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Author Topic: EP187: Summer in Paris, Light from the Sky  (Read 35091 times)
stePH
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Cool story, bro!


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« Reply #40 on: February 09, 2009, 08:32:42 PM »

I enjoyed the story mostly for having Hitler, Chaplin, and Hemingway drinking together in the bar.  I particularly like historical spec-fic that involves real people doing fictional things in our timeline, rather than in alternate history.  My favorite of this type is Robert Anton Wilson's Masks of the Illuminati, which kicks off with Albert Einstein and James Joyce drinking in a Zurich tavern in (I think) 1910, when a terrified Englishman barges in and tells them about how he ran afoul of Aleister Crowley.  Another is Morris West's The World is Made of Glass which speculates on an obscure note in Carl Jung's journals about a woman who came to him with "a confession".
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Yargling
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« Reply #41 on: February 10, 2009, 03:34:07 AM »

I accept some people saying that it didn't have to be Hitler, Hemmingway or Chaplin; I too thought this at first, but I think it did matter.  We had to understand these characters at least to a degree.  We had to know their potential, especially in a short story format.  We had to know how far they would go for their beliefs.
We all know how far Hitler went.

Agreed - some random Tom, Dick, or Harry would have required way too much dialog explaining their history and so forth. With Hitler, everyone knows who he was, and what he did. In essence, it needs Hitler to make the story work.
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izzardfan
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« Reply #42 on: February 10, 2009, 05:14:22 AM »

I was fascinated by the years this Hitler had that ours did not... the years after our Hitler died.  It was one thing to have a different attitude and outlook on life, but to have an old age and children... I found myself musing, "Here's what our Hitler missed out on" and being happy that this Hitler was able to cherish those moments.
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Sylvan
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« Reply #43 on: February 10, 2009, 06:53:18 AM »

I thought I'd post this here, instead of just on the opening comment page.

Evil, it would seem, rises from circumstance: that is the lesson of this excellent story.  It's something we've heard before.  What makes this so memorable, I think, is the very nature of the characters through which the idea is conveyed.  As Steve said, Hitler is very much the Devil and deservedly so.

But to see a "what if" and ponder other evils -a French Empire led by the 4th Bonaparte and circumstances in Russia driving out the Jews- nicely demonstrate that much of what contributes to evil -and good- arises from our surroundings.  We are mirrors to our experiences, times, friends, families, cultures, and surroundings:  our evils and goods may very well not be rooted within our souls but lie somewhere beyond us where we cannot so easily see or grasp.

A beautifully ponderous contemplation, indeed.

Thoughts?

Yours,
Sylvan (Dave)
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unoriginalname38
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« Reply #44 on: February 10, 2009, 10:16:07 AM »

I really enjoyed this one. Although the story is very different, it humanises Hitler in a similar way to Downfall/Der Untergang. That is, IMHO, a good thing. Unfortunately, the capacity for evil is a part of the human condition. I think there's a real risk in allowing history to repeat itself if we allow ourselves to consider Hitler an aberration; he's joined by too many Stalins, Pol Pots and so on for us to remove it from consideration. Summer in Paris, Light from the Sky is an eloquent restatement of the results of Zimbardo's Stanford prison experiment.

Can we assume that Godwin's Law doesn't apply for this discussion?

xD.
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sirana
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« Reply #45 on: February 10, 2009, 10:48:01 AM »

Wow, a feelgood story about Hitler. Who thought it possible...

I liked the story. I enjoy alternate history and this one was done very well imho. The characters were nice variations on their real counterparts and I think it gave a strong enough argument for the complete difference of the Hitler this story painted and the real one.
I think the quotes form various books were the best part of the story, they seemed very real.
I do not like rape beeing used just to move the plot along, so that hindered my enjoyment of the story a bit.
Still all in all a good story.
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Arkayanon
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« Reply #46 on: February 10, 2009, 10:29:52 PM »

I really feel like this is a beautiful story.

I remember seeing a video of our Hitler speaking/speeching while I was in middle school and thinking, "I don't speak any German, but I am so there!"  His charisma is undeniable.  Since then I've always wondered what the world could have been like if his charisma had found another direction, one for good. 

This story made me feel something deep within my heart, and few things do.  Maybe it was because it was a story of the love of freedom or perhaps because of the hope that none of us are truly lost to evil as even the worst of us can be seen differently by way of paths not taken.  This is in no way an absolution, this is a work of fiction.

