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   Gallatin Divergence, The, by L. Neil Smith  
 
  Novel, first publication in August 1985
 
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       Additional Information  
     
      Win is awakened by Lucille Gallagos Kropotkin to take on a mission to prevent a Hamiltonian agent from going back in time to kill Albert Gallatin, founding father of the Confederacy timeline. Edna Janof, a staunch Hamiltonian, has somehow survived her presumed death in an aircar crash--helped by gunfire from Win and friends--and has commissioned Hirnschlag von Ochskahrt, a competent if not brilliant physicist, to invent a time machine, then stepped into the past, leaving Hirnschlag manacled to a bench with three metric pounds of plastique on time delay. Fortunately, he escaped but the time machine and the laboratory itself were destroyed. Oolorie P'wheet, the theoretical physicist porpoise, determines the space/time coordinates of the time broach and builds another to send back a rescue party--for Gallatin, not Janof. Clad in faux buckskins over a 22nd century thin-skin suit, carrying an imitation "Kentucky" rifle with a Heller Effect stasis beam, and bearing an anachronistic Bowie knife, Win steps into the 18th century and immediately stumbles over Hirnschlag, dropping pots, pans, powder horns, and knives all over the place. After this auspicious start, Win and friends--Ed (his Confederacy doppelganger), Lucy and Hirnschlag--make their way to an observation point on Bower Hill, each loaded with essential supplies and equipment, include Hirnschlag's cello. From there, they watch the crucial events leading to the Whiskey Rebellion and keep watch for Edna Janof. The following chapters portray a version of the actual events of that time, up to a point of divergence at Braddock's Field. Like all reenactments, the minor details are fictional, yet reasonably consistent with written accounts and the customs of that time. Both the Rebels and the Federalists come across as mostly long-winded and indecisive, with some exceptions such as John Baldwin and Alexander Hamilton. The Rebels have meeting after meeting until the critical council where only the (fictional) intervention of Albert Gallatin focuses the issue on the illegal (in the alternate timeline) nature of the Constitution as designed by the Federalists. In the Confederacy timeline, Thomas Jefferson used the phrase "the unanimous consent of the governed" in the Declaration of Independence, differing thereby from the corresponding phrase in this timeline only by the word "unanimous". An armed rebellion of citizens, Gallatin pointed out, was prima facie evidence of lack of unanimity and thus the illegality of the revenue act.

     
     
      Part of series  
     
     
  • North American Confederacy (#5)

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      Related theme(s)  
     
     
  • 18th Century
  • Alternate History
  • Future
  • Parallel Universes - Alternate Worlds - Other Dimensions - Alternate Reality
  • Time Travel - Time Control - Time Warp

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