3 comments on “The Geopolitics of Dominion

  1. Derek: Fascinating post (as always); due you think Fatherland by Robert Harris preempted Sansom ?
    From Jasper (by phone)

  2. Hi Jasper. Thanks so much — there are parallels to be sure (both Harris and Sansom nail Joe Kennedy, for example), and Fatherland included maps too. Sansom himself describes it as “the best alternate history novel ever written”, but there are significant differences. Some of them are geopolitical (in Harris’s novel the ghastly Edward VII returns to the throne, a prospect Sansom emphatically rules out because “as King, he would have been a headache to any government”, while Japan surrenders to the US after two nuclear attacks). But the staging is different too; unlike Deighton’s SS-GB and Sansom’s Dominion, Fatherland largely plays out in Berlin (in 1964).

    All that said, I’m less interested in alternate history or counterfactual history as such than in the ability of these (and other) fictional works to capitalise on historical research to produce a substantial sense of place and landscape: you’ll have caught some of that in my admiration for Tom McCarthy’s C, a very different project but one that also troubles the too simple distinction between ‘fiction’ and ‘fact’ and captures dimensions of the First World War that rarely trouble the standard narratives.

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