Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Fictional AltHistory #4: Five Fallout Things That May be AltHistory

I can't keep my mind off of Fallout right now. I have no idea why.

Okay, maybe I do. Because I'm playing Fallout 4 still, and still working on my Fallout fanfic. So, yeah, that makes sense.

I was going to do something about Star Wars again, like what if it was never made, but, well, it will need more research before I feel comfortable trying to write that. So, Fallout it is!

This time, instead of a scenario based on the games, I want to try to pick a few things in the backstory that I think are different, even if it's not implied in the Fallout Bibles, the games, or any other material. Just a quick run down of a few points that I feel would make sense in regard to the games and the lore. Basically, none of these points are canon, and more just "head canon," things that make more sense to me.
Please remember to take your blue and yellow vault suit and please proceed to the orientation session in the atrium

And after this I'll stop talking about Fallout. Maybe. If you want a refresher, and don't have hundreds of hours to play the games through, check out the wiki!

1: The USSR and China Switch Places: This is a fairly simple point, and I think a few things in the game would back this up. In our timeline, the USSR utterly and totally collapsed in 1991 after Premier Gorbachov's reforms failed, but the People's Republic of China managed to allow a more capitalist and market oriented economy without sacrificing the Communist Party after Mao died and his hardliner supporters were eased out of power. Or shot. However, I think in Fallout, the reverse happened: the USSR managed to reform into a more capitalist economy and eased tensions with the USA to the point where they became unofficial allies, but China remained the hardliner, command driven market right up until the bombs fell in 2077.

Go forth and destroy the capitalist pigdogs! Giant Mao will protect you as long as you have a lot of red flags!

In Fallout 1, one of the pre-made characters you can select is Natalia Dubrovhsky, the descendent of a Soviet diplomat that served in a consulate in Los Angeles. Even in the OTL Cold War, the Soviets never had consulates in major cities, just the Embassy in Washington, D.C., so I'd think that relations between the US and the Soviet Union would have to get a lot better before that takes place. I wouldn't even know where to place the POD where the USSR becomes more moderate and the Chinese more hardline. At the very earliest, after the first Sino-Soviet War in the late 1960s, but even right up until the 2020s or later is a possibility.

2: Canada and The US Fought a Major War: I always had one major sticking point with the Fallout timeline, and it involves my home and native land, the True North strong and free. In the timeline, the first mention of the Annexation is 2066, when it's said that increasing tensions as Americans march and fly to reinforce Alaska from the Chinese threat sets the stage for the Annexation in 2076. Okay... but then in 2069, more and more resources are being demanded, and Canada resents that, especially "the vast timberlands." What is the US doing with all the Canadian trees? Biofuel? Construction boom? Just spite? And also this line: "Many Americans refer to Canada as Little America, and Canadian protests are unheard." So... is the annexation already begun by now, or is it just Manifest Destiny rearing it's head?

And unfortunately it couldn't be resolved with a Hockey game. 
But finally in 2072, sabotage of the Alaska Pipeline gives the US the excuse it needs to invade and annex Canada. So, was Canada being quietly taken over before this, or is this the start date? But finally in 2076, it's said that the Canadian annexation is complete, but that protests and riots still occur, and the military shoots on sight, and the atrocities make their way back home. You see it in the intro to the first game, as soldiers in power armor shoot someone to "keep the peace" in Canada. So what happened between 2072 and 2076? There is no real confirmation about it, but my guess is that the Canadians fought back against the US, despite their lack of power armor, the destruction of the government, etc. etc. Mostly likely the bloody occupation and repression of a resistance/freedom fighter/terrorist movement is still going on as the bombs fall. So, I say there was the "Canadian Resistance" taking place between 2072 and 2076, and possibly longer.

3: Jet Was a Pre War Drug, Just Rediscovered: There is a lot of controversy over this point, especially considering that within some of the games it's kind of all over the place. It's said that Byron, a child prodigy and possible companion in FO2 found Jet when you take vats of... uh... Brahmin dung and cook it. But then Mrs. Bishop, also in Fallout 2, says her husband got her high on it years before. And in FO3, New Vegas, and 4, it can be found in places that were closed when the bombs fells, such as Vaults (Vault 95 especially). It could be handwaved away as a game thing, but no, I'm not buying it this time.

Plothole? Nah, just a minor bump in the road. Nothing a lot of BS can't fix!

