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Spy Fever: how spy lies led to the creation of the Secret Service

Posted on: 17/05/2017 with tags: author blog, conspiracy theories, crime fiction, English History, historical crime, historical fiction, 20th Century

For a historical novelist, the usual way of things is to delve into history, to look at what’s interesting or important, a setting, an event, a time period – we write into this, try to recreate, re-imagine, re-use as we see fit. But what happens when this gets turned on its head, when fiction starts turning into fact? In writing my first historical novel – The Irregular, set in 1909 – I discovered a startling example of invention becoming real, of fiction (spy fiction no less) having a very prof…

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The Kennedy Legend

Posted on: 22/11/2013 with tags: assassination, author blog, conspiracy theories, JFK, JFK50, Rebecca Mascull, rewrite history, The Visitors, The West Wing

by debut historical novelist Rebecca Mascull. In the mid-1980s, I was a teenager and prone to obsessions. I had a thing for true stories. I loved to watch TV docudramas and read biographies of famous people. I remember the TV movie Escape from Sobibor, which sparked a life-long fascination with WWII and particularly the Holocaust.                    I wrote a novel about it, before I wrote THE VISITORS. I saw it on TV, then bought the book – this wasn’t so easy in those days, long before the int…

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YELLOW WOOD by Lavie Tidhar

Posted on: 21/11/2013 with tags: alternate history, assassination, conspiracy theories, historical fiction, Hodderscape, JFK50, Lavie Tidhar, rewrite history, The Violent Century, Yellow Wood

Literature must serve a purpose, and alternate history can work as an act of defamiliarisation – allowing us to look at our present, our lives – through the distorted mirror of what didn’t happen. But it also strikes me that writing stories of alternate histories can be an exercise in futility. Alternate histories are too often used as an excuse for elaborate ‘world-building’, the construction of a fictional landscape for its own purpose. It’s like reading the manual for a car you don’t own and…

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Harry Turtledove’s Three Alternative World War Twos

Posted on: 20/11/2013 with tags: alternate history, conspiracy theories, editor blog, Harry Turtledove, JFK50, world war II

A blog written by one of our editors. Harry Turtledove is widely recognized as the king of alternative history, or, as a Chicago newspaper once memorably put it, ‘the wizard of If’. He loves nothing better than to re-fight wars, his knowledge of warfare is vast and his range is enormous, covering every continent and every era from the Byzantine empire to modern times. He has (so far) re-fought World War II no less than three times … In the Worldwar sequence, beginning with In the Balance,…

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