We have all "Googled" ourselves at one point or another. When your name pops up when you are not looking for yourself, however, is when things get really crazy. A couple of days ago I searched for "alternate history" in Google and was pleasantly surprised when this blog came up on the first page of the results. Of course when I tried to do it again today it was not there. Can someone explain to me how Google works? What decides what order websites appear in?
Speaking of this blog, I now realize that I screwed up when naming it. I am a big fan of Rooster Teeth, which makes it odd that I did not realize that the acronym for this blog, AHWU, is the same for a segment on Achievement Hunter called "Achievement Hunter Weekly Update". So to avoid confusion, I will try to stop using the acronym since I do not want there to be any confusion between this blog and the original AHWU. Instead of calling these posts "AHWU #" I will be calling them "Weekly Update". Also I will once again be posting these weekly. For the rest of the week I will fill the blog with essays, contributor's post, interviews, breaking news updates and book reviews. I hope you all approve.
I also would like to welcome my first readers from Spain, Finland and Trinidad & Tobago. And now the news...
An Experiment to Find the Multiverse
On August 3, 2011, theoretical physicists in Great Britain announced they were conducting tests for the very first time to find evidence of multiple alternative universes, otherwise known as a multiverse. A team of cosmologists will search the cosmic microwave background radiation to see if there is evidence that this alternate history trope actually exists.
The controversial multiverse theory states that other universes lie within "bubbles" of space and time. Studies of the low-temperature glow left from the Big Bang suggest that these "bubble universes" have left marks on our own. Theses scientists will be looking for these space-time fender benders to see if the multiverse truly exists.
By August 5, reports surfaced suggesting that the scientists had discovered four such bruises on our universe. Still, the overall statistical significance of these marks is not that great, and more data is necessary before we can all book a trip to visit our favorite alternate Earth. Fortunately, the European Space Agency's Planck satellite is currently collecting data at three times the resolution of what was used in this study, and by sometime in 2013 (if man is still alive), we should get a clearer picture on how many more alternate worlds may actually be out there.
Now before you all run off to some world where the Confederacy survives, you might not like what you find. These universes may not even follow our laws of nature, as one article discussed. Even if they did contain recognizable forms of life, we may never actually be able to reach them. The bubble universes have been moving very fast since the Big Bang. In fact, they are being pulled so far away and at such a fast speed that their light can never reach this universe again...ever. If their light cannot even reach us, how the hell can we get there?
While this may seem exciting to an average alternate historian, I fear that science is going to ruin multiverse travel just as they ruined Star Wars space battle scenes. Nevertheless I will be keeping an eye on this and will let you all know if anymore information is released.
Showcase: Ad Astra Per Aspera
This is a new segment where I will be showcasing an original work of online alternate history. The first timeline will be Ad Astra Per Aspera (Latin for "through hardships to the stars") by "rvbomally" and can be found at AH.com.
The point of divergence of the timeline is the successful impeachment of President Andrew Johnson and the rise of Radical Republican administration that punish the southern states for the War on Treason (ATL's American Civil War). An increasingly militaristic United States eventually allies with Germany and Russia to divide the world between each other. Here is a map of the present day:
Wait a second...did I accidentally put the wrong map up? No I did not. The events Ad Astra Per Aspera are primarily set in the 28th century (hence its inclusion in the Alien Space Bats forum). Nevertheless, it is an amazing piece of alternate history. Instead of using Hollywood science, rvbomally follows actual science in creating his futuristic universe. For example, space battles are nothing like what you see in most science fiction films. Instead, actual physics forces combatants to take into account a 3D, frictionless environment where enemies could be millions of miles away. Instead of brave space heroes life Honor Harrington, we have math nerds plugging firing solutions into computers. Faster-than-light travel also exists, but instead of "hyperdrives" rvbomally uses actual scientific theories to get around the restrictions on intergalactic travel, like an Alcubierre drive.
I also should point out that this world is a dystopia. The three galactic superpowers (the Coalition of Western Republics, Conseil of Workers’ Systems and the United Technocracies of Man) are all dictatorships whose leaders appear to model their nations on Oceania from 1984. In fact rvbomally makes a compelling argument that when considering the size of the galaxy and territory the superpowers (and even minor states) rule, dictatorships may be the only effective means of governing humans, especially when you have to convince them to support wars that may last a century due to the vast distances involved.
Also if you needed another reason to read this timeline, the multiverse exists...and is exploited by the Coalition of Western Republics. After stealing anything of value, the Coalition usually nukes the world into oblivion, so not the same time of multiverse exploitation you see in Paratime.
In fact I think rvbomally summed the feel of this timeline very well when he said: Feeling cheerful? Read Ad Astra Per Aspera and lose a little bit more faith in humanity!
Links to the Multiverse
Review of Tears of the Sun - Review done by Harriet Klausner, who may or may not actually read the books she reviews.
A grab bag of new DVD releases - An article by Bruce Dancis that includes a review of Jackboots on Whitehall at the bottom.
Review of Hitler's War by Harry Turtledove - On Book Blogs.
Review of The Afrika Reich by Guy Saville - On Weekend Bookworm.
Review of Heart of Iron by Ekaterina Sedia - On A.V. Club.
Review of How Few Remain by Harry Turtledove - on the JP Feed.