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Origins of the Great War of the Worlds: Part 3
When History, Like Star Wars, Rhymes
“You see the echo of where it all is gonna go,” George Lucas said about his how his often dreadful Star War prequels relate to the original movies, “It’s like poetry, sort of. They rhyme.”
I'm not a huge Star Wars fan, so it wasn't until the fall of 2015 that I read it the first time. You might remember the fall of 2015. Stuff was going on. Trump was running a presidential campaign and using a lot of rhetoric that many folks thought rhymed with rhetoric used by Hitler.
There's a couple of problems with comparing politicians with Hitler, the primary being Reductio ad Hitlerum: Nearly everyone does it, usually over things like building permits or bike lanes. At the same time, using Hitler's name sparks such a violent reaction that it drowns out what the debate argument was about.
So, in order to keep things focused, I'll use the widely accepted TFG abbreviation for Trump and use TFFG for the other guy.
In 2015, a cousin visited from Germany. So within a few weeks of each other:
I had a talk about my grandfather with my cousin and my aunt, (his last surviving child.)
I read the Lucas quote.
TFG said something that someone thought rhymed with stuff that TFFG often said, and the news went crazy over it.
While the media focused their daily conniptions on words, the bigger picture drew my attention, and I wasn't alone. Pundits wrote about how the United States' was rhyming with the Weimar Republic. Some comparisons were specious. Others were frightening.
In 2016, I decided I would try to write a book about my grandfather. Besides being an interesting story, it seemed more relevant than ever. I even remember thinking early on that my reasons for writing the book would be lost on most readers, since there was no way it would remain relevant, and we had seen nothing as severe as the Reichstag fire.
Yeah. For predicting the future, I'm nearly as bad as Jim Cramer
It would have to be historical fiction, of course, because the specifics have been lost to time. But the broad strokes are there, especially when it comes to the war. I think using my grandfather as the POV for a book about WWI, Weimar, the Great Depression, and the violence surrounding the Bund in New York City, would make for an interesting book.
So, I started my research and was stunned by what I found. It was then that I learned that several accounts of the Somme placed his regiment where the British breached the lines. It was also when I found that the tales I had been told about the Nazis in Liedolsheim barely scratched the surface of what happened during the 1920s in that little village.
And it was when I realized that while I very much wanted to be the writer I had dreamed of back in High School, writing a book is hard work and making a book where you feel very close to the subject your first isn't a very good idea. I needed to take a step back.
I don't know where the idea came from, but at some point a picture of World War I soldiers fighting a Martian Walker in the trenches popped into my head. It may have even been a picture I saw on the Internet. I'm not the first person to think of it.
But then I asked myself what the world would have looked like after the Martians died off in the original story. WWI led to the Weimar Republic and TFFG. 9/11 led to TFG, and we still don't know where we're going.
What would a failed alien invasion lead to? How would it have changed the early 20th Century? Could I use that story as a rough draft for my grandfather's?
So, here we are. I hope you'll stick around for the ride.
While he has a point, it still doesn't explain how watching Darth Vader slaughter children in the third movie makes his hollow deathbed redemption in the sixth movie any more believable.
It took Andor, the anti-Star Wars Star Wars to capture the feeling I had when I saw the first movie as a kid.
It was still 2015, so I wasn't used to the media devoting every waking media to him yet.
Yes, the seeds were already there, but without 9/11 it’s a more of a stretch. Don't @ me.