Your least favourite AH tropes & motifs

This certainly has an influence on the way people think about it, but I must add that once you look at it more closely it doesn't really add up... For example in North America both Jamestown and Plymouth could've very easily failed, they even were on the brink of doing so iotl, but by pure chance they both somehow managed to pull through. People on this forum would roll their eyes if you write something like how the 3rd supply of Jamestown arrived just in time to save the colony at the very last possible moment lol.

Or what about India? Any European power colonizing India would've seemed ASB for most of history. Then for a while it looked like as if anybody would do it it would be the French under Dupleix, who used their sepoy armies with great success in the 1st Carnatic War. But the war ended in a status quo ante bellum because the people back home decided some island off the coast of Canada was more important than Madras was. Then in the 2nd war the British somehow manage to install Muhammad Ali as Nawab, even though he was the underdog for most of that conflict and was at the brink of defeat several times. Luckily in the end someone coma up with an unconventional plan that lead to their victory... It just so happens that this person tried to shoot himself only a couple years prior, but his pistol misfired! What a coincidence. Not to mention that his plan would've been completely impossible if in 1748 the French had decided Madras was more important than the aforementioned Canadian island! (to add insult to injury the French ended up losing all of Canada anyways not much later)

These are just 2 examples of colonial ventures that could have very easily gone wrong (very big ones too). And the RN, or Britain being an island, had little (if anything) to do with it.​
To add to this, the fact that India has to fall to colonisation, when up until at least the early 18th century, and even for a period during the 18th century, it could've been avoided had one or two big things and lots of small things turned on the other side of the coin.
 

Beatriz

Gone Fishin'
Would a pinned resources thread containing a description of the history of each major country with a list of possible PODs underneath and a description of how politics in a given place and time worked help?
 
Would a pinned resources thread containing a description of the history of each major country with a list of possible PODs underneath and a description of how politics in a given place and time worked help?

Sounds like the definition of TL;DR for most people. Hell, writing it would be a chore even for a group.
 
Expanding on that a bit, I've seen a lot of criticism if not outright prejudice of the very concept of alternate history based on the idea that everything that happened happened because it had to be this way, period, and that history is not to ask about ifs or buts but instead focus solely on studying what took place to understand the factors that led to inevitable now
I have mixed feelings here.

I'm all for asking about ifs and buts. It's just that sometimes "Yes, even if that happens (or didn't happen), the reasons why this happened (or didn't happen) are still going to get in the way." is on the other side - that Lee winning at Gettysburg is not going to destroy the North's will to fight game over by August, that even with no Hindenburg disaster that zeppelins will not dominate the skies forever, that the Austro-Hungarian empire is not a first-rate great power or without serious internal issues even if Franz Joseph dies in 1889 instead of his son....

Just to list some PODs that certainly could go interesting places despite not achieving airships forever or an Austro-Hungarian empire being one of the strongest states on the continent.

"But what if all those circumstances did work out?" feels - to me, subjectively and personally - hard to engage with and discuss because sure, if all the things necessary for X to happen were in place then that would likely happen - but that to me is where it feels like we're talking about writing (to use someone else's phrase) about "Andorians and Klingons".

Take this timeline: http://www.changingthetimes.net/samples/USCW/unlost_cause.htm

"Now is where Davis gets his chance to shine. (NOTE – this is by no means the historical Davis – it is the one needed to seize this moment). The Southern fire-eaters want a Carthaginian peace. Davis understands that the North’s failure is one of will, not means. Let them off easy and the war stays won. Push it and Dixie could provide the missing Northern will to reignite the conflict."

It would be outside the scope of this thread if Davis would ever make that choice in any circumstances, but "Davis is that man because that man is needed for this moment" doesn't feel like they're writing about Jefferson Davis anymore - and this is not like how with a POD in the 1500s that there's no guarantee of a "Jefferson Davis" at this time leading a rebellion like this in the first place.
 
I have mixed feelings here.
I think this gets on the sliding scale of AH plausibility
Like for example no matter what you do the japanese beating the US is pretty much asb, many historical trends cant be stopped on it's tracks just like that, but on the other hand stuff like plots failing(like the assassination of Lincoln or Kennedy) and a historical figure making a dumb or NOT making a dumb decision can very much happen ans have massive ramifications even if the initial change is pretty small
Both I think are worth discussing despite one being completely unrealistic and the other being the polar opposite, shutting down discussions on the grounds of "this happened so thats how things were meant to happen, the end" is very upsetting though we should indeed recognize when a scenario is very frivolous or the POD simply isnt enough on it's own to reverse what the factors were leading up to like the CSA surviving because of Lee's victory at Gettysburg like you mentioned
 
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I think this gets on the sliding scale of AH plausibility
Like for example no matter what you do the japanese beating the US is pretty much asb, many historical trends cant be stopped on it's tracks just like that, but on the other hand stuff like plots failing(like the assassination of Lincoln or Kennedy) and a historical figure making a dumb or NOT making a dumb decision can very much happen ans have massive ramifications even if the initial change is pretty small
Both I think are worth discussing despite one being completely unrealistic and the other being the polar opposite, shutting down discussions on the grounds of "this happened so thats how things were meant to happen, the end" is very upsetting though we should indeed recognize when a scenario is very frivolous or the POD simply isnt enough on it's own to reverse what the factors were leading up to like the CSA surviving because of Lee's victory at Gettysburg like you mentioned

I don't want to encourage shutting down discussions, but I do want to say that "I don't care if it's not realistic" is not something I find fun either. "What if Alexander conquered India? Nevermind how, just assume that it works and it lasts." shuts down the discussion of "Is this something that could happen?"/what it means that it may not be.

