Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Thande, May 24, 2015.
What about life before and after the dinosaurs? Is Dimetrodon gonna be TTL's equivalent of T-Rex?
Somehow, out of all the AH scenarios I've seen over the years, this is the most interesting and original take I've seen on something. Well done.
I'm going to take a very wild bet here: I think the last update of this Volume is going to be Caraibas's victory speech after the Societist takeover. It would be the sign of thing to come
"Societism today, Societism tomorrow, Societism forever!
have films been made yet? what does architecture look like in the world? I wish we can have another update on literature and the arts.
Another irony would be if Microraptor or Sinornitosaurus was the first dinosaur discovered instead of being one of the the more recent.It'll add to the giant bird image that makes dino's so "boring" ITTL.
Post-saurien Megafauna which also make it possible to incorporate and promote paleoanthropologic visions at the same time.
(Part #250.6 and final)
Buenos Aires, United Provinces of South America [internationally recognised] / “Zone1Urb1, Earth” [proclaimed]
Bartolomé Jaimes looked around what had once been the Plaza de la Unión. Some had started calling it the Plaza de la Humanidad, which seemed right, though the real Novalatina fanatics were insisting on names like Cvadratum Humanidum. Jaimes had no time for the silly boys; they didn’t realise one had to walk before one could run (or, as they would doubtless prefer, ambulade before they could corro). Hot-headed fanaticism had never done anything for Sanchez’s dream other than reduce it to an object of ridicule. It was cool, careful planning that had brought it to this moment of triumph, which Jaimes had never dreamed he would see in his lifetime.
One of the false nations, the false nation under whose artificial sway he had lived the whole of his long life, had been destroyed. Soon it would be more than one, if the promising reports out of Brazil and Peru were to be trusted (fortunately the Monterroso-loyalist legions had depleted themselves in the process of defeating their former allies—if human deaths could ever be considered acceptable, it was then and there). A blade had pierced the heart of the United Provinces, a creation of the human imagination that had served its purpose and could now be buried, unmourned and forgotten. Or so Raúl Caraíbas was putting it on the stage right now, surrounded by thousands of curious Amigos who still probably half thought of themselves as ‘citizens’. Jaimes had a lot of respect for Caraíbas, who was still eloquent and persuasive now, though age had robbed his voice of some of the fiery strength that had once allowed him to seize the unlikely role of successor to Sanchez himself at the head of the movement.
Despite that respect, though, Jaimes felt Caraíbas was not necessarily striking the best note here. He guessed that his old friend was pitching his speech to try to take in a mixed audience with varying views (at this point) on recent events, but the audience he had in mind seemed to be the internal one of Societist faithful rather than the confused and uncertain multitude outside the movement. He appeared to be trying to strike a balance between moderate realists like Jaimes himself, and the firebrand youth he had just been mentally disparaging. The result was that, while Caraíbas’ words were reasonable to someone educated in the appropriate lexicon of Sanchezista terms, Jaimes could see many blank faces in the audience. He hoped to hell that Raúl didn’t bring up the internal debate between the supporters of shared crèches to destroy inherited cultural upbringing, and those who argued that the nuclear family was a concept common to all societies, like a class system, and therefore to tamper with it was to commit the same kind of abomination against humanity as radical Mentians advocated against the latter. From a point of view within the movement, Jaimes knew that both sides had reasonable points; but to bring up such an argument without context would doubtless horrify those uneducated in such things, those who had never stopped to consider how horrifying war and division were and that there was no price too high to pay to destroy them altogether and prevent them plaguing future generations. And, more importantly, it would imply division within the Societist movement itself, which would be fatal at this point. As well as suggesting hypocrisy, it would damage the image that Caraíbas, Jaimes himself and others had cultivated and allowed them to maintain control of the regions known as Platinea and Chile through the chaos: the idea that they, unlike Monterroso or the corporations or anyone else, knew what they were doing, that they had a plan.
