Britannia Rules the Stars – An Alternate History Timeline

I recently received an email from new SciFi Ideas subscriber Alfie Heugh detailing an interesting alternate history scenario. Alfie has created a timeline of alternate events, beginning in 1914, which sees the British Empire not only maintain its place as a world-leading superpower but also become a leader in space exploration and colonization, advancing mandkind’s technological development beyond the level we currently enjoy.

Perhaps this more properly belongs on an alternate history website – of which there are many great examples (Alternate History Weekly Update,, This Day in Alternate History; check them out if you’re interested in this kind of thing) – but I thought it would be interesting to share it here anyway and get your opinions on whether or not this chain of events is plausible.

Here’s Alfie’s alternate history timeline:

1914: Britain warns Germany not to attack Belgium or any other nation, Germany is aware and thus England never gets involved in the war, however they declare war on the Ottoman Empire, whilst signing a non-aggression pact with the rest of the central powers.

1915: As Soon as the Turks are defeated, they declare their part of the war over, Turkey is split as usual.

1920s: Because of less involvement, the British economy is stronger and not distressed from the war, because of this the army is more prepared for protecting the colonies, they defeat the free Irish forces and stop Egypt from gaining independence, they invade Saudi Arabia, Persia and Afghanistan because of their Oil reserves and resources.

1930s: Britain begins an era of expansion, they annex Thailand in 1931 and Tibet in 1935, the Brits also wage war over the weakened French and claim: Normandy and Brittany and French Indochina (The last remaining French possession in Asia).

1939 – 1945: Instead of Germany starting WW2, it’s the French, they take over Western Europe and ally with Italy but it’s not enough to defeat the British.

Peaceful Cold War: Germany and Britain are the worlds superpowers but are not enemies, instead they develop a special relationship, during the late world war 2 era, the British liberate German Scientists including rocket scientist Warner Von Braun and he is recruited.

1949: The first satellite, called Victory, is launched and becomes the first man made object in space.

1951: Britain puts the first man in space.

1953: The first space station: Elizabeth Station is assembled.

1960: Britain lands on the moon.britmoon3

1969: The first lunar colony is established.

1974: Britain lands on Mars and establishes the first Martian colony.

1976: Britain announces that they will begin asteroid mining in the Asteroid Belt.

1981: Britain lands a man on Ganymede and Europa.

1983: The first colonies outside the inner planets are built.

1989: Elizabeth Station becomes a space habitat housing 10,000 people and is declared a crown colony.

In 2015: Technology is 30 years ahead on Earth and 75 years ahead on space exploration and colonization.

So, what do you think? Is this a plausible alternate history scenario? Would we all be better off if the British Empire and Germany had refused to enter the First World War?

I like to think so. And I like to think that in some alternate timeline there’s another version of me who runs a pub on Mars.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Timeline by Alfie Heugh.

  • Leonardo Faria

    Let’s not forget Nigel Farage as venerated moral and spiritual leader of all peoples in the world under the title of “Lord Protector of Worldwide Commonwealth”, and Nicola Sturgeon as devious trojan horse by the Shyleaians, an alien species that wants to take over our planet by bringing havoc and discord in this utopian happy peace loving world order.
    I do love science fiction!

    • Wow, this discussion has evolved very quickly overnight, haha 😀

      • michael pulleine

        yeah, it went all the way to Monty python!

      • Well 54 responses and counting… thats a new record, is it not?

        • michael pulleine

          well, no not yet, but we are getting there!

          • Yipee, we broke the record!

            • michael pulleine


        • The current comment record is 64 thanks to a flame war about the Drake Equation (
          The most popular article on the site is “Story Idea: The System” (28,623 views), and that only has 39 comments, so this is worthy of a cheer.

          I’m toasting you all with a cup of British tea right now 🙂

          • It appears the link to the discussion about the Drake equation is not working. Is it still up on this site?

  • 2016 – The man dreaming awoke in his orison cell, awaiting his beheading. The UK had veen declared a muslim nation and
    Sharia law was anounced. British soldiers were stabbed to death in broad daylight. No one said a word and declared the
    murderes “Natives from London”.
    In order to appease the radical muslims turn coat politicians first disarmed every Briton, instituted draconic punishment for
    even thinking about self defense and allowed Sharia law to be practiced instead of British Law.
    The Muslim invaders were successful in forcing Pubs to close and prhibit alcohol sale.
    Employees at ASDA refused selling Alcohol because they were muslim and could not be fired.
    The man in the cell said “Jesus” and was arrested and immideatly sentenced to death. His last wish for a
    Pint of ale was denied.
    He sighed. “What a nice dream.” Then he faced reality.

    • michael pulleine

      hmmm interesting, but it is important to understand the difference between extremists (what people think all Muslims are) and real Muslims (what Islamic people actually are) anyway, did you know that more people are killed by bees than terrorists?

      • And the deadliest animal is the Mosquito.
        Let me get this straight: The political left wants to ban private gun owner ship and finds nothing wrong with a “few” terrorist attacks since its less than bee kills? So around what number do you liberals find killing to be okay?
        Liberals want women to be equal – Muslims don’t
        Liberals want gay people to have more rights than even straight people . Muslims hang anyone admitting to be gay. Oh wait that’s okay I guess ,they hung less gay people than eaten by crocodiles in Egypt in 1743.
        Women are stoned to death …

        Muslims demanding Sharia law in countries not their own.
        I never seen a protest of the so called peaceful muslims against the acts of terror committed by the other kind.
        No “peaceful” Muslim ever went on TV and expressed sorrow for the Charlie Hebro murders in Paris.
        Why do you Liberals find it okay to insult and ridicule Christians and
        find the Muslim religion cool and okay?
        I am open minded too, answer these question and educate me and I might change my mind.

        • michael pulleine

          let me explain though, if a then c, a is then c, is a perfect argument, but a then c therefore c then a is not, if there are Muslim terrorists then to be a terrorist you must be Islamic, this is a fallacy, also, the Australian grand mufti, the most important Muslim in Australia has condemned the Charlie Hebdo murders as well as the martin place siege also, I make fun of every religion, Muslims held events in mosques with a large majority of people in Australia to condemn terrorism, the trouble is not a lack of protest and condemnation, it is In fact a lack of publicity.

          • Before I comment on that I am waiting for the rest of the answers to my questions.

