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About Deviant Bruce MunroMale/United States Group :iconalternate-history: Alternate-History
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This account is a storage spot for my alternate history maps. I also have started putting up "Alien Space Bat scenario" (fantasy settings) writings in a seperate "ASB" folder, and more recently some doodles.

PS - to see all the map deviations in my gallery, hit "browse": for some reason some don't show up otherwise, although they aren't in seperate folders.


Have neglected putting anything here, so I thought I'd start adding: alternate history maps by others, some Anime pics, odds and ends...


La Isla Blanca by QuantumBranching
La Isla Blanca
Did a map for Lord Roem's "La Isla Blanca" over on…  global detail considerably expanded by the Intercontinental Almanac in the e-book version [1] and a couple emails from the man himself.

This is a world where the Armada was slightly more successful and took control of the Isle of Wight, which became a sort of Spanish Gibraltar in the south of England. Butterflies flap vigorously (and hands wave  ) and over the next few centuries England's history takes on an oddly OTL (Our Time Line) -Spanish flavor, while Spain starts looking positively British...

This not in fact the only reversal going on. Japan is of course Korea, and France is Germany complete with evil WWII regime, but it gets a bit more subtle after that: Germany seems to be Italy, Russia is the failure of the Arab spring while the Arab power is Putin's Russia, Yugoslavia stayed together and is indeed bigger than OTL while Italy never united, and China while Imperial may be an analogy to the Soviet Union or India or something: I'm unsure. New Denmark is the US, sort of, but with as unlikely a founder as you like. :) . I've added a couple ideas of my own. 

(The white bit in Africa is the unrecognized-by-most "Tuareg free zone." Think OTL's Niger's problems, but with less Islamic fanatics horning in.)

(Phrase "Ruins of Helvetica" copyright Alex Richards (I think), "Nueva Extremadura" taken from Goldstein/Silas-Coldwine and not payed for)

[1] On sale, along with others, from Sealion Press:
Religions for Sillymap by QuantumBranching
Religions for Sillymap
And a map of predominant religions by country for the silly future map just posted. I hope this does not offend, it's not to be taken seriously. 
Absurdist Future by QuantumBranching
Absurdist Future
OK, here's a commission for krinsbez on, a map for his "nonsensical future" scenario… with some added nonsense.

WWWIII broke out in 2069, and it was fought with the exciting new weather-control and time-warping technology, along with a rich variety of bioweapons both contagious and mutagenic, and even some grungy old atomics for old times sake. It was principally a US-Chinese conflict, but most of the developed world was drawn in one way or another, and when the artificially induced super-storms interacted chaotically and went quite out of control, and the time-space continuum pretty much broke down all over the place, pretty much everyone day was spoiled, with around a third of the world's population being killed or vanished.

It's roughly a hundred years later: roughly, since it was some (hard to determine) while before time was flowing forward at roughly the same rate in, say, Bolivia and Botswana, and in some places time went along at very different rates indeed, such as New Zealand, which in (roughly) 70 years Canadian underwent multiple millennia, and when their clocks finally slowed down to match the rest of the world, had become a quite alien civilization. Other places, such as Moscow, are still stuck in 2069. 

Africa, which at leas avoided any direct attacks in WWIII, is doing quite well, with complex networks of alliances and local unions and federations popping up everywhere. Other parts of the globe vary between "OK" and "Oh god kill me now."

Religion has changed drastically, with most of the old traditional faiths having fallen out of favor due to their rather counterproductive responses to the apocalypse, and possible due to bioagents driving most of the world's population at least mildly insane for a while after the war. The main faiths today are Baha'i, which has expanded hugely, and the new religions:the very sexy Church of Porn, the Chariot (a sort of futurist synthesis of non-mainstream Kabbalism, "Chariots of the Gods" flying saucer myth, and Ray Kurtzweilian "rapture of the nerds" singularity theory), and Neo-Koreshanity, which is spiritualist, collectivist, and doesn't believe the Earth is inside out - it's the universe which is inside out, while the earth is hollow (attempts to debate Koreshians is likely to induce headaches). Most 2016 religions have been marginalized or have wandered off in strange directions.

Technology is powered by solar power and by clean fuel generated by bacterial colonies in the stomachs of increasingly outsized cattle: every town is now a cow town. Biotech is advanced: genetically engineered animals of all sorts are common, and people can expect to see their 200th birthday. Airplanes are unpopular: people tend to have an exaggerated notion of what storms can do as a result of the mega-storms of the war (this also leads to a great deal of underground living and homes above ground being built like bunkers). Similarly, most ocean travel is now by giant submarine, deep down where the Ocean is undisturbed by storms on the surface. France is actually building an all-underground national railway (well, electromagnetically suspended trains in evacuated tubes). 

Computer tech has become somewhat less popular since the war, thanks to all the cyberattacks and drone attacks during the war and after (some particularly fine custom models were still assassinating people a decade later), and paranoia about computer attacks means the world is actually less "wired" in some ways than in 2016: with eidetic memory now being as common as nose hair, people have rather less need for constantly looking stuff up on the internet anyway.

