"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, April 9, 2021

For All Mankind 2.8: Really Lost in Translation

In terms of humans going out into our solar system, the only really significant event happened at the very of For All Mankind 2.8.  But it was a significant event indeed.

[Spoilers follow]

We -- the Americans -- killed one Soviet cosmonaut, and badly wounded another, on the Moon. Our astronaut Marines thought the Soviets were reaching for a weapon, when they were reaching only for a translation card.  Brings a whole new devastating meaning to lost in translation.

Because what has now been lost in this alternate history is the thin veneer of peace in space, the For All Mankind mantra that is the very title of the series.  True, the Soviets took that little lunar base from us.  But surely there had to be a better response than bringing our violence on Earth up to the Moon.

The repudiation of peace is consistent, though, with the Ronald Reagan in our own reality. Although his anti-ballistic missile "Star Wars" initiative, which I strongly supported, undermined the Soviet Union and got it to crumble,  Reagan's militarism in South America in the Nicaragua Contra business almost led to the undoing of his administration.  We were provoked in both realities -- ours and the one in For All Mankind -- by the Soviet shooting down the civilian KAL 707 airplane.  But sending a military force to the Moon with shoot-to-kill orders if necessary was not the way to go.

The U.S. in this alternate history also wants to arm the Pathfinder flight to Mars.  This would not be to fight off Martians.  In our reality, again, Trump initiated the Space Force.  I'm all in favor of military in space if we're talking about Captain Kirk and the Federation.  But that's idealistic fiction about the future.  For All Mankind, at this point, is fiction about an alternate past.  That past looks, as of now in episode 2.8, to be leading to a far more dangerous future than Star Trek.

Although I don't like that development at all, to say the least, kudos to For All Mankind for showing it to us, or showing us to us, in the new episode up today on Apple TV+.

See also For All Mankind, Season 1 and Episode 2.1: Alternate Space Race Reality ... For All Mankind 2.2: The Peanut Butter Sandwich ... For All Mankind 2.3: "Guns to the Moon" ... For All Mankind 2.4: Close to Reality ... For All Mankind 2.5: Johnny and the Wrath of Kahn ... For All Mankind 2.6: Couplings ... For All Mankind 2.7: Alternate History Surges

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

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