I’m sure it’s a fantasy we’ve all had. What would it be like to relive your life but this time with the benefit of hindsight?
This is a notion that is currently exercising the imagination of top-ranked Stories OnLine authors. I notice that the top favourite downloaded on-going series on this website are all concerned with this conceit. It seems that this is now an even more popular subject of fiction than post-Apocalyptic cave-man fantasies, nudity at school fantasies or even mind-control.
It’s not a fantasy that I’m ever going to write about, but it is fascinating that it’s now so very popular. The top of the heap is A Fresh Start by rlfj. I’m not going to comment on his writing style, his use of dialogue or whether the story held my interest (though I suspect rlfj’s opinion of my fiction will be very similar to my opinion of his), but I was interested to see from scanning through the chapters that this story appears to be mostly a vehicle to present a rather right-wing view of American politics (where the rest of the world is at best a nuisance) and in which the protagonist is able with the benefit of hindsight to ensure that America swings even further to the right on some bizarre vendetta to crush the disadvantaged to provide a privileged minority with the untrammelled freedom to own guns and avoid taxes. Why, if you’ve been on the winning side of America’s history since at least the 1980s, would you think that it would be desirable to stack the odds even more in your favour?
The other two top time-travel stories by SmokinDriver and Phil Brown seem very similar at a brief glance, though whether they share rlfj’s political views I don’t know but it wouldn’t surprise me. The majority of successful prolific writers on almost all the sex fiction sites I’ve come across are beyond any pale that I would normally encounter. They probably think Thatcher and Reagan should become saints and that President Obama is some kind of Muslim Kenyan socialist.
If I could go back in time and start again, what would I do? I really don’t know. History is a strange thing. Since the 1970s, the right has definitely been on the ascendency in Europe and America. The wealthy are wealthier. The poor are poorer. And we are in many ways more self-centred and uncaring. On the other hand, technology has advanced to everyone’s benefit, social attitudes towards homosexuality and women’s rights have demonstrably improved, and America did manage to elect a black president even if he is rather more conservative than anyone could have expected.
Much as I despair about the right-wing tendencies over here and (in some kind of comic-book form) in America, and the destruction of the environment that may well bring the entire edifice tumbling down whether or not the missiles are let off first, there are many things to be grateful for and we may actually live in much better times now than we might have done if things had been different in the past in any one way.
And for those who wonder what America would have been like if humans had never arrived either 500 years ago or 15,000 years ago, here’s a picture of a High Arctic Camel by Daniel Eskridge: