Look to the West Volume VIII: The Bear and the Basilisk

Thande

Donor
Where's the flag of the Tyrrhenian Union and why does the Holy See even have one of its own?
Doesn't exist as a political entity yet, just as a vague set of treaties. (I think an earlier draft of Vol 5 implied it was formed earlier than it was and I edited this). The Holy See still keeps a flag even though now it essentially does not exist as a territory.

Where is Spain flag?
Accidentally missed off the end, now edited in.
Uh oh...

Nah, probably just a mistake, I'd imagine. :D
You joke, but EdT dropped a massive, subtle spoiler for his Fight and Be Right by having a future page of flags put up early in the TL, and everyone was fine until someone pointed out "wait, where's Britain?"
 
I think an earlier draft of Vol 5 implied it was formed earlier than it was and I edited this

Nooooo! :(

When is it supposed to form then?

You joke, but EdT dropped a massive, subtle spoiler for his Fight and Be Right by having a future page of flags put up early in the TL, and everyone was fine until someone pointed out "wait, where's Britain?"

Well, with the flags, you also gave us the year which is in the past from the "now" and Spain has been mentioned a few times since. You're not fooling us!
 
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I'm guessing the Union Jack was too popular to be abandoned in England and Scotland, so they just kept using it but modified it a little lol.

I'm also noticing that tricolors are being used as naval flags ITTL, interesting.
 
I'm guessing the Union Jack was too popular to be abandoned in England and Scotland, so they just kept using it but modified it a little lol.

You can just imagine a Scot and an Englishman finding each other waving their flags coming across one another, and then a moment of uncomfortable chuckling then an "eeeeh...." before silently shuffling the other way.
 
I'm guessing the Union Jack was too popular to be abandoned in England and Scotland, so they just kept using it but modified it a little lol.

Well, the English didn't even modify the basic Union Jack, they just removed the Asterisk of Liberty they were using as the People's Kingdom.

I'm also noticing that tricolors are being used as naval flags ITTL, interesting.

And crosses for national and federal subject flags. So many crosses.

Bourbon Compact intensifies.

Not exactly what I had in mind...
 
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Thande

Donor
I'm guessing the Union Jack was too popular to be abandoned in England and Scotland, so they just kept using it but modified it a little lol.
The Union Jack predates the Act of Union by a century, the crowns are still united here even though the states are not, so they've reverted to the pre-1707 status quo.
I'm also noticing that tricolors are being used as naval flags ITTL, interesting.
Yes, that's something I've done because vertical tricolours didn't become associated with revolutionary France and its imitators in TTL, so they're available for something else. The French naval ensign actually started out as a parliamentary flag that was later repurposed for that, and then other countries (especially those which are part of France's allies) have started doing the same.

One thing I've done here, as mentioned in the text, is take into account the potential for flag confusion - hence why Ireland's ensign has blue in it even though the original flag doesn't, just to avoid friendly fire incidents when together with English and Scottish ships. However, we also have the typical opposite as well, with both France and Belgium using diamond war flags despite being enemies.
 
The Union Jack predates the Act of Union by a century, the crowns are still united here even though the states are not, so they've reverted to the pre-1707 status quo
I already knew that. I just imagined England and Scotland went back to the St. George's Cross and St. Andrew's Saltire respectively after the Acts of Union were ripped up.
 
I already knew that. I just imagined England and Scotland went back to the St. George's Cross and St. Andrew's Saltire respectively after the Acts of Union were ripped up.
I was maybe expecting something like this for England. Just better made.
 

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Let me start off by saying that Look to the West continues to be one of my all-time favorite alternate history narratives. I'm sure it's inspired many others along with myself, and it was foundational in my experience with this genre. Recently I've been rereading the entire TL from the start, this time in its published form, and it's been great to experience some of its myriad twists and turns all over again. The present chapters are equally thrilling, and I can't wait for the Black Twenties to enter its second round of societist horror.

Insofar as there is anything to critique about this grand narrative, I really only have a few comments, mostly related to core aspects of the TL which might simply be the result of our differences in opinion. First off, while I acknowledge one of the TL's central conceits--that the main ideological conflict of modern history might be over something other than economics--I do think the element of class conflict has gone a bit too ignored as a result. While the societists don't seem too interested in class as a force of societal discord, their false image of class harmony and meritocracy probably still appeals to some working-class people. More importantly, I imagine that the basic disruptions of capitalism, be that in the form of enclosure, industrial labor, or simple market crashes, would have a greater effect on this world's history than presently seems to be the case. Perhaps the issue is that TTL's historians aren't too interested in labor, or maybe it's just that we see the national perspective more than what's happening to ordinary citizens. Still, the influence of strikes, unions, and other expressions of class conflict would be interesting to see in the context of TTL. Could diversitarianism accommodate non-capitalist societies, for example?

Secondly, I feel like the general perspective that the post-Pandoric chapters have taken is a little too unbalanced, specifically to the detriment of the societists. I understand that their ideologically colored views and scholarship might be harder to articulate than that of their diversitarian counterparts, but their importance to this narrative overall means that depicting them properly is essential. A basic issue I am still faced with is that it's hard to know what living in a societist society is really like. I thought that the move to Carolina would mean we'd see more of their perspective, and while that has been broadly true, there are still many parts where proper detail is lacking. To be clear, it's not that I need more explicitly pro-societist sources, or that I think they have been unfairly maligned. But creating a good antagonist often requires a great degree of 'character' development, and my picture of the Combine is still too vague as of yet. If that lack of detail is on purpose, the result of both societist censorship and the Last War of Supremacy, then I understand. Even so, I think some historical chapters or Pandoric-style narratives written from the ground level of the Combine could do a lot of good for TTL's worldbuilding.

That's about all I have to say! I'm eager to see where this story goes next; in terms of graphics, my only request would be another world map. Maybe when the Black Twenties are roughly 'halfway' (or entering some kind of new phase). Also, I'll be sure to get the volume 5 e-book when it releases; not long now, I hope!
 
This implies that the Combine uses targeted assassinations 'abroad' (not that they would really see it as such) as standard policy? Well, that would be a nasty way to help justifying the hatred for Societism seen in many in-TL sources.
I think it was de facto stated a volume ago that the Combine assassinated several Refugios after the Black Twenties?
 
Right, I had forgotten that.

And, of course, it was something OTL Stalinist Russia did in some cases - Trotsky, most famously.

Definitely would like to see more flags of the world - that's some spiffy graphic design there.

If Spain and Portugal go societist, I wonder if they will become directly integrated into the Combine? It's something the French would object to, shall we say, strenuously. (And personally, given the historically anti-foreign and insular attitudes of Spaniards, I'm not sure if you could get them to agree to be governed from Urb 1, Zone 1. Sure, there will be pro-union fanatics, but the Combine would, I think, have more trouble sending forces to help make sure the right faction wins than they did in Africa or Indonesia).
 
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