Caraíbas certainly gave that impression, and Jaimes relaxed a bit as his friend reverted to blistering rhetoric aimed at Monterroso’s failures, prompting more wholehearted nods of support and cheers from the crowd. Everyone could agree that the trust they had placed in Monterroso, who had given an election speech right here less than four years ago, had been misplaced. Most would agree that they had been saved from American attack at the last moment by what seemed like a miracle. And, while the Societists had been careful to present a message to the Americans that the horrifying weapon behind that miracle had been entirely Monterroso and Priestley’s idea, within the borders of the Liberated Zones they controlled, the message was very different. Pablo Sanchez’s supporters were no longer a harmless club of fuddy-duddy Pacifists and loony youths; they were the men and women who had saved the people of this land from certain defeat.
Of course, many not inside the movement would describe it as ‘saving the UPSA’, and perhaps that was why Caraíbas was so earnest to insist that no, they had saved the people of this continent, the UPSA that had enslaved them had been killed and good riddance. Jaimes nonetheless worried he was going too far. He would never argue that the twin cancers of patriotism and nationalism should ever be appeased or appealed to, but there was such a thing as a subtle approach to gently put the regime on the right path, without alienating confused people who would be receptive to the true message once suitably re-educated. He could think of more balanced ways to put it. Like all nations the UPSA had always been a negative construction, but Jaimes could think of things to praise about it, in the same qualified way that one could remark on the beauty of an ancient monument that had been built on slave labour. The UPSA had been a crucible of peoples from across the world and had helped show that they were fundamentally all the same, regardless of irrelevant details like skin colour and shape of eye. Before the Cisplatina and its ilk had been vassalised and then the corporations had taken over, its class system had had considerable mobility and illustrated that being born into nobility or wealth was not the same as being qualified to possess a position of power. It had successfully integrated and blended many cultures into one, like an early first sketch of the Final Society, though that approach had been scattershot and half-hearted. Most of the Mapuche culture might have been eradicated and its people integrated into the sub-civilisation of the Third Society through education, but the Fuegians and Moronites were still around. That would, of course, be another item on the ever-growing list.
“The People of Zones 6, 8 and 10, those whom you have known as norteamericaños, are not your enemy,” Caraíbas said. That did not go down well and there were scowls and mutters. “Rather, their rulers told them that you were theirs and hurled them at you, profiting from your suffering and division. Just as the traitor Monterroso did, they showed themselves unfit to govern. You now have a better form of governance, which will one day extend to that land, and all lands.” A more muted cheer. “To explain this further to you, I will now retire in favour of Amigo Jaimes.”
At least he had said his name right, Jaimes thought, as he nodded and ascended the stage. The people were still muttering as much as they were cheering; he would have to work hard to bring them back on track. Imagine what they might have thought if he had been introduced as ‘Filtolemus Jajmus’ as the Novalatina fanatics would likely prefer! He spotted one of them in the crowd of stalwarts around the base of the stage, a youngish man he had met a few times, though never before the war broke out. Alvarez was his name, though, of course, he insisted on being called Alfarus. He was giving Jaimes a look right now, not a dirty look, surprisingly, but a calculating one. Maybe he was waiting to hear what Jaimes had to say. He likely wouldn’t like Jaimes’ Pacifist condemnation of the deaths of the British army, though; fanatical about Sanchezista doctrine as he was in some ways, Alvarez seemed to be one of the youth who were a bit hazy on the whole ‘soldiers are just state-sanctioned murderers’ part of Societism. His black outfit was too close to a uniform for Jaimes’ tastes.
Jaimes cleared his throat, summoning up his public speaking voice. Not for the first time, he wished that one of the young technology wizards had invented something for amplifying voices. Maybe they would finally be able to achieve such feats, when the miracle of peace took away the need for them to concern themselves with develoiping more and more murderous weapons.
He looked around the Plaza. The autumn sun blazed down from above, and for the first time in his life, it was not answered by the reflected light from the huge golden Sun of Córdoba mounted on the tower of the Castillo San Miguel and flanked by the two silver Torches. They had been taken down. If Pablo himself had had his way, the surface would be left blank; but Jaimes suspected the over-eager youths would put one of their Threefold Eye symbols on there instead eventually. He supposed he should be grateful that they didn’t want to demolish the Castillo altogether to try to erase the cultural memory of the heroic defiance of the locals against the British and Americans in the ’56. That should indeed be deleted from the historical record or at least minimised, of course, but there was no need to get rid of a perfectly serviceable building to do it.
