"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 17, 2023

For All Mankind 4.2: The Fate of Gorbachev

Well, I said last week in my review of For All Mankind 4.1 that I was very glad to see Gorbachev still in power in the Soviet Union at the beginning of the 21st century.  In that alternate reality, we might well have avoided Putin and his savage attack on Ukraine.

[Spoilers ahead ... ]

But at the very end of For All Mankind 4.2, up on Apple TV+ tonight, it looks like the tolerant Gorbachev may not be in power much longer or at all after all in that alternate history.  Margot encounters some kind of very serious unrest in Moscow, which ends up in police knocking her to the ground, taking her into custody, and leaving her glasses broken on the street, never a good sign.

I was unhappy to see that scene, but it certainly was the most exciting in this episode, at least in terms of the course of history.  The runner-up and most of the other action took place in Mars, which has become no bed of roses, or maybe not yet a bed of roses, since it had no home-grown flowering shrubs to begin with.  But this track in the episode at least had a happy ending.  With communication back-and-forth with Earth not working because a satellite needed repair and rebooting, Poole orders Baldwin shortly after she arrives to make fixing the satellite a highest priority, and Baldwin gets his crew to fix it.  The denizens of Mars now have dmail and video-mail, as they call those modes of communication in this alternate reality.

Of course, though communication may be necessary, and the source of essential connections between the people on Mars and their relatives and friends back home, this doesn't mean that the people on Mars will be happy.  Miles, the best new character at this point, certainly isn't happy, and it will be interesting to see how his story plays out.

But as I said last week, it's the alternate reality more than the space exploration that keeps me most eager to watch For All Mankind, and I'm now especially eager to see what happens in the Soviet Union in next week's episode.

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

See also For All Mankind 4.1: Back in Business and Alternate Reality

And 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

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