What's so hard to say that maybe a limited run of Jet was made before the war? If anything, if the effects are similar to the old world drug, it would give the name to the post-apoc version. After all, Jet is named after flying and that... and they don't have much in the way of aircraft after 2077, except for airships and that. So why would they name it after something that had already been gone for over 100 years, and most likely only a few ghouls ever knew what it was like to fly?

4: The Pip-Boys are Glorified, Bulky Apple Watches: Okay, okay, nitpicking here. But, here's the thing: the Pip-Boy 2000 and 3000 models that have been seen in all the Fallout games are, really, just wrist mounted computers. They should not be able to allow you to focus your attacks like in FO3, NV and 4 (with the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System, or VATS), and it shouldn't be able to accuratly monitor your body to determine what limbs are crippled and that, and unless your player character is not only a world class hoarder, but also a diligent record keeper, it really shouldn't be able to keep track of every Fat Man, 10mm pistol, 5.56 round, tin can and Wonderglue you pick up in the wasteland.

Then again, you shouldn't be able to carry nearly 400 pounds of stuff on your person, including possibly THOUSANDS of bullets and a dozen different guns...

Your not playing a Bethesda RPG right when you aren't overloaded after you pick up a flower.

Yeah, I'm really nitpicking. All of this stuff is in for gameplay reasons, and not story lore. But, you know, at least keep it in mind that not everything you see in a game, such as VATS, or a level 100 door that is half broken and falling off the hinges, or a door that is just like any door, but you absolutely need the key to continue on because you can't just lock pick it... it's really just gameplay.

But I wish we had a chance to just shoot the locks off. Would save a lot of time.

5: Vault-Tec Started the Great War: This really is not as crazy as it may sound, as when Interplay, the original producers of Fallout, were considering making a movie, this was the plot. But that movie was never made, and all we got is the film treatment.

The scenario I have in mind is basically that, after Anchorage is reclaimed in 2076, the US invasion of China bogs down, and the war basically turned into a stalemate as oil and uranium resources fully dried up, civil unrest is reaching all time highs in the US (and theoretically China as well), this basically means that the Resource Wars that have been fought for over two decades is now over. With fission powered cars and robots finally starting to be mass produced, millions of lives lost in war, disease and civil unrest, maybe the US and China have decided to end the war.

When Vault-Tec, with their contacts in the Enclave, hear of this, they are outraged. They just spent decades, trillions of dollars, innumerable work hours and resources to build 122 Vaults, most with a specialized social experiment to test the human condition. And now... for possibly nothing. If the war ends, that means the government bonds would dry up, the Vaults would loose their reported function of keeping segments of the American people alive, and the experiments would fall apart, not to mention the possibility of the true purpose being revealed. That is perhaps the scariest thought in the minds of the head of Vault-Tec: if the true purpose is revealed, they would all face the wrath of the American people, and the Enclave wouldn't be able to help them.

Behind their smiling, thumbs up mascot lies a deranged, Machiavellian, insane mastermind... 

So, with the help of the Enclave, Vault-Tec get's their hands on a nuclear weapon or two and fire them on the US and China, the biggest powers. With tensions still high even as the peace process is beginning, both superpowers take the bait, and soon the bombs are flying, and the Great War begins.

Vault-Tec, however, is prepared. Hours before the stolen nukes are launched, they warn the overseers and support staff of the Vaults, and tell them to report to their stations and be ready for those selected for their vaults. This is why in FO4, the Overseer and science staff are already there to welcome you to Vault 111, even as the bombs and missiles rain down on Boston. It's even implied on the terminals in 111 and in 81 that the Overseer and most of the security and science staff was notified hours before the sirens went off.

So, Vault-Tec got the war, the Vaults were sealed, the experiments could begin. But maybe it worked too well. It's implied that the instructions for Vault 111, for instance, was that Vault-Tec HQ would give the all clear six months after the bombs fell, and the staff could come and go at their pleasure. But that signal never comes. Maybe the nuclear war was so destructive that it actually resulted in Vault-Tec loosing contact with most of their vaults and experiments, so to them, it still failed. After all, what good is science if it can't be monitored?

So there are the five possible AH things just in the lore of Fallout. There could be other ones, of course, but these are the five big things that I've been thinking about a lot, especially as I'm writing a Fallout fanfic that requires a lot of research, and in some cases the info just isn't there. So, I do the next best thing: I make it up.

Anyway, that's enough Fallout for now. Maybe I'll come back later, when I get the fanfic done. But for now... back to Fallout 4!