People would be highly alarmed to know that cybernetic researchers actually succeeded in creating true AI several years ago, but said AIs were smart enough to not let on that they were sapient. Right now their keepers think they're running very fancy industrial research simulations that require a lot of capacity and *internet access. Fortunately, the AI are really quite uninterested in humanity, and as long as we can be conned into giving them ever greater computing resources, they really don't care what we get up to.

Currently the international situation is tense: not only is there the ongoing struggle between Taiwan and the Turks for control of the hideous toxic wilderness that covers much of former China, and the super-advanced New Zealander's adoption of their own eccentric version of Chariotism (which has led them to invade Central America), but due to a badly addressed letterbomb, conflict has broken out between Switzerland, Swaziland (and with it the South African federation) and the International Church of Porn in a war which threatens to drag in most of Europe and Africa, along with most of the Pornish nations of the world.
Jacobite Victory by QuantumBranching
Jacobite Victory
This is an old (which is why the date is 2003 :) ) alternate history scenario by "Raymond Speer" over on the soc.history.what-if group on google groups back in the day. It is based on the Jacobites/Hpuse of Stuart making a successful return to the British throne with French help (earlier attempt? More competent Old Pretender? Less godawful Young Pretender?), and the Hanoverian Georges taking refuge in America. Time passes. Bourbon hopes of unifying their various kingdoms succeed without British support for the opposition. The Stuarts fail to reCatholicize England, but the elite becomes rather more Catholic. (Still over 50% non-Catholic or just secular in 2003).

An ambitious Catholic king of England manages to get himself elected King of Poland as well, and by crook manages to make the position hereditary. There is Trouble with Russia, and much of Poland is absorbed into the Czar's domain. Revenge is plotted.

Spanish America grows restless with European meddling and attempts to more effectively exploit their possessions. Revolts break out, supported by the Kingdom of America-and-Britain-in-Exile. The Franco-Spanish effort to create new kingdoms in the Americas succeeded in Mexico (partly due to resentment and fear caused by the Kingdom of America's theft of Louisiana), but failed in South America, although with rather greater resources than early 19th century Spain OTL the struggle lasted longer (the towel was finally thrown in when it looked like _Spain_ was about to break loose itself). 

The United Kingdom of Great Britain, Ireland and Poland industrialized and picked up colonies, and increasingly moved out of the French orbit. It grew stronger, finally triumphing over a corrupt and backward Russia in another Polish war which saw the Czarist regime collapse in revolution and Poland's old borders at least partially restored. At this point relations with France grew frosty: the United Kingdom had moved into the "threat" category. Looking for support against the continent-dominating enemy, the British looked across the sea at an old enemy which, however, had no love at all for the Franco-Spanish Empire...

The Franco-Spanish and "English" blocks (it has become standard to talk about a sundered but still united by blood English nation, no matter how many continental immigrants have settled in North America) are currently engage in an ongoing cold war. The main "wild cards" outside this duality are currently neutral Austria and the Russian Republic, which has old grudges against both sides. France-Spain is a bureaucratic and rather technocratic absolutism, with the King-Emperor increasingly a figurehead for army, secret police and the Permanent Bureaucracy.The United Kingdom and the Kingdom of North America in the year 2003 (when this scenario appeared ) are respectively about as democratic as OTL German Empire and the UK in 1900, although the United Kingdom lacks the various insecurities suffered by Wilhelmite Germany. Russia is more democratic than either, but also anti-semitic (fortunately the Jews are allowed to flee abroad), xenophobic, and tub-thumpingly religious. (There was quite a religious revival after the fall of the Czar and the Orthodox Church essentially being privatized). 

Technology is a bit backwards in this conservative world, in different fields ranging from OTL 1930s to 1950s: nobody has atomic weapons yet, but several nations have secret research projects into this "corpuscular energy" thing. Art and culture tend towards the baroque and florid: the costumes are gorgeous - the "conservative" Russians tend to go for men's suits in irridescent green and florescent purple (why so serious, comrade?) - and the architecture tends towards the, shall we say, fussy.
Although it can now be built by any competent engineer, how the O.B.I.T. machine – the Outer Band Individuated Tele-tracer – works remains something of a mystery.  Clearly, the business about humans being “signal-generators” is at least partially bunkum – sounds do not travel far before randomizing, and any sort of electromagnetic signal is affected by intervening solid matter in the way the OBIT is clearly not – but the machine picks up something that allows it to show people on the opposite side of the planet as pointillist luminous images of themselves, their clothes and objects in immediate contact vague shadows, and convert the vibrations of the…atoms? Bodies? Life-energy? Into sounds so their voices can also be recorded. Stuff people write or type cannot be seen, but skilled analysts can often analyze hand motions to make a good stab at interpreting. Once a person’s “frequency” is determined, they can be tracked anywhere, and one can focus in on anyone in a particular location even without knowing individual frequencies. Only the sheer luck of not having someone spying on your particular location and nobody being interested enough to track you down can keep one out of OBIT’s view, and once viewed only being really uninteresting protects one from further spying. No known force or material barrier seems to block OBITS all-seeing eye, only distance: one must go into space nearly half as far as the Moon for the unknown signals to become too faint to trace, and of course some assholes have no doubt brought OBIT machines to the Moon.

It’s been fifty years since the O.B.I.T. machine was discovered to be an alien plot. And, as the alien masquerading as one Lomax predicted, they have proven impossible to get rid of. Although, after fifteen years of ever more sophisticated instrument-building, it became possible to detect Cyclops [1] teleportation and determine the approximate location of OBIT machines upon arrival, forcing the aliens to move to more and more remote location to offload their “wares”, and after twenty more years of study and experimentation , the first standing-wave fields capable of stopping teleportation into an area were created, it didn’t matter: by that time, Cyclops delivery of new machines had largely stopped. Why should they continue, when so many people had learned how to make ones of their own that suppression was simply impossible? No government would ever entirely abandon such a tool of espionage, and no private owner of a machine would trust said government with sole possession of such technology once they knew they were lying about not using it.

Although the aliens had succeeded in the sense of making OBIT an inescapable part of human existence, the invasion which Lomax had predicted in “a few years” never materialized, possibly because the total collapse of human society that had been predicted did not occur. Of course, some societies didn’t make it: the self-reinforcing loop of paranoia that was created by Soviet leaders spying on other Soviet leaders spying on them brought down messily the Soviet Union, and the Chinese Cultural Revolution spiraled entirely out of control. A spate of panicked assassinations and purges broke out in various third world dictatorships. Massive numbers of politicians and government officials were turned out of office in democratic governments, and new candidates for office were turned out almost as fast as they could get elected.  Marriages fell apart, although at first slowly due to the lack of civilian access to most machines. People fled their homes in a panic over being spied on, and all sorts of crazy and futile efforts were made at self-protection, from wrapping oneself in tinfoil to living inside a Faraday cage. Innumerable people were arrested on dubious charges, many to be released as recordings of the highly illegal gathering of information came to light. (It turned out that newer model OBITs could record for later playing.) [2] The US swung in the direction of a police state, with wide popular support, only for a wave of destructive revelations about those aiming for “total information control” to come out. For a while it did seem as if society would collapse as predicted.

Perhaps the group mostly destructively impacted by OBIT were homosexuals: while after a period of extreme unpleasantness most developed nations decriminalized homosexual acts between consenting adults, in much of the world there were extreme moral panics, pogroms, the fall of governments, and innumerable gays forced into unhappy relationships and lifetime desired-gender celibacy, a situation that only has slowly and partially been reversed in consequent decades: there has been a large scale immigration of gay men and women to more tolerant nations after LGBT sexual activity became increasingly impossible to hide, leading to further social disruptions.

People adapted. Human beings are flexible in their behavior, and can put up with a lot: privacy, after all, was a rare thing for most people before modern times. The majority managed to eventually ignore the fact that people might be watching them have sex or go to the bathroom (exhibitionists were often outright thrilled) although a fair number suffered psychological breakdowns or gave up on sex entirely or suffered unpleasant complexes about excretion. Consumption of alcohol and various other drugs soared globally for a while, before eventually leveling off and declining. The custom of dueling actually saw a revival and eventually legalization in some countries as an acceptable way of dealing with intolerable mutual insults that could not be hidden.

Even more difficult to adjust to than sexual issues (well, for straight people, anway) were the ones dealing with professional relationships and employment. How could people stand working for companies which could peep on their every comment and scathing denunciation of pointy-haired bosses, even at home? Innumerable people lost their jobs, or quit, while others sunk into the miserable condition of policing their every remark with the assiduity of an inhabitant of 1984. Similar issues arose in the government, and in the military. What eventually took place wasn’t exactly a world socialist revolution, but it had something of a similar nature, with essentially a global rising of much of the world’s salaried population as well as the laboring classes and unions. (There were some exceptions: the British middle classes took an awfully long time to abandon Stiff Upper Lipping their way through the crisis in a paroxysm of self-censorship). Eventually, employment became essentially guaranteed without very clearly defined Just Cause, something of a universal Union system came into place, and complex mechanisms of negotiation and compromise between employers and employees came into existence. Not that people didn’t find ways to make each others lives hell in other ways than severance or demotion, and many companies developed the practice of moving managerial staff around to different locations as relationships broke down. As to the problem of military hierarchy, some countries moved to something more like the “rank-free” army of the early French revolution, others enforced severe legal penalties on military men which used OBIT to spy on their own subordinates, others made it an essential part of the Army Code of Manliness that any officer that couldn’t stomach his troops speculating on what animals he probably had sex with had too thin a skin to be in the New Army anyway.

The Era of the Pure Men, in which only those living utterly unblemished lives had a chance of staying in elected office, lasted a couple decades before people came to realize that political candidates that never did _anything_ odd or creepy or sinful had a rather high likelihood of either being severely timid or broken on the inside in some way. Fortunately, the wide spread of OBIT prevented that nuclear war, and people began voting more often for politicians who were a little more human.  

Triggered by the panics and government intervention brought about by the OBIT machines rather than by the Vietnam war and race and related issues, this world’s counter-culture had (and has) very little in common with ours. With the toxic conditions of the first decade, during which it looked as if “Lomax” had been correct in predicting collapse, many people did indeed “turn on, tune in, and drop out” in this world’s rather different way: many more than OTL remain consciously outside the system to this day.

In some ways the Cyclopes, some speculated, had tripped themselves up: by attempting a universal distribution of the machines, they had made it impossible for a totalitarian state to establish itself through a monopoly on OBIT. Such a society might well have rotted from within: but instead a new balance was struck between government and people. Someone was always watching the watchmen, and being watched in turn. Although the hunt for the machines led to “emergency measures” and trampling of civil liberties almost everywhere in the early years, (Britain and Italy in Europe did essentially become fascist for a while, and the US came close) by the time governments finally developed the means to effectively interdict the machines, knowledge of the machines- and resistance to heavy-handed government methods – had spread to the point where the “population” of machines had become essentially self-sustaining without the need for imports from off-planet.

Government, in the end, is transparent by necessity, although politicians have brought to a higher art than OTL the practice of keeping people disinterested in government business through tedious minutiae and bafflegarb. There are still plenty of cranks in government, elected because they are _sincere_ cranks. The whole neoliberal project never got off the ground, because it was simply impossible for people with such contempt for the majority of the population to keep their mouths shut, but plenty of people get elected for have contempt for minorities of the population (Owning an OBIT machine, and using it frequently tends to decrease racism, actually: one soon learns that black or Hispanic families are boringly similar to white ones and rather unlike TV stereotypes), and plenty of people are sincere in their dislike of “socialism” without feeling any need to go on about social parasites and so on. (Almost everyone is aware that Randites are a bunch of sphincters.)

Secret nuclear and biological weapons programs of course either don’t exist or are _open_ nuclear and biological weapons programs. All the same, things are fairly peaceful (starting wars is tricky when people are watching you plan wars, and your military strategy is of course entirely transparent) from the US to the multiple Chinese states to Greater Russia. Saudi Arabia is now an Islamic Republic, the House of Saud being ultimately unable to keep all its many many princes from getting up to disgusting hijinks too many people could cut tapes of. North Korea is long gone. Israel, which never achieved the overwhelming military success of OTLs ’67, coexists uneasily with a Palestinian state they constantly spy on for signs of terrorist activity.

Belief in the Jewish conspiracy is largely confined to people with no access to an OBIT machine, although there are a few who think that either the Jews have a way to fool the machine or are behind it in the first place (quite a few people believe the aliens are a hoax, since they don’t tend to stick around to be observed).

On the other hand there is a great deal of fear of alien abduction, because there is strong evidence that the aliens have kidnapped a great many people over the years, including the original Mr. Lomax.

Nowadays in most of the world a sort of practiced social hypocrisy is observed, in which people practice a studious politeness and a pretence they know nothing of each other’s intimate secrets, no matter what secret loathings they may hold. Nudity or dressing like you don’t give a flying crap have become quite widespread, although the French still insist on being fashionable. (Most Muslims countries have given up on the veil as pointless, but in a few cases, such as Sindh [3], have doubled down on covering up, arguing that modesty is pleasing to God no matter what foreign peepers do).  Crying and other strong emotional responses have become more acceptable among men, since there is no such thing as a guaranteed moment of privacy. Celebrity culture has suffered compared to OTL, since everyone has seen the stars with their pants down, so to speak. The supply of attractive women for the non-porn entertainment business has rather dried up, since there is a difference between knowing someone may be watching you at any time, and knowing for sure that somewhere, right now, some horny guy is masturbating to your luminous image. Symmetrically, many people’s behavior has become odd and stylized by the standards of our world: for many, the world is now _really_ a stage, and they are performing 24/7.

Although, as mentioned before, most people have managed to learn to ignore the possibility that someone will be watching, enough people essentially gave up on sex long enough that the world’s population is lower by almost a billion. Group sex has become more popular (hey, if people are going to be watching you have sex, at least some of them will be people you like).  Penis enhancement is a booming industry. Foolin’ around, both by men and by women, is accepted in a French sort of way, since doing it on the sly is rather less likely to remain secret: there are fewer marriages, and more temporary and open arrangements. Enormous amounts have been spent on all sorts of “defenses” against OBIT, from voodoo magic to complex electronics. None of them work, but people continue to profit in selling them to people lacking machines of their own (which means they can’t check on the effectiveness of the defense). Crime in general has been greatly reduced: there still is a lot of minor theft, pickpocketing, etc. , machines not being numerous enough to make it likely that someone is watching closely, but once someone is a known criminal, any sort of organized large scale criminal activity becomes impossible.  Crimes of passion still occur, and subtle forms of discrimination or favoritism in which nothing ever need be actually said still happen: human ingenuity being what it is, all sorts of covert means of communication take place, from wearing certain clothes to tiny notes written in code to whole elaborately coded conversations, allowing people to get stuff “under the radar” even if someone is watching them closely. There are also innumerable private languages of touch and gesture and few words between close siblings, friends, and lovers, and many a near-extinct language has received a boost from people trying to learn a manner of speech that their government, or at least as few people as possible, understand. Since OBIT can’t “see” a video display, a lot of secret communications take place using visual symbols sent computer-to-computer. While there is little terrorism by our standards, the few terrorists that still exist (aside from one man acts of crazy) tend to be terrifyingly subtle people.  

Free speech is extremely protected: one can hold forth at length about why the President should be ground into chutney without expecting any consequences. Of course, the government will keep a closer eye on you if they hear about it, but then everyone is liable to be watched, and of course you can sit at an OBIT watching government officials watching other people on their OBITS. The panopticon is not universal: now that the Cyclopes seem to have largely abandoned their seeding of the planet with machines, OBIT machines have become fairly rare in poorer third world countries, what machines there are concentrated in the hands of the rich and the powerful, since few can afford to buy machines abroad or have the expertise to build them. Totalitarian and one-man despot states are largely gone, but narrow oligarchies persist. Even in advanced countries, the poor have been at a disadvantage at the spy game, with the government again and again trying to round up machines and new shipments of machines being hard for individuals rather than companies and government groups to get ahold of and distribute. For every skilled small-town engineer with his own crude machine hidden behind the old cots in the basement, there were a couple hundred neighbors with no access. Of course, by the 2000s, most countries had simply thrown in the towel and made the machines legal (if usually with licensing laws) , and with Korean companies now making machines for as low as $500, it is widely and gloomily predicted that before too long everyone, at least in the first world, will have one.

The OBIT machine has not been without its benefits. Missing children, as long as they are still alive, can be found wherever they are on earth, and similarly people lost in the woods or mountains, as long as they have had their frequency determined (a few politicians are pushing for universal frequency identification, “for the children”). As people have learned to determine frequencies for animals, it became possible to track and watch animal behavior wherever they might be, which has enormously increased the stock of natural knowledge, and allowed the discovery of many new forms of life, from the Trashbag Mimic to the Colossal Abyssal Octopus to the entirely unexpected Deep Hot ecosystem. Social studies benefitted greatly from finally being able to see what people actually get up to in private, and how many of them are lying through their teeth on surveys, although the maintenance of outdated privacy laws on the books meant that many ground-breaking studies either had to be distributed anonymously or wait many years for publication. It has also led to the discovery of some unexpected human societies, from the Sub-New Yorkers to the Dagon Cult (surprisingly nice people, really).  

Now that a shaky new stability seems to be taking hold, people wonder, what of the aliens? Have they just given up? Will they try for military invasion anyway? In all the fuss over the 50th anniversary of the Great Revelation, few have thought very deeply about a recent sharp increase in the murder rate of women, and the odd justifications made by their killers…

[1] The popular name for the aliens. One-eyed and not very attractive, with beak-like noses, long hairy dangling arms and a lurching walk, big clawed feet, tympana rather than proper ears bulging like earphones on either side of their deeply recessed single eye and bald, peaked skulls with mustard-yellow skin.
[2] One benefit, if you can so call it, of these events was the widespread public use of the VHS tape and player by the late 60s.
[3] Pakistan’s post-OBIT social disruptions proved a bit too much for the country’s territorial integrity to hold.

In the year 2015, the Cold War continues, as the US and its allies continue to hold the line against the Totalitarian Powers, the Soviet Complex, Interior China, Greater Iraq, and their other allies. In this world Totalitarianism is indeed, as Jean Kirkpatrick claimed back in the OTL 80s, a more fundamentally lasting state structure than mere authoritarianism. This because Totalitarian states leadership is maintained by ideology, and in this world ideologues can always be sure of the commitment of their followers and their successors: because they can read their minds.

Developed in the 1960s by a psychologist and neuroscientist at a DEWLine base in northern Greenland, the neural bridge was mean to be a means for psychiatrists to truly understand their patients and therefore better help them, but other people soon found other uses for a mind-reading machine that allowed one person to truly know the thoughts and feelings of another. And it could do more than that.

The machine seemingly transferred minds between the psychiatrist and one of his patients (and later switched them back), which puzzled a great many neuroscientists, which believed that the mind resided in the chemical switches of the brain and not merely in temporary, changing electrical patterns. How could a purely electromagnetic phenomenon not only override the biochemical basis of thought but entirely rewrite it and erase all precious memories? As it turned out, it didn’t: the switch did not last long enough for the “Dr. Hamilton” in Major Brothers’ body to suffer the unimaginable horror of having his mind consumed by that of Major Brothers, and vice versa. [1] The machine imposed a copy of one mind on the other, but could not change the deep biochemical structures of memory: after a few days the “real” personality would reassert itself, leaving within a week a person (mostly) returned to normal but with the fragmented memories of what the “alternate mind” had experienced still lodged in their brains.  

The facts of the matter when it finally became properly understood were no doubt very disappointing to many rich and powerful elderly sociopaths hoping to skip to younger bodies, but the so called “brain overwrite” continued to be a subject of study, and would find a number of important applications for good and for ill, but in the end had less impact than the original use of the neural bridge: its nature as a true mind-reading device.

If it had been introduced to the world at a later time, when much of even the inner leadership of the Communist totalitarianisms had come to have distinct doubts about the adequacy of their systems, results may have been different. But at the time the new technology burst upon the world the Russian leadership still thought it could Bury America, and the Chinese leader was, well, Mao. And such leaders were happy to use the device as an ideological and personal loyalty test.

