Mansfield Fox

Law student. Yankees fan. Massive fraggle. Just living the American dream.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Can You Defame an Alternate-Historical People?

Instapundit has been posting on alternate history novels. This reminded me of my all-time favorite work from that genre, Prof. Robert Sobel's For Want of a Nail: If Burgoyne Had Won at Saratoga.

I was kicking around the internet looking for stuff that's been written about For Want of a Nail..., and I found this fansite, in which Sobel-heads can flesh out or extend the history from the book. I'm not a fan of fan-fiction, but this stuff seems particularly harmless. Of special interest is this piece, which takes the form of an angry book review in a fictional Montreal newspaper, criticizing Sobel's treatment of the Quebecois (who, indeed, do not come off well in the book). It speaks volumes, either of my biases or of the unique character of the French-Canadian, that I was initially taken in by the piece, and that this post was originally going to be a snide-sarcastic one about the bottomless sensitivity of the Quebecois.

I fear I may have just accidentally stumbled down a counterfactual-historical rabbit-hole of unknown depth. "For want of a nail," indeed.