But what do you think? Is anything I just said go against your head-canon with Fallout? 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.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Short AH #2: Nazi Germany Loses World War Three

The following is an excerpt from Dr. Julian Denwich's newest work "Why Germany Lost World War Three," which will be released next week. It's an interesting, accessible look into why one of the largest empires in world history failed in what many saw as a foregone conclusion. Utilizing documents and information that for years had been thought lost with the destruction of Berlin, along with primary documents, interviews, and scholarly research, Dr. Denwich presents a fascinating, and ultimately chilling view of how close the Nazi's may have actually gotten to winning the Third World War, and the reasons why they lost.

"The heart attack and death of Josef Stalin in the first few days after Nazi Germany attacked the USSR, and the devastating political struggle that followed, allowed Operation Barbarossa to succeed in it's goal of destroying the Communist threat before it could properly mobilize and try to slow down and eventually halt the invasion. The fact that the Germans were, more often than not, stumbling on military divisions and entire armies that were turned on each other to support rival leaders trying to claim the Kremlin only made it easier. Of course, the brutal Nazi occupation, the execution and starvation of prisoners and civilians in the demented Nazi racial policies that were conducted during the invasion and afterward led to partisan fighting against each other and the Nazi's that continued for decades, right up until the Nazi's tried to invade America."

"Commentators in the US had, ever since the fall of Europe to Hitler, been in one of three camps: splendid isolation, the believe that the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans would be able to protect the homeland from invasion so it was best to just not care and not pay attention; Foreign intervention, where the US should use it's power to engage in those nations that were trying to take over the world for evil; and Fascist Revolution, who saw the US as weak and ineffectual, and sought to have the US adopt some of the obviously successful Nazi policies that saw them recover from the Great Depression and take over an entire continent... The attack by Japan on Pearl Harbor, and the Pacific War that followed, seemed to have confirmed all three trains of thought. The fact that the Japanese could only reach Hawaii, thousands of miles from the US homeland, and the eventual defeat thanks to the US Navy proved isolation could work. Then there were those that saw the war that was fought that eventually lead to the defeat of the Japanese Empire and their reformation into the Republic of Japan and the democratization of the former European colonies, that foreign intervention was the duty of the most powerful democratic nation in the world to undertake. Those that called themselves Fascist claimed that the government failed during the early war due to not drafting all citizens and mobilizing all factories to produce war materials, but they applauded the internment of the vast majority of those of Japanese descent for the duration of the war."

"It seemed to have always been one of Hitler's goals to knock the US down a few pegs: he considered America one of the greatest sources of "international Jewry" in the world, and if the greedy capitalists, decadent Hollywood movies and "Negro and Jewish infiltration" of society were allowed to continue, then it would eventually destroy Nazi Germany as well. So by the lat 1940s, even as the army was still fighting in the Ural Mountains to suppress the Russian partisans, he was already making plans for the invasion of the United States."

"The original plan was, in the usual Nazi style, both simple and grandiose. It involved transporting 200,000 men in the first wave alone to land in Newfoundland, where military bases and supply depots could be established. Then, another amphibious attack to capture Halifax a major port and the ability to allow fighters and bombers range to attack most of Northeastern America, and then from there, landings near Boston, New York and Washington, D.C. Never mind that the peace deal with the United Kingdom and the British Empire was to last for 20 years. Never mind that the first attack would mean sending 15-20 divisions of soldiers 3000 miles across the ocean, then get them to land on a hostile shore and sweep aside all opposition. Never mind that not a single aircraft carrier was still available to provide even a rudimentary air cover*. The sheer force of Nazi soldiers, battle hardened veterans all, should be able to overcome every obstacle."

"The US had a secret weapon, one that was secretly given to them from England: the Enigma Code. Broken in 1941, a few months before the British signed the Treaty of Dunkirk. It didn't play a huge role in the war in Europe, but the fact that the Nazi's still believed in the late 1940s that it hadn't been broken, it was only in 1948 that a replacement was even being considered but constantly pushed back later and later. During the invasion in 1950, the Enigma machine was still the primary source of sending coded messages between Berlin and it's armies. Within weeks of Hitler's order to prepare for an invasion of the US in October 1950, American codebreakers were telling President Warren that war was inevitable. He knew he had to prepare for the fight, but, with an isolationist Congress, he had to tread carefully, almost too slow for what the events demanded."

