Sunday, December 27, 2015

Fictional AltHistory #4: Star Wars Part 1

In preparation so I can finally see the new Star Wars movie on Monday, the family decided to have a big Star Wars Marathon, watching Episodes 1 through 6. Not going to bother with reviewing the movies, even though I personally don't mind the Prequel trilogies, though the writing is and can be cringe worthy, but even the original trilogy is like that. George Lucas is great at world building, not so much with the actual writing...

Oh god, what am I doing? I got to get out of this flame war before it begins!

Anyway, like I had been doing before with the Fallout AH Scenarios, maybe I will do a few Star Wars ones. And for the first one, let's go to the Prequels, specifically Episode Three, and do a little thought experiment of what happens if... Uh, wait.... SPOILERS FOR STAR WARS: EPISODE THREE REVENGE OF THE SITH!!!!!!

Also, not going to go into the Expanded Universe stuff, mostly because I don't know if very well, and I will spend forever researching it other wise.

Point of Divergence

Anakin Skywalker decided to stay at the Jedi Temple, or wasn't able to arrive soon enough, to intervene in the climatic battle between Mace Windu and Chancellor Palpatine, aka Darth Sidious, aka the future Emperor. Windu kills Palpatine, the last Sith leader in the galaxy, and the mastermind behind the Civil War between the Separatists and the Galactic Republic.

[Insert epic John Williams score here]

However, this was not the clean sweep that the Jedi Council hoped for, and even though the Civil War is nearly over, politics in the Senate begins to rear it's ugly head once again. Many of the Senators were influenced by the now deceased Palpatine, and while some, such as Bail Organa from Alderaan and Padme Amidala of Naboo, saw his death as a chance to restore democracy. But soon the Senate is divided, with many calling for the end of the Jedi Council as a separate organization, especially if they tried to police the government without the approval of the Senate.

The Jedi Order, though pleased to have removed the last Sith Lord, is now trust into a huge political storm. Mace Windu is tried by the Senate for his illegal murder of Palpatine, and is forced out of the Jedi Order and sent into exile, as a scapegoat. But it wasn't enough, and soon laws are passed to make the Jedi Order officially subservient to the Senate, with Senators appointed to oversee all the operations of the Jedi. Some, like Master Yoda, reluctantly allow it, while Obi-Wan Kenobi begins to resent the interference, especially when he relays the information he learned of the last Separatist leaders being on Mustafar, but due to the delays in getting approval from the Senate, they escape, and the Civil War drags on longer and longer as the last leaders are able to slowly rebuild, and the fighting continues for years.

Anakin Skywalker is finally made a Master of the Jedi Order for telling the Jedi of Palpatine's plot, but he quickly adapts to the the new situation, and is named the first Senator to represent the Jedi Order, a bone thrown to the Jedi in return for all their privileges that were removed. But the morale of the Jedi is low, and it takes years to improve it.

I dunno, I just wanted a picture with more Jedi's and Lightsabers. 

The next major crisis to rock the Jedi Order is the eventual discovery of Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala's marriage and her twins, which while kept secret for a year, eventually is leaked to the Galactic Senate and Jedi Council. The Conservatives in the Council sought to kick out Anikin, both for breaking the non-marriage code of the Jedi and for his closeness with the Senate and government, but Anakin, with his ties to the Senate, eventually gets approval for his actions, and the Senate orders to the Jedi Council to remove the celibacy requirement of the order. Many of those that secretly wished for this for decades are now given the chance to come out and marry, and many of their children are also Force sensitive, which in the long run helped the Jedi Order rebuild it's ranks after the long and brutal Civil War, which was still raging in certain areas.

Of course, eventually the Dark Side of the Force will rear it's head again, most likely once the Civil War is nearly over, leading into more intergalactic space battles and fights between Jedi and etc. etc... but I really don't know enough about Star Wars to even begin to guess what to say about it. For all I know, Anakin will still turn to the Dark Side, become Darth Vader, and lead to opposition. Or maybe a bitter Mace Windu. Or an angry Obi-Wan Kenobi. I don't know. Either way, if someone with more knowledge of the Expanded Universe (or, I guess it's called Legends now, okay) could make a plausible scenario.

Hope all my readers had a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday, and hopefully I can get into a better routine in the new year, most likely with some other Alternate Histories based on movies, TV shows, video games and books!

Wait, wait... no no no no! No Doctor Who Alternate histories yet! GET BACK DALEKS, NOOOOOO!!!!
But what do you think? How would a galaxy far, far away a long time ago deal with such a political crisis? Or if you have a topic or idea you would like me to talk about, please leave comments below, email me at, or tell me on Twitter @tbguy1992.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

AltHistory Scenario #16: What if the US Constitution Was Never Ratified?

So it's been a while since I've posted much of anything on here. The past few weeks have been hectic for me because of family issues and work, so to make up for it, here's a larger AH scenario for now to bring me back into the game...

What if the US Constitution Was Never Ratified?

In 1787, the United States decided to try to reform the unworkable Articles of Confederation, but soon the little details began to cause an increasing number of problems: how to set up the executive branch, both houses of Congress, if the states or the Federal government should have more power, etc. After months of debate and deliberation, the Constitutional Convention disbanded, with no agreement signed. It was a huge blow to the young United States, but by 1794, the federal government was in a huge amount of debt and had no power to pay off the debt. Soldiers on frontier posts went without pay, while the militia's maintained in the states were lavished with extra resources. Larger states like Virginia and Pennsylvania began to flex their economic and diplomatic muscles, forcing smaller states like Rhode Island and New Jersey to work for them in the ineffectual Congress.
"And furthermore, you all can go and do yourselves over
with your own genitalia!" -Benjamin Franklin, most likely.
Don't tell me that's something he
wouldn't say!

In 1795, after years of political deadlock and increasingly harsh rhetoric, Massachusetts was the first state to declare succession from the Union. In the next few months, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, an New Hampshire also voted to leave, with Massachusetts and Connecticut forming the "Union of New England," and putting together a new constitution to give more power to a central government. Virginia, the most powerful state in the US, tried to get the Federal government to raise an army to brings the seceded states back into the Union, but the vote of the Pennsylvania delegate against this action meant that no army could be raised.

The Articles of Confederation was dead, and soon the United States would die as well. The rest of the old US would break up into separate nations: New Hampshire and Rhode Island, along with New York, would join the Union of New England; Pennsylvania and New Jersey united to form the Republic of Pennsylvania; Virginia annexed Maryland and Delaware, establishing the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the two Carolina's would united with Georgia to form the Union of the Carolinas, and would eventually gain Florida from Spain. While all of them were more or less democratic (by late 18th century standards), there were some marked differences: Virginia and Carolina were majority slavery states, while the two northern countries banned slavery, which never took hold up north, by 1813. New England and Virginia had strong central governments, though New England would be the closest to the modern US, with a division of powers between the federal government and the "Districts" (OTL states). Carolina and Pennsylvania had weaker central governments, but in both cases the central government could raise taxes and an army, unlike the Articles of Confederation. There were other differences, such as the increasingly Mercantile and Industrial north with the agricultural and slave holding south.

So, here is my North America in this timeline. Sorry for my lack
of Map Making skills. Maybe someday I can get better, but this
is the rough idea I have.
The divided American colonies quickly begin bickering with each other over land rights, western expansion, and debts that accrued during the Articles of Confederation. But without a larger federal government to help claim land from the Natives, soon more countries would be established west of the Appalachians: the Republic of Ohio that reached from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi down into OLT Kentucky, the Kingdom of Louisiana, established with the support from Napoleon (before he was defeated in 1817), the Dakota Confederacy (primarily Native American, created more to keep the White Man out than to actually rule the land).

Mexico would remain whole, stretching from northern California down to the border of Gran Colombia in the south, and after dealing with the Texas Revolt in 1832, quickly became the economic and military powerhouse of North America. The bloody War of The Great Lakes (1859-1863), when the Union of New England and the Province of Quebec was invaded by an alliance of Virginia and Ohio over Ohio's belief in "Manifest Destiny," to try to claim the resource rich, but people poor North Western Ontario. Eventually, with the aid of British regulars, Canadian militia, and New England troops, Ohio and Virginia were defeated, and forced to surrender land. Canada was able to negotiate it's independence from the United Kingdom after the war, and with the purchase of Rupert's Land, became the Largest country in North America, though it was unable to negotiate with the Republic of Oregon and British Columbia to have either nation join, so only Mexico would have the distinction of having both Atlantic and Pacific coast lines.

Other brutal wars after dragged the nations of North America into conflict, aided at one time or another by European nations. But by the 1960s, and after the end of the Third World War, an uneasy peace lasted in North America. Pennsylvania, once one of the strongest of the early nations in North America after the failure of the US, collapsed itself, and was divided between Ohio, New England and Virginia in 1889, with political corruption, a stagnating economy and a weak military making their position untenable. Gone is Virginia as well, having been divided between New England and Georgia in 1941 after the Fascist Virginia sought to reclaim it's place in North America after loosing to both nations in 1917.  The Dakota Confederacy retained it's Native heritage, and with the discovery of oil in the northern Dakota provinces and Seqyoah, along with the resources of the Rocky Mountains and large gold mines makes the land-locked country the richest in North America, and comparable with the German Empire, the richest and most powerful nation in Europe (just not in population). The Empire of Mexico has been teetering under political corruption and resistance movements in California and Texas again, and it seems only a matter of time before that bursts into a full fledged Civil War much like 1911, when the Communist Party tried to replicate the success of their comrades in France a few years before and overthrow Mexico, only to fail after Carolina, Dakota and New England volunteers came to help.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Editorial: Seven Things I Learned From NaNoWriMo

As you may have noticed, I haven't really posted much last month. Well, there is a reason for that, and I think it's a good one: I was participating in the National Novel Writing Month challenge. Write a 50,000 word story between November 1 and 30. And, well, I did it!

I was working on an alternate history story where magic and steampunk technology exist side by side in a Europe that roughly parallels our history, but with people using special crystals to use magic... and I lost most of you. Either way, I wrote 50,000 words on that topic, and the story is no where near done. Will most likely some day get back to figuring out how to rework and finish it.

Anyway, trying to write 50,000 words in 30 days taught me a lot about writing, especially when you want to do Alternate History. So, To get myself back into the swing of things, here's a list of things I learned from NaNoWriMo to help with anyone trying to write or who may want to do NaNoWriMo next year

  1. Know what you want to talk about. I had the Steampunk/magic idea for a very long time, before I first tried NaNoWriMo way back in 2013, and while some ideas from then are the same, I realized I still had no idea how the world changed, and what the big differences were. After 42,000 words, and a couple weeks of staring at my computer screen trying to add something, anything, I gave up and went back and spent the last 8000 just writing elements of world building. Nations, wars, the fundamental background of the story, how the magic works, why the steampunk group and the magic people were fighting, all that. 
  2. Find and make the time to do it. On November 1, 50,000 words may seem a daunting, but doable challenge, which it is. But you need to keep working on it. I set myself a goal of at least 2000 words a day, which is slightly higher than the 1,667 or so a day that NaNoWriMo suggests needs to be written a day in order to win. But even then, with a full time job, helping on the family farm, helping the rest of the family, and a lot of other things (like Fallout 4), finding the time was really hard. So in the evening, after getting home from work, helping on the farm, supper and dishes, I would sit at my computer in my room and punch out 2000 words before I did anything else, like Fallout 4. You need to find the time, and have people respect that time. Which brings me to my next point...
  3. Tell other people you are doing this. This is especially in the case where you live with someone else, like your parents, roommates or significant other. Don't keep it a secret that you are trying to write 50,000 words in a month. Even before I started I told my mom and dad that I was going to do this, so they were more understanding of the times when I locked myself in my room to try to write. Without that notice, they would have been a lot more annoyed, if not concerned, at what I was doing, especially since I liked to put myself away in my corner of the house to be alone...
  4. You got to power through writer's block. Writer's block is a terrible thing. Staring at a blank, white screen or piece of paper trying to figure out words to go on paper, your mind a swimming mess of confusion and agony... but you got to get through it. When you do NaNoWriMo, or any other big, time sensitive project, you just got to go. Write down the first thing that comes to your mind. Don't erase it, because you need 50,000 words, remember? You can edit later in December or January. And usually that first sentence will go a long way to clearing things up.
  5. Take a break, and do something else. Just like chocolate, video games, alcohol, sports and anything else, too much of a good thing can be bad for you. Writing is the same way. If you find yourself stumped, and can't go any further, feel free to walk away for an hour or two. That's the times when I would go play a video game, read a book, take a nap, stare at the ceiling. Anything but look at the Google Docs file I made just for NaNoWriMo. Then, when you are ready, you can go back with, if not fresh eyes, then at least a bit of a reboot or refresh. That will go a long way to help.
  6. Reach out and talk to fellow writers. There is nothing like a good support group, and the best help you can get with NaNoWriMo is other people also participating. I had an internet friend from Seattle invite me to a group chat of other writers, almost all of whom I never met before. But they were very friendly and helped me with my problems, as much as I tried to help them in return. A couple did finish NaNoWriMo as well, and provided encouragement to the rest to keep going, and get it done as well.
  7. It's not the end of the world to not hit the goal. November is a short month, tied for second last place with April, June and September. Life has a nasty habit of suddenly springing surprises on those that have a goal and want to do something on a certain day. I didn't get more than 20,000 words in 2013 because of University, and I dared not try it in 2014 for the same reason. There were times when it felt like I was burnt out on this story, and I was getting ideas for other stories I wanted to write, as well as commitments like work and this blog and other things. I did power through it, but there are many people who weren't able to do it. But remember: there is always next year. And there are still eleven other months you can write, so why just try to do it in one? NaNoWriMo is more to show that anyone that wants too can participate, and can win. If not, at least you did some writing, right? Doesn't matter if you only got 10,000 or went all out and did 100,000, you still wrote, and that's what NaNoWriMo is about.
NaNoWriMo is over for 2015, but there is still 2016 and many more years in the future that you can do this. I plan to do it again, hopefully next year, and maybe next time I can be more prepared next time so it won't be as stressful or painful. And all these tips can help with your normal writing as well.

Anyway, will get back to regular Alternate History next week. Until then, good luck with the word counts, my fellow Alternate Historians!