One of the interesting side-effects of the success of the Gingrich-Forstchen alternative histories of Gettysburg – Forstchen being an established, successful fantasy author – is the venture of sci-fi/fantasy powerhouse trade marque Tor Books into Civil War nonfiction. Witness: Whip the Rebellion: Ulysses S. Grant's Rise To Command by George Walsh, published by Tor.
My hair-trigger judgement dumps this effort into the Centennialist minden heap, with one bit worth noting - author Walsh is a product/creation of ACW fiction, specifically Killer Angels. (See here for details.) He may have writings especially tasty to pulp fiction readers.
(Harry Turtledove’s successful series of Civil War fantasies may also have influenced this development.)
I think the Centennial interpretation of ACW history is very congenial to straight-ahead sci-fi of the Edgar Rice Burroughs type. This has to do with stylistic bias.
Scifi tends to be overwhelmingly conservative stylistically and culturally - favoring the most obvious forms of storytelling ... as is the case in all genre fiction. The principal work of the Centennialists has been to convert wild and wooly controversies - in their thousands - into a manageable mini-sets of predictable story elements.
I have long thought that ACW authors like William Davis – a Centennial stalwart - borrow heavily from pulp fiction literary techniques, Burroughs being a giant in pulp fiction. It may be worth a post to explore the direct borrowings and correlate these to practicing nonfiction hacks.
Meanwhile, the ray of hope here is that sci-fi fans, despite their hidebound literary tastes, view themselves as adventurous renegades with a tolerance for “weird.”
So the prospect of a sci-fi trade house going into ACW nonfiction encourages in us a certain amount of optimism. I hope some of the ACW revisionist authors dissatisfied with University Press outcomes will test the waters with new Tor submissions.
Are sci-fi/fantasy readers worth having in ACW nonfiction? Reading Blogfonte tells me "Yes, definitely."
Let’s see how “far out” Tor and its base may be willing to go.