31 May 2013

Friday Flag - Pan-America

A flag I designed for Pan-America from Edgar Rich Burrough's novel Beyond 30 (aka The Lost Continent). The basis of the story is that the western hemisphere, united under the USA, isolated itself from the rest of the world at the outbreak of World War I. All contact is lost with the outside world for over 200 years.

I used the symbol off the flag of the Virgin Islands as the basis of this flag.

29 May 2013

Croatian Empire

A little over a week ago I joined the Alternative History Wiki. Instead of starting a whole new timeline I browsed the orphans looking for one to adopt for my first project. The Croatian Empire was just one page. A list of about four dozen events in chronological order, a few with dates. It had a number of things I liked: a non-standard dominant civilization, a nuclear war, and colonies on Mars.

Some of the bizarre things I liked about the potential of this timeline also make it considered ASB (Alien Space Bats) on the wiki. Things like unrealistic randomness, alien interventions, or a bias for a particular country that defies reality can earn an ASB label.

As I've looked closer I've noticed it has four ASBs against it. Three biased (Croatia becoming a super-power, Australian aborigines having more control over their continent, and a large group of African nations uniting to wage war on a Croatian superpower during the chaos of a nuclear winter) each of which was very, very unlikely. The fourth is the technology. After two large-scale nuclear wars and the world's population being reduced to 1.5 billion I have trouble believing humanity could successfully create a Mars colony.

Be that as it may, I have decided to devote up to six months of regular additions to this timeline to see if I can reduce some of the ASB factors or at least give it an internal consistency that is entertaining, or even entertaining to the althistory work of others. There are so many things I could expand on I'm having trouble deciding what to focus on next. There are a number of wars to give details on, there is the aftermath of World War III to explore, there are the conditions and society on the Mars colonies, and numerous other topics I could expand on. Taking things slow, one or two posts a day for six months should leave me with something that ends up being pretty cool.

Now I have to see how the Map Games they have on the wiki work and consider experimenting with that. There is also their centerpiece timeline, Doomsday: 1983, which looks like it could be fun to contribute to.... just a lot of information to absorb on that one.

Check the wiki out and see what interesting things you can find.

26 May 2013

Travaillis Republique Democratique

1852: Foundation of the Second French Empire.
1856: French victory in the Crimean War. Napoleon III expands his military further after this war. He institutes training of new troops by the experienced soldiers from this conflict.
1859: French victory over Austria in the Second Italian War for Independence. France begins to modernize its army and increase its size for coming conflicts.
1861: French invade Mexico. They have a long string of victories. In order to gain the time needed to consolidate their gains they secretly being to fund the Confederate States of America and smuggle modern weapons to them.
1863: Second Mexican Empire is declared, allied with France.
August 1865: The American Civil War ends with a northern victory. America turns its sights on the French intervention in Mexico.
1867: While in a better position to resist America invading Mexico, Napoleon III decides to withdraw his forces form North America. While he believes his forces could defeat the Americans who knew the price his troops would pay fighting battle-hardened Union and ex-Confederate armies would be too high.
With the growth in strength of the Prussians the French also didn't want to deplete their military with major operations in North America. His agents in America note the speed American troops can be moved across railroads. Napoleon III orders the expansion of rail lines in France to facilitate the movement of his own troops at home.
19 July 1870: Beginning of the Franco-Prussian War.
18 August 1870: After a number of German victories or stalemates in the war the Battle of Gravelotte takes place. The enhanced French rail network, improved artillery, and additional troops give the French an overwhelming victory. The Germans suffer 25,237 killed, 35,000 wounded and have their army routed. Over twenty-thousand German troops are captured.
1871: French forces cross the frontier into Germany. Bismark begins to loose control of the various German states and chaos begins to overtake the German military command. This leads to a French victory in the Franco-Prussian War.
1921: General War in Europe begins. France and Austria unite to divide Europe. Russia, Britain, and the various German states oppose them.
1923: The Ottoman Empire joins Austria and France in the war in order to counter aggressive Russian moves towards Constantinople. Benito Mussolini is assassinated during this period.
1924: The United States joins with Britain and its allies against the French menace. Italy, seeing an opportunity to regain Italian lands held by Austria also joins the allied cause.
1926: General War ends with an Allied victory and French loss. France looses Alsace and Lorraine. France is also thrown into chaos and falls to Communist revolution, forming the Travaillis Republique Democratique.
1930: German Confederation forms.
1936: Spanish Civil War begins. Communists from France intervene.
1937: Start of the Second Sino-Japanese War.
1939: Red victory in Spanish Civil War.
1940: Spain joins the Travaillis Republique Democratique.
1941: After civil unrest across Belgium, it too joins the TRD. The Japanese Empire attacks the United States of America, bombing Pearl Harbor.
1942: The TRD annexes Alsace and Lorraine form the German Confederation. The international community doesn't see it being worth fighting over.
The Communist Party grows in Italy.
1943: American advances against Japan. Russia invades Japanese-held Korea.
1944: Japan negotiates an end to the war with Russia and America.
Communist uprisings begin in Italy.
Ethnic unrest in Russia.
1947: Increasing violence in Italy as various Communist and Socialist organizations increase in power and have increasing conflicts with the government.
1949: TRD troops enter Italy after a major riot. European powers threaten the TRD.
Giacomo Matteotti leads the Italian Communists.
Serbia expands its territory by seizing some Italian ports on the eastern shore of the Adriatic.
By the end of the year the Red War begins.

