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The Grasshopper Lies Heavy by QuantumBranching The Grasshopper Lies Heavy by QuantumBranching
The world within the book within the Nazi-victory story "The Man In the High Castle" by Philip K Dick: the world which is in fact supposed to be more real than the Nazi-victory world, and possibly more so than ours. Woooo. 

I have not become the King's First Minister in order to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire. – Winston Churchill, 1942.

It is 1962. More than 17 years since the fall of Nazi Germany. 16 since the Soviet civil war and the US and British “intervention.” Ten since President Stevenson began a speech with: “as I speak, an iron wall is being erected between Europe and America…”

In this world, the US under President Rex Tugwell and the British under Churchill brought down the Nazi and Japanese Empires as OTL, but unlike OTL, after the wall the British Empire did not go grousing into that good night. No, it survived, and co-opted the creation of a European Union, using the one to reinforce the other: while the Great Enemy of our world, the Soviet Union, collapsed into civil war at the very frontier of victory.

Of course, there were some odd divergences before the outbreak of war. Roosevelt was rather more successful in some of his policies, and in response Britain embraced a technocratic program of “industrial mobilization” which combined with the work of Turing on automated and cybernetic systems greatly enhanced British productive capacities by the time of the war. And then there was the Regrettable and Entirely Accidental death of that “half-naked Indian fakir…”

The war went worse than OTL for the Soviet Union – Stalin’s death early on and the resulting unedifying struggle for Top Spot didn’t help at all – and even UK help sent through Turkey and Iran only just allowed the Soviets to stop the Germans at Stalingrad. Simply driving the Germans from Moscow was a bloody slog, and the British and Americans were on German soil while the Soviets were still struggling through the Ukraine. Soviet forces would have no part in the capture of Berlin, or the final running to ground of Hitler in East Prussia: and when Soviet forces finally pushed through a collapsing German army into Poland, Soviet observers were invited to witness the power of the US’s new atomic device: Tugwell and Churchill had decided that while the Soviet Union would be allowed some “border corrections”, there would be no place for a Communist dictatorship and former German ally in Eastern Europe.

The civil war between the “we wuz stabbed in the back” and the “it was all Stalin’s fault” factions (and several others) broke out not long after the unreported-to-westerners cholera epidemic began to ravage central Russia. The UK and the US, remembering what happened last time they let a Russian civil war proceed to its natural conclusion, moved in with full metal. (The US later decided that they had been cheated in the post-war division of territory: they had done most of the heavy lifting in pacifying “undemocratic” factions, but the British ended up with most of the population. The British meanwhile point out that the US got most of the land and much less off a terrible reconstruction problem to handle.)

So the three (Eh! Vive La France!), sorry, three and a half policemen – US, British Empire, China, and some guys – would maintain world peace and develop the planet and end poverty etc., etc., world without end. Unfortunately, certain difference in approach soon manifested – Rex Tugwell and his successors were not as anti-colonialism as Roosevelt, but they did tend to look down on British methods, and felt that “old Europe” would in the future follow the lead of young, vibrant America – something not exactly aimed at assuaging European pride. And Churchill, oddly enough, would not be removed from power in post-war tides of change – indeed, leading an expanded political coalition (including the “New Liberal” party, which oddly looked a lot like a party created specifically designed to siphon votes from Labor) stayed in power, and stayed, and stayed…

By 1962, a new game of Great Power competition was in full swing, as a Europe unified and rejuvenated under British leadership and a unified European sphere of colonies, puppets, and overseas territories challenged the US for global leadership. The US, which had largely withdrawn from European affairs post-war in pursuit of its more “traditional” sphere of influence in Latin America and the Pacific, was to some extent left a bit baffled by the rapidity of the change in circumstances, and many Americans grumbled loudly about idiot politicians which had abandoned Europe to the sneaky King George-loving, dusky-people-oppressing, tea-taxing British and their smarmy, mustached French sidekicks. Europeans in turn muttered about the money-mad Americans trying to conquer the world with cash and poisoning European youth with their icky mass culture while at the same time constantly seeking to undermine Europe’s entirely beneficial protectorate of the weaker, less developed peoples.

And by this time it had gone far beyond grumbling. The US bomb in 1944 was followed by the British one in 1948: the first US rocket in orbit in 1950 was followed in 1952 by the first British one, thanks to the combined efforts of Von Braun and Quatermass. It would not be too long before someone had the bright idea of putting one on the other, and then of course it was not long before some British missiles were pointed at the US and some US ones at the British: just in case, you know. And then someone built an atomic-powered submarine…

As of 1962 the two great blocks aren’t quite existential enemies, but they don’t get along at all. The skies are full of spy satellites, and atomic-powered bombers patrol endlessly. And both sides are having some trouble keeping those cats marching in straight lines.

