Building the Birmoverse


Great thread over on Cheeseburger Gothic soliciting thoughts on what the world will look like after the war in the Axis of Time Birmoverse….even if I am a bit of a late starter…this is a great series, so a. have a think about tracking down the first trilogy and having a read and b. contributing some thoughts. I’m tossing my thoughts in here as I find it easier to add in links etc to sources…

  • The UK will revert back to a Battle of Britain frontline mentality i.e. a far higher rate of readiness than during the Cold War and a non-war that will be far hotter than the Cold War i.e. intercepts and shoot-downs, possibly much like the 67-73 War of Attrition in the Middle East.
  • The Sovs are much more likely to learn from our history or what’s left of it and plan on making their move for the rest of Europe early and there will be a lot more skirmishes, border incidents etc, again more like the Arab-Israel relationship in ‘our’ time.
  • Britain will give up the Empire but under far more controlled conditions: Singapore will be created immediately based upon the ethnic Chinese, ditto for Malaysia with the native Malays; India will become independent without much help from Mr Ghandi (so the movie will be much different too and possibly no longer Oscar material) and from the start be set up as a strong ally in the region a la AS and NZ in the Pacific; issues with tribes (i.e. we will get into advanced Gantism early) and borders will be sorted at the same time possibly along the same lines as the UAE  as per this item on Coming Anarchy. On similar lines, the handover from empire in the Gulf will be far more structured and only once a civil infrastructure a la India is well-embedded.
  • AS and NZ will be developed as regional allies to much the same level as Canada in terms of militaries, especially air and maritime forces, and NZ’s main focus will be patrolling/protecting the seaways and resources of the southern sea lanes and Antarctica before Argentina and Chile make a grab for them. I for one would like to see more RNZAF Vulcans (no, not the point eared type)
  • The convoy system will remain in vogue and the intensified Cold War will make the sea lanes operational environments to pressure the UK and other free world nations like AS and NZ that are dependent on shipping for trade and goods. Submarines may replace the nutcase terrorists like Baader-Meinhof etc. As mentioned in The Strategist today, there may well be an increase in private maritime forces to exploit this on both security and piracy/privateer sides of the house.
  • Just for shits and giggles and because I think he got a raw deal, MacArthur will be allowed to nuke the Yellow River if anyone looks even remotely sideways at crossing it.
  • Someone already mentioned the internet but via cable – Voice of America/Free Europe will beam out not just radio but information and TV streams into occupied Europe – two info war models spring to mind: one is Tom Clancy’s campaign against China in The Bear and the Dragon, and the other the UK Political Warfare Executive initiatives like Gustav Seigfied Eins, with more info on Wikipedia and an interesting paper here on Grey and Black Propaganda Against Nazi Germany. I remembering reading about this when I was about ten in a Reader’s Digest Condensed book, titled something like The House in Baker Street (Baker St being pretty much owned by the SOE during WW2)- I haven’t been able to find any references to this title via Google or Bing – I’d be much appreciated if anyone could put me on to either the full or abridged version as I’d love to reread it – the original have gone up in smoke many moons ago.
  • On the same lines, I think that we will see personal computing power (PCP) ramp up into the early fifties as the technology is made accessible through the uptimers – what we saw in the 90s will probably happen in the Birmoverse in the 50s. This will be both a byproduct and a deliberate policy to use information as a weapon both against the Soviets and also to mitigate the vulnerability of ignorance that enables the exploitation of people into proxy terrorists and fighters e.g. take the info war to the mullahs in the 50s – this approach will also be a major factor in decolonialisation.
  • The whole Vietnam thing will be headed off at the pass when the French get arbitrarily booted out of Indochina (with lots of parties and champagne and bugger-all tears from the locals), a US-based Constitution is adopted and President Ho Chi Minh leads Vietnam into an era of prosperity and progress (much like Lee Qwan Yew in Singapore) while becoming the region’s major foundation for stability against Chinese expansionism.
  • Ed Hillary still knocks the bugger off in 1953…and Queen Elisabeth II is crowned at the same time – but takes considerable steps to ensure that her children get better relationship counselling before being allowed to breed. The Queen Mother still lives on to 103 years old. Sir Ed sees that Nepal and Tibet become peaceful sanctuaries for eco-tourism while the UK realises the error of its ways and makes sure the Ghurkas get a fair shake decades earlier than in this timeline.