Despite his grumbles about the young fanatics, the disappearance of the Sun did make Jaimes smile. He had never thought he would live to see the day! Without preamble, he began: “You have heard from Amigo Caraíbas that the nation which you faithfully served, thinking only of its positive aspects,” Alvarez and a number of others among his black-uniformed followers scowled at that, “was faithless to you in turn and betrayed you. It is gone, and from now on you shall be ruled by the natural, inherent society which all humans are born with the capacity to build; the society which, from the start, only war and conflict has ever prevented the construction of.”
Jaimes briefly paraphrased Archbishop Ramírez’s sermon on the Three Societies, though he spent little time on them, knowing he did not have the man’s command of mythopoeic rhetoric. “Now the Fourth and Final Society has, at long last, arrived. Rejoice that you and your children have lived to see it! But what form shall it take?”
Jaimes raised his arms, and all the aches and pains of his age seemed to fall away as enthusiasm filled his voice. “From now on, what a man does with his life shall no longer be pre-determined by the house in which he was born, whether palace or hovel, nor by the colour of his skin or the part of this terraqueous globe from which his parents happened to dwell when he was brought into this world. Instead, every man—and, yes, woman—shall rise to the position that he is best suited, to the role in Society for which he possesses the most skill. And all roles shall be held of equal worth, for the Society requires all of them to function.
“A mobile needs both a steering wheel and tyres to be driven. Shall the steering wheel lord itself over the tyres because it directs the motion of the vehicle, because it is leather-clad and in out of the rain, rather than a rough rubber worker facing the surface of the road? No! The mobile could not work without the hard work of its tyres! Nor should the tyres think they could somehow band together and throw out the steering wheel—without its direction the mobile is also useless. But perhaps the steering wheel would work better as a tyre, and one of the tyres better as a steering wheel. For the good of the mobile as a whole, they should be swapped, with no shame, no sense of promotion or demotion attached to that swap.”
As usual, the metaphor went down quite well, but Jaimes felt the need to qualify it. They had to remember they were dealing with ordinary people who thought first of their own lives, not of the grand dream. That was right and good, and Sanchez himself had recognised that without people whose focus was on their own immediate horizons, the Society could not function. They must be educated to understand their place in it, of course, but there was nothing wrong in how they lived their lives. Without men and women with their feet on solid ground, there would be nothing to support the dreamers who built castles in the sky.
To that end, he continued: “And there shall be no more poverty or famine. Not only because we shall end war forever, the curse that has created those things throughout history, but also because we shall ensure that no Amigo or Amiga of the liberated human race shall ever want.” He spread his arms again. “All shall be paid a guaranteed basic wage and given a small but serviceable house in which to dwell, not a shanty, no matter their origins.” He paused, noting that the poor in the crowd looked enthusiastic but the rich looked worried, in case he was about to turn into a radical Mentian. “But those who wish to work harder, those who dream up new ideas that better the lives of others—they will be able to earn more, to purchase larger houses and luxuries. In the Final Society, all shall enjoy the chance of a good life, but there will be no self-destructive pursuit of superficial equality of possessions for its own sake. None who stand here now shall lose anything they currently possess, so long as they are not guilty of betraying us to our enemies like Priestley or Monterroso did.”
That reassured the rich, who fortunately did not seem to stop to think that Monterroso had managed to tie anyone he wanted disposed of to Priestley in some tenuous manner, and much the same could be done again. Jaimes hoped there would be not too many of them, but the money for all those standardised houses and wages had to come from somewhere.
“Finally, you may ask how all of this is to be achieved,” Jaimes continued. He noted the crowd was growing fatigued and flagging; he had best move swiftly on. Heh, flagging; the flagpoles on the Castillo were also bare. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d seen the Rags-and-Torch flag of the UPSA flying. Though Alvarez and his ilk would probably want to hoist black flags with Eyes there soon. Jaimes glanced his way and noticed Alvarez was muttering something to one of his comrades, who began pushing his way through the crowd.
