The Sting of the Scorpion by Warren Stockholm
Delightfully dark pulp. Kurt Reinhardt is the product of Nazi genetic engineering in a world were the Germans won WWII and occupied America for sixty years. He was bred to be super solider but didn’t like the job. After another war which saw American regain its independence, he immigrates to America and works his way to wealth. Of course he has serious issues, which he works out by fighting crime in slums of Pittsburgh It’s dark, gritty, and nasty. Just what you want in Noir Pulp.
Filed under: American History, Politics, Science Fiction
The original is here. Great stuff.
In 1964, JFK is reelected, with LBJ as VP. The GOP does not yet do its big shift to conservatism, and its defeated candidate is Nelson Rockefeller (whose VP choice is William Scranton). Barry Goldwater rises up in 1968, and he is successful, defeating LBJ (who has Hubert Humphrey as his VP). Goldwater’s VP is William Miller (as it was, in actual history, in 1964), and Goldwater is an immensely successful President, winning the war in Vietnam, leaving civil rights issues to the states (and in the process preserving federalism values, to be used to excellent effect in succeeding years), and foreseeing and avoiding the problems of dependency on imported oil. Goldwater is reelected in 1972, defeating Hubert Humphrey (who has Scoop Jackson as his VP).
In 1976, Bobby Kennedy is the Democratic nominee (with Walter Mondale as VP), and he wins, defeating William Miller (who has Bob Dole as his VP). Bobby gets health-care reform, called “Bobbycare.” But Bobbycare goes too far, and RFK goes down in 1980, crushed by Ronald Reagan (whose VP is George H.W. Bush). Reagan is reelected in 1984, defeating Walter Mondale (who has Geraldine Ferraro as his VP).
In 1988, it’s Michael Dukakis and Lloyd Bentsen against George H.W. Bush and Jack Kemp, and — no big surprise — Bush and Kemp win. But they’re in for only one term. Blamed for the economy — stupid! — they lose, in 1992, to Bill Clinton and Al Gore. Clinton and Gore are reelected in 1992 (facing Jack Kemp and his VP choice Tommy Thompson).
In 2000, it’s Gore (with Lieberman) against George W. Bush (with Cheney), and Bush wins. In 2004, John Kerry (with John Edwards) lose to Bush and Cheney. In 2008, it’s John Edwards against Mitt Romney, and Mitt Romney wins. (We won’t worry about their VPs right now.) Challenged by Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney is reelected in 2012. And we don’t get our first woman President. But the Romney terms come to a close. Now it’s 2012, and Hillary goes for it again, only to be defeated in the primaries by another “first,” the possible first black President, this fascinating upstart with the funny name Barack Hussein Obama. (But America, having avoided dependence on foreign oil, thanks to Barry Goldwater, never got dragged into crazy interactions with those Middle East countries, and there was never a 9/11 terrorist attack or an Iraq war, or any of those things that would make “Hussein” seem truly odd.)
Speaking of firsts, there’s a first coming up on the GOP side, a woman! It’s the hyper-competent and stunningly beautiful Sarah Palin. With 8 years as Governor of Alaska, her executive experience and record of accomplishment wow America. (She was term-limited in 2014, and spent the next 2 years running for President.) And so in 2016, we have our big first, the first woman President: Sarah Palin!
The Buntline Special: A Weird West Tale by Mike Resnick
Executive Summary: Steampunk at the OK Corral, with Indian Medicine Men casting real Magick (for a dash of Shadowrun tossed in for flavor). Bonus points for a young Thomas Edison with a specially harded bronze mechanical arm. Other than that, it’s a pretty historically accurate recounting of the events leading up to, and the events after, the Gunfight at the OK Corral. It reminded me a lot of the movie Tombstone, to the point where I heard Val Kilmer’s Doc Holiday in my head while reading the book. This could be because both Resnick and the folks who did Tombstone did a lot of research on the topic. Even with the Steampunk Plus elements, it was a fun read.
Anno Dracula by Kim Newman
Mr. Newman starts with the premise that the so-called “heros” of Bram Stoker’s Dracula screwed the pooch and were slaughtered like the incompetent buffoons they appeared to be. With them out of the way, Dracula pretty much has his bloody way with England. This includes having his bloody way with Queen Victoria. Yup, Prince Consort Dracula. Being a vampire becomes fashionable in Jolly Old England. Causes a bit of an upheaval to the social order. Yup, the Vampires are out of the closet for good. I really enjoyed this book and even better, it is the first in series.
Good South Korean SciFi action flick. An alternate history story where a small group of Japanese change history so Japan was on the winning side of WWII. A side effect of that was Korea being part of the greater Japanese empire, and not an independent country. A “Korean” investigator working for the Japanese National Police Force stumbles on this secret and goes down that rabbit hole! Good action flick well worth the rental.
Flaming Zeppelins by Joe R. Landale
A nifty little farce combining multiple historical and fictional characters in a series of adventures, complete with cross dimensional rifts to stir the pot a bit. Reminded me of lot of Philip Jose Farmer’s writing as various fictional authors, with just a dash of Robert Heinlein’s The Number of the Beast thrown in for good measure. The cast includes Annie Oakley, Wild Bill Hickock, Buffalo Bill Cody’s animated head, Mark Twain, Jules Verne, Martian invaders and more. That includes Ned the Seal. Ned doesn’t talk, that would be silly. He does write a lot on a notepad he wears on a chain around his neck though.
A Van Damme classic from 1994. A good SciFi Time Travel adventure with really good fight scenes.
Island in the Sea of Time by S.M. Stirling
Mr. Stirling got a lot of mileage out of this book, at least eight other books have been written based on this one, with only two being direct sequels. The story starts off with the island of Nantucket, and a Coast Guard training sailing ship that was just offshore, being transported back to the Bronze Age. That is good for a trilogy right there. What happended to to rest of the planet with Nantucket disappeared is good for at least two more trilogies.
His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik
An interesting bit of historical fantasy that reads like a cross between Horatio Hornblower and Jane Austen, with dragons. Yup, dragons, and the best dragons, of course, come from China. This is the first in series about a British Navy Officer who captures a dragon’s egg in a sea battle and ends up bonding with the beast when it hatches. Of course, it speaks English, and French. An interesting read. While I’m a mostly a hard core SciFi reader, I do enjoy good alternate history stories.
Two Hawks From Earth, by Philp Jose Farmer
This classic alternate history/alternate reality book is back in print, which is a good thing. During WWII, Army Air Corps bomber pilot Roger Two Hawks bails out of his shot up bomber and lands in a different reality, one also experiencing a world spanning war.
Ya, I know. It’s Tuesday.