The British long struggle to keep India in the Empire is heading into end game, and the outcome doesn’t look too good. Co-option, compromises, political divide and rule – the socialist “wing” [1] of the Indian Congress Party has taken over three of the major political divisions of India (which in turn forms a sub-section of a more federalized Empire) in spite of confident predictions of a win for conservative forces in the north by electronic brain-jockeys, and is now calling for the union of all three as a single full dominion – or else. British leadership of the Empire depends on keeping rapidly growing and developing India politically divided and outside the direct line of federal control: otherwise, in the long run Britain will become Little Buddy to India within the Empire and only one of several leading nations within Europe. Radical surgery may be required: worse, British talking heads have been blaming the Americans for deliberately stirring up trouble in India so long that some of the politicians have started believing it themselves.

They’ve blamed the US for continuing unrest in Malaysia since the start, and in that case they’re half right, since both the Chinese and the Indonesians want to draw Malaysia into their sphere. 

In spite of these issues, British power remains massive. Although America is still substantially richer, much of the Empire, and Europe as well, is growing _faster_ now than the US, under a mix of free market economics and open borders with technocratic development and high-tech research pushed from above, although some skeptics point out this is just because they had a much lower place to start from. Europe is a Franco-British co-production, with help from Poland, the Czechs, and an Italy which timed its defection from the Axis better. (The Franco regime was kicked over in 1946 as a final bit of anti-Fascist tidying up). Germany has been divided into multiple states, although the open borders and economic integration means that political fragmentation has not led to economic disaster. Africa remains mostly secure, although the policy of encouraging large scale resettlement of peoples dehoused and displaced by war on lands requiring a firm (white) hand had probably stirred up as much unrest as it has suppressed. There is some talk of more African semi-dominions in the future, and the French are almost-boldly forging ahead with a federal Empire, although they are facing a crisis of their own in North Africa which needs resolving one way or the other. The Middle East is mostly under the British thumb, but it remains another “hot spot”, with the Saudis making the call that the Americans are safely distant and less colonization-happy than the British, and various angry nationalist groups multiplying faster than their leaders can be co-opted or die in entirely natural ways. Beyond the Indus things start getting hairy, and although a lack of Red Chinese and Soviets and some British aid allowed the French to reestablish themselves in Indochina, a fresh rebellion has broken out, and the Chinese are widely suspected of secret support for it. 

The British are far superior to the Americans when it comes to intelligence and subterfuge, which makes up a bit for some of their other weaknesses. Mi6 and it’s “licensed to kill” agents defend British interests in the shadows over two thirds of the world, and British infiltration of US intelligence is embarrassingly thorough, while the still sizeable “Unity among Anglo-Saxons” wing of the US WASP community provides a great supply of useful dupes. 

The US, meanwhile, dominates Latin America economically, culturally, and politically. US distribution of dirt-cheap TVs with tiny nuclear batteries (utterly safe, unless your kid tries to open them up or something) to the impoverished masses of Asia and Latin America not only provides free how-to information beamed by satellite to everyone (largely replaced by less patronizing local broadcasts as soon as the locals managed to get their own broadcast stations) but also brings US propaganda (“vital political information”) and opens bridgeheads in people’s heads for an endless flood of US products. People use US products, work in US factories, watch American TV and listen to American radio. Nativist forces exist and struggle against the flood, encouraged by the British (who have their own TV satellite broadcasts to compete, although as yet they don’t have quite the same volume and quality of crap to sell). Canada is currently struggling to keep up customs barriers against a floodtide of smuggling and public unrest against the “For the good of the Empire” line. 

The US is not quite as overwhelmingly dominant in East Asia, but the economies of the area remain to a substantial extent subordinate to the US. The main price the US extracted from China for kicking out the Japanese (which required sending US forces into Manchuria) and helping them with their little Red problem was fully opening their markets, and the Chinese are getting a bit fed up with the difficulties this places in the way of developing their own modern industries. Sure, as incomes have soared the US has outsourced some of its cheapest, dirtiest and crappiest jobs and industries to China, but the Chinese have no intention of remaining makers of plastic sandals and fake doggie doo forever: they intend to become a great power, damn it.

The Japanese, of course, were not given a choice in becoming a subsidiary of US, Inc., and the fact that a more thorough political house cleaning has led to a Japanese government several shades pinker than OTL has not helped. 