Jaimes shrugged to himself and turned back to the crowd. “Ultimately, the whole Earth shall be under one government, as was always the intention behind the human race.” Whether that intention was that of was God or some blind para-Paleian interpretation of Nature was beside the point. “Nonetheless, there must always be regional government to prevent inefficiency. The danger is that men would prove fallible and backslide, that regions would turn into nations and war would come again. Fortunately, the great Pablo Sanchez himself foresaw this.”
(Well, sort of; Jaimes had been in the movement long enough to know that the whole Zonal system had actually been drawn up more by Salvador Cruz, nephew of Luis Carlos Cruz, and then revised by MaKe López. But he was sure Sanchez would have approved).
“The world has been divided into twenty-five Zones,” Jaimes said. “They are not like nations, for they are not driven by the happenstance of history and which miserable brute happened to crack his brother on the head first, but by a truly rational and scientific partition of the globe.” (Best not to mention that one border between Zones 4 and 12 which Jaimes was fairly certain had been the result of Cruz hiccupping whilst holding the ruler). “The Zones are deliberately designed so that they can never be internally self-sufficient; that they must always maintain trade with one another or perish. War will be impossible.”
Jaimes smiled. “But to truly ensure that those Zones’ rulers—named Zonal Rejes—can never develop an attachment to the mere patch of soil on which they stand, an attachment that might tempt them to send their loyal Amigos to fight against those of another Rej—the Rejes will be rotated every six months. So will elements of the governing civil service, the Funzon Publica Homana, on a different cycle to prevent the growth of personal loyalties. Always the only driving principle will be the welfare of the people: Publazon Benestarum!
The cheers echoed in his ears, though Jaimes felt there was a note of uncertainty behind them. Even the little Novalatina he was sprinkling into his speech seemed to be upsetting some of them. Just as well someone like Alvarez wasn’t up here. “Of course, given that only parts of three Zones are currently Liberated, the rotation may have to be more modest. In time, the appropriate assessments will find those who possess the skills worthy to be considered for the pool of Rejes. In the short term, it has been agreed that this Zone—Zone 1, with its capital here in its first city—shall be governed by m—”
A shot rang out, and suddenly the sun was very bright in Jaimes’ eyes.
It took him a moment to realise he was lying on his back. There was pain, a lot of pain, though it seemed strangely far away. The sun was darkening. That couldn’t be right!
Caraíbas, Raúl, was rushing to his side, mouthing something that Jaimes couldn’t hear. He seemed very upset. Faint sounds of pandemonium beyond. Jaimes could have sworn he heard someone—the shooter?—crying something about how King Charles III finally had his revenge, that the outrage of the Meridian Revolution was undone, and that there was still one loyalist to the crown of Spain in the Plate.
Really? That seemed ridiculous. After all this time? Surely there weren’t any left. And that was why he had been shot?
The fading blue sky was interrupted by a familiar black shape. Alvarez glanced down at him, over the distraught Caraíbas’ shoulder, and—
Did he wink?
Had he engineered this? Or was he just happy it had happened?
Alright, so either there really were a handful of fanatics who genuinely still believed the UPS—that is, Zone 1 and so on—should be a Spanish colony, or maybe Alvarez had just arranged a shooting to eliminate a rival and the yelled cause had just been a false flag—
Well, Jaimes’ powerful but suddenly sluggish intellect suggested, both theories led to the same suggestion. Either it was impossible to beat a sense of national loyalty out of humans altogether even with over a century of cultural dominance to do it, or else the division within the ranks of the movement had grown to the point that men like Alvarez were willing to murder over it, violating all the principles of Sanchez in the first place.
Well, dammit. That meant this couldn’t be the Final Society after all! It couldn’t be the perfect state! It was doomed from the start! Maybe it would always be impossible to have a Final Society, given human imperfections! He should make sure they knew! Tell Raúl! Now to make his mouth form the words:
It really was very dark all of a sudden. Somehow, this didn’t seem so important after all. There were more pressing matters.
There would always be more pressing matters.
 The Castillo San Miguel was built in the 1710s in both OTL and TTL. In OTL it was eventually demolished, replaced with a new customs house in the 19th century, and then finally the Casa Rosada, the Argentine presidential palace. In TTL it survived as a museum and heritage site due to playing a role in the defence of the Plate against the British and Americans in 1756. The tower Jaimes mentions was added later as a monument.
