Thursday, 8 May 2014

I've just realized that Periscope Red opens on 9 March, twenty-four hours (more or less) before the beginning of Triad.

Bloody hell.

Here's the thing about Rohmer, one of his greatest weaknesses stems from wanting to set things in the near future. Very near. He moves in as close as possible, yet still misses the mark. Where any other writer would continue – this is fiction after all – Rohmer feels he must realign with reality.

Balls!, published eight months before the 1980 Quebec Referendum, imagines a world in which federalist forces lose. Rohmer was wrong, of course, but I've read The Man in the High Castle and am interested in seeing where this could lead.

(Not to suggest that the péquistes are fascists, you understand. Rohmer's is the party of Lévesque, not Marois.)

So, the Canada of Balls! is disintegrating – in Periscope Red mention of its existence is limited to a stray sentence – yet Triad, written after referendum, has the Dominion as healthy as ever.

For an author so intent on pursuing American sales this miscalculation is but a trifle. Rohmer's big problem rests with Balls!, which had Hugh Barker, the 40th President of the United States dying in a snowdrift. The tragedy is so recent that it is referenced in Periscope Red, yet Triad has Ronald Reagan as the fortieth.

This brings me to Peter Lockhart, the bland, blue-eyed Albertan who was Prime Minister of Canada in Balls! How is it that in Triad, which begins just four weeks later, the office is held by Pierre Trudeau Louis Turcot?

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