Russia was supposed to be reunited as one democratic regime after the US and the UK finished “restoring order” and “promoting democracy”, but while both halves of Russia have had reasonably clean elections and other such signs of a not-wacky society since the mid-50s, neither the UK nor the US can agree on a formula for unification. In fact, neither wants to risk the reunified Russian state turning to the other side, and both fear a unified neutral Russia might go all revanchist: the British sometimes question giving independence to Belorus and the Ukraine, in spite of that “Holodomor” thingy. The US at least kept the Kazakh steppes unified with east Russia (the US at the time was rather skeptical about the viability of a Kazakh state: they now feel this was a bad idea, given the Turkish peoples’ British inclination). The Russians, meanwhile, are getting more and more fed up with their “protectors” excuses – not to mention the nuclear missile launchers on their soil…

British society is hierarchical, technocratic, obsessed with the “white heat of technology”, and looks to an ignorant outsider more than a wee bit fascistic, with its abundance of snappy uniforms, rather sinister poster art, universal surveillance (“the innocent have nothing to fear”) and colossal new building projects, not to mention that the same political coalition has held power for a generation. The seemingly eternal Churchill is finally fading, and reportedly will not run again for prime minister, but there are young, hungry men waiting to step into his shoes. When people aren’t talking about India they are talking about the new Mars project: will the government ignore US claims that space “belongs to all mankind” and stake out claims on the Red planet? 

The US, with a so far somewhat less expensive cold war and a continued commitment to internal development on a massive scale is actually even richer than OTL, and has seen the continued survival of the New Deal coalition, through hook and more than a little Crook, but things are looking a bit sticky at present. Although there is no Vietnam or (as yet) much of a Culture War to divide the nation, and the Left remains more respectable without a Commie-Capitalist cold war [2], a lot of people in the government will admit in private that the post-war move to “end racial inequity” in the US was perhaps a somewhat premature project. So far, only the divided nature of the Right (currently three parties) plus the more “solve the not-equal bit before getting to the separation thing” approach to black advancement has prevented someone from riding a successful White Resentment train to the White House, and now the damn ungrateful black people are starting to make a fuss about how slowly things are changing in spite of a decade plus of the “equal society” line. What do they expect, miracles?

Technology has progressed faster than OTL, some might say improbably so. Nuclear power is not too cheap to meter, but it is cheaper than OTL, and used on a substantially greater scale. There are bases on the Moon, and Mars will be reached soon. Great projects to make deserts bloom are underway, and only the fact that certain carping critics keep talking about “horrible superheated salt deserts” have prevented a project to dam the Mediterranean from getting underway. New laboratory-created super-plants promise to green the arctic and the deserts as well. And Westinghouse promises a robo-maid in every house by 1970. 

The Sino-American split is less than five years away.

[1] Which many Indians claim is the only _actual_ Congress Party. 

[2] Although the fall of the USSR has taken some of the heart out of the Left, it hasn’t been as devastating as the total failure of OTL. The Nazis, US, and UK can all be blamed.

Bruce
Add a Comment:
 
:iconolavops:
olavops Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2017
Would you consider making a sequel to this? Maybe a map on the present day? I loved this map and the story and i think that a continuation would be awesome. 
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:iconngabay:
Ngabay Featured By Owner May 4, 2016
Not to be picky, but it his been stated in the book that britan directly rules all of europe.great map though
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:iconhistoryman14:
Historyman14 Featured By Owner Edited Mar 25, 2016
I what to see a full British collapse in this world.
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:icontombombardier:
TomBombardier Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2016
Saw this many times over the years. Wondering if I only really got the part on the Split just now.
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:icongrisador:
grisador Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2015
Me gusta
Reply
:iconkomnenos002:
Komnenos002 Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2015
This was a super interesting read, have you considered doing two "sequels" to the map and mini timeline? Seeing what a post British or American victory in this alternate crazy not quite Cold War would be interesting.
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:iconscanner-darkly:
Scanner-Darkly Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Wow, is this all canon? It's a while since I read the book, and don't remember all this detail.

Either way, brilliant!

Oh, and 'RULE BRITANNIA!'
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:iconneetsfagging322297:
I suspect the point of depature must be an early one, a lot further than 1940 or even 1932.

"Croatia? You are obviously deceived by German and Yankee propaganda, it was a German administration with pretences of being an actual country, nothing else."