I wonder if someone thought it better for him to be a martyr, than an inconvenient voice of dissent.
Also, bravo Thande. I look forwards to the next volume.
Will we be getting a post-Pandoric War map soon?
Interlude #21: Any Other Business
Transcript of Thande Institute debriefing of TimeLine L exploration teams Alpha and Beta
Time: 15:40 hours
Location: Thande Institute Quarantine Facility, Cambridge, United Kingdom, TimeLine A (a.k.a. Our TimeLine or OTL)
The material contained herein is classified as THANDE MOST SECRET.
DIRECTOR STEPHEN ROGERS (SR): So...that’s it?
SERGEANT ROBERT MUMBY (RM): That’s it, sir. That’s all the books.
SR (pause): What a load of rubbish.
CAPTAIN CHRISTOPHER G. NUTTALL (CGN): Pardon, sir?
SR: What a note to end on! The great revolutionary hero Sees The Errors Of His Ways even as he’s struck down by an assassin, an assassin whose—frankly ridiculous—cause just happens to undermine his entire worldview?
LIEUTENANT THOMAS BLACK (TB): They weren’t very subtle, were they?
CAPTAIN BEN MACCAULEY (BM): Hmm. Was Bartolomé Jaimes even a real person?
LIEUTENANT JACK TINDALE (JT) (enthusiastically): Excellent question, sir! I have performed extensive research on the other digitisations that Dr Wostyn and I prepared, and I can give you a well-informed and definitive answer.
SR / BM (together): Yes?
JT (proudly): Maybe.
SR (sighs): Go on.
DR DAVID WOSTYN (DW): As Lieutenant Tindale says, sir, it’s very difficult to say, because not only is the question probably difficult to answer even in the abstract given how the records of the Revolution were corrupted by both the Societists themselves in revisionist purges, and then the Diversitarian propagandists, but even today they are continuing to insert deliberate errors to confuse matters like this further.
DR BRUNO LOMBARDI (BL): Oy vey...
SR: I still can’t wrap my head around that one. Why would they want to confuse the historical record further?
JT: If you make everything a matter of opinion, sir, it makes it harder for someone to argue in favour of an objective truth, which is required for Societism in its purest sense—though they’re not above manipulation either, as you saw.
DW: Jaimes might have been made up by early Russian propagandists as a sort of mythical ‘good Societist’ so as to split the movement in their own country.
JT: But at the very least it looks as though there was someone by that name who was instrumental in the Revolution, though his character might well be a Russian invention.
SR: Did Alvarez exist, at least?
DW: Probably. But it’s likely his role and significance in the early Revolution has been exaggerated over the years by both his partisans and his Diversitarian enemies.
TB: I assume that part about Jaimes not ever seeing him before the war is in there to suggest he was always out for himself, and only joined the Societists when they were on the rise?
JT: I would imagine so. Which, again, might be a complete invention. All we know is that Alvarez—or ‘Alfarus’—became more significant later on, so he was probably written into foundational scenes of the UPSA for the reasons David mentioned.
SR (sound of yawning): Are we going to get onto that period of significance now?
RM: Um...these books don’t go up to that.
JT: Yes, I’m just basing this on tangential references we’ve seen, along the level of someone mentioning in passing that Winston Churchill was Prime Minister during World War Two.
ENSIGN CHARLTON CUSSANS (CC): He was?!
JT: Ye-es...er, did we recruit you from one of the other timelines...?
SR: I take your point, Lieutenant. So you’ll need (sighs) more books?
JT: Sadly so, sir.
SR: Fine. After a suitable period of R&R for those flags on the system to die down further, I’ll talk to the Security Council about a new mission. Like I said before, First Contact’s probably inevitable now.
BM: Who will lead this mission, sir?
CGN: Yes, sir?
SR (mutters): I’ll have you fight to the death for the privilege. (Out loud) That remains to be seen. Before anything else, you’ll have to complete your quarantine period.
DR THERMOS PYLOS (TP) (groans): Really, sir?
BL: It’s already been, what...?
LIEUTENANT EAMON MCCONNELL (EM): At least a month.