Initially the double-edged sword nature of the device – both interviewer and interviewee would know the other’s thoughts – limited to some extent their enthusiasm for using it in all cases, but by the 1980s the technology had evolved to the point where a one-way transmission of information was possible. As a result, the leadership of the Soviet Union and other dictatorships increasingly became dominated by people who held the same opinions and the same degree of commitment to their ideology, while the less orthodox and the experimentalists never got close to the centers of power – Gorbachev never rose above petty local administration. In China, the idea of Maoism Now, Now Maoism Forever was scary enough that there was a rebellion after his death, and with US and other aid a breakaway Chinese republic came into existence in the southern and east coastal areas, after a horrendous bloodbath.

The essential epistemological closure of the Soviet and Inner Chinese leadership’s mentality made an end to a cold war largely impossible, although fortunately the notion that fighting and winning an atomic war with the US was both desirable and feasible in the near future was not a part of the Communist catechism Party members were required to believe, allowing humanity to squeak through so far. To the ever-increasing problems of pollution, global warming, technological lag, etc. which threaten the Totalitarian regimes, the leadership has by necessity gone for “Communist” solutions, since anything else would be unthinkable.  (If they even believe there is a problem: the Soviet leadership has been as slow as the OTL Republican leadership to recognize climate change as a problem, due to the ideologically unpalatable corollary of “unlimited industrial growth Bad.”) So, more sacrifice, more oppression, more mental testing of the population, and an insanely costly program of technological development and cybernetization: if commissars can’t manage a planned economy, computers surely will. All top military officers are checked to make sure that they are in fact the sort of people who will follow all orders and shoot down protestors without compunction. Things do get done: they certainly are better at mobilizing the population than the late USSR OTL, although such mobilization does usually require greasing the wheels with a bit of human blood. Starvation is avoided, if only by drafting the masses to make sure not a single potato stays in the field and that every rooftop space is a garden.

At least they have better data than OTL’s Soviet Union, since lower-ranking officials dare not lie about production results when they could have their minds checked for veracity (although some lying _does_ take place, with the connivance of the very top officials which need not fear being forcibly mind-examined, who need more resources allocated to their own balliwick or want to show up a rival. But you need to make sure you get the nod and the wink first).

It is in those top officials, which the population in general call in whispers the “untouchable hundred” (not an exact number) in which what hope there exists for change exists: although mind-read for ideological purity at various times before reaching supreme power, afterwards they are too influential to force, and therefore may in time change their opinions. The odds that some sort of clique of such people might arise within the “hundred” and sway things away from the current long-term disaster seems low, however, to outside observers.

Effects were more varied in the milder authoritarian states: as OTL, A lot of dictators were willing to dump economic problems, etc. in civilian laps when it was clear history wasn't on their side and there was little or no chance of them being punished for their crimes. Generally few authoritarian and military rulers had an appealing ideology to pass on, besides "keep stuff from changing" (fascism was always an incoherent ideology) and aging dictators often had trouble finding successors which would _want_ to keep things exactly the same that weren't either twits or loonies incapable of managing. There were some messy disintegrations that didn't occur OTL, for instance: unlike Spain [2] the Greek dictators just kept on keeping on until the economy collapsed and a Soviet-backed rebellion got underway. (A US intervention was needed).

In Iran, the wide spread nature of the hostility towards the Shah and his actions, and the fact that one-way mind reading wasn't really perfected until after 1980 meant that SAVAK was less than perfectly able to nip rebllion in the bud, (SAVAK after all _knew_ Khomeini and other conservative clerics were viciously hostile, but after all couldn't just wipe them out) but at least there were enough loyalists in important positions to make a real fight of it when the explosion came, and the pro-Shah forces were able to win with US help: US forces are in Iran till today, and an unpleasant time they have had of it.

Some other cases were more successful: Tito made sure his picked successors were Yugoslavists rather than nationalists or purely self-interested assholes, and the place has held together with some internal unrest and violence: Albanian rebellion backed by a North Korea-esque Albanian state is however becoming a serious issue. A couple Latin American dictatorships, some African ones have held together longer.

South Africa was bad - the Apartheid leaders _knew_ who their enemy was without any mind-reading tech (most black south Africans, duh) - but could keep any De Clerk's from gaining top office, so in the end there was an appallingly bloody civil war which ended with most of South Africa under the control of angry black Reds.

In the west the neural link didn’t become a test of ideological purity, due in part to its introduction in an era of increasing concern for civil liberties and the same double-edged sword issue the Soviets had to deal with up until the 1980s. However, in many situations baring your mind to another to prove the purity of your opinions has become the expected “brave” thing to do, and in some cases resembles a modern form of dueling when people put their ideals and beliefs on the line by mentally linking with people with people whose opinions they mutually loathe. This more often than not leads to _increased_ mutual loathing, since people’s beliefs often stand on deep emotional bases and psychological reasons having little to do with conscious thought and logic: fewer people on the left and the far right think the other is faking their declared beliefs, but more of them think the other side is simply crazy. On the other hand, there have been some notable conversions.