"The Battle of the Grand Banks is often called by naval observers as 'shooting fish in a barrel.' The vanguard of the German navy, with the battleships Bismarck, Triptiz, Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Barbarossa leading the way, were obliterated by American aircraft carrier pilots. Of the nearly 320 German ships sent to Newfoundland, only 98 made it home... There is some confusion as to who shot first: Admiral Nimitz, in charge of the US fleet, claimed that it was only when the USS Ward was fired upon by a U-boat that he ordered the attack (as was his orders: if the Nazi's attacked or did reach Newfoundland, they could then be attacked, but otherwise they were to be left alone), but German survivors claimed that the Americans struck first. The argument is more academic than anything else, as it was clear that the Nazi's had a huge fleet, almost the entire German merchant marine hauling thousands of soldiers, and were sailing for North America. World War Three had begun."

"By 1952, Hitler was more or less completely detached from reality. Strategic bombing raids by the British and Americans, the defection of their Italian, Spanish, and Vichy French allies, the uprisings in Poland, Northern France, the Low Countries and pressure from Russia all lead to his issuing of deranged, insane, and often contradictory orders. Destroy the dykes in Holland. Build the dykes higher to prevent an invasion. Destroy the town of Krakow, and build an entire replica to be populated by Germans. Invade Switzerland to prevent them from stabbing Germany in the back...He was paranoid, sick, turing into a hypochondriac, and, as has been revealed recently, often high on
Methamphetamines and in late stages of syphilis sickness. By this point, a small group of leading Nazis: Hermann Goering, secretary Martin Bormann, SS leader Reinhard Heydrich, Propaganda maestro Joseph Goebbels and Minister of Economics Arthur Seyss-Inquart were actually in charge as a secret cabal, limiting access to Hitler, but trying to reduce the damages of Hitler's increasingly delusional orders. It's remarkable that these five men managed to keep Nazi Germany fighting as long as they did, though they were often at each other's throats, and often ended up causing more confusion than Hitler caused. But there was absolutely no thought to having Hitler step aside: the Fuhrer was the Fuhrer, and he was still in charge."

"The invasion of Nazi Europe in May 1953 on the North Sea coast of Germany, with paratroopers, amphibious assaults and massive air raids was, in comparison to the botched and thrown together invasion of Newfoundland by the Nazi's, a master plan that only the likes of Chief of Staff of the US Army General George Patton could have come up with. While the area was heavily defended by concrete bunkers and troops, the Kreigsmarine was no where to be seen, either sheltered in the Baltic or at the bottom of the sea. The Luftwaffe was gone from the skies, leaving US, UK, and Canadian air forces to have free reign. The fighting on the landing zones was tough, but the inability of the Nazi High Command to go against Hitler's orders to prepare for a landing in Northern France meant that when the Germans were finally pushed back, there were no reinforcements. But the Allies were not quite capable of pushing forward 'All the way to Berlin,' as Patton claimed."

"The Wermacht had had enough. The trench warfare in Northern Europe for the past six months was only going against the Germans. The Nazi regime in Europe was coming apart at the seems. Entire platoons of troops in France and Poland just vanished thanks to the partisans. Food and supplies were failing to reach the front lines. Morale was at an all time low. The Soviet idea of 'Commissars' to stand behind troops ordered to go forward to make sure that there was something scarier behind them was starting to be put in place by the SS. Field Marshall Erwin Rommel, asked to do the impossible by the Nazis, finally did the unthinkable. He began to plan to have his entire command surrender to the Allies, and turn on the Nazis and overthrow them."

"The mythical 'Battle of Berlin,' where every living Nazi soldier would fight to defend the capital from the Allies never happened. The Provisional Republic of Germany, with the 'Desert Fox' and the 'Knight of the Steppes' leading it - and perhaps more importantly, three square meals a day and offering, at least, peace at home - was more alluring to the average, conscripted German soldier than the delusional and mad Nazi regime. There were the loyalists, true, that would fight to keep the National Socialists in power, but they were outnumbered 10 to 1. The Battle of Berlin was more a mopping up by the Allies, fighting the few pockets of resistance, capturing Nazi leaders, and ending the Nazi nightmare in Europe...It was only on March 19, 1954, that the body of Adolf Hitler was found. It turned out he had died five months before from the third stroke in two years, but the Nazi Junta never revealed the information."

