Comic Talk and General Discussion *

Alternate history timeline vs Pure fictional timeline
Andreas_Helixfinger at 6:28AM, Jan. 2, 2022
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Hi! Hi! Hi!

Happy New Year first and foremost.

I'm making this thread due to a particular change I recently made for my comic universe as a whole, though its currently noticable in Molly Lusc for the time being (namely in the caption monolouge on page 1 and page 31).

And that is that the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster that I used as a source for the conditions of the future earth that all of my comics takes place in has been switched out for a fictional nuclear disaster involving a fictional power plant for which I've chosen the name A.L.T.A.R (Adaptable, Long-Terminal, Atomic, Reactor), which was this sort of centralized, super-nuclear power plant that once supplied energy to the entire, globalized world and ushered in a time of world peace before it blew up and altered it into the terra-formed, mutant populated furure we see in my comics.

So I've basically abondened the alternate history angle that I started out with and decided to go with a fully, or mostly, fictional timeline, as I felt that a real-historical event like Chernobyl had become extraneous at this point what with the world now being so geographically different from the real world and the idea being that the power plant itself and its surrounding region is still a place to be found in this future era. Plus I think that the event involving a universal power reactor that changed civilization on a global scale gives said event more weight.

This event will be referenced and explored a lot more down the line in the comics. But as I announce this change I thought I at the same time would try to raise a little chat about incorporating history into your fictional works versus going all fictional with it, creating events and timelines that are purely within the realm and scope of your fictional world.

Do you prefer one over the other or do you have any special preferences or criteria regarding either one? Have you ever encountered a situation, in your own creative works or someone elses, where the historical or real-life elements felt out of place or misguided and might as well have been cut out or replaced with a fictional element? Let me know.
last edited on Jan. 2, 2022 7:40AM
Furwerk studio at 7:01AM, Jan. 2, 2022
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I had to use pure fiction timelines and history, changing the current nations with their historic names or alternatives (America becomes Freestates of Albion, Japan is Nihon, England became Britiana) due to the fact there is just too many moving parts to work with real history, even a “you think this is happening, but this is what's really happening” way.
bravo1102 at 10:01AM, Jan. 2, 2022
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If you're a real student of history and know how to do research, sure you can make it work. Look at Harry Turtledove. Counterfactual history is a thing and used in academic circles. So if you can't pull it off, well you haven't been doing enough research. That's not debatable that's the nature of dealing with history. And the more research you do, the more you'll discover we DON'T know and that opens up whole bunches of possibilities.

Not using history doesn't mean you're a worse writer. In some ways maybe you're probably a better one because you're going full on imagination and it's all yours. No one can tell you it's wrong. It's your universe and everything is possible.

I did a what-if. It served to set up the world that I wanted and then I told my story. The alternate timeline was never fully detailed, only what was different from our world because of the alternate time line. I'd written a paper about the time period in question so was familiar with what was going on and just pressed one different little button and sent the world spinning off in another direction.

But– Knowing history really well, you become aware of what we DON'T know and can take advantage of that and hide things in plain sight. Yup, the things we don't know about and are hidden. Plenty of stuff out there that historians know about that people have no idea and plenty of ways to fit all kinds of stuff in. Just look at Dan Brown's pseudo history. There's all kinds of alternative pseudo history out there that you can tap into. Why can't Graham Hancock be right about his pre Ice Age human civilization that was destroyed? What if they actually developed interstellar flight and left the planet except for the handful one DNA study hinted all modern humans came from?
And if humans have been out in space the last 20,000 years they could have just about any imaginable society somewhere. If there is a fetish with proper genetic engineering it could have become a subspecies. Human development has followed certain patterns and certain behavior keeps popping up again and again. Humans are one species and a lot more ties us together than separates us.

Just ask “What if?” And “Why not?” And imagine a way things could work. I've written about this in these forums any number of times. Was interviewed on the Quackcast years and years ago. This isn't a new topic and I've given it a lot of thought. I've only been working on my universe 45 years or so. Very humble beginnings: inspiration from Duck Soup to Lord of the Rings and Dungeons and Dragons to the sky's the limit. It's all been one on going process.

It's your world, do what you want and unless someone blindsided you with facts and evidence refuting your suppositions society has proven malleable enough for whole boatloads of alternatives. Remember sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. What don't we know that I can use to make this possible?

