"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, November 10, 2023

For All Mankind 4.1: Back in Business and Alternate History

For All Mankind is back with the debut of its 4th season on Apple TV+ today, and it's excellent in all kinds of ways.

[Mild spoilers ahead ... ]

As readers of my reviews -- and for that matter, my novels and short stories -- will no doubt know, what I most like about this series are not its life-and-death adventures out in space and here on Earth, which are suitably staged and enacted, but the alternate history framework in which all of that is presented.

As the world turns into the 21st century in this new season, among my favorite alternate history highlights are Gore is elected President in 2000 (good), Gorbachev is still in power in the Soviet Union (better), and John Lennon's doing concerts (best of all).  I've written time-travel science fiction about the first (Ian's Ions and Eons), thought a lot about the second, and have an award-nominated novel (The Loose Ends Saga) and a short story (It's Real Life) that's won and been nominated for awards, made into a radio play, and I'm currently expanding into a novel, (a world in John Lennon is alive and The Beatles still together in 1996).   For All Mankind excels in this kind of stuff, which is catnip for alternate histories devotes like me.

Meanwhile, there is lots of adventure, ranging from political and personal intrigue down here on Earth, and life-and-death situations resulting in death out in space.  This is realistic, and has been part of this series since its first season.  When you're pressing the boundaries beyond this planet, accidents and misjudgements are bound to happen.

The keys to avoiding them, or making the best of them, of course reside in the personnel.  I miss all the characters who for one reason or another haven't made it into this fourth season.  And it's too soon for me to get to have confidence in the newcomers.  But I'm very glad this series is back on the air, and I'll be reviewing every episode.

Chuck Todd and Paul Levinson talk Alternate History, including For All Mankind

See also For All Mankind 3.1: The Alternate Reality Progresses ... 3.2: D-Mail ... 3.3-3.4: The Race

And 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

get the paperback or Kindle of this alternate history here

or read the story FREE here


another alternate space travel history

The Loose Ends Saga 


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