"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

Sunday, June 12, 2022

For All Mankind 3.1: The Alternate Reality Progresses

For All Mankind is back on Apple TV+ with the first episode of its third season and an exciting, harrowing reminder that space is still a very dangerous place.

[Spoilers follow ... ]

First, the alternate history:  The 1992 Presidential election features Ellen running as a Republican against the Democratic candidate, Governor Bill Clinton.  (In a nice touch, Gary Hart has previously been President.)  All four Beatles are alive and well (see my "It's Real Life" for a completely different alternate history story in which John Lennon is not killed).

Next, our fictional characters: Ed and Karen are divorced, she's married to Sam, and the two are running an orbital hotel.   Danny (the late Gordo and late Tracy's oldest son) is getting married up there.  Of course Ed and his new wife attend. Everyone's having fun -- well, not quite everyone, Danny's younger brother gives a toast in which he lambasts the space program for killing his parents -- and then things get really bad.

North Korean space junk -- even in this alternate reality they're causing big problems -- hits the hotel.  The result is gravity is increasing, to the point where it can tear the orbiter apart.  Ed's leg gets fractured as part of the hotel comes apart. And before Danny can heroically fix the problem, Sam has been killed.

Actually, I think that's a very good thing, dramatically.  Now Karen is free to get back with Ed (his marriage doesn't seem to be the greatest), or who knows who else.  The damaged orbiter reminds us, to get back to the beginning of this review, that we can never be complacent about about moves into space.

As the poster for this new season shows, the goal has now shifted from the Moon to Mars, that much further from Earth, with commensurately more dangers.  But humans getting to Mars was the natural progression which should have happened had the space program not been stalled for political and other reasons in our own reality (see my free article, The Missing Orientation, for more).  It's gratifying to see how this alternate reality, which maybe should have been our reality, plays out.

I'm looking forward to another great ride this season, and I'll see you back here with my next review.

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 ... For All Mankind 2.8: Really Lost in Translation ... For All Mankind 2.9: Relationships ... For All Mankind 2.10: Definitely Not the End

It's Real Life

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*** 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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