As for the reading, I thought it was done rather well, with a few hiccups here and there noted by others.  Somehow Tesia seemed to come alive as a person you could care about despite being voiced by a man.

Again, beautiful story and one I will listen to again.
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Peter Tupper
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« Reply #47 on: February 11, 2009, 02:39:02 AM »

I just didn't buy this story's premise. The author removes two of the most important influences on Adolf Hitler's life, his distant, harsh father and his experiences in the trenches of WWI (I assume, as there's no mention of an analogous conflict in the story). Without that, is he really Adolf Hitler or just somebody who happened to be named Adolf Hitler? I think that if you do an alternate history story about a known historical figure, but you change details so radically that the person bears only a superficial resemblance, then it isn't really about that figure.

If the story showed this version of Hitler as a leader, putting Hitler's inexplicable charisma to positive ends, that would be interesting, but instead all we get is a depressed wannabe painter. I saw nothing of the Hitler we know. And there was an anti-version of Hitler, he'd be a firebrand and a rabble-rouser, not a writer.

There's also the problem that, even with a saintly father, Hitler would have been brought up in a society with deeply ingrained anti-Semitism, and it would take more than a kiss from a pretty girl to make a dent in that.

(I'm struggling not to make any Springtime for Hitler jokes.)

I'm also not sure what to make of the appearances of Hemingway and Chaplin as bohemians. I expected some gag about little mustaches, as supposedly Hitler copied it from Chaplin.

Good reading, and I'm glad to see EP back on the air, if that's the proper phrase.
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sirana
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« Reply #48 on: February 11, 2009, 03:19:37 AM »

There's also the problem that, even with a saintly father, Hitler would have been brought up in a society with deeply ingrained anti-Semitism, and it would take more than a kiss from a pretty girl to make a dent in that.

Not to come of defensive or anything (I'm German), but which society ca. 1920 had no deeply ingrained anti-Semitism? Not everybody who grew up in that time period in Germany or anywhere else became an anti-Semit. And I think a kiss from a pretty girl (or guy) is the best cure for any Racism you can find...
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Yargling
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« Reply #49 on: February 11, 2009, 03:20:58 AM »

If the story showed this version of Hitler as a leader, putting Hitler's inexplicable charisma to positive ends, that would be interesting, but instead all we get is a depressed wannabe painter. I saw nothing of the Hitler we know. And there was an anti-version of Hitler, he'd be a firebrand and a rabble-rouser, not a writer.

Hitler was a depressive painter, living in various Doss houses over the course of several years, before the first world war. That was what Hitler was before the first war.

To quote from the wikipedia page:
Quote
He struggled as a painter in Vienna, copying scenes from postcards and selling his paintings to merchants and tourists. After being rejected a second time by the Academy of Arts, Hitler ran out of money. In 1909, he lived in a shelter for the homeless.

The difference between this Hitler and the real one seems to be that this Hitler never joined the government to spy on the "National Socialist German Workers’ Party" (the Nazi's in their early days), and hence never ended up joining them. You are right about the apparent lack of WWI experience in the trenches - but the thing is, the idea is that in the alternative Hitler, we're meant to see what he could have been like without those horrifying experiences, including being wounded twice (once in the groin) and experiencing the blinding of mustard gas.

Overall, you do have an interesting point - is this really Hitler? Without these experiences?

There's also the problem that, even with a saintly father, Hitler would have been brought up in a society with deeply ingrained anti-Semitism, and it would take more than a kiss from a pretty girl to make a dent in that.

Not to come of defensive or anything (I'm German), but which society ca. 1920 had no deeply ingrained anti-Semitism? Not everybody who grew up in that time period in Germany or anywhere else became an anti-Semit. And I think a kiss from a pretty girl (or guy) is the best cure for any Racism you can find...

Agreed! Although there was some anti-semitism feeling towards the jews, it wasn't as strong as, say, racial divisions between blacks and whites in America. I don't think any jews where murdered for just being jews pre-brown-shirt provoking. It was prehaps more like the current situation in the UK with immigrants now - a general distrust/dislike of them, and a few out and out attacks by extremist nutters on them.

