic/zombies etc.

It's just our niche within the larger AH, is realistic stuff. I would still say we're the exception and 90% of published AH is pretty wild in terms of plausibility.
 

Gary Oswald

It was Vampire Unions that got us Vampire Weekend
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Like one of the first posts on this forum was @Bruno listing all the published AH Canadian books he could find. And he came up with a list including these titles.


Ballen, John. The Moon Pool. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1978; McClelland & Stewart-Bantam, 1979.—Unwitting dupes of the Soviets, a team of Cuban-trained Inuit and Dene terrorists seize a drillship in the Beaufort Sea and threaten to destroy the Arctic by releasing millions of barrels of crude oil unless Canada grants independence to a new nation governed by the native peoples, Denuna.


Benson, Eugene. Power Game: The Making of a Prime Minister. Toronto: NC Press, 1980.—After Prime Minister Krankenbury steps down to avoid dealing with the imminent separation of Québec, his successor, Julian B. Kaiser, who is actually heir to the Russian throne, utilizes an African conflict as a pretext to declare war on East Guinea, France, England, and Albania, and thereby invoke the War Measures Act, allowing him to postpone the Québec referendum, patriate the constitution, and introduce a series of nationalist economic measures.


Cussler, Clive. Night Probe!NY: Bantam, 1981; Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1981.—As the Parti Québécois and the left-wing Free Québec Society struggle for control of the new independent Québec republic, the Canadian Prime Minister, Charles Sarveux, and the American President secretly move to unify the rest of Canada with the US, against the wishes of the British, who desperately try to destroy the remaining copies of a forgotten 1914 treaty in which Canada was sold to the US for one billion dollars in order to finance England's war with Germany.


Derrick, Lionel. The Quebec Connection. NY: Pinnacle, 1976.—ln the process of combatting the terrorist 23 May Liberation Front separatists in Québec, American crime fighter Mark Hardin, the Penetrator, travels to France, where he discovers a nefarious plot to populate the world with dwarfs.


Holmes, Jeffrey. Farewell to Nova Scotia. Windsor, NS: Lancelot Press, 1974.—A miscalculated nuclear explosion separates Nova Scotia from the mainland, transforming the province into a floating island which is torn by a farcical civil war between separatists, unionists, federalists, and other factions as it drifts towards the Caribbean.


MacFadden, Patrick, Rae Murphy, and Robert Chodos. Your Place or Mine? An Entertainment. Ottawa: Deneau & Greenberg, 1978.—On the eve of a First Ministers' conference in 1985, three political assassinations in Québec lead to the invasion of Canada by the three superpowers which have been contending for control of the unstable country—the US, the USSR, and Japan.


Moore, Phyllis S. Williwaw!St John's, Nfld.: Breakwater Books, 1978. —Following a Royal Decree granting independence to Labrador, the Mouvement Québec Libre mounts an ill-fated invasion of the new country in order to provoke a separatist uprising in Québec.


Nicol, Eric, and Peter Whalley. Canada Cancelled Because of Lack of Interest. Illustrated by Peter Whalley. Edmonton: Hurtig, 1977, 1978.—This humorous 21st-century account of the decline of Canada includes a chapter on the political deconfederation of the country which saw Québec become a colony of France, Toronto an Italian city-state, Ontario an English colony, British Columbia the Japanese colony of Shitishi Koruma, the Maritimes a Norwegian Protectorate, Alberta the sheikdom of Al-bertah, and Saskatchewan and Manitoba the Soviet Republic of Saskobistan.

Weintraub, William. The Underdogs.Toronto: McClelland & Steward, 1979; Toronto: McClelland & Stewart-Bantam, 1980.—During the 20th anniversary celebrations of Québec independence, the impoverished republic is rocked by the kidnapping of the foreign minister of Senegal by the Anglo Liberation Army.


Anonymous. "The Anglo Who Couldn't Say No," Uranus, 2, no. 2 (Feb. 1980):20-23.—The spirit of Louis Joseph Papineau possesses an English Quebecker, forcing him to reluctantly cast the deciding "yes" vote in the referendum on Québec separation.


Percy, H.R. "Letter from America," in Beyond Time, ed. Sandra Ley. NY: Pocket Books, 1976:.—In this alternate history story which inverts the relationship between Québec and English Canada, Paul Lefeu, leader of the Movement for an Independent America, exhorts the Russians from his Boston prison cell to come to the aid of the oppressed "Onglays" of British North America, the sole English-speaking province in the Republique de la Nouvelle France which, due to French victories at Louisbourg and Québec in the 18th century, includes most of North America.

They all sound proper batshit to me.
 

Charles EP M.

Well-known member
Published by SLP
Online AH is mostly the domain of nerds, history or otherwise, where there's a cultural interest in 'plausibility' - here encompassing actual plausibility and rivet-counting - so even the batshit stuff will have footnotes in a way stuff by a 'layperson' won't. Part of the appeal for the audience is 'how it happened'. So, Noughts and Crosses as Gary mentioned: there's never any real explanation of how the Noughts won and Britain where black people are dominant is still recognisably a version of Britain, and several famous historical black pioneers still exist despite a different timeline (and so does a white explorer), because both Blackman and the show writers aren't writing 'how it happened' but 'what if things were like this' to discuss contemporary racial issues. An online AH version written by SLP poster Whizziwig would likely focus on how it happened, creating a fake history where the roles get reversed rather than a fake 'now'.
 

Coiler

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What his meandering thought has come to is this point - why can't AH also be fantastical and semi-realistic or even completely unrealistic like Dark Rose? Is there anything stopping the genre having a sub-genre like that?
Besides what @Charles EP M. and @Gary Oswald already said, there's the issue of anything but the most blatant alternate history not really being worth the branding. Unless it's the kind of "Nazi Confederates Take Over The World" or a similar counterpart for another country (ie "Ceausescu Survived!" for Romania), it just makes more business sense to market and proclaim it either contemporary or historical fiction. Even if the actual work could easily be considered AH.
 

IanBertram

Active member
Location
UK
I haven't read 'Dark Rose' yet but this review made me think of this series "Invasion UK" by D C Alden where the invasion is by some sort of Islamic Caliphate and virtually every Muslim in the UK is a supporter. Throw in some homophobia for good measure.

 

Charles EP M.

Well-known member
Published by SLP
I haven't read 'Dark Rose' yet but this review made me think of this series "Invasion UK" by D C Alden where the invasion is by some sort of Islamic Caliphate and virtually every Muslim in the UK is a supporter. Throw in some homophobia for good measure.
I keep seeing that when browsing Amazon! And I have to give points to Dark Rose, where the Arabic forces are specifically targeting a militarily weak nation and trying to gradually build up forces VS what sounds like 2000AD'S Invasion! if 2000AD had it in for Muslims.
 

TR1996

Well-known member
Cussler, Clive. Night Probe!NY: Bantam, 1981; Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1981.—As the Parti Québécois and the left-wing Free Québec Society struggle for control of the new independent Québec republic, the Canadian Prime Minister, Charles Sarveux, and the American President secretly move to unify the rest of Canada with the US, against the wishes of the British, who desperately try to destroy the remaining copies of a forgotten 1914 treaty in which Canada was sold to the US for one billion dollars in order to finance England's war with Germany.
I believe that one has a British agent who is heavily implied to be James Bond?
 
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