~~The Great American War~~
So, there's an interesting backstory to this series of maps. For a while now, I've been thinking of ways to translate alternate history into something like a book or a movie. I've read Harry Turtledove's books and the like, but they usually come off to me as... stale and drawn-out. Maybe it's because I haven't found the right books, but, in my opinion, the best way to tell an alternate history story is on a site like this one online, in a series of posts that act as mini-chapters. This is because alternate history timelines don't really translate well into character-driven storytelling, as timelines usually happen over a period of decades, centuries, or even millennia, and therefore any characters you have are going to die out pretty soon. Honestly, the only real way I can see a traditional AH timeline like the ones on this site and throughout the Internet working in traditional media is as a very long series of comic books/graphic novels. The other
problem with bringing AH into the limelight is the fact that the average person just doesn't care
about history, nor know enough about it to see what's off. That's why the most famous and well-known pieces of alternate history media have PODs in WWII (The Man in the High Castle
) or in the Civil War (Bring the Jubilee
), or they somehow manage to smash both
topics into one (Harry Turtledove's TL-191 series). Those two conflicts are what most people know about, at least in the United States, with the American Revolution and WWI coming as distant seconds, since if you mention the name Austria-Hungary
to someone on the street and they'll probably think you're not right in the head. (This clip
from an episode of Friends
, I think, perfectly illustrates how much most people know about history.)
You're probably all thinking "That's cool and all, dude, but what does it have to do with your map?" Well, I kinda had a mini-epiphany (a lukewarm light bulb is aglow above my head) and realized that alternate history really can't
be adopted into traditional media like movies or books, and while TV shows usually come out better than most movies do, the medium still isn't suited for it. So how do we get around
this? The answer? Use the world of an alternate history as a backdrop
for a character-driven story. A movie about Robert E. Lee winning at Gettysburg would not do well, but a movie about a black family within a collapsing Confederacy in the 1970s? Now that's
Case in point: welcome to a world where the United States of America, for some reason or another, adopted a monarchy at the end of the Revolution. The reasoning isn't really important. In this timeline, America became a much more divided and culturally diverse place, as the doctrine of Manifest Destiny never unfolded in the US east of the Mississippi. But then, something very similar to it (actually more in line with Italian or German unification manifestos) arises at the turn of the twentieth century. All of North America, by this point, is firmly monarchist, and tied up in a web of global alliances. In 1910, the American king and Californian queen marry, uniting the countries as one under the banner of the United Empire of Columbia. Their neighbors don't like this one bit, and so the Great American War kicks up, itself a significant part of the larger global Great War.
So then, what would my story set in this world focus on? A brave young soldier in the Columbian Army? The new Emperor in his palace in San Francisco? A total nobody in Tennessee only slightly affected by the conflict?
The story would focus on none of these. The story has nothing to do with the Great American War. The story I've thought up for this timeline is a heist movie set in ATL 2019, following the best thieves in the world on their attempt to steal the American crown jewels. The story is definitely alternate history, but not in the traditional sense. It takes place in an alternate timeline, but doesn't really focus on that fact. The movie or book or whatever uses the United Empire of Columbia as a setting, while focusing on characters audiences can follow.
That was a long rant. I'm sure what I said has been said or suggested before, and I'm sure there's someone/something out there that has attempted this. I dunno. I just needed to empty my brain. (Also, I hope this doesn't count as going over "three maps per day," since the maps are all so closely related.)