            • michael pulleine

              no amount of killing is okay, im just saying that although terrorism is a problem, its not as big a problem as, say, spousal abuse in Australia (one woman in Australia dies every week rom domestic violence) or drink driving (I don’t have all the statistics!) also, people who carry guns in cities are more likely to be killed than those who don’t!

          • Michael is right. Lots of Muslims DID publicly express sorrow over the Charlie Hebdo shooting. They just weren’t widely covered by the media because… well I’m sure you can figure that out.
            Calls for peace are infinitely less entertaining than calls for hatred.

        • I just want to point out that lots of Muslims DID publicly express sorrow over the Charlie Hebdo shooting. They just weren’t widely covered by the media because… well I’m sure you can figure that out.
          Calls for peace are infinitely less entertaining than calls for hatred.

        • Leonardo Faria

          I make it a point when I’m entering a discussion started by others that has an inflammatory potential, to sanitize any word or assertion that sounds confrontational (especially so since I’m new to this site). And if I’m doing it it’s because by reading past threads I had the opportunity to come to learn and appreciate Vanessa’s erudition and perspicacity.
          Actually, I admit I was disturbed at her piece of uchronia too, as it seems to me it contained gratuitous hate speech. But as I was making fun myself, in my previous comment, of those Britons who seem they can’t get over the loss of the Empire, and betray the attachment to this dear old idea in manifold and fictional fashions, I suppose I can take in the satire by others when they target sensitive spots in my personal world view.
          I am not going to address point by point the questions put by Vanessa about Islam and Muslims. George Lakoff, a linguist from Berkeley University, warns not to engage a discussion with conservatives on the field prepared by their “fair questions”, because that’s just a framing of the topic aimed at formatting the dialectic interaction and cornering the opponent as to concede what he does not want and must not concede.
          I’d just ask Vanessa to give some thought to a question of mine (I don’t need a reply soon). Does she really believe that what she has said pertains to a heartfelt and real clash of principles, or is it just ammunition borrowed from political frays she feels she’s involved in? Her characterization of Islam is one sided to the point of embarrassment, and what’s most important and telling she attacks the liberals on the side of their hypocrisy and double standards with a vitriol remindful of a conservative professional venomspitter like Anne Coulter (I don’t know if Vanessa is American, but that’s beside the point).
          If Vanessa tried to address the topic of Islam without thinking it’s a battlefield to settle score with the liberals (more than the muslims) would she stand to any word she has said? Does she reallty think the basic values of western society are undermined by the liberals’ respect for cultural diversity?
          All of this would fit better on this thread if accompanied by thoughts about the high likelihood of alternate history timelines to take up personal political tendencies and bias.

          • Dear Leonardo,
            Thank you for your acolates and word of praise regarding my contributions to this site. I can understand your and other’s viewpoint on this particular subject. This discussion might even exceed the general boundries of this site, but since you took the time to write this piece and opened many questions specifically aimed at me, my convictions and oppinions.
            Let me prepare the ground for our discussion by defining a few parameters.
            1) Science Fiction does not have to be an utopia but can also point out potential distopian conditions.
            2) Allow for un emotional fact analysis. If sociology and emotional ethic motivation guides the response, an objective discusson is often very difficult. For example the western morale and ethical values predominantly found in humanitarian instutions of higher learning; are based on the Judeo-Christian morals of the previous century with a focus on acceptance, sheltering and protecting the weak. Core themes of the christian especially protestant churches. This core philosophy has perculated into a general western society philosophy that emphasizes minority or precieved minority groups such as Women, people of color, handicapped and in recend decades the acceptance of variations in sexual prefrences and identity.
            This developed into the so called PC (Political Correct) movement.
            This is, without question a development the sociological aspects of society.
            3) How this development is percieved and judged is biased by the observer, emotional state and the ability or inability to apply empiric and logical thought. As well as the level and type of education.
            Now I like to answer your questions.
            a) Yes I am American and my political views are very conservative. But I would like to validate this by saying that American conservatism can not be easily equated to European conservatism. I am a member of the Libertarian party and consider Ron Paul the best politician representing my political opinions (Google both if you like)
            b) I was fully aware that my response would cause this reaction, it was not without intend.
            The region of the Middle East was the craddle of human civilization. The level of civilization and achievements in math, astronomy, literature and technology is unprecedented and awe inspiring. This I want to mention in order to make you understand that my statements are not racist and true to the core believe of libertarism, I believe in the achiwevements and behavior of an individual instead of projecting it to a group.
            However if you can step out of your shoes and step back. Leave ideology and peer doctrine behind. make yourself familiar with the source material (Quran)
            Historic Background of my oppinion
            The core problem with Isalm versus Christianity is the lack of a central body and uniform doctrine. The Bible has many versions and each church or sect has their own doctrine, but during the core phase of Chruch development there was one (Abostolic / Catholic with a central firgure Pope with doctrine decission power. This led to the 1st split of the church into Western and Eastern (Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic) then later into the Protestant church. The history of the christian church is as violent as the one of the Islamic faith. Core differences are however the time difference of about 800 years and the lack of a central core doctrine. Each mufti or Imam can and does interpret the (Quran and its Sura and the significance of individual ayahs differently. Muslims typically complete the recitation of the whole Quran during tarawih prayers. In order to extrapolate the meaning of a particular Quranic verse, most Muslims rely on the tafsir
            (A Quranic tafsir will often explain intent or provide places and times, not contained in Quranic verses, as well as give restriction of meanings, or explanations for why verses seem contradictory.))
            Another factor was the British Empire, drawing lines (Borders) disregarding tribal boundaries and the tradition migration patterns of nomadic tribes (example Iraq/Iran borders between ashira tribes)
            I am mention this to show you I have not only read the Quran, but travelled the region and am aware of the local history.)
            All these individual factors and the developed worlds hunger for Energy (Oil) as well as Cold war politics between the US and the Sovjet Union (and their respective secret services engaging in bation building) are indicative elements in the development of radical Islam.
            However there is also an underlying element of ethnic specific disposition towards violence and discord. Compounded by the sever lack of education and encrusted tribal culture/
            Now if you would step back leave your emotional and peer / soceity induced feelings behind and observe the situation from an empiric view point/ Create a spread sheet and count the atrocities caused and relate it to the last 50 years.
            Or forget socio-ethical thoughts for a moment.Biological systems – exist in seperate environments. A soon as you introduce a foreign organism into the other system, an imbalance is created. The native system has only limited or no mechanisms in place to control the influence of the intruding organism. This is a fact of nature and hold true to any dynamic organic system. Be it your body or a River system where a foreign fish is introduced.
            The influx of foreign societies (that are not willing to adapt or undergo a synergy aimed at a symbiosis) will either be destroyed by the host or it will destroy the host.
            This can be observed both in history as well as in biology systems (the underlying statistical and mathematical equations are system dynamic and equal to any system. (including chemistry, information and data system management) the application of these observations are often supressed because they do not fit the ethical or moral context. However mora; and ethical context is philosophy based and can not devaluate the scientific facts.
            In my postulated scenario I pointed to a very likely scenario of development. How you evaluate it is based on the facts mentioned above and what values you put on maintaining the prevelant society system (Culture) .
            Is this sufficent as an answer?