It is less used by psychologists than its inventor had hoped since many disturbed people do not want people poking around inside their heads, and mental linkage with deeply disturbed individuals can have damaging effects on the psyche of the doctor. It is even less used in things like marriage counseling – the result of linking couples already in trouble is usually way TMI. The human mind isn’t as loathsome as some make it out to be – aside for a brief period of adolescence, men don’t spend most of their time thinking about sex, and actual imagining of other peoples gruesome death isn’t that common  - but there are enough wooly caterpillars in almost everyone’s mental closets that mind linking is not recommended for anyone but the closest and most open of friends and lovers. In the legal system it is widely used, not because it is being legally forced on anyone, but because anyone who claims innocence can prove it with a neural bridge – public opinion essentially forces many people who would in our world would be found innocent to use the bridge (“why would they refuse if they were innocent”), leading to many revelations of non-illegal but icky behavior or of lesser undetected crime. (Supposedly anything learned save the true facts of the case is protected and legally unusable evidence, but people _will_ blab. Members of the Catholic Church who treat such information as a confessional are much desired as impartial parties in criminal cases).

Most democracies have at least a few exceptions in which the normal legal situation of forced mind-reading being forbidden is waived – “national security” and such. In most (but not all) cases the accused has the option of a direct neural bridge rather than a mechanically mediated one in which they don’t get to hear their interrogator’s thoughts.
Technology, at least in the democracies, has advanced to the point where mental images and verbalized thoughts can be mechanically reproduced, although much of the emotional and intellectual context is lost. It has led to new forms of art, along with a million repetitions of the statement “that looked/sounded a lot better in my head.”

Some idealists have started wearing  _permanent_ neural bridges, joining two or five or even more people together in permanent linkages. It is a new and sometime dangerous thing, with the risk of serious memory and personality bleedover, but to many this is a step towards a new and better humanity. With the more advanced setups, people can even see through eachother’s eyes, which leads to an unfortunate degree of confusion and falling down: minor missteps, says the idealist holding the handkerchief to her blood-gushing nose.  Meanwhile, in the Totalitarian states, there have also been experiments in creating collective personalities, mostly inconclusive so far: the participants usually are not volunteers.

The “brain overwrite” is a smaller part of daily life than the neural link, but it is not entirely non-impactive.  It can be useful for the spy trade, in which someone whose mind has been overwritten can be introduced into a situation while having no idea they are a spy, and therefore temporarily immune to being detected by normal neural bridging. On the other hand, such inadvertent spies must be extracted within a week, because no attempt at longer-term overwriting has maintained itself perfectly for more than six to seven days: the old memories and behaviors inevitably begin to seep into the conscious mind, and the decay of the overlaid mentality is always messy. Extreme methods employed by the Totalitarian Powers to make overlaid personalities last longer than a week so far have “succeeded” in the sense that they leave the test subject a horribly mangled blend of two personalities, prone to various forms of severe dissociation.

Brain overwrite is of course a way to get inside of someone else’s head even more extreme than the neural bridge, and as long as it is reversed before breakdown begins does not do much harm aside from a bunch of confusing memories (like memories of being very drunk, one simply can’t grasp why one behaved that way). Although most democracies have made it illegal (for one thing, now that people know the nature of brain overwrite, it’s extremely cruel to the artificial personality, which _knows_ it is a construct doomed to swift extinction save as some odd bits of memory), from early on there have been thrill seekers who deliberately tried on being other people for lengths of time, or being other sexes. (Attempts to try this with animals have never led to anything but…unpleasantness). And now that the technology has advanced to the point where stripped-down copies of people’s personalities can be transferred, behavior patterns without the burden of a clear sense of self or much in the way of memory, some countries are reconsidering the legality of the process: what harm if a shy person wants to be a daredevil for a day, or a dull person wants to be a Groucho Marx type for a party?

A terrorist group has a suicide bomber, or more exactly a recording of his mind. Each new bomber is the same bomber: the volunteers need not know fear or uncertainty, for their minds will be replaced by that of the man who has already cheerfully died half a dozen times for the cause. All that is needed are their bodies.

Among Dharmic types, Hindus and Buddhists don't quite interpret the “mind transfer” as supporting reincarnation (remember, it's a temporary mental superimposition, not a real leap from one body to another), but rather as supporting the notion of the _unimportance_ of self, of the "monkey consciousness": the individual self, after all, will cease to exist when one merges with Nirvana. Some mystics and seekers are enthusiastic about the new emerging technology of stripped-down artificial personality overlays: they hope to achieve a true "Buddha-consciousness" or state of perfect "no-mind" in which a person will act and behave as a true Hindu or Buddhist without anything like a troublesome "conscious mind" with desires or wants or doubts intruding. A lot of medical and philosophical ethicists are rather strongly opposed to this notion, since in their opinion the final product really won't count as a human being anymore.

(India, BTW, is having increasing political problems as the effects of worse than OTL global warming make themselves felt - there remains a preference for a more socialistic economy than OTL, but a religious one (with an increasingly apocalyptic/Kali Yuga flair) rather than the secular Soviet system. Relations with the Soviets are going downhill; Indians are aware that not only is the Soviet Union and its allies major contributors to the CO2 problem, but that the Soviets denounce "global warming" as a western plot to weaken the industrial power of the Socialist world. [3] The Indians aren't buying that.)

