Looking for something to read? – A maybe new feature.

(Today’s guy: Eric Flint.)

Discussion’s going on right now over at RedState about “How do you folks train/learn?” It’s a good discussion to have, but are you one of those people quietly thinking to him or herself, “Yeah. I should read all that stuff, but…”

Yeah. But.

It’s OK to find it daunting to just jump into the equivalent of 300-level college courses in history, philosophy, economics, and/or political science – although you should read at least some of that stuff, and in some cases, so should I – so if you’re looking for something that will let you gear up a little first, hey, we can do that.ย  Because you know where all those literary-type people who can’t abide the postmodernists and deconstructionalists and Just Plain Idiots in academia go?

Genre fiction.

Today’s suggestion is Eric Flint, mostly because the subversion here works on a couple of levels. Flint’s a bit of a (perceived) rare egg – a hard Leftist who loves America in the same way that normal people do – so reading him is corrective on both sides of the spectrum. His 1812: The Rivers of War and 1824: The Arkansas War are probably his best work; they’re the first two books in an alternate history series about the Cherokee conflict that avoids rose-colored sentimentality about either the United States of America or the Native American tribes that it was displacing.ย  Good military scenes, too, although given the way that Flint hangs out with military SF writers this isn’t too surprising.

So, check him out, and by all means: look up all the history of the American frontier afterward to see what Flint kept, and what he changed.ย  That’s half of the fun of reading alternate history, and you were looking for a little direction in your research, right?


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  • bobby B says:

    This is probably just my own cynicism about how we all do, in fact, learn, or maybe it’s how my intense hatred for everything Oliver Stone gets expressed, but I hesitate to send anyone to “alternate history” unless I know that they have at least some grounding in the real history.

    ‘Cuz you never know which part sticks, but you can usually predict that the average reader’s next stop isn’t going to be the library to fact-check the entire work.

    That’s how we ended up with an entire generation that thinks there’s something cool and admirable about Che “the slimeball” G. That’s why so very many dummies and idiots (yes, they’re two distinct groups) believe that only wackos and idiots own, and fight for the right to own, firearms. That’s why mention of “the hockey stick” now only gets a sports-related response about 15% of the time.

    I figure if I had the money to buy enough commercial air time, I could convince the majority of the people in this country to keep their fingers away from their bellybuttons so that they, too, don’t get sucked right into themselves by accident like all those other people did.

  • Moe_Lane says:

    Heh. It’s been my experience that you have to learn real history pretty quickly when you start playing with alt-history: the genre is kind of demanding, and the readership is merciless. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • aesthete says:

    Hmm… never heard of Eric Flint. I’ll check him out. Harry Turtledove’s Southern Victory series is another obvious, but good, piece of alt-history.

    • Moe_Lane says:

      I liked the Southern Victory stuff, although it was an exceptionally long series. ๐Ÿ™‚ On the Turtledove front… I’ll discuss that in a little bit. ๐Ÿ™‚

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