Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Alternate History and This Thing With The Bad Guys Winning

Alternate timelines in which the bad guys win are starting to turn into the new vampires - the trend we've all seen enough of but which people are jumping on the coattails of nonetheless.

Unless you hide under a rock and avoid social media you'll have heard about the controversy of the new TV show Confederate, set in a world in which, ding, the South won the Civil War. And the explosion about it indicates just how done people are with it. (It doesn't help that the show is going to be run by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, who's handling of GoT has not exactly been the best in terms of gender or race).

But it's not just that "Two white guys are making a show about slavery" - it's a symptom of the fact that people, right now, simply don't want stories in which the bad guys won. Even if it's alternate history. Agents of SHIELD experienced a 15% drop in audience three episodes in to their Agents of HYDRA arc, where the bad guys won...in virtual reality.

And again, you'd have to be living under a rock not to hear just how done a large proportion of the Marvel fanbase are with Secret Empire...and were before it even started.

It doesn't help that the bad guys that keep winning are white supremacists, when a lot of people are starting to fear that they may be winning in real life too.

And maybe, just maybe, people are a little tired of dystopias in general? I don't know. But I do think that if you're considering writing a story in which the bad guys won (most especially an alternate history in which the South won the Civil War or Hitler won World War II) you might want to put it on the shelf right next to the novel I started about the Second Great Depression...right as the Great Recession started. Oops.