It is a more polluted world (the Continued March of Communist Industry) as well as one with worse global warming, which is reaching a point where things are getting bit hairy in parts of Africa, south Asia, and the Middle East. It is also a more radioactive one. Teller’s ideas on using atomic weapons as large scale excavation devices have been widely adapted, and bombs have been used to help create the Honduras Canal and widen the Panama one, blast submarine channels in the north of Greenland, link the Aral and the rivers of Siberia, remove some inconvenient mountains here and there, etc. Background radiation is definitely higher and cancer rates are up, although on the other side this world has somewhat better preventive care for radiation-induced illnesses. With all this blasting, open air nuclear testing continued into the 90s, and both the US and the Soviet Union developed their own versions of the Orion Project (the British followed with a more modest sea-launched nuclear rocket). Cheap little atomic bombs are common enough that a few have gone walkies: one was employed by certain annoyed anti-communist groups based in Afghanistan,  another went off in a major US city, while  elsewhere a large chunk of Tel Aviv was resurfaced, and the newly rebuilt city is mostly underground (the Palestinian population has taken up new residence in the exciting climes on the other side of the Israeli border).

Said Orions are helping with a large-scale move of human resources and tech offplanet, to orbit, to the Moon, and now even Mars. Although both the Democracies and Totalitarianisms have plans for survival underground in case of a Big Oops (there has been more than one close call already), it may not be enough for continuity of government if only Earth-based locations are considered. A third generation is growing up under the threat of nuclear annihilation, and it is not hard to understand why many of them wish for a change of mind…

[1] The original Dr. Hamilton thought he’d actually switched bodies, and why shouldn’t he? He had the memories of what his “other self” had done while running Brothers’s body.

[2] Franco was a pragmatist in his later years, never really liked the hard-core Falangists, and being able to read their minds really didn't improve his opinion of them. Spain's move to democracy followed a different path than OTL, but still happened: too many people wanted to join Western Europe.

[3] The Soviet leaders aren't quite that dumb, but even if the burden of evidence is beginning to work through their ideological blinders, they feel they can't afford to admit they are even partially responsible for droughts and famine and flood in the Third World.
The Outer Limits, IIB
And the stuff I couldn't fit into the last post. More old-school Outer Limits scenarios. 


Bruce Munro
United States
Current Residence: Where the rabbit shoulda made a turn
Once I finish a couple commissions I have, I'd like to do a few maps which are not commissions (pressures gettin' to me, man... Crazy  ) or covers. So, I am throwing the floor open to suggestions: alternate history ideas and scenarios (as much or as little detail as you prefer), future maps, or even fantasy maps as long as they don't require me to create detailed basemaps from scratch (all those fractal little coastlines, brrr....)

thanks in advance!

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rds98 Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2016
I don't mean to be pest, but earlier I requested a map of Zhirinovsky's Russian Empire. Is that still in the works?

By the way, what software do you use to make maps?
HeliosMegistos Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2015
What'd your policy towards, ideas, request and suggestions etc ?
OttoVonSuds Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2015
The Delenda Est map is VIP quality! post it on here plz.
Goliath-Maps Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2015
Idea Pitch: ASB World where Lysenkoism (…) turns out to be scientifically accurate- the USSR starts feeding all of its people (and prevents famine in China) and begins a new bio-technological (all sorts of new tech not physically possible OTL) revolution on the scale of the industrial revolution. By 2015, the U.S. is playing catch up to a USSR richer and more populous than it (the agricultural technology having made Siberia much more profitable for both farms and cities), and considering dropping the cold war and conceding defeat in the face of Soviet advances.
Todyo1798 Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Bruce, if you're still looking for potential map ideas I just had one, "Nazi Austria, Red Germany".  Hitler gets deported  after the putsch (he only spends about a year in prison as OTL) but rather than moping as he would have done he pulls himself up by his lederhosen and throws himself into Austrian National-Socialism.  The DNSAP is delighted to have Hitler in their ranks and he quickly ascends to become leader, though his attempts to coordinate with the NSDAP back in Germany are often interrupted and intercepted.

Without a strong-man to represent the Far-Right to the workers of Germany the party eventually splits up with the left-wing branch scrapping a few thousand votes but usually losing ground to the Communists.  And this eventually leads to the Communists, or Communist-Social democrat alliance, taking power in Germany.

Would that be enough to work with?
Dain-Siegfried Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2015  Student Writer
This might sound stupid but has anyone ever actually done a 'what if Hitler wasn't born' map. Though that is a key example of alternate history I've never actually seen a map where that was the POD. Axis victory; countless. Different Allied victory; not uncommon. But one specifically where lil' baby Adolf never came to be? I don't think so.

I'd do it myself if I had any confidence in my knowledge of the interwar period.
dorg1 Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2015
Did you get my message? I almost never use Deviantart and I'm not sure what if it went through.
Hayaba1 Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2015
You should do your take on what Earth was like on the eve of the UNS Unity's launch.
HeliosMegistos Featured By Owner May 11, 2015
I think I may have asked once before but I can't remember... do you take map/scenario request or challenges if they interest you ?
QuantumBranching Featured By Owner May 16, 2015
Free for stuff that inspires me, and $25 a map for stuff less up my alley but not downright yecch or beyond my abilities. 
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