            • Leonardo Faria

              Hello Vanessa,

              thanks for your thoughtful reply, and believe me when I say that any friction I may feel at an ideological level is repayed by the excitement carried by your provoking thinking. I’m writing back mainly to show you that the time you spent penning that response wasn’t lost on a distracted interlocutor.

              -1- Yes I’m familiar with both American libertarianism and Ron Paul. Last time I heard him mentioned was during an episode of the tv series The Newsroom, where fictional character Bill McAvoy, a conservative himself, lambasted him by recalling statements at the beginning of his political career, vainly denied by him, quite in harmony with the rebarbative views you could expect to come across at a Ku Klux Clan meeting. For all that, I only care about what people say now (as long as I can believe the evolution of their way of thinking wasn’t expedient to just infiltrate new constituencies).

              -2- I remember the novel Prey, by Michael Chricton (on the threat by uncontrolled introduction of nanotechnologies) where he makes a convincing case that intraorganic parasitism and symbiosis at the level of the ecological niches are key boosters of evolution, and this beginning with the formation itself of cell nuclei and mitochondria. I’m not sure I can accept your metaphor of a skin limited organism (an instance of closed and balanced system, assuming that a human body is a closed system) as indicative of what would happen to a society by the insertion of foreign elements. The United States of America would be an impossibility on these premises. I take your point about the historical disconnect that there seems to be about the western society and large portions of the Islamic world, but I don’t think that forcing conformity from above on the territory of a state nation is a solution. First, we live in a highly globalized society, it is basically misleading to model the problem in terms of an homogenous area (politically defined) besieged or infiltrated by agents of an alien culture, that’s just the little picture. Secondly, the best social engineering we can manage to build our future (global future) is the one that incorporates the concept of emerging properties, I mean the best social structure we can have will be the one constructed with a well handled bottom-up approach (like in generative algorithms), and that includes the inputs and the feed-backs coming from the Muslim world. To think otherwise would be to replace a difficult control with an illusory control.

              -3- Oh, French writer Michael Houellebec, very close to the group of Charlie Hebdo (and author among other things of an exciting biographical essay on H.P Lovecraft), weeks ago had a novel published on a dystopian France ruled by a Muslim party. The telling title is Soumission (Submission)…

            • I don’t think this site or this thread is suitable to go into political views in more detail. I could yet compose another more detailed reply on Ron Paul, your somewhat uninformed and clearly biased opinion. However I do not believe that any amount of exchanges would result in any changes, as the baseline of your views are clearly based on a very different foundation than mine.
              While I don’t shun a nice debate and it appears neither do you, let us agree that Sci Fi Ideas, the audience or the general flavor of the site lends itself to political, ideological or exchanges of philosophical nature; as I feel this discussion might go on for a while.
              There are many points I would have wanted to address but as mentioned I feel this might be frowned upon by the hosts and general audience.
              Should you want to continue this discussion or if there is a consensus by the operators of this site and the contributors I gladly pick up the thread at a forum of your choice or continue here.

            • Leonardo Faria

              Hello Vanessa,
              I am not sure if you have edited your first comment. I believe so and I wrote a piqued reply, which I’m not posting since by rereading your comment I don’t feel anymore that way. I’m sorry to notice, however, that some sentences of yours that strike me as totally unfair (notably so: “You clearly feel your view is superior and any other is inferior”), are still there. In my way of thinking that claim is a circumlocution for a charge of imbecility. And I don’t think I said (nay, I’m sure I didn’t) anything that made me deserve that title. Most certainly I think you have a superior intellect (no irony) and rest assured that when you will have something to say I’ll be there listening.
              Re the third person: you are overtestimating the importance of that circumstance. It was a formality by lack of familiarity. On the same criterion I could have said Ms Ravencroft instead of Vanessa. Yes, maybe it’s foolish, but nothing more than that. First contacts are a sensitive issue. In my native culture the third person is a form of etiquette (I’m Italian, in the Hispanic world it’s the same. A remnant of this usage is in the English language when they say “His Highness”, “Her Majesty” referring to a monarch that is just there in the flesh listening to them).
              Re Ron Paul. You are setting much more store on the KKK thing than I ever meant to do. Particularly when I said that was the past. I remember his piercing criticism to George W. Bush on matters of national security, and I paired it to that of another American conservative, Justin Raimondo. Both crafted an interesting case for a new American isolationism, that was surely intellectually engaging, whatever i could think at a deeper analysis. Awkward as I may have been I didn’t mean to belittle your political allegiances. Mhm, in all frankness… my pick in the poll box between Ron Paul and Bill McAvoy would still be for the latter though… 🙂
              I realise you want to address some of the points I made in my comment, and I’m sure you have very interesting thoughts to share. Whether you’ll do now and here or you’ll take the opportunity to do on future threads or elsewhere I’ll read. Your choice.

            • Dear Leonardo,

              Yes I have edited and substantiated my initial post.

              Since it seems no one objects and this is the most convenient forum we have (sans a direct email exchange or using my blog page (or any other discussion board) I gladly continue our exchange.

              1)”You clearly feel your view is superior and any other is inferior”

              Please put that into context. A lawyer or debater must feel superior and must be convinced that his or her side is superior to the other, the opposing site. Otherwise it would not be a discussion worth having. So my opinion of your approach , being in a superior position is not declaratory in the least. Instead it is an observation awarding points of merit.

