Category Archives: Alternative Timeline

Jet Packs and Class Structure

A three year study on the use of jet packs in contiguous, current realities has just been completed by Rass Silvian (Q42) . His findings should come as little surprise to those who have thought through the logistics of jet packs. It will disappoint those with romantic notions of a retro future with people happily whizzing about from place to place via personal jet packs.

In the Y17 and Y18 timelines, jet packs are used with alarming frequency in the streets of most American, European and African cities. Silvian writes: “The timelines at first look charming, like a Steampunk’s dream: all gleaming brass metal and flying men. As you look up to see it, however, you are scalded in the face and pressed to the ground by the thrusters of a passing commuter.”

There is no way around the physical fact that a jet pack must apply equal or greater force than the weight it lifts. Even a petite business woman in a sleek, lightweight transport will surge over the ground with a hundred pounds of hot, steaming pressure.

A little observation reveals that all these cities are deeply stratified. “The wealthy whirl through the air, enjoying a full three dimensions of freedom, while the poor are left cowering and parboiled in the streets.

Silvian observes 18 cataloged timelines in which jet packs are used as a frequent method of transport. All have highly caste-like social structures and all reserve the privilege of jet pack flight for the affluent elite. The wealthy in these timelines (and many more) simply don’t care what happens to the people beneath them. One be-monocled gentleman even made a game of making beggars scramble beneath him as he enjoyed an egg sandwich and jetted across Plottsdam Park in London.

He writes: “It is as if the adoption of this method of travel, with its promise of independence and personal freedom, has lead to a complete lack of empathy, or consideration for the welfare of the greater society. Either that, or the cruelty of the jet pack has made these sociopathic tendencies manifest in the streets of this world.”

Silvian goes on to note that the wider environmental impacts of jet packs are devastating, with extremely high Co2 emissions and ozone depletion. He also notes that 8 of the visited realities are divergents from a Nazi-centric timeline (Y17:NOA1946:51) where Germany won the Second World War. “The callous use of jet packs,” he says, “are a perfect symbol of the modern Nazi, allowing him to travel in a style that reflects his egocentric need to exert superiority, while maintaining his classic Nazi banality in the face of his own cruelty.”

Silvian suggests explorers of these “Jet Pack Timelines” are best advised to approach with caution and a heat dissipating umbrella.


Frank Sinatra Posthumously Sued

Here is an odd little story from the ever litigious timeline Q11L1973:

Frank Sinatra posthumously sued in a class action suit by people who made it in New York, but not elsewhere.

The Estate of Frank Sinatra has been sued by a class of actors, dancers, musicians and waiters who all met with some measure of success in New York, but failed to make it anywhere else. The suit names both Frank Sinatra, his estate and the estate of the late Fred Ebb who wrote the lyrics to the song New York, New York.

The group is demanding to be compensated for the income they would have made if they had made it in other locations. Boston, L.A. and Guam were specifically named in the suit. The Sinatra Estate has responded saying that the members of the class had failed to play “Misty” for Mr. Sinatra despite numerous requests, and as such had entered into no sort of agreement with him.


A Quick Survey of the Alt Gore Presidencies

Modern Temporal Historians are fascinated not by what could have been, but by what almost was. The extraordinarily narrow 2000 presidential election, is heavily studied, not just because of the slim margin of victory, but because of the subsequent events that followed. (From the Q42 timeline).

Most often, I’m afraid, the 9/11 attacks still occur. Of 188 ‘Alt Gore’ timelines surveyed at the time of this post, the attack on the World Trade Center occurs 102 times. There are an additional 17 timelines in which the target is changed to the Empire State Building or various other targets within New York City, and 12 reported misses into the Hudson River.

I don’t mean to report on these events with dispassion. I’ve done three of these surveys myself and it is horrible to watch the tragedy unfold. The worst part is not because you are powerless to prevent it, but because you aren’t. (More on that in a different post.)

Further out, in a Gore presidency there is never an invasion of Iraq, though there is a single disastrous report of an invasion of Iran. 69 timelines report a war with Afghanistan within 100 days. Most of these become protracted. Gore is re-elected in approximately half the war timelines, overwhelmingly so in the 7 timelines where Osama Bin Laden is caught.

I visited one of these most recently, avoiding the grim photos that swept the internet. Bin Laden was killed July 23rd, 2003 by U.S. Army soldiers from 87th Infantry Regimen. No individual would take credit for the kill, preferring instead that credit be given to the whole of the 1st Battalion. The U.S. is like a party for the remainder of the summer.

The long term effect upon the U.S. would startle anyone in this timeline. Gore used his credibility and approval rating to make possible all manner of alternative energy initiatives. This lead to a tremendous breakthrough in solar technology which, by the concurrent 2016, will allow 30% of U.S. energy use to come from renewable sources. In your timeline, America will still be woefully dependent on foreign oil in 2016.

These reports do not count three dozen or so surveys which stem from an earlier divergent line where Gore wins the 2000 election easily because the Monica Lewinsky scandalĀ  never went public, didn’t happen, or a slight smarter America didn’t care.