"British victory was the only possible outcome to this war unless the US had not supported Britain all those years, something that could never have happened either."
Reply
:iconrogueleader1000:
RogueLeader1000 Featured By Owner May 17, 2015
I imagine the Germans are getting fed up with playing second fiddle and being divided up. I also see that it was divided primarily along the lines of the old monarchies. Does that mean they were restored?
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:iconjeckl:
Jeckl Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2015
Great map. 

I find the world of Grasshopper more interesting then the Man in the High Castle, maybe I just find a Cold War between democracies interesting. 
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:iconpsychothumbs:
psychothumbs Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2015
Any connection between writing this and the rather similar Ministry of Space TL about the same time?
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:iconquantumbranching:
QuantumBranching Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2015
Nah, I just did some commissions and these were among the requests.
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:iconfreivolk:
freivolk Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2015
As I read "Man in the High Castle" some time ago, I had the feeling it is mostly a parody of OTL with Nazi-Germany as the stand-in for the USA, and that "Grasshopper" is somehow a wish-fantasy of Dick how WWII should have ended, with Britain and Churchill as stand-ins for the USSR and Stalin.
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:iconsomesj:
SomesJ Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2015
The impression I got was the novel-within-a-novel was poking fun at the whole exercise; suggesting that "Man in the High Castle" resembles what a real axis victory world would look like as much as the world depicted in the novel-within-a-novel resembles the real world.
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:iconquantumbranching:
QuantumBranching Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2015
Seems rather unpatriotic of PKD. :) Anyway, if Nazi Germany is the US, does that make the Japanese (which he portrays quite sympathetically) the USSR?
Reply
:iconfreivolk:
freivolk Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2015
Sort of. Or Red China,because the Japanese Sphere had a more anti-imperalist, third-world doing good vibe. The Pacific States have for me a strong GDR/East Germany-vibe, if you want to see the GDR positiv in the way "we are poor, but we are not enstranged through capitalism". Intellectuals like Frank Frink and workers like Ed McCarthy work together to create a new future. Like the GDR the PSA had a spontan uprising in the past and the "Bourgeoisie" like the shopowner Childan still has racist feelings against the Japanese like the East Germans against the Russians. Nazi-occupied America is much more eager to get germanified, like West Germany wanted to get americafied. It´s also still has the name USA, proclaiming be the real Thing, like West Germany at this time proclaimed to be the only real Germany.
The Nazi-Agent Joe Cindella ist something like a James Bond parody, formally Italian like Bond is British, but in the end both working for Nazi-German/american imperalism, and including boning woman in their Job.
Like I said in the "Grasshopper" Britain and Churchill are stand-ins for the USSR and Stalin, like the USA in "Grasshopper" seems more new-dealish then IOTL.
The book let me wonder how left-wing Dick was at this time.
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:iconleopold002:
Leopold002 Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Interesting!!!
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:iconthe-vet:
The-Vet Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2015
Is there a AH novel speculating about what an Axis victory world would be like in this TL?
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:iconchanimur:
Chanimur Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
clem 
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:iconquantumbranching:
QuantumBranching Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2015
Yeah, we could have an infinite regression here... :)
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:iconthe-vet:
The-Vet Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2015
actually a friend of  mine had a fan theory about that
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:iconpsychothumbs:
psychothumbs Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2015
... what was it?
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:iconthe-vet:
The-Vet Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2015
That within the TGLH universe there was a book about what they think would have happened if the Axis had won, within that universe there was a book about what they think would have happened if the Allies had won, etc 
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:iconcevolian:
Cevolian Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2015
Do they get less and less plausible the further down the rabbit hole you go?
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:iconthe-polybius:
The-Polybius Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2015
A world split between US and UK, better I guess between two democracies than the OTL Cold war between US, capitalist democracies and left-wing dictatorships against, USSR communist dictatorships and left-wing dictatorships.
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:iconpsychothumbs:
psychothumbs Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2015
Does the UK count as a democracy when much of the Empire can't vote though? 
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:iconheliosmegistos:
HeliosMegistos Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2015
I like but is this ASB ? also how is the world so advanced ?
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:iconquantumbranching:
QuantumBranching Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2015
It's Philip K. Dick. He was hardly a "hard SF" writer. 
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:icononehellofabird:
OneHellofaBird Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2015
has Mars's atmosphere been tweaked here, or is it still all "Ellesmere Island, sans air"?
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:iconquantumbranching:
QuantumBranching Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2015
No air, yet: even given the wanked technology, it's a bit early yet for terraforming. 
Reply
:iconthe-polybius:
The-Polybius Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2015
Better in the anglosphere than the sovietosphere!
Reply
:iconart5ec:
ART5EC Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This world sounds a bit like the prequel to The Jetsons. I like it.
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