1953: After devastation of parts of central Europe and France the Red War ends. Communism has been defeated and is outlawed in Europe. The decisive factor was the use of an atomic bomb by the British on the French city of Bordeaux.
1970: Grand Alliance of Europe forms. It is a very weak international organization dedicated to ending all wars in Europe.
1976: Australia joins the United States. The American flag now has 56 stars.
2001: Muslim terrorists stage major attacks on Constantinople and Moscow. Russia declares a “War on Terror.”
2008: Russian Empire collapses under the strain of the War on Terror and the growing civil war in its borders.
2013: Sixty year anniversary of the fall of the TRD.

This timeline is a brief introduction to the world that will be the basis of my entry for the Double-Blind What If Writing Contest over at Alternate History Weekly Update. I created it so I could have a better understanding of the point-of-view of the inhabitants of that world as I work on my entry. Thought I would share.

24 May 2013

Friday Flag - Strumicvar

Strumicvar is a city-state founded on the north-eastern coast of Novo Skopje (South America). It was part of a world-spanning Macedonian empire until the early 19th-century AD when the world was devastated by a nuclear attack. Strumicvar and many other regions were now independent of Imperial authority and free to pursue their own goals.

23 May 2013

Book Review - Apacheria

(image from Amazon.com)

A brief review avoiding spoilers:

Naiche and Juh,father and son Apache help to unite his people in a war against the United States. Instead of fighting as an army on the open field he uses guerrilla tactics to show how helpless the occupying forces are. The financial drain on America grows and many Eastern states begin to question funding such an expensive war for such a small area. Eventually the United States gives up and Apacheria is born.

There were a few catches with the peace treaty. Mining of Apache land will continue for a few decades and a rail line will operate through Apacheria - all for royalties to be paid to the new nation. The Apache are now faced with running a new nation and attempting to maintain their old ways.

There are bumps along the way. If there weren't it wouldn't be much of a story. Inter-tribal alliances fray and outside pressures of the modernizing world have their effects on Apacheria. It will be up to Naiche's son, Juh to help his people navigate these challenges and help the land prosper.

They story ends with Apacheria attempting to adapt to the world during the Roaring '20s. Prohibition, gangsters, and Tommy guns herald a new and interesting age for the fledgling nation.

Plenty of interesting characters. A healthy does of real-world characters help to show how things have diverged. Presidents Taft, Teddy Roosevelt, and Wilson make appearances as do others such as Carrie Nation, Al Capone, and J. Edgar Hoover. Then there are the various Apache characters including Geronimo.

Juh is a good character. He lives in two worlds and has both his father's legacy and his homeland to protect. He is intelligent, brave, a good warrior, and is open to new ideas.

Geronimo is awesome too. He becomes the Apacheria ambassador to Washington, DC. He takes to that role well and is a good mentor to Juh.

Over at Goodreads I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars. Overall it was well done.

The only problem I had with it was how easily the United States gave up on trying to subdue/conquer the Apache. Sure the drain on money would be annoying but the blood that had been spilled and the perceived stain on America's honor would have it done a lot more to push the US to continue fighting until it could be victorious. Heck after the amount of blood and gold spent in the Civil War and the the money and tens of thousands of lives that would later be wasted in participating in 'The Great War' I don't see a few million dollars and a few hundred dead stopping America from charging in and getting revenge on the Apache.

Beyond that one complaint it was a very entertaining read.

*Author: Jake Page
*Publisher: Del Rey
*ISBN: 0-345-41411-X
*Pages: 342
*Point of Divergence: 1884

21 May 2013

What I'm up to right now!

In the last week or so I've been up to a number of things related to Alternate History.

