Friday, February 16, 2007

Finally, my first day blogging!

Ever since I first made this blog a few months ago, I've been waiting until I at least almost finish my website on an alternate history of southern South America (e.g. Argentina and Uruguay) to blog away on the connection between alternate history and parallel universes. Well, that moment is here, and I'm almost finished with the site at this point.

Anyway, there is a very strong connection between alternate or counterfactual history (or however you want to call it) and parallel universes. And no, I'm not merely talking about parallel universes set in science fiction. What I mean is the notion in astrophysics that there may really be parallel universes out there, each with their own initial conditions and so on. In other words, for literally anything that happens where there can be more than one outcome, there are parallel universes for each such outcome.

This has tremendous ramifications for alternate history, because by definition, this sort of history is based on alternate outcomes to events that did happen in this universe. What happened here is what could have happened in an alternative universe, which could be very far away or even next to us (depending on the theory which you hold by); similarly, what happened in an alternate universe is what could have happened here. It's that simple! And we, in this universe, seem to totally ignore what goes on in other universes, even assuming they are real.

In almost any counterfactual or allohistory one composes, they only use the conditional tense (like "I would have one") when dealing with non-fiction. (The only time they use simples tenses like the past or present, as in "I have one", is in fictional stuff.). I think that, assuming the existence of parallel universes, it is perfectly valid to use simple, non-conditional tenses to describe alternate histories, because these are in fact what happen in parallel universes. All this is especially true where the divergence between this universe and another universe is the basis of the alternate history that one may be composing. In alternate history circles, this is known as the point of divergence (POD). As an example, there may actually be a parallel universe out there where Napoleon won the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, rather than Wellington and his soldiers winning. For that universe, you can talk about the progression of Napoleonic development without having to resort to "would have", "could have", and so forth.

In future posts, I will discuss this topic much more, and perhaps give alternate histories in simple, non-conditional tenses (even apart from my own which is published on the website).

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