But yeah...pretty girls cure alot! Wink
« Last Edit: February 11, 2009, 03:26:25 AM by Yargling » Logged
Bdoomed
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« Reply #50 on: February 11, 2009, 05:02:09 AM »

If the story showed this version of Hitler as a leader, putting Hitler's inexplicable charisma to positive ends, that would be interesting, but instead all we get is a depressed wannabe painter.
I completely disagree with you here... in this story yes we see a more cowardly Hitler, but we are told off and on of his future exploits, his charisma showing through after he sparks the revolution.  Actually reminds me of Straw Dogs...
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Listener
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« Reply #51 on: February 11, 2009, 05:55:58 AM »

I just didn't buy this story's premise. The author removes two of the most important influences on Adolf Hitler's life, his distant, harsh father and his experiences in the trenches of WWI (I assume, as there's no mention of an analogous conflict in the story). Without that, is he really Adolf Hitler or just somebody who happened to be named Adolf Hitler? I think that if you do an alternate history story about a known historical figure, but you change details so radically that the person bears only a superficial resemblance, then it isn't really about that figure.

Well, it's not just about the father and WWI being different. The American Revolution being in the 1860s, the French Empire, all the other little details... maybe there never WAS a WWI. I didn't hear anything in the story that indicated there was one.
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stePH
Actually has enough cowbell.
Hipparch
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Cool story, bro!


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« Reply #52 on: February 11, 2009, 09:27:05 AM »

Well, it's not just about the father and WWI being different. The American Revolution being in the 1860s, the French Empire, all the other little details... maybe there never WAS a WWI. I didn't hear anything in the story that indicated there was one.

That's one of the things about althistory ... how "alternate" is it?  This one seemed to be a bit more "alt" than Harry Turtledove's civil war/WWI series that started with How Few Remain if what you note is so (I kind of missed the detail about the date of the American Revolution.)
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Russell Nash
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« Reply #53 on: February 11, 2009, 02:32:29 PM »

I think the idea was that with a France that was so strong England couldn't hold on to any of it's colonies and helped the Americans even more than they really did.  France probably also messed with Spain and portugal and that gives you South America. 

in that situation we would expect a large independent quebec.

I see an EU situation happening here.  Quebec is sitting there looking at everyone around them trading without paying any tariffs and says, "can I come in?" 


The American Revolution being in the 1860s,

Had to find the story in print online and check, but the time of the American Revolution was never stated.  It mentioned Lincoln avoiding a Civil War, which we remember as being 1861-1865.

Quote
Adolf remembered stories about the American Revolution. He'd studied it in school, though his textbooks said little. No one really believed that the young nation of upstarts would live beyond its cradle. But Lincoln averted civil war over slavery and assisted the Canadians in gaining their own independence. Naturally, the grateful northerners joined the Union. And shortly after, the Spanish-American conflict left the United States with an entire continent under its sway.
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Ocicat
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« Reply #54 on: February 11, 2009, 02:50:10 PM »

Agreed! Although there was some anti-semitism feeling towards the jews, it wasn't as strong as, say, racial divisions between blacks and whites in America. I don't think any jews where murdered for just being jews pre-brown-shirt provoking. It was perhaps more like the current situation in the UK with immigrants now - a general distrust/dislike of them, and a few out and out attacks by extremist nutters on them.

Uh, plenty of Jews were killed in Europe for just being jews - going back to the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, and random mobs.  That was always a simmering stew pot... sometimes getting killed just because they weren't Christian, and sometimes because they had too much money (Christians weren't allowed to be bankers, so the Jews were). 

Sorry, just couldn't let that statement go unchallenged.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2009, 04:07:36 PM by Ocicat » Logged
Russell Nash
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« Reply #55 on: February 11, 2009, 03:15:07 PM »

Agreed! Although there was some anti-semitism feeling towards the jews, it wasn't as strong as, say, racial divisions between blacks and whites in America. I don't think any jews where murdered for just being jews pre-brown-shirt provoking. It was prehaps more like the current situation in the UK with immigrants now - a general distrust/dislike of them, and a few out and out attacks by extremist nutters on them.

Uh, plenty of Jews were killed in Europe for just being jews - going back to the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, .  That was always a simmering stew pot... sometimes just because they weren't Christian, and sometimes because they had too much money (Christians weren't allowed to be bankers, so the Jews were). 

Sorry, just couldn't let that statement go unchallenged.

At the same time you had killings of Muslims, Protestants, and Catholics.  You also had these groups killing their own kind for not being good enough at it.  For Millennia religion has included hating and sometimes killing people just because they don't agree with you.
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Poppydragon
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« Reply #56 on: February 11, 2009, 04:57:32 PM »

Agreed! Although there was some anti-semitism feeling towards the jews, it wasn't as strong as, say, racial divisions between blacks and whites in America. I don't think any jews where murdered for just being jews pre-brown-shirt provoking. It was prehaps more like the current situation in the UK with immigrants now - a general distrust/dislike of them, and a few out and out attacks by extremist nutters on them.