              2)My previous experience on discussions or debates on this side made me feel that our continuous exchange might be viewed negatively by our peer (the contributors to this site) and the proprietors of this site who might want to have discussions and posts pertaining to the theme initiated, namely SCI FI and in this case an alternate time line or alternate history (which is indeed a worthy subject) I was concerned that these parties might feel our exchange dilutes the intended discussion subject.

              3)I stated that in several comments that I most certainly not imply imbecility. I might have made comments that were culturally colored. I.e the subject of the KKK has an entire different flavor and more intense flavor than it may have in Europe.

              4)Intellect alone is like four wheel drive, it only gets you stuck further out. Intellect alone is insufficient and must be grounded in education and the added pedigree of wisdom and temperance comes with age. I firmly believe the next Einstein or Hawkins could be alive in a village somewhere in Africa, but without the proper education and a supportive environment, this potential genius will never contribute to humanity. Besides intellect is relative and its definition and measurement are controversial at best. I do not claim to be intellectually superior, but I was fortunate to grow up in an environment that allowed me to develop the ability of independent thought and a society that gave me the tools to express them.

              5)Third Person. Because I assumed your posts were made with great thought and purpose. Lawyers both on the prosecution and the defending side speak about the “Defended” in the third person to a jury. I projected Anglo American culture into your choice of address. In this context I assumed you address the audience of this thread, asking them to pass judgment or give you answers. Example : Mr. Smith the defendant entered the premises at precisely 11:02 with a potato peeler. Members of the Jury how can you explain the fact that at 11:21 Ms. Johnson was found peeled from head to toe in her basement?” It sounded like court room language to me. Since it is explained due to cultural flavoring, in this case the Italian culture. I made the big mistake of projecting and assuming.

              6)As I stated in my initial response, American conservatism is of a different flavor than the one in other societies, particular those in Europe. I also learned that the press and the media especially in Europe report and comment on US politics and conditions with a certain amount of preconception and bias. ( I am able to substantiate that with sources and examples if you like) In my opinion George Bush Jr. is not a conservative. The creation of the Homeland security department, the spying on US citizens by NRA and other agencies is unconstitutional. The last conservative president we had was Reagan. Ron Paul is consistent and has the same message when he started decades ago as he has now. You can check videos of him addressing congress in the 80ties, they have the same content, the same message and the same goals as his latest. You show me one politician that hasn’t waffled or changed the mantra and I be impressed.

              7)Check out my “Universe” if you ever are curious about my “political” views and my take on human society. This short story might give you an insight :


            • Leonardo Faria

              Hello Vanessa,
              I absolutely want to read your story, but as it is a not so short short story I’ve downloaded it and will read when I have quality time. Infallibly I’ll give you my feedback, here or on that webpage.
              Yes, I think we should remain on topic, but while I think that the controversy about Paul’s role in American policymaking is definetely off topic I think that subjects like social patterns modelling, anthropology, conflict management are good meat for discussions focusing on scifi ideas. Or so I think…
              My ideas on American politcs may well be preconceived but it’s not a European preconception, it’s American because I watch Rachel Maddow and Jon Stewart’s shows on the web 🙂

            • Dear Leonardo,

              It was a mere suggestion to read this story, simply
              to provide you with an insight to my underlying philosophy and
              viewpoints. There is of course no need to read it right away (or

              I maintain a Wiki for my “Universe” here:

              and there are shorter articles regarding the Core
              political future of said universe:

              such as:



              but these are simply suggestions as they illustrate
              my “Utopia” and thus have my core believes as a


              I completely agree with you on the examples of topics
              you mentioned in relation to the flavor and venue of this site:
              social patterns modeling, anthropology, conflict management etc.

              As for a certain perception or direction. The samples
              you used : Rachel Maddow and Jon Stewart are voices of the extreme
              left in the US. They may voice and express views and opinions in line
              with your own core philosophy but neither voice is a comprehensive
              source for the entire political spectrum. Certainly not an unbiased

              Rachel Maddow is on the opposite spectrum of the
              aforementioned Ann Coulter. Rush Limbaugh is the spectrum opposite to
              Jon Steward.

              Maybe you find some useful information by listening
              to Bill Whittle


              Now if you want to debate or discuss anything at all,
              you are very welcome to to start such a discussion anytime and I will
              be delighted to participate.


            • michael pulleine

              hello Vanessa…. sorry, just making fun of the patterns observed in each comment, anyway, dear Leonardo, how’s the flying machine coming along?

            • Well if the Leonardo you refer to would be still alive, he most certainly could see his conceptual ideas realized in ways even he might find beyond comprehension.

              On the other hand he could take the new flavor and direction of Western society as an opportunity to come out of the proverbial closet and confirm to the world, that Mona Lisa was indeed a self portrait.

            • michael pulleine

              so here we are, from Islamic beliefs to Leonardo Da Vinci secretly being/wanting to be a woman, but before we ponder how we got to this point, I would like to demonstrate why I have had a bad experience with right-winged governments, this is the head of the liberal party (the British equivalent to the Tories and the American equivalent to whatever right-winged government party they have)

              “frameborder=”0” allowfullscreen>” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

              if you’re still not convinced then watch this video.

              ” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

            • michael pulleine

              and don’t get me started on john freaking Howard!

            • Michael,
              With all due respect, you are by your own admission 15 years old. You are still a few years away from legal voting. By the laws of most governments you are still a minor.
              Without stepping on your toes, I seriously doubt you had any kind of political experience. (I am sure you are a nice guy and a bright kid , but I won’t engage in a political discussion.
              Did you ever march for something you believe, were impacted by a political decision? Have you taken part of a political rally? Canvassed for signatures? Did your personal life style change directly by the decision of a politician, and did you do or try to do something about it?
              These are “political experiences”.
              Perhaps your parents or significant person within your immediate contact group is either Conservative and you do what almost all teenagers do since the dawn of time and “rebel” against the perceived establishment (teenagers think they know everything better.. its not a fault or an attempt of mine to belittle you. No, its simply a fact of human nature, and I am certain I acted the same way)
              Or you have a role model you emulate and do what he or she does and says..
              So I gladly discuss the stars and the moon, Monty P. and everything in between with you, but I wont comment on politics in any more detail.
              Due to venue and due to what I mentioned above.
              I hope you take this as I mean it, not as an attack or attempt to insult you in any shape or form, but as an explanation why I feel this subject is not suitable for further discussion.