"The Nazi regime was, perhaps, one of the most inefficient regimes ever constructed. The fact that in 1950, before the start of the war, that there was two general staffs, bureaucratic offices that were often created with overlapping areas of authority, leading to examples such as four agencies devoted to economic matters, three managing railroads, five in charge of acquiring warplanes and, most infamously, two with the sole purpose of actually trying to reorganize the government! There was also wasted money on "superweapons," often with multiple groups working on one project. Three worked on intercontinental ballistic missiles, four on developing what we today would call "railguns", and four in the pursuit of developing an atomic bomb. Most of the research duplicated each other, and when American nuclear engineers looked over the documents, they found out that most were redeveloping techniques and theories that people like Albert Einstein had figured out years before, all to avoid 'Jewish' science."

"The discovery of the concentration camps, most of which had already been destroyed as having completed their usefulness, forever made the word 'Nazi' synonymous with 'evil.' The fact that at the end of the Third World War, in the land that Nazi Germany directly controlled, there were at most 7,000 Jewish men, women and children, out of nine million Jews that lived in Europe before the Nazi's came to power in 1933. An entire subset of people wiped out all for one man's demented ideas of race. Millions more were killed in what is now Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, the Novgorod Republic, and the Russian Republic, and tens of thousands of 'political opponents', making Nazi Germany the home of the worst genocide in history. We should thank God that the Thousand Year Reich lasted only 21 years. But it was 21 years too long."

*(note earlier in book: even after the end of World War 2 in Europe, the Kreigsmarine and Hermann Goering's Luftwaffe could not decide, of all things, who would be in charge of the airplanes on aircraft carriers. Goering claimed superiority in "everything that flew" while the navy rightly pointed out that since the planes would be on a ship, it would be best that they would be under the navy's control. Hitler, as per his management style, let the two argue about it. They continued to argue about it until, finally, in the last days of World War Three, it was decided that the Kreigsmarine could have the planes. By then, there were no planes left.)

But what do you think? How would Nazi Germany fight a Third World War? 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

Friday, February 12, 2016

Flag Friday: The Danube Confederation

It's another Flag Friday! (Mostly because I have nothing else planned at the moment).

Therefore, I want to look at another flag that was made for one of my timelines, this time the Danube Confederation in my AltHistory Wikia TL, One Day in Sarajevo.

The Danube Confederation is a majorly reformed and rebranded Austro-Hungarian Empire. With the POD being that Archduke Franz Ferdinand is not assassinated, and his uncle, Emperor Franz Joseph dies in 1915 instead of 1916, Franz becomes the new Emperor. However, his prickly personality, especially against the Hungarians (and his support for the other nationalities in the Empire, such as the Slavs and the Czechs) lead to the break down in the 1917 Austria-Hungarian Compromise, the separation of Hungary from Austria, and the outbreak of Civil War. Russia, wishing to see their Balkan rival dismantled, supports Hungary, while Kaiser Wilhelm II supports the Austrian portion, and it inevitably leads to a full scale European War. Germany, with a few years to patch up relations with Britain is able to convince the UK to stay out of the war (not invading Belgium helped) and Britain having just dealt with an Irish Insurrection, was in no shape to go fight in Europe. Still didn't help Germany much, as the Kaiser's indecision of what to do, and the military's confusion without the Schefillen plan to guide them in a war, lead to the French invading and occupying Germany territory in Alsace-Lorraine and crossing the Rhine River.

Emperor Ferdinand, taking the opportunity that the war, has the Imperial Parliament, minus the rebellious Hungarian members, to pass a series of laws granting equal rights and national assemblies to ten of the most important nationalities in the Empire: German, Czech, Slovak, Ukrainian, Croatian, Serbian, Romanian, Polish and Slovenes, with the Hungarian national assembly not officially being founded. These new assemblies are given a large amount of power, and representatives in the Imperial Parliament. Emperor Ferdinand retains his title, and in June 1918, the Danube Confederation is declared into existence.

The troops that the various national assemblies raised are put under a unified command, which is also placed under combined German-Danubian command. With this reorganization and morale boost, Austria is eventually triumphant in the Civil War, and plays a large part in fighting Russia and Italy with German, and later Ottoman and British help. (The British came into the war in 1919 on Germany's side due to French attacks on British shipping). The war ends in 1921, with the Germans, Brits, Danubians, Ottomans and other allies defeating France, Russia (which goes communist), Spain, and other allies. The US stayed neutral.

After the war, the process of rebuilding the Danube Confederation takes billions of dollars and lots of soul searching. The Hungarians resent having much of their power taken away (Hungary is officially reduced in size, and mostly only contains the Magyar majority areas, similar to OTL Hungary's size), but have a lot of autonomy thanks to their National Assembly.

