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How Real Should Alt History Be?

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  • How Real Should Alt History Be?

    I'm interested to see what people actually think about this. I know that some of you believe that discussions down here are only worthwhile if the deviance from real life is small and entirely supportable from known facts (see the 'Making Barbarossa Work' thread and its wargame sibling for a good example of that kind of approach). Others are happy to invoke 'Alien Space Bats' and discuss utterly impossible scenarios (see the old 'Zulu' threads for some fun examples of that kind of thing). Me, I'm happy to stray from real life possibilities as long as everyone accepts that is the case. Obviously there is no 'right' or 'wrong' way to approach anything here so everyone should feel free to vote and/or state their case as appropriate.
    53
    Only a small deviation from real life and fully supportable by known facts
    32.08%
    17
    Large deviations from real life but still roughly in line with accepted historical facts
    37.74%
    20
    Anything is fair game
    15.09%
    8
    I really shouldn't be here, I only dropped in for a cup of coffee and a piece of cake
    15.09%
    8
    Signing out.

  • #2
    This used to be one of my favorite places to look in on.

    Now, it just makes me cringe.
    Been thinking of going back and reviving a bunch of Necro threads just to crowd the junk out and show the newbies what a good thread looks like.

    I also think time-travel should be restricted to Science Fiction.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
      This used to be one of my favorite places to look in on.

      Now, it just makes me cringe.
      I know what you're saying, I've felt like that for long periods over the last five years or so .......... although that may be a hangover from TTTSNBN.
      Signing out.

      Comment


      • #4
        I'm in favor of "anything goes" so long as the Opening Post (OP) is responsible enough to set the perameters;
        1) Slight deviation, but historical
        2) Great deviation, but at least 'barely' historical
        3) "Moon bats" extreme and other 'flights of fancy'

        My person preference leans towards 1) mostly, such as things like, using WWII for an example;

        1) IJN conducts a third (and/or fourth) strike at Pearl Harbor (07/12/1941) focusing on the oil farms and repair facilities of the harbor, reducing it's usability as a forward operating base.

        2) The "Doolittle Raider" Task force isn't discovered early, allowing the bombers to launch from intended point and continue on to (mostly) join the AVG in Western China.

        3) Hitler doesn't divert most of the armor/mech divisions of Army Group Center to the south AGS for two months during Barbarossa, allowing continued concentrated drive upon Moscow before Autumn weather sets in.

        4) More oil released to the Italian Navy allowing for better support of convoys supplying forces in North Africa (Afrika Korps).

        5) Along with 4) above, Rommel receives another division, preferrably Panzer or Mech in late '41 ~ early '42.

        6) USA enters the War either sooner of later than @ 07-08/12/1941.

        All of which I've gamed to some degree of interesting variations over the years.

        Haven't time to delve into examples of the other two approaches.
        TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

        Comment


        • #5
          I'm very much a minimalist. For me ,alternative ("Counter-factual") history only really works if the genuine historical personalities involved act and react as they would have done if the twist in circumstances that prompted the suggested change in history had actually occured.

          So:- no messing with geographical parameters , technology available at the time, or intervention by beings from another world, please.
          "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
          Samuel Johnson.

          Comment


          • #6
            Small deviations. Things like no ratzi invasion of the Soviet Union are out, repeat OUT! That step was in the book as a cornerstone of their plan.

            Change the date of the event but do not eliminate the inevitable.

            Regards,
            Dennis
            If stupid was a criminal offense Sea Lion believers would be doing life.

            Shouting out to Half Pint for bringing back the big mugs!

            Comment


            • #7
              It has to be plausible otherwise its just fantasy. If you are going to write fantasy then make it good fantasy (add dragons and magic).

              Comment


              • #8
                I prefer small deviations/counterfactuals,
                in order to better identify and understand the hinges of the real events.
                BoRG

                You may not be interested in War, but War is interested in You - Leon Trotski, June 1919.

                Comment


                • #9
                  If it doesn't have laser gun wielding Zulus then I'm not playing along.
                  Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the cheesemakers

                  That's right bitches. I'm blessed!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I don't mind the deviations from real life, but I do expect a valid argument based on real facts in support of even the oddball.

                    Heck, even the "pure" history threads have disagreements on the "real" facts, so it would be hard to excpect the Alt History section to be more exacting.

                    "It could never have happened otherwise" is a position some seem to take on historical events which is simply illogical and thus unacceptable to me.
                    "I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
                    George Mason
                    Co-author of the Second Amendment
                    during Virginia’s Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788

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                    • #11
                      Not a fan of the time travel stuff, the what ifs are more in line with how real it should be, like the spanish civil war thread.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I voted for Anything is Fair Game.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I don't mind any kind of deviations at all. What bothers me is when someone postulates something set as close as possibly to an OT, then asks for help to make it as real as possible, then mocks and insults any help that the person doesn't want to hear. You all know who I'm talking about.

                          But, if its a historical Alternate, then try to get it as close as possible. If its an ahistorical or sci fi or fantasy or just for fun from the start, then deviate away.
                          The First Amendment applies to SMS, Emails, Blogs, online news, the Fourth applies to your cell phone, computer, and your car, but the Second only applies to muskets?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I think you can stretch it quite a way but, if you are trying for any sort of historical validity to your story (versus just fiction or science fiction) then you have to be reasonably able to demonstrate that from your departure point that what you are changing is reasonably doable from a historical or technical viewpoint.

                            If you start making all sorts of outlandish and very marginally supported claims, particularly where you need numerous ones to prop up the story, it stops being alternate history and becomes fiction.

                            Some examples:

                            The Vikings manage to get a foothold in the Americas and the Indians subsequently get roughly equal to European technology before being heavily colonized.

                            The Mongols finish over running Europe.

                            China isn't xenophobic and discovers America...

                            Egypt discovers iron before the Hittites.

                            On the other end something like Hitler gets nukes is quite a stretch and probably completey undoable simply because of all the economic and technical factors in building a bomb.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
                              I'm interested to see what people actually think about this. I know that some of you believe that discussions down here are only worthwhile if the deviance from real life is small and entirely supportable from known facts (see the 'Making Barbarossa Work' thread and its wargame sibling for a good example of that kind of approach). Others are happy to invoke 'Alien Space Bats' and discuss utterly impossible scenarios (see the old 'Zulu' threads for some fun examples of that kind of thing). Me, I'm happy to stray from real life possibilities as long as everyone accepts that is the case. Obviously there is no 'right' or 'wrong' way to approach anything here so everyone should feel free to vote and/or state their case as appropriate.
                              Anything that could have happened, should be allowed, providing that the new timeline is viable.

                              For example, let's assume Johann Georg Elser succeeds in killing Hitler 8th November 1939 in Munich. That has the great possibility of substantially altering the timeline. All it would need is for the bomb to explode 20 minutes early and the possibility of Germany imploding on a political level is not totally unlikely, and WW2 taking a substantially different course.

                              http://www.spiegel.de/international/0,1518,383792,00.html
                              How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
                              Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

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