Uh, plenty of Jews were killed in Europe for just being jews - going back to the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, .  That was always a simmering stew pot... sometimes just because they weren't Christian, and sometimes because they had too much money (Christians weren't allowed to be bankers, so the Jews were). 

Sorry, just couldn't let that statement go unchallenged.

At the same time you had killings of Muslims, Protestants, and Catholics.  You also had these groups killing their own kind for not being good enough at it.  For Millennia religion has included hating and sometimes killing people just because they don't agree with you.

I'd say more that Religion has been used as an excuse for hating and sometimes killing people just because they don't agree with you. Last time I looked most of the major religions (and the lesser ones for that matter) tend to say something along the lines of "be nice, don't kill each other and generally try and get along"... then of course you get the priesthoods.
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Raving_Lunatic
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Lochage
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« Reply #57 on: February 11, 2009, 04:59:13 PM »

Agreed! Although there was some anti-semitism feeling towards the jews, it wasn't as strong as, say, racial divisions between blacks and whites in America. I don't think any jews where murdered for just being jews pre-brown-shirt provoking. It was prehaps more like the current situation in the UK with immigrants now - a general distrust/dislike of them, and a few out and out attacks by extremist nutters on them.

Uh, plenty of Jews were killed in Europe for just being jews - going back to the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, .  That was always a simmering stew pot... sometimes just because they weren't Christian, and sometimes because they had too much money (Christians weren't allowed to be bankers, so the Jews were). 

Sorry, just couldn't let that statement go unchallenged.

At the same time you had killings of Muslims, Protestants, and Catholics.  You also had these groups killing their own kind for not being good enough at it.  For Millennia religion has included hating and sometimes killing people just because they don't agree with you.

I'd say more that Religion has been used as an excuse for hating and sometimes killing people just because they don't agree with you. Last time I looked most of the major religions (and the lesser ones for that matter) tend to say something along the lines of "be nice, don't kill each other and generally try and get along"... then of course you get the priesthoods.

yep, but the heretics are for it. according to the old testament I'm to be stoned to death outside the walls of the city.
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Arkayanon
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« Reply #58 on: February 11, 2009, 06:37:31 PM »

I think the idea was that with a France that was so strong England couldn't hold on to any of it's colonies and helped the Americans even more than they really did.  France probably also messed with Spain and portugal and that gives you South America. 

in that situation we would expect a large independent quebec.

I see an EU situation happening here.  Quebec is sitting there looking at everyone around them trading without paying any tariffs and says, "can I come in?" 


The American Revolution being in the 1860s,

Had to find the story in print online and check, but the time of the American Revolution was never stated.  It mentioned Lincoln avoiding a Civil War, which we remember as being 1861-1865.

Quote
Adolf remembered stories about the American Revolution. He'd studied it in school, though his textbooks said little. No one really believed that the young nation of upstarts would live beyond its cradle. But Lincoln averted civil war over slavery and assisted the Canadians in gaining their own independence. Naturally, the grateful northerners joined the Union. And shortly after, the Spanish-American conflict left the United States with an entire continent under its sway.

I don't think that this necessarily means that the American Revolution occurred in the 1860's.  Note the part, "No one really believed that the young nation of upstarts would live beyond its cradle."  Ninety-odd years is not a long time for a nation to exist if you reckon from the 1770's to the 1860's.  I see this as a European's rather truncated version of American history, really no different than an American's concept of European history.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2009, 06:39:21 PM by Arkayanon » Logged
stePH
Actually has enough cowbell.
Hipparch
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Posts: 3905


Cool story, bro!


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« Reply #59 on: February 11, 2009, 08:14:22 PM »

At the same time you had killings of Muslims, Protestants, and Catholics.  You also had these groups killing their own kind for not being good enough at it.  For Millennia religion has included hating and sometimes killing people just because they don't agree with you.

Quote from: Tom Lehrer
Oh, the Protestants hate the Catholics
And the Catholics hate the Protestants
And the Hindus hate the Moslems
And everybody hates the Jews
But during National Brotherhood Week
National Brotherhood Week, it's
National Everyone-Smile-At-One-Another-hood-Week
Be nice to people who
Are inferior to you
It's only for a week so have no fear
Be grateful that it doesn't last all year!
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