            • michael pulleine

              and I happily respect your wishes, no more shall I speak politics.

            • But we can of course speak about everything else of course. I am so glad you took my comment the right way..
              So how about it?
              Going to meet me next door over?
              They are discussing movies , Star Trek and stuff. Right up “our” alley right?

            • michael pulleine

              I read those comments, personally I would like to discuss my upcoming project, a sci-fi gladiatorial combat story, yes, it does kinda sound generic, but if you want to know more, you should look at the refugee centre gamma comment I posted.

            • But since you are asking fi nut as I am we can discuss everything. Else. Of course
              I always. Look forward to your comments

            • Leonardo Faria

              I read it (The Non Cits of the Blue moon), Vanessa, with an eye to the political undertones. It brings memories from Thoreau’s “Walden” and “Civil Disobedience”, up to Hakim Bey’s “Temporary Autonomous Zones” (if on a more anarchist side). Really solid and finely structured world building. It’s a while I’m committed to create a cyberpunk universe and your writing is powerfully inspiring. My compliments.

            • Hi Leonardo,

              Thank you for your comments and praise. While I certainly don’t compare my writing abilities with the likes of Thoreau or Hakim Bey. I must admit to a feeling of certain pride if you see parallels in their work with mine.

              Here is the same story with Wiki Links, in case you may be curious about certain terms or concepts mentioned within the story.


          • One question I do have , why are you addressing me in the third person?

  • On the lighter side…

    Instant Tea becomes all the rage because it’s what the astronauts drink. Compo Tea is never invented, a great stride forward in the quality of life on the planet.

    When Victory is in orbit it broadcasts “V •••-” in Morse Code. While many do proclaim it a true victory others sharply point out the code is also symbolic of Fate knocking on the door.

    • What is Compo Tea? Tea made out of Compost? Combinations of different flavors?

      • From wikipedia…

        “During the Second World War British and Canadian soldiers were issued an instant tea known as ‘Compo’ in their Composite Ration Packs. These blocks of instant tea, powdered milk, and sugar were not always well received. As Royal Canadian Artillery Gunner, George C Blackburn observed:

        But, unquestionably, the feature of Compo rations destined to be remembered beyond all others is Compo tea…Directions say to “sprinkle powder on heated water and bring to the boil, stirring well, three heaped teaspoons to one pint of water.”

        Every possible variation in the preparation of this tea was tried, but…it always ended up the same way. While still too hot to drink, it is a good-looking cup of strong tea. Even when it becomes just cool enough to be sipped gingerly, it is still a good-tasting cup of tea, if you like your tea strong and sweet. But let it cool enough to be quaffed and enjoyed, and your lips will be coated with a sticky scum that forms across the surface, which if left undisturbed will become a leathery membrane that can be wound around your finger and flipped away…”

        • Well the US C rations (before the introduction of MREs) contained only instant coffee, as far as I remember. However the Liver and Onion meal included in some of the MRE (Meal ready to eat) looks and tastes exactly like the also included “Fruit cake”. So while it isn’t tea … the eating experience might be close to the Compo Tea.

    • michael pulleine

      i think ill stick to ordinary tea thank you,

  • Well to answer Mark’s question. If the theories of the Brane cosmology hold water, then this alternate history is not only plausible but exists in that exact form and in that “Universe” Mark Ball does indeed serve pints and shots to Martians, spacers and tourists from Earrth.
    If the Quantum foam theory pans out, then Alfie Heugh created that very reality by thinking it.
    Looking at the close ties the British royality had to German nobility (Hessian especially) The first word war could have played out differently indeed.
    Without Germany defeated in 1918, neither the Stahlhelm Bewegung, the Communists nor the Nazional Sozialistische Partey woukd have had the fertile ground they needed to rise to power. The Second World war was a continuation of WW1. One could imagine the Second World War happening entirely in the Pacific.
    However would Werner von Braun had the same support without the need for a Wunderwaffe?
    Would Einstein and Openheimer left for the US to ring in the Atomic age? Would the Manhattan Project happened when it did (1945) And without this mile stone in human history ringing in the Atomic age and thus an age of science and technology would we even look to the stars?
    Sputnik (Our Victory 1 analog) was sent into orbit to demonstrate to the US that the Rusians had carrier vehicles able to take Nukes into space and thus strike the US anywhere (and the arms race was on) The Apollo program was just a “side” show. The real reason was the development of reliable rockets able to carry large payloads.
    So I am sure there are realites to the N factor where Britons rule space, but the whole change of history thing is a tricky one, as every event, decission and accident created a casuality of events. (Cause and effect)

    • Kirov

      Aw, yes. Nuclear power is an important question I forgot to address. That would certainly be changed by the outcome of WWI. Who currently possesses nukes in this timeline, and how did they get them?

      • michael pulleine

        I kind of already explained how but. yeah I think ill just give up…

    • michael pulleine

      mmmmmmmmmm quantum foam

    • michael pulleine

      but they already knew about nuclear fission, its just that no-one had enough money to actually use it, if WWI never happened, there would be no great depression, no rise of Adolf Hitler, (he may have even followed his dream of being an artist and not have lived such a traumatic life after the war) no Cuban missile crisis as the result of the cold war, no need for atomic bombs in the first place but nuclear fission had in fact been discovered in the 1930s as mentioned before, meaning that we might have even discovered nuclear weaponry earlier than in this universe! the battle of the Somme would never have occurred, also, I thought that the idea of alternate timelines is that there is an infinite number of them but none of them breach the laws of physics (or possibly their equivalent of them with one or two universal laws, just a suggestion) and none of them alter any other universes, anyway, without the Werner von Braun slipup, that is, Britain would probably have hired someone better, America only hired him ’cause he was the cheapest option, did you know that? someone like Sergei Korolev, designer of Sputnik one and the rocket that carried it. but apart from that and a few other loopholes it is rather plausible as well as intriguing, I’ve been wanting to do a sci-fi story like this, that is a near future setting in an alternate timeline, how about a universe in which Germany won the second world war with some surprisingly positive results? unfortunately there still wouldn’t be jazz music, Hitler hated jazz, or the blues, one of the two, i mean, if he tried to ban ELO or Jeff Lynnes’ music I would be the first to set up an underground resistance, I am fanatically devoted to ELO, that is Electric Light Orchestra to all you filthy dub step peasants

  • Kirov

    Sounds plausible enough, though I think it needs a bit more explanation to really be considered plausible. Without the involvement of Germany or Britain, would WWI really have been WWI? It probably wouldn’t have been as intense, but it seems to be implied that it was still considered a world war by the reference to WWII. Also, what about the October Revolution? Would that have still happened based on how WWI was changed? Would the Soviet Union exist, and would it be a significant power? What was China’s involvement in WWII, and did its involvement change anything about its superpower status? Did some later event elevate China? What about the US? They were economically in a position to become a superpower, but it was their involvement in WWI which actually catalyzed that transition. Were they still involved, did the war elevate their status at all, and did some later event potentially elevate it to a superpower status?

