All Along the Watchtower: A Dystopian TLIAW

Vidal

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All Along the Watchtower
A Dystopian TLIAW By @Enigma-Conundrum and @Vidal

SOMETIMES WE TURN to alternate history to escape. We ask: Did it have to end up this way? What if things were better? And so we think about all sorts of scenarios that might've meant things just ended up a little happier for us. What if such and such assassin missed their target? What if someone decided a ballot shouldn't resemble the ultimate creature of alternate history lore? What if those hijackers never took over the planes?

But sometimes, maybe out of a morbid fascination, maybe to remind ourselves it always could be worse, we turn to alternate history to imagine those dystopian scenarios. Some of these stories are the most renowned on these boards. Fear, Loathing, and Gumbo cemented our love of this genre. It also scared the heck out of us.

A little while ago, Vidal was wondering about one of those alternate history scenarios for a little utopian escapism. And it was Enigma who reached out and convinced him, no it could actually have been a dystopia if Michael Dukakis had won the 1988 election. Those guests of the Villa will know the full story.

And so an idea was born: What if we collaborated and with each update things got ... worse? A full-on descent into the abyss. An American Inferno. Perhaps, one might say, American carnage.

We are only setting a few ground rules. They are as follows:

1) This is improv. Aside from collaborating on what the POD should be, we do not know what's coming next.
2) We can choose the method of succession, but not the successor. When writing our update, we are free to bring that administration to its conclusion, but we cannot tie the hands of the next poster by saying who followed them into office. So, for example, we could say a president resigned from office, but we cannot mention who their VP was in the post, because that person would become the successor.
3) We have 48 hours to reply with our own update. We will aim to honor this.

We have not planned out a list of presidents that we are following. All we know is what comes first, and that is this:

In the spirit of imagining a traditionally utopian point of divergence and turning it ugly quickly, we have decided our point of divergence is What if Robert Kennedy survived the 1968 assassination attempt? Enigma will be providing the first update -- on RFK's presidency -- in the next 48 hours, and then Vidal will follow up with the next post. And on it will go until we reach the present day.

The idea is that each presidency is marred by disaster, but it does not have to be malicious -- and for the sake of plausibility, it probably won't be all malicious. Sometimes we might be treated to just bumbling incompetence or partisan gridlock. Who can say? Certainly not us. Because we don't know...

There may be some familiar faces around these parts. You know the ones. But we'll also do our best to find some new names, too.

So, buckle up. It's going to get pretty dark. And neither of us can see the whole road ahead...

Enigma-Conundrum & Vidal
August 2022
 
Kind of off-topic, but I think we all have to take a second to appreciate how amazing the title images (and actual titles) always are for these timelines. There’s so much artistry going on in both the images and words, and they seem to perfectly capture what the timeline is about.
 
pL344Dx.png


All Along the Watchtower
A Dystopian TLIAW By @Enigma-Conundrum and @Vidal

SOMETIMES WE TURN to alternate history to escape. We ask: Did it have to end up this way? What if things were better? And so we think about all sorts of scenarios that might've meant things just ended up a little happier for us. What if such and such assassin missed their target? What if someone decided a ballot shouldn't resemble the ultimate creature of alternate history lore? What if those hijackers never took over the planes?

But sometimes, maybe out of a morbid fascination, maybe to remind ourselves it always could be worse, we turn to alternate history to imagine those dystopian scenarios. Some of these stories are the most renowned on these boards. Fear, Loathing, and Gumbo cemented our love of this genre. It also scared the heck out of us.

A little while ago, Vidal was wondering about one of those alternate history scenarios for a little utopian escapism. And it was Enigma who reached out and convinced him, no it could actually have been a dystopia if Michael Dukakis had won the 1988 election. Those guests of the Villa will know the full story.

And so an idea was born: What if we collaborated and with each update things got ... worse? A full-on descent into the abyss. An American Inferno. Perhaps, one might say, American carnage.

We are only setting a few ground rules. They are as follows:

1) This is improv. Aside from collaborating on what the POD should be, we do not know what's coming next.
2) We can choose the method of succession, but not the successor. When writing our update, we are free to bring that administration to its conclusion, but we cannot tie the hands of the next poster by saying who followed them into office. So, for example, we could say a president resigned from office, but we cannot mention who their VP was in the post, because that person would become the successor.
3) We have 48 hours to reply with our own update. We will aim to honor this.

