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Revisionist History of the Wise Men

I call my new Christmas novella, The Wise Men:  A Christmas Adventure, revisionist history because it tells how an event could have happened.  The New Testament gives us very little information, just Matthew 2: 1-12.  We don’t know who they were, how many there were, nor where they were from.  Marco Polo names three men from Saba, Persia.  And that’s about it as far as historical texts go.

My favorite novel EVER in this genre (besides my own, of course) is Pastwatch:  The Redemption of Christopher Columbus by O.S. Card in which he shows how a few changes create the Butterfly Effect in the exploration of the New World.  The result is a completely different scenario.  His research is comprehensive and his novelistic skills formidable.  Plus, his world view gives us hope for humanity because history could have turned out differently.  He envisions mankind as redeemable.

A novel that had equal potential was Jim Fergus’ One Thousand White Women.  I respect his research and admire his historical perspectives, but the novel plays out to the same bitter end as real history.  That means the author could not envision change.  His view is that mankind is too racist, too hard-hearted, too bloody-minded to ever create a more enlightened scenario.  What’s the good of that?  Even if it’s true of some of us, does it help us live out our lives with any modicum of nobility or optimism if we believe that we are inherently venal creations?

My revisionist history of the Wise Men began with a deep-seated aversion to all the traditions that have grown up around them.  For one thing, I can’t believe the Wise Men were astrologers.  It seems to me they were inspired, Godly men.  But then, how could they have possibly made the error of visiting Herod first?  That was one of the questions that intrigued me when I began thinking through the plot.

More later . . .

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Revisionism

I love imagining different possibilities. Hugh Everett III, who came up with the many-worlds interpretation of quantum physics gives me a reason to think that, theoretically, there are many co-existing realities and that I just happen to be in this one, with every single one of me believing that the narrative that defines her is the only authentic reality.  The first time I heard this farfetched theory, there was no way I was going to believe in it, but it has nevertheless inspired many science fiction writers. Now, I say to myself that it doesn't have to be true for an idea to be interesting and that it's great to have the flexiblity to imagine all sorts of possibilities, twists of fate, happenstances, and outcomes that lend themselves to the writing of a postmodern e-book novel with alternative narratives built in through hyperlinks, a historical novel or a revisionist history.  Of course, revisionist history cannot be justified without new empirical evidence and plausible facts but fiction implies more creative freedom which makes writing fun.