  • Winston Churchill doesn’t get booted out of office in 1945 by an ungrateful nation and remains Prime Minister until the late 50s when he hands over to someone way smarter than those who actually did the job between him and Maggie Thatcher.
  • JFK drops his (and his dad’s) political aspirations and gets into Hollywood, marries Grace Kelly and both go on to become Hollywood’s ‘royal’ family.
  • A peacekeeping force deploys into Palestine on the eve of the creation of the state of Israel in May 48 (Exodus never happens as the Brits are dicks about it this time around) – over the next 2-3 decades it oversees the successful blending of cultures and healing of wounds. Israel become a major technology centre ( a la Singapore), never needs to develop a major military capability (or submit its economy to one) – by 1980 the relationship of Jew and Muslim returns to the symbiotic one of a previous millenia.
  • The space race still occurs but a decade earlier with a man on the moon (one of the Mercury 7?) in 1959 – the Russians still can’t get it together in space without massive attrition in astronauts and hardware. Bombs in space are a reality a la Jeff Sutton‘s Bombs in Orbit Ace Publishing D-377 1959. Permanent bases are established on the moon by 1970 and the first landings on Mars happen by 1980. The UK is not a player in the space race other than to provide high calibre pilots due to its ongoing combat ops in the non-war with the Sovs.
  • Many British children and families are evacuated to the Dominions for education as Britain becomes a literal floating FOB against the Sovs. This is made more palatable by the SST network established by the late 50s (it took time to ramp up mass production of the high-tech metals necessary for mass supersonic flight) that reduces global travel times and also mitigates the maritime threats against shipping. Stratospheric ballistic travel become a reality in the 60s. Essentially the UK is someplace you work but you go on holiday anywhere else.
  • Due to its ongoing war footing, the mass immigration from the colonies never occurs and Britain remains essentially British – the Beatles and the Rolling Stones still kick off on schedule.
  • The B-49 is adopted by the RAF as the Vandal (sorry but I’m not giving this one up!) as its stealthy profile, along with the Vulcan and Victor, enables its to better operate in the air defence environments over Europe and the North Sea – the B-52 is too slab-sided and suffers too many losses. The TSR.2 also comes into service in the mid-50s as the F-111 concept is tossed out as the joke it always was + there will be no McNamaraism to foster its design anyway. McNamara himself goes on to become the head of the Tucker Motor Corporation.
  • Despite the early release of public CG software in the 50s, Gerry Anderson still starts out with SuperMarionation and Thunderbirds remains a mega-hit with children of all ages.
  • South Africa and Rhodesia remain members of the Commonwealth and over a period of decades transition from apartheid-based societies to successful blended cultures a la Singapore. Both nations form the bulwark of westernism against the Sovs in Southern Africa and win numerous wars against Sov-supported forces from Mozambique, Angola and Zambia a la Barrett Tillman’s The Sixth Battle and Larry Bond’s Vortex.  Nelson Mandela still becomes President but in the late 80s.
  • Britannia continues to rule the waves – the RN retains its full deck carriers and also expands the battleship fleet with more Vanguard class vessels – it remains the premier maritime force for littoral operations (a la lessons from the Med pre-Transition), whereas the US Navy rules in blue water ops.
  • The Sovs will be wise to the concept of containment but I still don’t think that they will be bright enough to do much about it as they have this habit of killing off all their best and brightest – while the steel-shod boot of terror may maintain its hold on Europe eventually this will weaken. Trite as it sounds I think that repressing its intellectual capabiltities will be sound the same eventual death knell for the Sovs in the Birmoverse as it did here in 1989.
  • Women will be empowered way earlier without having to ignite their undies (which we now know can get you locked up in Gitmo #2) – this will be one of the most significant long-term effects of the Transition, even more than the technological advances, and will spread like wild fire through all cultures. This notwithstanding, prominent bumpy bits on aircraft will still be known as ‘Sabrinas‘. Sometime in the fifties, either the British Prime Minister or the President should be a women – without wanting too many uptimers running the place, maybe Karen Halabi takes over from Churchill either by election or succession – this benign dictatorship thing seems to work quite well…and would a nation at war like Britain still is, really want to risk an election that might bring in the likes of MacMillan?
  • The All Blacks still only win the one Rugby World Cup but manage to hold the America’s Cup for three decades running as a bonus prize.

