Short Stories 366:307 — “The Secret History of the Intrepids,” by D.K. Latta

Okay, this was super-cute. An alternate-history version of Canada set during a WWII playing out differently—including Nazis on Canadian soil—Latta’s story is presented between clips and excerpts from out-of-print or forgotten texts about “The Intrepids,” a group of heroes who turned the tide. And who are the Intrepids? Well, they’re names you’ll recall from your Canadian History class, that’s for sure, just not quite the same as they were in your text-books. This story, found in Masked Mosaic: Canadian Super Stories, is tongue-in-cheek, with sly references to people and places of Canadian history, alongside the fight-the-nazis! vibe of comics at the time.

The team, which is revealed one at a time to a reporter/writer who is sure he’s been thrown into a car to meet a grisly end for his investigation of odd occurrences, turn out to be assembling more-or-less for the first time to use their powers to get to where the Nazis have encamped in Canada, specifically because they know the Nazis are after something thats hidden there (which was, again, another reference to a Canuck urban legend—this story has no end to the supply thereof). The powers, the chosen figures of Canadian history, and what it is they bad guys are after is a whimsical mix of Canuck and pulp, and I had a great time with this story, as is obvious. Even the reporter character, once I clicked on the surname, offered a loud chuckle of recognition.

Would a non-Canadian reader “get” this story? I imagine not, unless they’ve at least delved into some of the history, but honestly, I don’t think I care. So much of alternate-history speculative fiction out there assumes you know every little nugget of US history, and it never stops me from hitting the web to figure out if the characters, settings, or events are based on parallels. This time it was just nice to sit back and be in the position of already knowing who all the players and locations were.

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