    I think alternate timelines can still be included in science fiction. They’re easily explained with the many-worlds theory, and the world building process is quite similar.Such a timeline could be used as the backstory for a sci-fi story set in the future. This particular timeline reminds me of Heinlein’s World as Myth series, where timelines are distinguished by who first landed on Luna.

  • Sam McDonald

    Have you ever heard of Ministry of Space by Warren Ellis? It’s got a similar premise of the British Empire expanding into space

    • I did hear about the Ministry of Silly Walks …but I think that might not be the one you had in mind….;)

      • michael pulleine

        rule john cleesia! the kingdom of the walks!

        • This time you caught the Monty Python reference.

          • michael pulleine

            yeah, mr hilter pointed this one out

            • dan cummins

              i thought i was the only one who watched Monty Python here…

              no. 1….
              The Larch.

            • Naaa you’re not the only one Michael and I are nuts about Monty Python

            • dan cummins

              good to know.
              thinking about Bicycle repair man still cracks me up to this day haha

            • michael pulleine

              my personal favourite is probably the dead parrot, mainly cause it was the first sketch I ever saw

            • michael pulleine

              what about the goodies? if you haven’t heard of them, I would recommend you look them up, bill oddie, Graeme gardener and tim-brooke-taylor were all good friends of Michael Palin and the other members of Monty Python

            • There are many other good comedy talents before and after Monty Python, but in my personal opinion. Nothing and nobody has ever reached the utter brilliance and talent of MP.
              No other group married satire, slapstick, social critique. With visual art and political comment thrown in for a perfect blend.
              There were no boundaries, no taboos. In a time where taboos and the general perception was much stricter.

            • michael pulleine

              what about how to irritate people? it had the exact same cast and a few of the sketches were even thrown in to some of the episodes! most of the time it would just be john Cleese really messing with Michael Palins head and finishing off with laughing his head off at him, along with graham chapman

            • dan cummins

              oh god the interview and the airplane one hahaha
              “There is absolutely no cause for alarm. The wings are not on fire.”

            • michael pulleine

              oh look, they jumped out of the plane!

            • michael pulleine

              please push the flabergonizers of the back of the seat behind you, but do not undo you seat belts

            • michael pulleine

              also, Michael Palin and the other members of Monty python thought of the goodies as a wonderful satire/slapstick show, in fact, Michael Palin had a tendency t cringe at the sketches in Monty python and considered them quite amateur, wishing that they could have done more work on them

            • michael pulleine

              really? even Stephen Hawking is known for being a Monty Python fan!

            • Yeah he didn’t have much fun in Stalingrad.

            • michael pulleine

              and he hasn’t slept since 1945 either.

        • My hovercraft is full of eels

          • michael pulleine

            I think you mean Saját légpárnás tele van angolna

          • michael pulleine

            would you like to come home with me bouncy bouncy?

          • michael pulleine

            MMMYYYYY BRRRAAINN HURRRRTS!!!! said mr Gumby

          • “Drop your panties, Sir William; I cannot wait ’til lunchtime.”

            • michael pulleine

              i will not buy this record, it is scratched! i will not buy this tobacconist, it is scratched!

      • Sam McDonald

        It’s a three issue miniseries. The British get the scientists from Operation Paperclip and the similar Soviet program. They then go on to do all that Man Conquers Space stuff (ie manned space flight by 1950) as well as bunch of Van Braun’s unused ideas. By the present day they’ve got colonies on the moon and Mars, mining in the astroid belt, missions to the other solar system and much more. However, America is blackmailing the British about a detail connected to The Ministry of Space’s founding.

        It won the Sidewise Award for Alternate History.

  • Mapes

    Being a lover of alternate timelines (especially anachronisms!), I hate to not love this timeline. But being a history buff and a lover of the WWI era, I kinda need to.

    There are quite a few issues I found with this timeline, but they all really stemmed from a few major misunderstandings, so I’ll just go there:

    The premise of this timeline is that WWI never happens, and frankly that was basically impossible. There was far too much tension militarily and politically in Western Europe in the decade before 1914. That Germany would have heeded a British warning makes little sense: Germany knew that Britain would side with the French in the *actual* Great War, and still attacked. Which leads to the actual cause of the Great War. Germany didn’t start WWI. Russo-Austrian tensions started the war in the Baltic. That the Central Powers coalesced as they did was a product of the Franco-Russian alliance and Franco-Prussian tensions.

    Second point: Where is the US? It i feasible to have any timeline that lacks the involvement of the United States. No matter whether or not WWII skyrocketed that nation to world domination, the Americans would have had some role in world affairs. This applies also to the East, including Russia. As an aside, this also hits later on: no one but Britain had any luck at all with space? Even the US and USSR, two nations which had much greater capital, resource, and population potential than the UK, were neck and neck in the Space Race.

    Point three: The Great Depression just didn’t hit Britain?

    Despite these flaws, I think the possibilities are enticing. I especially liked the idea of the space station becoming a colony–could this happen in the future? Not as a colony, per say, by a state? Or someday a nation, if it was a joint effort? Very interesting.

    I hope to see more timelines like this, Mark! They’re a lot of fun and generate a lot of good response potential.

    • Kirov

      It certainly needs some stuff worked out, I had similar concerns with it. This really brings into light just how hard it is construct a timeline and addressing every factor that needs to be considered. We all seem to have pointed out stuff the author didn’t consider, and we all pointed out things different from each other. I’d be interested to see if everyone here as a community could develop a timeline together based on our different knowledge bases and perspectives. That would certainly make it pretty robust and able to stand up to criticism.