Or not. In which case write gag comics without any world building or time lines or become an accountant and do a gag comic about accountants or yet another one about gaming because we all know there just aren't enough webcomics about gaming. Rotflmao

last edited on Jan. 2, 2022 10:15AM
Genejoke at 11:30AM, Jan. 2, 2022
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there's definite downsides to alternate history, look at the netflix movie bright for a bad example. I suppose most of it comes down to when events diverge from reality, if it was hundreds or thousands of years prior you really need to think of the impact it would have. There's no right or wrong, but if the world is a key element of your story it's best to put the work in to really sell it to the audience.
Ozoneocean at 8:23PM, Jan. 2, 2022
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Bravo makes a good point- alternative history has a lot of advantages. It means you have to do less work for a start.

@Genejoke- ugh, Bright… That was just an example of a movie written by a total imbecile XD
 
Andreas_Helixfinger at 11:46AM, Jan. 3, 2022
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All good points. My approach to the alternate history angle in fiction is that I feel like the historical elements needs to have a solid presence in the workings and going-ons of the story or setting. It needs to feel like its tightly ingrained in the presentation and tone of the thing. And I felt like Chernobyl didn't do that anymore in my comics.

Besides, me switching it out for a similar event, except fictional, doesn't change the premise much and you can still look at this fictional nuclear disaster and compare it to historical nuclear disasters like Chernobyl, applying the historical what-ifs in reference to this similar event. And I feel like the change opens more doors to me then it closes. It feels closer to the setting and the presentation of it all in general I think.

The presentation in my comics I feel has it closer to a Duckburg or TaleSpin kind of feel, except more mature, rather then for example the Fallout series, which does a really good job integrating its alternative history into its presentation. By the way, I've been really inspired by going back and researching the way they do monetary systems in TaleSpin. That's gonna be fun to get into when we get to it^^
last edited on Jan. 3, 2022 11:48AM
Othosmops at 4:06AM, Jan. 7, 2022
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I'm much more fascinated by stories that have their origins in real history than completely fictional parallel universes. That's too far away for me.
But others prefer precisely this in the course of an escapist whim, because they are fed up with the misery they experience every day.
It only gets stupid for me when reality throws a spanner in the works of my fiction by arriving much earlier than I had hoped/feared/expected.
Andreas_Helixfinger at 5:16AM, Jan. 8, 2022
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Indeed. Everyone has their preferences. I personally really like seeing what one gets when the creator relies on their ability to imagine above all and really goes out there with it, in the world building or the narrative. That's where I feel we get this stuff that really pushes the imagination.

Of course it doesn't hurt if it comes with a good amount of verisimilitude to make it really stick. But then again if you go the what-if route with history, and you make the imaginative really click with the historical, you can get some really mindblowing stuff.

I think what we all can agree in the end is that it all comes down to form, rather then substance. It's not what you do, but how you do it quite simply.
last edited on Jan. 8, 2022 5:19AM
Andreas_Helixfinger at 11:47PM, Jan. 8, 2022
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Heck! I just took it further towards the fictional direction and decided to make the world my comics takes place in a different world all-together, in a different star system, that is reminiscent of planet Earth. The humans in this world are actually colonists that came in a colonial space ship from earth and arrived to this new world in the end of the 1960's, bringing their earth culture and earthly measure of time with them. The rest is as I announced at the beginning of this thread. Might as well make these changes now while they are still relatively easy to make^^
last edited on Jan. 8, 2022 11:48PM
bravo1102 at 4:38AM, Jan. 9, 2022
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Andreas_Helixfinger wrote:
Heck! I just took it further towards the fictional direction and decided to make the world my comics takes place in a different world all-together, in a different star system, that is reminiscent of planet Earth. The humans in this world are actually colonists that came in a colonial space ship from earth and arrived to this new world in the end of the 1960's, bringing their earth culture and earthly measure of time with them. The rest is as I announced at the beginning of this thread. Might as well make these changes now while they are still relatively easy to make^^

Stop yourself now. No more tinkering with it before you end up in retcon hell and find yourself changing everything, all the time for every reason and never actually cresting new content but just tinkering with the setting.
Andreas_Helixfinger at 7:02AM, Jan. 9, 2022
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You're right, Bravo. Don't worry. I'm done. It's perfect now. These are the final tweaks of this setting and my god I feel unstoppable with this now. There are so many story ideas I can churn out of it. It's so dynamic this way and I love it^^

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