SERGEANT DOMINIC ELLIS (DE): Feels more like two and a half years or something.
SR: Shut up. It’s been a fortnight. And you’ve got another one to g—
SR: Not now—I’m—
SR: WHAT?! A wh—a—
CGN (helpfully): Micro-portal, sir. You get them sometimes when a Portal’s closed too suddenly. Like a little residual wormhole type thing, maybe only a pinhole size—
BL: Strictly, Chris, I wouldn’t call it a wormhole, that’s got a specific meaning in physics which is quite different to the new science of crosstime travel and its implications for the multibranar locations of supersymmetric particle pairs—
DW: I thought you were a historian—
BL: There’s a lot of magazines to read in the quarantine block toilets—
RM: Yes, I thought I saw one of those in the broom cupboard—
SR: SHUT UP!
SR: Right, now, let me think for a min—did you say you saw one in the broom cupboard, Lieutenant?
BL: You often do find magazines in broom cupboards.
SR: NOT A MAGAZINE! A micro-portal?
RM: Yes, sir! I thought I noticed our temporary Portal left a micro-portal behind when we infiltrated Snowdrop House—
TB (muttering): If you can call it that.
RM: I assumed it must have gone when we escaped through another Portal at the end. But...
BM: If it survived...
SR (quiet, dangerous): After all that effort to quarantine us—we’ve found a micro-Portal in Room 12 through to, presumably, that broom cupboard in TimeLine L. I’ll have to have the whole base locked down!
BM: If it survived...
SR: This whole mission has just been one incompetence after another, and I have more than half a mind—what, Captain?
BM (musing): If it survived...how did you notice it was there, Ensign?
SR: There, see, it was picking up radio transmissions from the other side!
BL: Technically they call it ‘Photel’...
SR: Shut up. So what—
BM: It’s picking up radio transmissions. In Snowdrop House.
TB: Snowdrop House is an ESD secure installation. They’ll be discussing classified information on secure, ciphered lines...
EM: Ciphers which we can break because our computers are more advanced than theirs!
BM: Sir, I would like to make it clear that I take no credit for this entirely deliberate and well-thought-through plan to, dare I say, brilliantly, ensure we can intercept the TimeLine L locals’ secure transmissions to learn more about them before we launch the next miss—
SR: Oh, shut up.
“LOOK TO THE WEST” WILL RETURN
VOLUME VII: THE EYE AND THE PRISM
The Interlude above also serves as the Epilogue to Volume VI (which, you may recall, I split from Volume V at Part #226 because it was growing too unwieldy).
It is indeed about two and a half years since I embarked on what became Volume VI, the Neo-Turtledovian adventure of writing LTTW as prose. Let me tell you, it's a lot harder than it looks, I won't say such unkind things about zinc oxide in the future.
I would like to thank everyone who has liked and comment and those of you who have purchased the Kindle or print versions of Volumes I-III on Sea Lion Press. Now Volume VI is finally over, I will be taking a rest for a while from writing new LTTW - but I will begin preparing Volume IV for publication, as noted above. Ironically, we have now caught up to the actual 'future year' in which Volume I was looking forward to. We're not going to finish the twentieth century by the end of the real 2019, but at least it means I can be less vague about what's happening in TimeLine A!
There are also more non-LTTW Thandean writings on the way, so watch this space.
well, it looks like we are going to get online data on the timeline, which is great. I hope we can get another interlude about literature and again in the next volume. also what happened to republicanism, I remember in earlier volumes that it was this world version of a communist scare? and congrats on finishing the volume.
Are we gonna get a map?
Now THAT'S an old reference.
Eventually, but I need to try to skim through this thread to find the corrections that viewers made to this antebellum one (below) before I start. I remember one of them was someone pointed out I had forgotten a 19th century border change between France and (then North) Italy, but I can't remember what the other main one was.
We have finally reached the Combine! As always I love the unreliable narrator aspect to this.
TTL has received Inception levels of unreliable narrators, where no one knows what the actual truth is, and indeed don't even care.
*Laughs in Diversitarian*
Oaxaca is supposed to be part of Mexico, not Guatemala.
Separate names with a comma.