      • Mapes

        I agree! That would be a great project for the site. Alternate timelines are a wonderfully fun tool for story telling and understanding just how exactly the world works. Id be very interested if Mark and the rest of the admin took this further. He and I chatted about making alt timelines a bigger part of the site awhile back, and I think it could be really interesting.

        • I’d certainly be up for sharing a few more timelines and more alternate history discussion, since you guys seem to be interested in it.
          I just worry about how much this kind of thing relates to sci-fi and to story-telling. You should check out some of the sites I linked to in the article for some really good alt history discussion. I dip into some of them from time to time and there are some great discussions.

    • Will Harman

      Perhaps this could be avoided if the timeline began further back in the history of the Empire? This would allow much more freedom with the problem of international tensions if you began with a different series of events after the Napoleonic Wars, say.

    • Alfie Heugh

      For a start, Britain had an agreement with Belgium in 1839 promising to defend the Belgians if attacked. Nearly a century later, Germany attacks Belgium which brings Britain into the war. However in this timeline, England warns Germany not to attack Belgium. The German generals take this seriously and call off the schleiffen plan.

      With Britain out of the war, the English do not suffer a million casualties and economic depression. Instead they focus more on Ireland and Egypt and even begin conquering the Middle East which also helps them avoid he Great Depression.

      In world war 2, France are the bad guys and conquer Germany, in 1944 British forces seize Peenemunde which was the capital of German technology, all scientists are captured and without the scientists being split between the three superpowers, science is stronger

      The USA focuses more on Japan but not having any German scientists causes them to be isolated from space. Without any competitors Britain is free to explore space.
      Same goes for the soviets, they didn’t grab any scientists.

      • Sean247

        With the knowledge this is a few months late:
        The USSR had it’s own rocket scientists and engineers, and were early pioneers along with the Germans, remember it was Konstantin Tsiolkovsky who created the Rocket Equation. They undoubtedly got a boost from some of the materiel and scientists missed by the Americans, but the Russians themselves had their own rocket program, and it’s engineers and project leaders were home grown, not imported like Werner Von Braun.

        In fact if the big names in Soviet rocketry, such as Sergei Korolev (who was at least the equal of Von Braun, and developed the worlds first ICBM and launch vehicle, which is also the most successful LV and is still in use today: the R7), not been caught in the Stalinist purges and found themselves in the Gulag, the Soviets might well have been ahead of Germany in rocketry by the outbreak of WW2.

        It’s entirely possible that if Britain had taken the lead in Space that America, without German designs and scientists, would have not developed it’s own program, but the Russians, especially if Britain had one, almost certainly would have.

        The competitive aspect would still be there for Russia if not America. The only difference, which could serve to depress the advancement of Space in both Britain and Russia, is that the initial driving factor was nuclear weapon delivery. This is why IOTL Russia took an early lead, America had allies with which to base missiles on the Soviet borders, so could delivery nuclear weapons with smaller less powerful IRBMs (Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missile). The soviets, on the other hand, needed to launch from soviet ground to reach the US, so needed a true ICBM, which, due to the power involved, would automatically double as a very capable launch vehicle.

        That’s why Russia had the incredibly well designed R7 throughout the space race, and didn’t need to design anything new until the moon became a target, while America shifted through the IRBM derived Jupiter/Redstone series, Atlas, Titan and Saturn launchers.

        In a Britain vs Russia rocket race, both can hit each others population centres with IRBMs, so the Soviets don’t need to develop an ICBM, won’t get an early space lead and that in turn won’t spur the British on to catch up.

    • James George

      Germany was not expecting Britain to join the war, I’m assuming you’ve studied the schlieffen plan?

  • michael pulleine

    anyone got any tips for doing mathematics and reading at high speeds, ive got stuff due tomorrow and i dont think i have enough time without staying up really late, i think that i may need to get a looooooong list of podcasts for tonight, also, YoGPoD or eveery episode of monty python? which would be better to have running in the background?

    • There are speed reading techniques that can be learned (Not over night though) Pushing things to the last day seems to be a common song in college, school and university. I had a year for my thesis and wasn’t further than maybe two pages in August. Thesis due in September. My doctor father had pretty much given up on me, but I made it. Waiting for the last day might pushing it a little. Background? Nothing! (Well perhaps some Bach or Mozart or light instrumental something)
      If you read technical or instructional texts, read with your finger and scan the text for facts and skip the fluff.
      Math: Most complex problem first, the easy stuff last.

      • michael pulleine

        well, its incredibly simple, you know, gradients, mid-points, equations to determine y intercepts etcetera and as for reading, the most boring book I’ve ever read, my god! looking for alibrandi is just awful! and anyway, I find that having a podcast makes me find thing much faster! also, speaking of Bach, did you know that the voyager space probe had no Bach on the golden record because and I quote “hat would just be showing off”

        • michael pulleine

          maybe ill put on some Beethoven or Tchaikovsky, followed by a musical marathon of Jeff Lynne’s legen wait for it!…. Dary! band ELO

          • Or the soundtrack of LOTR

            • michael pulleine

              I think ill stick to ELO!!!! Mr.Blue Sky! Please tell us why! You had to hide away for soooo loong! soooo loong!

            • michael pulleine

              or just have LOTR playing on my tv in the other room while i do my homework at my desk (yes, i have a desk, it’s made of silky oak and is absolutely massive, it makes me feel important

        • That is incorrect, the golden record contains three pieces by J.S.Bach
          And two by Beethoven

          • michael pulleine

            I love Beethoven! I always found Mozart to be overrated though

  • Joseph Falco

    Added to timeline: British Moon Base is lost after nuclear fuel dump explodes sending Moon on implausible deep space trajectory. This would be about 1999.

  • The stiff scientist with a monocle gleaming in the
    harsh laboratory light, raised the test tube and proclaimed in heavy
    accented English. “Meine Herren ve have made ze breakthrough. Tis
    is ze finest English Earl Gray tea in ze synthetic form.”

    The other scientist applauded and were certain this
    invention would cement the friendship and cooperation between Great
    Britannia and ze Vaterland.

    However things went rather sour when the British test
    subject turned green and asked to be shot instead of taking a second

    Herbert Zweistein a renowned physicist commented.
    “There might be a time line they call this stuff Compo Tea.”

    On October 2015 a team of British SAS commandoes
    raided the chemistry lab and destroyed the formula and the 5000
    liters of Ersatz Tea Concentrate.

