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By Brendan DuBois

Discussed February 2001

Buy Resurrection Day

Discussion Questions

  1. This is our discussion group's first "alternate history" selection. Since there's nothing overtly "F&SF" about the events in this story, do you consider Resurrection Day a valid selection for an F&SF discussion group? (Or, to ask it differently, do you consider "alternate history" a valid sub-genre of SF?)
  2. Resurrection Day is a murder mystery, a thriller, and an alternate history story all rolled up into one. Did this "work" for you? How successful do you think DuBois was in joining these three literary genres?
  3. Authors -- especially F&SF authors -- are continually faced with the question of just "how far afield" they can take their readers. Readers will only tolerate a certain level of demand on their "suspension of disbelief". Did you find the alternate history in Resurrection Day to be "reasonable"? Did you find it too far-fetched? Did you find the events in the story to be "reasonable"? Did you find them too far-fetched?
  4. Characters in Resurrection Day often quote the old adage that "history is written by the winners" -- or they re-state it as "history is written by the survivors." Did reading this novel affect the way you think about "the Kennedy mystique", the Cuban Missile Crisis, or subsequent U.S. history? If so, how?

Other (related) books that you might find interesting:

Fatherland, by Robert Harris (1993) - This is another murder mystery/thriller/alternate history combination. It's 1964; and during the past 20 years, WWII has pretty much ground down to a Cold War-type standoff. In Germany, most good citizens are gearing up for Hitler's 75th birthday celebration and the impending visit of President Kennedy to Berlin. Amidst the preparations, a disillusioned SS detective begins a seemingly routine murder investigation and discovers, to his own personal risk, a conspiracy of astounding terror that could destroy the Nazi hierarchy's hope for an armistice with the U.S. (Fatherland was filmed in 1994 as a made-for-HBO movie, starring Rutger Hauer and Miranda Richardson.)

Gorky Park, by Martin Cruz Smith (1981) - This one isn't part of the SF genre; but in tone and overall theme (a cover-up revealed during a routine murder investigation, occurring within a totalitarian state), it's very similar to Resurrection Day and Fatherland. A grisly triple murder in a Moscow amusement park leads an honest but cynical Militia homicide investigator into a confrontation with the KGB over an on-going, decades-old cover-up. (Gorky Park was made into a movie in 1993, starring William Hurt and Lee Marvin.)

The Daughter of Time, by Josephine Tey (1951) - While bed-ridden with a broken leg, a police detective becomes intrigued with discrepancies in the commonly-accepted story of King Richard III's murder of the "Princes in the Tower" and he decides to investigate the story using modern-day police procedures and standards. This book is a classic examination of the concept "history is written by the winners".

This page maintained by Rob Gates. Last updated March 10, 2001.

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