1) I've been working on a submission for the Double-Blind What If Writing Contest over at Alternate History Weekly Update. I decided on most of the details for the alts, now I'm just working out how I'll be formatting the entry. A double-blind what if is basically writing an alternate history from the point of view of an alternate timeline. I've had some experience doing that in the past since my old GURPS Infinite Worlds campaign started out based in an alternate history.

2) Over at Althistory Wiki I've created an account and have adopted one of the orphan timelines. My user page can be found HERE. Three of four of the abandoned timelines looked interesting to me. I was going to pick one but changed to the 'Croatian Empire' timeline when I thought about it on the drive home from work today. I've claimed the timeline and did some clean-up. Now I have to do some work to expand it and see what I can do with it. Should be fun. The wiki seems pretty cool.

3) I'm continuing to read more alternate history books. I'll have a review for Apacheria posted soon. I'm also listening to an audio book What if the Babe Had Kept His Red Sox?; it's been interesting so far... I'm just not much of a sports fan to begin with so some of the real-world events they describe before the alt-history events are just as strange to me.

4) Over on Amazon Prime I've been streaming episodes of Fringe. Had never even heard of the show a few months ago and now I'm watching as two alternate Earths struggle against each other. Entertaining; the series does seem to drag at times but at others it gets very creative.

So, that's what I've been up to. There will be some new posts soon. I just wish this was the alternate where I won last Saturday's Power Ball drawing, then I'd have no trouble finding the time to really do some cool stuff.

17 May 2013

Friday Flag - Habsburg Hegemony

The flag of the Habsburg Hegemony for a timeline I created a number of years ago. The Habsburg Hegemony; which is made up of the Austro-Spanish Empire (most of Europe), the Mexican Empire, and a confederation of South American states. They also have colonies dominating Africa and Nieuw Holland (Australia in our world).

Other powers include China, Russia, Japan and the Ottoman Empire.

1588 = The Spanish Armada is a success.
1618 to 1648 = Thirty Years War. Habsburgs come up on top and manage to unite many of the fractured German territories.
EARLY 1800s = Increase in power of the Spanish colonies in the new world.
1840s = Industrial Revolution begins in the Mexican Empire.
1880s = Franco-Habsburg war. France is overwhelmed by Spanish and German troops. Within three years it is annexed into the growing Habsburg Hegemony.
1931 = Sino-Japanese war begins. Japanese gain much territory.
1937 = Habsburg intervention in the Sino-Japanese war begins on behalf of the Chinese. Russian forced join with the Japanese, invading China from the north.
1940 = German scientists develop the Atomic Bomb. It is used on Japanese troop concentrations in Manchuria.
1941 = Kyoto is destroyed by an atomic bomb. The Japanese surrender their gains in China and withdraw to the home islands.
1950s = European space exploration begins. First man in space. Chinese uprising against what has become European occupation.
1959 = First man on the moon.
1984 = Bloody uprisings across China against Europe. The Habsburgs withdraw, but institute a strict blockade of the region.
1987 = Moon base completed. Ion drive developed by European scientists to allow cheap & reliable transportation across the inner solar system.
1999 = First Martian habitats constructed. Chinese begin developing their own spaceships and harness the power of the atom thanks to French spies in their employ.
2007 = Asteroid mining becomes a big business. Large expansions on Lunar City and the various Martian colonies.
2010 = Chinese establish independent colony on Mars and various asteroids with the help of Russo-Japanese corporations.
DECEMBER 24, 2011 = Uprisings in the Mexican Empire and South America in an attempt to break from the Habsburgs. Very bloody, and in the end a failure.
2013 = Russia announces the existence of its own atomic arsenal, this helps to delay further expansion of Europe into space and makes the Habsburgs a little less trigger happy up in space as well.

16 May 2013

The Confederation needs support

Over at Kickstarter a new web series project is attempting to get some funding. It will be a series set on an alternate Earth where the South won the American Civil War and set a century later during the Confederacy's war in Cuba. The divergence point for the timeline is the Battle of Puebla in Mexico, May 5th 1862.

It's nice having a divergence point not being Gettysburg or some other major battle. Instead a minor battle of the French invasion of Mexico is the event where everything changes. Looks like it will be a fun project.

I'm mentioning this project because it is related to alternate history; I've worked on film projects in the past and know how difficult and expensive they can be; and most importantly I want to see it funded an produced so I'm trying to get the word out. Forty days to raise $50,000 may be a bit optimistic, but I've seen some amazing things happen on Kickstarter over the years.

Updated June 2013
The original Kickstarter project was cancelled and a new one put up in its place. Please support it if you can.
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