  • michael pulleine

    why would england employ wherner von braun? he was only employed by the americans because he happened to be the cheapest option, Russia actually had the superior physicist which is why they got the first artificial satellite in orbit as well as the first human in space, but then again, he had plenty of motivation *cough* gulags *cough*

  • Kotos

    Putting forth what Kirov mentioned, with Germany not losing WW1 there probably wouldn’t have been anything like the WW2 we know of-which could still keep the timeline rolling aside from Von Braun getting paperclipped into Britain. Mapes hit the right note too though: Tension alone ensured that Britain stayed against Germany early on. There were plenty of agreements that could have put them on the same side(and their monarchs even being related, House Windsor being known by it’s more German name “House Wettin” up until then). Also, not sure a Russia, Japan, Germany, or the US would sideline while the British ate up the rest of the world. They also don’t have the quality of human capital to put that kind of space engineering to work either. It’s hard to imagine a Britain with sustained social impetus either(but I’m probably biased from seeing modern UK having to fight popular separatism by way of the Scots). However, with the Dominion they did have the resources and manpower to pull together some large but cumbersome/clumsy projects early on. I’d find an alternate timeline for Russia, Germany, or US to be more likely for propelling further and faster than Britain.

    Germany is the obvious rival by not losing WW1 or WW2. They had the brains and if they won, the brawn to pull off these scenarios pretty immediately. Investigation into the possible wonder weapon “Sun Gun”(Sonnengewehr) led the US to believe from German sources that it could’ve been built between “5-10 years” from 1945. I feel it’s easy to imagine manned regular flights by the 1960’s going this alternate route-especially if Germany and it’s monarchy had survived WW1 and the Nazis didn’t drive some of their best and brightest away. It’s absurd how much was invented and discovered by the Germans alone since the Enlightenment-especially towards the 20 century.(Everything from oil synthesizing, to oil rigs, jet engines, the helo, blau gas)

    Or the Russians as another route. If Lenin had never been brought back by the Germans in WW1 as an undercover tactic, or the revolutions died down for whatever reason, or the Russian Military Establishment didn’t suck so hard, then they wouldn’t have surrendered WW1 and Germany probably wouldn’t have found it a tempting strategy to attack them in WW2 with Operation Barbarossa, which wouldn’t have set them back 28~ million people and the heart of the country having been razed by Germans-or the Germans attack UK instead. Either way, Russia is obviously much better off infrastructure wise, they have 28~ million more people to support them, and they’ll have likely closed the legendary 30 year gap that they lagged behind the West in. This could allow for a Cold War in which they’re the hyperpower, trumping US led efforts for a space program- if we’d even bother with one at that point. Also, no communism, so no pretext for a cold war or for Nazi anti-marxist invasion.

    I’m not going to post an alternate US route, because we beat all these guys in the game of longest running superpower, and we’ve scarcely devoted real effort to space, I feel. The government likes to plan Mars missions for the next decade-every decade- while NGOs like Planetary Society are trying to launch Solar Sail craft through the system and spacex is breaking grounds on engineering projects. So maybe an alternate USA timeline where elected officials had the stones to see these projects through and dream bigger.

    • Kotos

      I hate to double post, but realized I added nothing to the predicament… The British Empire was the largest empire in history, and had the resources and manpower to get the ball rolling on this timeline with or without WW1. It was decolonization post WW2 that stripped them of those things. Neither is a war with France necessary, I’d remove it if it were my timeline. In fact, the timeline should start immediately after WW2 going the way it did- and it should be Britain to perform operation paperclip to steal those Germans away. As an ally of the US, it would receive Atomic technology the way it did anyways, maybe earlier if they leveraged for it, I’d give a rough date of 1950, as a guess. The Starflight Handbook says it was an early wish to skip chemical rockets and go straight nuclear before non-proliferation got in the way of things, and if the British Empire had the organization and motivation, it could be more consistent in planning and actually get us through the solar system.Project Orion through the 50’s to 60’s and Project Daedalus in the 70’s would have made those dates given pretty reliable I think.

      Thank you for reading! I’d like to hear if anyone else thinks those projects would have an impact for the dates given in his timeline

  • Scott C. McKeown

    I am not a historian so I could be way off on this but I am under the impression that the reason The United States went from being not a very important country to a world super power if because of all the natural resouces discovered on U.S. soil. So if Britain still owns what we think of as the united stated that would explaine why Britain is a world super power but does not explaine why Germany would be a world super power. Is any one else under the same impression?

    • True.
      Maybe this is a timeline in which North America remained under British control. That might explain why Germany chose not to tangle with us.

  • Andrew

    Sounds interesting, but is to rushed. Landing on the Moon in 1960? And having colony in 69? Or even having Asteroid mining in 1976? This seems a little far fetched. The dates need to be fixed.

  • Jack Hemsley 1

    As a British man myself, I for one really enjoyed reading this timeline. Well done!

  • Warlock Cow

    I do like this but why have America not had any involvement? or the USSR? how would the Russian revolution affect this?

  • Frank Boogaard

    This timeline gives me the nagging feeling that I have seen it before in a Sci-Fi setting. I think it was Heinleins Alternate Timeline……….

  • Bunnyboy

    Too fast. Considering that in our timeline from sputnik to first spacecraft succesfully come back took 6 years, I feel sorry for the astronauts of this timeline. The space must also be littered with dying and abandoned colonies as they build new ones faster than the space can be explored. I quess Elizabeth station is feared penalty colony. Which is actually fitting, knowing the history of British colonisation.

    • Sean247

      There was about three and a half years between the first man in space and Sputnik, just under three for the first object recovered from orbit (Discover 13 returned a film container, the USSR returned two dogs alive from orbit the same month.)

      • Bunnyboy

        I think first flight to first man is ridiculously fast, but duable with strong will and incredible luck. But the speed they are building the stations and colonies, they must sending rockets like refugee ships with no time to test their designs or exploring their targets before launching.

        I’m ok with Moon colony. 18 years are enough time to get experience, though it likely corresponds our bases on antarktis.

        But sending a colony to unknown Mars in next year with promise that if there is any unseen troubles (for example, the atmosphere pressure is actually 95% less than expected from first measures), the help will come in 5 years later. That is madness. Especially that our missions 30 years later still had missed the Mars 2 times of three!

  • Why would an astronaut on the moon need an umbrella?