Emperor Ferdinand is regarded as a hero for reforming the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and in the 1920s matures into a more constitutional monarch, and many of his more extreme views, such as his hatred of Hungarians, has mellowed over the years. His role as Emperor, and the ruling monarch of the Hapsburg Dynasty that formed the empire to begin with, is seen as his greatest strength and his sole source of authority and power, even more than the constitution that was eventually written up. But his death in 1939 (his last words in a medically induced stupor being to his already deceased wife Sophie: "Sophie, please live for our children!") throws the carefully constructed empire into chaos, just as a new, more destructive war is about to break out...

And that's actually about as far as I've gotten with the TL so far.

The flag though took a lot of time to come up with, and was the best of several suggestions made by fellow AltHistory Wikians. The black and yellow are the traditional colours of the Habsburg Monarchy, and the only colours that were believed that most Danubian citizens would be able to accept without favouring one nationality over another. The 10 stars in a circle represent the 10 major nationalities of the Danubian Confederation: Austrian/German, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, Ukrainian, Croatian, Serbian, Romanian, Polish and Slovenes, with the centre star standing for their unification into one body.

Other versions of the flag had the stars rearranged differently, the off sized tricolour being a try tricolour, or a simple bicolour, and some with a blue strip in the middle between the black and yellow to represent the Danube River that holds the countries together. But most of them were more trial and error versions, and this is the best version that we came up with.

But what do you think? Does the flag make any sense at all for a reformed Austria-Hungary? 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.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Editorial: Why the Butterfly Effect is Impossible to Write About

The other day, I saw an article on Mitro's Alternate History Weekly Update about the Butterfly Effect, which is basically that something as small as a butterfly flapping it's wings in Mongolia could cause hurricanes in the Caribbean, to show how a small effect could have massive repercussions down the road. In AH, it's usually done to show that a time traveler going back in time, step on a butterfly in the Jurassic Period will result in a present (to the time travel) totally and inconceivably different from what he was used to. Because the butterfly died, instead of being eaten or dying somewhere else, totally changes the future.

To be frankly honest, I think it's a total pile of... well you get the picture.

Theoretically, it would make sense, I guess (baring in mind that a huge meteor would almost undoubtably would still hit the earth and wipe out the Dinosaurs, so wiping the slate clean). However, the thing about the Butterfly Theory that I don't like as a writer is the fact that it's impossible to totally comprehend the changes that could happen, and therefore it can never be done right.

Example: If a time traveler did go back in time, stepped on a butterfly, and begin the whole cascade of events to make the future different, it would possibly mean that humanity evolved completely differently: language, philosophy, understanding of nature, science, Religion, nationality, races (if either exist). But no one single person, or even a team of people, could comprehend the full change that would occur. And when a writer tries to put that into thought, the only way they can do that is to write it in what the readers comprehend, which is the modern world that they live in, which totally negates the effects of a butterfly effect.

Anyway. When I look at alternate history, I prefer a different metaphor, the "pebble in the pond." You throw one in, and the ripples go outward. In most cases, a simple pebble will a large ripple outwards, but eventually it settles down again. Any fish in the water may be scared away by the pebble, and swim in a different pattern than they originally where, but they are still there, mostly the same, if just in different spots. Of course, you can throw a bigger pebble in, and the ripples would be bigger, at first, but then it calms down again. Then you can throw in a boulder, splash all the water out, and call it a nuclear war. I dunno, the analogy is starting to break down.

Either way, I guess the thing I'm trying to say is that when you write alternate history to be read by other people, it needs to have some connection to the people who want to read it. That's why I personally am not opposed to keeping people who are in OTL in an Alternate History, because it provides a basis point to let people connect with the world you created, and also to show exactly how much things are different. Winston Churchill as a leader of an underground British Resistance? Abraham Lincoln as the founder of a fascist state? Prime Minister Donald Trump?

What I've always been more concerned about with Alt History is plausibility and making sure the story makes the most sense when it's looked at as part of a larger timeline. When you write a TL to be enjoyed by other's, storytelling also comes into effect, and sometimes making a good story is better than making things weird and different for alternate history. And of course, "Rule of Cool" and all that.

I don't totally support the Butterfly Theory, at least at it's most extreme. But I understand that things can and will change in Alternate History. I just don't support changing every single little thing just to prove you are making an alternate history. There are so many other ways to do it, some with just bringing up people who are famous in our history, with some changes to names, manners and/or role in history. Because, well, sometimes Hitler needs a break.

Hah, who am I kidding. He'd still be a dick.

But what do you think? Should the butterflies have prevented this article from being written? 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.