Monday, August 23, 2004

Take the fighting to the far off sea

I enjoy the Alternate History subgenre of sci-fi. But works of alternate history tend to be more believable when making only minor fictional changes or assumptions, which is why I'm curious to read the explanation for the central conceit of Weapons of Choice - the aircraft carrier USS Hillary Clinton. I appreciate the blurb mentioning its mission - "tasked in the year 2021 with stopping ethnic cleansing by an Islamist regime in Indonesia", which shows an interesting degree of realism and foresight - but the timeline simply wouldn't seem to add up except in remarkably extraordinary circumstances. It would have to be assumed that Hillary be dead. Even for those few USN vessels named after living people, the most recently serving president on the list is George H.W. Bush - and the carrier named in his honour isn't scheduled for launch until 2009. The USS Ronald Reagan was only launched last year. Failing an October Surprise this year from the DNC, the earliest Hillary Clinton could possibly be president is 2009, which by comparative timeline puts a theoretical aircraft carrier named for her as far forward in commissioning as 2031. By comparison, the USS John F. Kennedy began construction a year after his assassination, and wasn't formally commissioned until 1968. Either way also assumes a spectacularly successful presidency from Senator Clinton, which I'm not entirely sold on (but certainly could be). I'm probably overanalyzing this, but does the author not seem to be engaging in some serious wish-fulfillment fantasies, as well as hoping for her to become the same sort of secular martyr as JFK?

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