I don't think OTL was "meant to happen" in any meaningful sense - with a POD in the 10th century there's no guarantee of Ireland falling under English rule, for example - but there's no way for me to talk about the other choices people could have made or other events that could have happened in the rebellion of 1798 without weighing if the rebels had a chance there at that time in the first place.

And as the one writing this post - even if none of the events are strictly magical/supernatural - I find technically humanly possible but extremely unlikely ("The entire Royal family dies, and half the Royal Navy joins the Irish!") as not much different than "What if the Irish had dragons?" and if anything less fun than Irish dragon allies.

Though declaring something "fun" or "not fun" is hugely subjective, that's my opinion in terms of discussing either scenario.
 
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This may be more of a forum-specific gripe, but I’m tired of unoriginal “what if Germany won WW1” maps being posted every week.
 
Babys first kaiserreich. Given how popular that Hearts of Iron IV mod is, I can understand being tired of it.
Kinda funny because "Big Germany!!!" is one of the least interesting things about the mod for me
I mean dont get me wrong, I like Imperial Germany and all but the Syndie Union of Britain & France is so much interesting and same for Canada going full Rule Britannia after the Crown having pulled a Portugal
 
Sometimes, supply chain is a b*tch. For example, in any "No Times of Troubles" Russo-wank there is a hard limiter of no lead available in the European Russia, necessitating the PoD all the way to pre-Ivan IV times to justify much earlier advances to the Caucasus/Altai compared to OTL. If the wank is limited by "how to get resources for this wank" it can become a large obstacle to plausibility.
:eek::eek: Yow. If you've got to push back that far for a POD... You could reasonably have almost any outcome you wanted by TL's "now" & it wouldn't be implausible. It's another matter entirely if you're limiting to what's available at a more reasonable POD...& that becomes a matter of what you want to do: deal with the existing limits & wank them the max, or wank the max and forget the limits.
 
The lack of exploration of early-1800s Ottoman collapse scenarios that aren't a Russia/Greecewank . The EIC had connections with Mamluk Iraq that could have turned it into a British protectorate
That would certainly be a change of pace and certainly very interesting. Another could be Ali managing to take Constantinople, deposing the Ottomans and creating his won Mediterannean based Dynasty
 
The world having an obviously better or worse end. Nah give me moral ambiguity.

That's sort of what I'm aspiring to, whenever I do my much-threatened TL... will it wind up different from OTL? Oh yeah... will it be better or worse?
Weeelll... depends.
;)
Ah yes, the morally gray gang
This makes me think of the lack of morally-driven TLs, heavily influential stuff like Kant & Nietzsche, very underrated material althist-wise
Not a trope per see or something that upsets me, but I think it's worth of note
 
Ah yes, the morally gray gang
This makes me think of the lack of morally-driven TLs, heavily influential stuff like Kant & Nietzsche, very underrated material althist-wise
Not a trope per see or something that upsets me, but I think it's worth of note
Now I want to see a TL where Nietzsche actually finishes The Will to Power you monster! More seriously the Clive-Less World TL heavily features a morality system developed by an alternate Jeremy Bentham as a major historical political system in-universe
 
Not really a trope but... I think that most people have this view of OTL's ideologies being the inevitable results of human cultural evolution, which is simply not the case. Nothing predetermined that something like communism was guaranteed to get popular as it did, or even that it would exist all at. But you feel pressured to include it in some form. After all, a story needs easily identifiable good guys, or bad guys if you choose, and it's easier to use familiar tropes rather than create something new and need to explain it in detail.
I think argument could be made that it's a natural evolution of like cultural ideas from 1600-1700 so if you have your POD then and without radical changes, they should happen.

Aside from that, I agree.
 
That's sort of what I'm aspiring to, whenever I do my much-threatened TL... will it wind up different from OTL? Oh yeah... will it be better or worse?
Weeelll... depends.
;)


Short answer - it will be both.

Some good and bad things will be taken away, but other good and bad things will take their place.

Perhaps the most extreme illustration of this is Isaac Asimov's short *Living Space*. In this, travellers from our timeline (about AD 4000) find themselves sharing a world with others from a timeline where WW2 went the other way and whose calendar counts the years from the birth of *Hitler*. Yet they are perfectly civilised and an amicable settlement is reached with no bother. Their remote ancestors were genocidal Nazis, yet they themselves are not. The timeline has "converged" back to something no more dystopian than OTL,

Unless a TL actually leads to the human race dying out, I suspect that this is how it generally *would* be.
 
The world having an obviously better or worse end. Nah give me moral ambiguity.
That's sort of what I'm aspiring to, whenever I do my much-threatened TL... will it wind up different from OTL? Oh yeah... will it be better or worse?
Weeelll... depends.
;)
This is a goal that I feed with my own timeline. To try to present a World totally different from ours, with its qualities and its defects.
I already have many ideas in mind for the more or less long term on politics, war, religion, economy, morals... for the 2000's of my timeline.
The problem is that as a student I have little time to write lately.
 
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