Political Correctness has no place in alternate history.

For a long time now, I have been aware that there is a sense of political correctness that many people try to impose upon the alternate history genre. Namely, I am speaking of the unwritten rule of some that there are certain armies, nations etc that must not, under any circumstances be allowed to ultimately win or be portrayed in any positive way. I don’t abide political correctness in my own life and views and I certainly won’t tolerate it in alternate history. I can name a plethora of alternate history books on the Civil War before my own where the history is changed in some way (example: the South wins Gettysburg) only to have the South still lose in the end. Just to name one example, Robert Conroy’s 1862 has Britain enter the civil war on the side of the CSA over the Trent Affair, and then he has the Union defeat the CSA and Britain in the course of a year. In real life, it took the Union until 1865 to defeat the Confederacy. One of the reasons I wrote By Force of Arms the way I did is because of all the Union bias that exists in much alternate history fiction that is out there. Many of my British fans have pointed this out as a reason that they liked By Force of Arms.

I am personally descended from both Confederate and Union veterans of the Civil War (though the Union vet was a Southerner who fought for the Yankees). I am not ashamed of my Confederate heritage. In my books I have not sugar coated slavery or the racism that existed in both the North and the South in the 1800s. Slavery and racism were unfortunate realities that cannot be ignored in any book set in the period. But contrary to the politically correct version of history being taught today, the war was fought for many reasons in addition to slavery, and the CSA was not some rabid evil prototype of Nazi Germany. Most Confederate soldiers were honorable and patriotic men who did their duty to defend their homes from an aggressive military invader.  My own ancestor Private Joseph Agee Dumas did not own slaves. He was drafted into the Confederate Army and had no choice. He did his duty and like so many others in the civil war he died from disease.

Many people have attacked my books, mainly because I broke the unwritten rule and allowed the South to win and win big. In my books I’m going to show how history might have gone because to me (and others) it is fascinating. I want to know what a 21st Century CSA would be like and what its history up to that point would be. What would its world be like? That’s why I’m writing these books. And I will let my readers in on one thing– when the CSA of my world gets to the present day it will not be the racist nightmare that many proclaim as the only possibility.

 

 

 

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9 thoughts on “Political Correctness has no place in alternate history.

  1. steve martell says:

    how many books do you have published so far? i have only found the two csa books?

    • Dear Steve,

      I’m very glad you enjoyed By Force of Arms. By Force of Arms and Rebel Empire are currently my only published “professional” works. My first novel was a military science fiction / space opera called Thunder in Space (published under BJ Bennett) which I started writing in High School and finished after graduating. I’m proud of it in the sense that it helped teach me to write, and I feel its an exciting story, but looking back on it the novice skill of my teenage self shows through. I have been in the process for a while now of revising Thunder in Space and completely rewriting the early chapters in particular. I plan on giving it a fresh start and rereleasing it under a new title: Starstorm. There is a free preview of Starstorm at the end of Rebel Empire along with a preview of a new alternate history novel dealing with World War 2. Thank you again for your interest in my writing, its a big encouragement. Sincerely Billy Bennett. P.S. If you want to read Thunder in Space / Starstorm in its original form it’s still available but you will probably enjoy it more if you wait for the re-release.

  2. Charles Ward says:

    Billy.

    Regarding your WW2 ah book, Barbarossa, I was curious about 2 things: 1) What occured during the time that John Nance Garner would have been President(1933-1940,) and 2) WHo is the Chief of Staff of the US Army in your book?(MacArthur? Drum?)

    I am really enjoying ah book regarding the CSA and its ‘revised’ history. lookiing forward to the next installment.