We have not planned out a list of presidents that we are following. All we know is what comes first, and that is this:

In the spirit of imagining a traditionally utopian point of divergence and turning it ugly quickly, we have decided our point of divergence is What if Robert Kennedy survived the 1968 assassination attempt? Enigma will be providing the first update -- on RFK's presidency -- in the next 48 hours, and then Vidal will follow up with the next post. And on it will go until we reach the present day.

The idea is that each presidency is marred by disaster, but it does not have to be malicious -- and for the sake of plausibility, it probably won't be all malicious. Sometimes we might be treated to just bumbling incompetence or partisan gridlock. Who can say? Certainly not us. Because we don't know...

There may be some familiar faces around these parts. You know the ones. But we'll also do our best to find some new names, too.

So, buckle up. It's going to get pretty dark. And neither of us can see the whole road ahead...

Enigma-Conundrum & Vidal
August 2022

This introduction, by itself, is art. Let the hellmouth open. One hundred fifty million used car salesmen wait to sell you your ride for the journey.
 
Last edited:
pL344Dx.png


All Along the Watchtower
A Dystopian TLIAW By @Enigma-Conundrum and @Vidal

SOMETIMES WE TURN to alternate history to escape. We ask: Did it have to end up this way? What if things were better? And so we think about all sorts of scenarios that might've meant things just ended up a little happier for us. What if such and such assassin missed their target? What if someone decided a ballot shouldn't resemble the ultimate creature of alternate history lore? What if those hijackers never took over the planes?

But sometimes, maybe out of a morbid fascination, maybe to remind ourselves it always could be worse, we turn to alternate history to imagine those dystopian scenarios. Some of these stories are the most renowned on these boards. Fear, Loathing, and Gumbo cemented our love of this genre. It also scared the heck out of us.

A little while ago, Vidal was wondering about one of those alternate history scenarios for a little utopian escapism. And it was Enigma who reached out and convinced him, no it could actually have been a dystopia if Michael Dukakis had won the 1988 election. Those guests of the Villa will know the full story.

And so an idea was born: What if we collaborated and with each update things got ... worse? A full-on descent into the abyss. An American Inferno. Perhaps, one might say, American carnage.

We are only setting a few ground rules. They are as follows:

1) This is improv. Aside from collaborating on what the POD should be, we do not know what's coming next.
2) We can choose the method of succession, but not the successor. When writing our update, we are free to bring that administration to its conclusion, but we cannot tie the hands of the next poster by saying who followed them into office. So, for example, we could say a president resigned from office, but we cannot mention who their VP was in the post, because that person would become the successor.
3) We have 48 hours to reply with our own update. We will aim to honor this.

We have not planned out a list of presidents that we are following. All we know is what comes first, and that is this:

In the spirit of imagining a traditionally utopian point of divergence and turning it ugly quickly, we have decided our point of divergence is What if Robert Kennedy survived the 1968 assassination attempt? Enigma will be providing the first update -- on RFK's presidency -- in the next 48 hours, and then Vidal will follow up with the next post. And on it will go until we reach the present day.

The idea is that each presidency is marred by disaster, but it does not have to be malicious -- and for the sake of plausibility, it probably won't be all malicious. Sometimes we might be treated to just bumbling incompetence or partisan gridlock. Who can say? Certainly not us. Because we don't know...

There may be some familiar faces around these parts. You know the ones. But we'll also do our best to find some new names, too.

So, buckle up. It's going to get pretty dark. And neither of us can see the whole road ahead...

Enigma-Conundrum & Vidal
August 2022

Also the use of shading and period-specific fonts in that title card are damned near the best I've ever seen, or will see, around here.
 
This introduction, by itself, is art. Let the hellmouth open. One hundred fifty million used car salesmen wait to sell you your ride for the journey.

Wait, so this is taking place in the "Hellgate: London/Tokyo" universe? Neat game but an odd choice :)

Joking but seriously watching :)

Randy
 
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