AH Recurring Tropes, and the timelines that avert or subvert them

We all know the concept of Alternate History tropes (I'm purposely avoiding the term cliche, given its negative connotations, and the use of particular tropes does not always serve as a barometer of the quality of a work) such as the Absurdly Convergent Kazakhstan-Russia Border, CP Victory = Grossdeutschland, Eternal Enmity between France and Britain or Germany, The Rule of Two World Wars, and so on.

What I want to know is: are there timelines that either purposely avoid the usual AH tropes or at the least play with them to keep things fresh? IIRC one example would be Union and Liberty. TTL France and Germany become long-term allies, forming a Carolingian Alliance that stands against most of Europe and wind. You also have Malê Rising, which averts the typical Eurocentrism of 19th century TLs and even goes as far as to embrace a post-Westphalian international system.

So are there any TL recs that play with or avert AH tropes?
 
I suppose my TL could be one of these? It involves a Roman Empire that falls apart in the Third Century but later puts itself back together (somewhat), a strong Persian Empire (but it doesn't look like it for now) Huns in Anatolia rather than Europe, among many other things.

Oh, and the world's most important sponsor of Christianity isn't Rome, but instead a very, very powerful Kingdom of Aksum, one that stretches from Nobatia to Yemen and is immensely rich thanks to its control of the Red Sea or, as it is called ITTL, the Arabian Gulf.
 
There was a thread that made a point that Anglo-American hegemony seems to be a forgone conclusion to this forum. My TL is definitely going to avert this with a much stronger France dominating the gulf of mexico and the American south, and probably more power in india than otl, with denmark controlling the Hudson bay. It isn't a Britain screw, they still have power in the northeast and around the Amazon river, but they won't rule the planet
 
Looking for some more good responses on this one... I swear I'm gonna start my own TL *one of these days* but I have this gnawing fear that someone will comment with "oh yeah, this is just like what *insert long-banned or defunct username here* did twelve years ago..."
 
I think TheKnightIrish's A Glorious Union or America: the New Sparta is fascinating because 1) it does an amazing alt-Civil War without a "Confederacy Wins" scenario and 2) it follows some amazing butterflies to some very divergent conclusions across the 1860s in both America and Mexico developing them in a very different way to reality! Sets itself apart from a lot of other TL's because of it's premise, it's fresh characters, and a fun story style.
 
Many TLs, much to my annoyance, seem to take for granted American domination of the continent and Latin American weakness. The United States cannot fail; Latin America cannot succeed. My TL actively wants to advert this, but any TL that actually focuses on Latin America could be considered an aversion.
 
Looking for some more good responses on this one... I swear I'm gonna start my own TL *one of these days* but I have this gnawing fear that someone will comment with "oh yeah, this is just like what *insert long-banned or defunct username here* did twelve years ago..."
Good luck! Things got a lot easier for me after I started writing everything down, so I hope you'll end up the same way.
 
My Napoleonic timeline plays with a couple common tropes. The notion that Britain and a continental hegemon like France or Germany could never cooperate is challenged by them doing just that starting in the 1820's, and even moreso once Napoleon II takes over in the 1830's. Also, TTL's Mexican-American War featured significantly smaller American gains than OTL despite the US still winning in the end. I've also tried to put a bit more of a spotlight on places that get neglected in your average 19th Century generalist timelines, such as Spain, Portugal, Latin America, Persia, Egypt, Burma, etc.
 
The corollary to the US always dominating Latin-America is that Eastern Europe is almost always dominated by Germany or Russia. Russia is very rarely a successful democracy. Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaya, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Switzerland, Iceland, Burma, Chile, Algeria, South Africa, and Palestine/Israel are generally just along for the ride. History is generally shaped by military events, not political ones. Communism is always the dominant left-wing philosophy rather than anarchism, etc. Second World Wars are always caused by the losers seeking revenge rather than the winners fighting each other. I blame this on Germany; Japan and Italy had been on the winning side in WW1.
 
I'm a big dumb, but isn't that an idea that's fairly common for a lot of large pre-modern empires? That they alone hold control over things within their dominion?
Common, yes, but not as universal as you'd think. In Europe, the big exception was the Catholic Church, which traditionally exerted a lot of influence within states regardless of what their monarchs thought. One big driver of the Reformation was the prospect of more fully asserting national sovereignty, not to mention confiscating the land and other property the Church owned in states across Europe.

And this concept is being challenged again in the modern day, with the idea that states that commit human rights abuses against their own people can't hide behind the idea of state sovereignty, and at least in certain cases, the international community can choose to step in to address such problems. I never actually read Male Rising, but I infer that some consideration like that comes into vogue earlier than in real life, where states' authority within their borders is challenged.
 
Isn’t Greece/Byzantium far more likely to be the dominant Balkan state on this site? If you have a Bulgarian wank TL, I’d be interested in seeing it.
I think they mean in timelines that aren’t Greek focused. Often Bulgaria seems to be the space eating country of the Balkans in your average timeline, often taking Eastern Thrace and sometimes Greek Macedonia instead of the Greeks along with other bits and pieces. Not really a trope but it’s happened commonly enough I’ve noticed it.

As for actual tropes, in almost every timeline past about 1750 Spain becomes a joke of a country everyone ignores until the USA, Germany, or both mug them for their remaining colonies. I know Spain couldn’t maintain its height but surely they could avoid their OTL quagmire and maintain a decent secondary power status. Someone who every Enemy of France would try to Ally for a two front war.
 
I think they mean in timelines that aren’t Greek focused. Often Bulgaria seems to be the space eating country of the Balkans in your average timeline, often taking Eastern Thrace and sometimes Greek Macedonia instead of the Greeks along with other bits and pieces. Not really a trope but it’s happened commonly enough I’ve noticed it.
Hm. I haven't thought about this much, but I don't think I see a lot of space-eating Balkans countries that aren't Yugoslavia. I guess I have seen Bulgaria behave as you describe, but pretty much only in Central Powers victory WWI timelines, where it kind of makes sense that their allies would prop them up as someone who can keep the rest of the southern Slavs in line.

As for actual tropes, in almost every timeline past about 1750 Spain becomes a joke of a country everyone ignores until the USA, Germany, or both mug them for their remaining colonies. I know Spain couldn’t maintain its height but surely they could avoid their OTL quagmire and maintain a decent secondary power status. Someone who every Enemy of France would try to Ally for a two front war.
Well, I definitely plan to avert that in Marche Consulaire. Spain will actually make a resurgence as a colonial power in the later 19th Century.
 
Absurdly Convergent Kazakhstan-Russia Border
On a meta note, I’ve always wondered how to handle things like this - in fact, this is a perfect example. The Kazakh-Russian border is so oblique, so historically contingent, so distinctive, yet (frankly) so insignificant that I wonder what the best way to handle it, and other basically uninteresting historical specifics, in AH would be. To be sure, if you draw an alternate Kazakh-Russian border nobody on the Alternate History Forums, maybe even nobody in the world, is going to say “that border bisects the village of Burschynovosktoviligradich and a renowned sandpaper factory of both economic and historical significance, you absolute idiot”, but literally just drawing lines on a map at random also feels... off, somehow. I’m interested to hear how you (all) would tackle a problem like this.

On a thread note: “The Vaguely United States of Central America”, and the only slightly better “Rio de la Plata Because Chile Is A Ridiculous Country”. One of the few positive things I have to say about Kaiserreich, which otherwise I consider overly-detailed YouTube-level AH, is that they ditched both of those particular tropes about a year ago.
 
Last edited:
Top