Friday, January 4, 2013

History and Alternate History

In the mid-1990s, I started writing for an APAzine called All of the Above. It was specifically for GURPS enthusiasts, and had some great contributors who went on to write for Steve Jackson Games (e.g. David Pulver). My 'zine was called Uncle Enzo's Cosa Nostra Pizza, named after the Mob-controlled pizza chain in Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson.

The original logo
GURPS has a campaign called the Infinite Worlds, where the PCs run around various alternate histories, trying to keep the bad guys from gaining control of all the timelines. One of the features of my 'zine was Alternate Earths, where I proposed alternate histories. I'd like to share some of them with you. #alternatehistory 


Republican Wet Dream

Hannibal does not turn around at the gates of Rome, taking it and holding it. Carthage leads the world to new
heights of mercantile capitalism that last for two millennia.

Roswell

A U.F.O. lands in New Mexico in the 1940's, flies to Washington D.C. after getting directions and fuel, and establishes an open, public diplomatic mission with the U.S., as well as other world powers. Cultural, scientific, and economic exchanges occur. They give us cheap, environmentally sound fusion power in exchange for a complete collection of Laurel and Hardy movies (they need new entertainment). The first manned interstellar space ship lifts off from Cape Canaveral on July 16th, 1969, during Henry Cabot Lodge’s first term, in fulfillment of Nixon’s promise to use the technological boom started by the aliens to benefit all mankind.

Dilbert

Thomas Edison is elected president, which leads to engineers being the most powerful and highly paid group in the country. More Senators and millionaires are engineers than lawyers or entertainers.

Towanda!

The early agrarian societies quickly adapted to the incursions of hostile nomadic peoples, thus repelling the invaders, and preserving their female-centered civilization. You could go a lot of places from here: amazons in space!; polytheism in a modern setting; a society identical to our own, but with women in the most important roles; several advanced civilizations occupy the middle and near east, and parts of Europe and Africa, while nomads wander most of the rest of the planet.