Gordon (baron_waste) wrote in althistory,

“A Pleasing Alternate Earth”

lots42 writes:

This will only make sense to fans of the Infinite Crisis DC comic book series:

In the 'Infinite Crisis' novelization, there's an interesting change of pace. At the point Luthor notices a pleasing alternate Earth...the book gets into the thoughts of the readers.

For Luthor has spotted the reader and is, for lack of a better phrase, quite literally reaching for well...us.

What would have happened if the Teen Titans hadn't distracted him...?

I replied:

“This will only make sense to fans” - no, actually, I've seen that done many times in various speculative fiction stories. This is, after all, a world where none of these things has happened - whatever those 'things' might be. Refugees from the disaster or thwarted supervillains both would want to step through.

One of the more affecting uses I've seen was in Brad Ferguson's 1987 short story, “The World Next Door.” There, the impoverished residents of a community which has survived after a fashion ever since the Cuban Missile Crisis boiled over in 1962, start having these dreams - of themselves, living in a world they've never seen or imagined, where people sit in front of glowing TV screens to write and a spidery-looking American ship landed on the Moon… Elvis Presley, who'd survived as a travelling troubadour (and Federal intelligence agent, in effect), shows up and performs a song he'd written when he awoke, called “Let It Be” - and the crowd sing along… They still have things like Halloween, and a kid shows up in his father's WWII German helmet and gas mask with a grey blanket tied on as a cape, making heavy breathing noises, calling himself “Darth Fader”… People dream of this clean, amazing, well-fed world of Interstates and Internet and waken to their grim isolated subsistence lives feeling more and more wretched…

Written in 1987, the story has the disaffected-intelligentsia Fifth Column agenda ubiquitous in printed SF at the time: People were dreaming all this because Ronnie Rayguns and the Nukular Boogieman™ were about the destroy the world with the nuclear arsenals that had stockpiled in the twenty-five years since the Cuban Missile Crisis was averted (!!), and as in Jack Finney's earlier, similar story “I'm Scared”, that mass psychic pressure to get away was starting to affect the flow of Time.

The dreams stopped suddenly. Everyone knew why.

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