Friday, August 16, 2013

The Good and Quirky: Alternate History from AH.Com

Guest post by Matthew Quinn.

Over the years I've collected links to interesting scenarios from’s discussion forum. As part of my Very Merry Blog Tour, I’m bringing them to you.


Europe of the Three Empires-The Roman Empire does better when it’s united, conquering Germania and the entirety of Britain. Although it still splits on east-west lines, both survive in the long run, with the west competing with a unified Russo-Scandinavia for North America while the east expands into Africa and the Middle East. Not a lot of specific details, but a lot of interesting concepts.

Basicilius Sicilia-Instead of becoming Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick II the “Stupor Mundi” uses Sicily as a springboard for establishing a Mediterranean empire. The consequences include the Venetian Republic incorporating Constantinople as a sister city, a surviving Angevin empire, and the Byzantine successor state of Trebizond reconciling with the Nestorian heresy and adopting cannon from Nestorian Mongols.

An Age of Miracles: The Revival of Rhomanion-Many historians believe the Fourth Crusade inevitably doomed the Byzantine Empire. The author posits that had one of the post-Byzantine statelets had an emperor born without epilepsy, he could have taken down the Latin Empire of Constantinople a generation early and begun a conquest of Asia Minor from the Muslim Turks. And things get more interesting from there. Notable for having its own TVTropes page and lots of “Lord of the Rings” jokes. [Editor's Note: See Sean's showcase of the same timeline.]


Guam-FDR has Guam fortified during the 1930s and it becomes a bone in the throat of the Japanese Empire in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor. For want of a nail indeed.

Anglo-American-Nazi War-Due to some better early decisions, the Nazis manage to knock the Soviet Union out of the war in 1942-43. It’s now up to the Western Allies to liberate Continental Europe. It’s incredibly detailed and very, very dark. The author said his goal was to show just how awful the Nazis would have been if they’d won. It’s 315 pages. The complete scenario is in the Timelines and Scenarios forum if you want to skip the discussions.

How Silent Fall The Cherry Blossoms-The Japanese use aircraft-carrying submarines that in our history weren’t finished on time to drop plague bombs on Los Angeles in 1944. The resulting epidemic leads to Hitler making some different decisions. Highlights include elaborate plots by Emperor Hirohito to make peace with the United States behind the backs of his fanatical War Cabinet, an early start to the Civil Rights movement, and some very nasty Nazi technological toys.

Whiskey on the Rocks: The Soviet-Swedish War of 1981-Think Sweden is a weak Scandinavian social democracy the Great Soviet Bear could push around? Think again. I didn’t think the Swedes could stand a chance against the USSR, but the author makes a strong case that they could.

Able Archer 83-In our history, although the Able Archer military exercise frightened the Soviets into a higher level of alert, nothing happened. In this timeline, the Soviets decide to strike first. The amount of detail is fascinating.

Lines In The Sand: A History of the Gulf War-Saddam Hussein goes to war a month later, goes straight on into Saudi Arabia after conquering Kuwait, and has Yemen attack Saudi Arabia from the south. In order to defend its oil supplies the United States has to fight the ground war without six months to build up and then six weeks to flay the Iraqis from the air. And Osama bin Laden gets involved…


These weren’t as grand as the others, but they’re quite original.

(Partially) Wiccan Tibet-There were some discussions about what neo-paganism might look like in a society with little influence from the Abrahamic religions. I challenged board members to come up with a scenario involving a large number of Wiccans in Tibet. Someone managed. The gist of it is that India becomes a Dominion of the British Empire, Tibet becomes a protectorate, and Wicca founder Gerald Gardner travels there to investigate occult beliefs.

Alexander The Great…In Japan-Someone challenged board members to get Alexander the Great into Japan. The gist is that Alexander escapes a coup in Persia and wanders across Asia with his most fanatical loyalists, intermarrying with horse tribes and serving as mercenaries for the warring states of China. He eventually conquers Korea and dies after fighting Japanese pirates.

Vikings of the Balearics-A Norse king on his way to Crusade in the Holy Land is delayed by a storm and ends up fighting the Muslims in Spain and the Mediterranean instead. He manages to establish a Viking empire centered on various islands, deposes Popes, etc. It’s very cool.

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Matthew W. Quinn is a freelance writer and editor. He has both short fiction available on and a popular blog, The World According To Quinn.

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