"Paul Levinson's It's Real Life is a page-turning exploration into that multiverse known as rock and roll. But it is much more than a marvelous adventure narrated by a master storyteller...it is also an exquisite meditation on the very nature of alternate history." -- Jack Dann, The Fiction Writer's Guide to Alternate History

Friday, February 26, 2021

For All Mankind 2.2: The Peanut Butter Sandwich

In some ways my favorite scene in For All Mankind 2.2 on Apple TV+ was Margo struggling to get a peanut butter sandwich out of a vending machine in the early 1980s.   Here's a woman who plays a major role getting people to and back from the Moon, doing battle with a recalcitrant vending machine.  And, her scientific knowledge about "negative pressure" saves the day and gets that sandwich to drop, just as her savvy is still working to get people up on the Moon.

Otherwise, it was good to see John Lennon in this alternate history alive in the 1980s (as we saw would happen last week) and complaining about Ronald and Nancy.   And it was reassuring to see the Mars mission still in prime focus, although it continues to be delayed and more of its funding allocated elsewhere, to the Moon.

This uncovers what will be a significant problem in this alternate reality.  In one sense, it has to be easier to get to Mars with an active base on the Moon.  On the other hand, the needs of the Moon base will divert attention and money from a voyage to Mars.  For that reason, we may have an easier time getting people to Mars in our reality, with nothing much on the Moon at present other than grand memories of the past.

The question of who may be on that first ship with people to Mars was also answered at least in part tonight.  Two people who were on the Moon -- Danielle and Gordo -- will be going back there.  My guess is, before this season is over, Ed will be back in space, too.  I'm hoping that will be on the first voyage to Mars.

And I'll see you back here next week.

See also For All Mankind, Season 1 and Episode 2.1: Alternate Space Race Reality

*** Note added 27 October 2023:  Check out my review of Jack Dann's new book, The Fiction Writer's Guide to Alternate History


Nick Leshi said...

The characterization on this show is so excellent. And the alternate history is so thought-provoking. Like Ted Kennedy in season one, it looks like they might be setting up Gary Hart as a presidential contender to maybe make Reagan a one-term contender in chief, maybe Hart isn't toppled by the "Monkey Business" scandal in this reality.

Paul Levinson said...

Great comment, Nick -- I was thinking the same thing!