    • Dear Charles,
      Thanks for contacting me. I’m happy that you are enjoying my stories. Now to answer your questions. Understand first of all that there are several details of Barbarossa and its timeline that are still in development. Second, the initial books on the series are not going to really focus on the USA at all. The premise of the series is a world war 2 where a strictly isolationist USA refuses to get involved. Garner was a conservative southerner. I believe Roosevelt put him on the ticket to help insure that the Democrats would carry the “solid south” as it was called in those days. In real history Garner opposed Roosevelt’s deficit spending and perceived federal power grabs (in essence Garner opposed some of the very things that helped drag us out of the Great Depression. Had he taken office in 1933 instead of Roosevelt as my book imagines, I think it very likely that the depression would have gotten even worse. It certainly wouldn’t have gotten better. The Garner Presidency would have been marked by half hearted measures that lacked the effectiveness of Roosevelt’s aggressive deficit spending and public works. Now I honestly haven’t given much thought as to who would be US Army Chief of Staff. (As I said, the US won’t be getting into World War 2 in my story.) However, I can tell you that it would not be George C Marshall. Roosevelt made him Chief of Staff because Marshall had the guts to disagree with him when he thought he was wrong. FDR didn’t want a yes man. Since in my timeline 1)Roosevelt is dead and 2) the above situation would never have occurred with Garner, I think it very likely that someone else would become Chief of Staff. I think that Drum would be much more likely than MacArthur. If I remember correctly MacArthur favored a strong military and opposed isolationism.

      • Charles Ward says:

        Billy, Thanks for the reply. I didn’t realize from your snippet that the US wouldn’t be getting into WW 2 at all, but I do look forward to its publication. I wonder where Henry Wallace might figure in all this(if any?) I **love** alternate history, aka ‘counter factual’ stories. I wish someone would eventually write one about a) Jonathan Wainwright excaping the Phillippines to fight in WW2, and b) Adna R. Chaffee, Jr. living to expand his ideas on the American Armored Force and fighting in WW2.

  3. I quite enjoyed ‘By Force of arms’ and its sequel, but reading them was an agony. Mr Bennett, please, please find someone to edit your writing and correct the numerous and repeated errors of spelling and grammar that are so painful as to distract from the tale you tell.

  4. Dear Mr. Woods,

    Thank you for writing to me, and I’m glad that you enjoyed By Force of Arms and Rebel Empire. I apologize for the errors of spelling and grammar but I do ask for your patience. As an “indie” author I don’t have easy access to professional copy editors as do the authors published by commercial publishing houses, (though I do have a devoted fan / friend that helps me edit as time permits). To hire a freelance editor is currently beyond my means. When a writer edits his own work (at least this writer) he very often sees what is supposed to be there instead of what is actually there. I do hope that you found Rebel Empire better edited than By Force of Arms (that would mean that I am at least getting better!). I ask you to take into account that my books are priced very low (which I hope somewhat makes up for any errors) because as an Indie author I am trying to build my readership / fan base. My first book sold far better than I ever imagined and in its first three months Rebel Empire is doing far better than By Force of Arms did. If I raise the price of my future books to 5.99 AND my sales stayed close to the same, I could easily afford professional editing, cover design, etc… That is what I eventually hope to do after I build up my readership / fanbase. In the meantime I will try to sharpen my own skills, which as you imply are more in the area of story telling than grammar. But please stick with me. Give me a few more books. My friend has completely reedited By Force of Arms. The updated edition is available on the Nook. When I am able to update the Kindle version I’ll post it here and anyone who previously purchased the book should be able to redownload the updated edition at no charge. If you purchased the paperback then I will happily mail you a copy with the updated text as soon as it is available.
    Sincerely, Billy Bennett.

  5. dgt says:

    dear bb: my favorite alt hist is cuba becoming a csa state contact on aall csa books

    • Cuba will play a prominent role in my timeline. I read a book on the Cuban revolution when I was in the sixth grade and have been fascinated by it ever since. In my timeline Cuba will be of strategic importance to Confederate naval forces in the upcoming wars of the 20th century. I don’t think that Cuba will become a full fledged CS state. The CSA will want to maintain military control and political dominance without dealing with the hot potatoes of all the free negroes in Cuba or the political fallout from reintroducing slavery. I think the CSA would make Cuba a commonwealth and a dumping ground for unwanted free blacks. In the 2nd half of the 20th century a certain young bearded revolutionary will lead a Cuban revolt against the CSA. Thanks for the comment. I hope you enjoy the future books!

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