15 thoughts on “Building the Birmoverse

  1. But I must disagree on the space race. It won’t happen in the Birmoverse. It happened here as a means of acquiring data relevant to ballistic missiles. Those in the Zone have that data. There will be no need to spin the pretense of going to the moon. There is no military value to the moon. Near earth orbit, yes. The moon, no.

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    • However the way we’re spreading anthrax, heavy metal poisons and nukes around the planet in 1945 (in the Birmoverse), with the promise of more, much more to come til Uncle Joe gets reined in or topped, means that it might not be a bad idea to suss out some alternate real estate. Possibly not the Moon but it would be a good stepping stone to Mars and possibly further on – in keeping with the popular press of the 50s. I mean, we know from the Transition that worm holes are so very doable albeit not yet much in the way of controllable so might the space race head off in that direction? I’m reminded of the Harry Turtledove story Half the Battle and Jame’s Blish’s Welcome to Mars, both of which are constructed around that premise that if you know something is possible, it is a damn sight easier to make it happen that it was for whoever did it first. Thus knowing a worm hole is possible but a bit dangerous, we might want to experiment with them but someplace safe and a long way away. Hence the space race still going on…

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  2. Like the idea of the TSR coming on line.

    Just can’t see the idea of forming Isreal actually having much traction as between russia, the nukes and the bioweapons where are the refugees going to come from? Also real politick by the Poms will mean that palestine will remain palestine and that potential problems in perisa and Iraq an nipped in the bud early. The French can still keep the Leb though!!

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  3. mate that really is good work and its , like the rest of us..our thoughts and views on the subject. Good job.

    NOW!, being somewhat of a FAN, i’m gunna osit that the F111 was by far a better aircraft, Greater top speed, 10K plus greater operational ceiling and I would suggest better at low level. NOW that also depends somewhat with both aircraft on what versions. given we have access to Historical issues in the 21C caches, the teething problems should be overcome early.

    The C model which the RAAF operated, a moded version of the A, with FB wings and other upgrades was possibly the best version of the lot. My choice would be the Pig….AND IT LOOKS FKN BETTER TOO..lol

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    • Cheers, Havock…

      Agree re the F-111C – in this universe – but think that the TSR.2 offers a technically simpler i.e. no wing sweeping, alternative for post-war strike, much along the same lines as the Mosquito B.4 i.e. get in, strike, get out…with the Sovbloc just across the ditch, the rough field capability of the TSR.2 would have been more relevant than perhaps it was in our time. Plus I don’t see the point in writing a alt history if you are going to populate it with the same old stuff we have in our now.

      That’s why I think the B-49 would have been cooler than the B-52 (can’t tell me that 21C tech couldn’t have mitigated the pitch control issues), and the Skyshark both cooler and more capable than the Skyraider (if turbines are still so unreliable in the AoT, why are we messing around with single engine Sabres and A-4s? If not the B-49, then the B-36 would have been a more logical contender for long range bombing (nuke or conventional) as it was closer to existing airframe technology, has lots of guns and bombs, and has been somewhat neglected in literature.

      You can not call something a PIG and then enter it into the Miss Beautiful Aircraft competition….

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  4. Hey I just wanted to let you know, I actually like the writing on your website. But I am employing Chromium on a machine running version 8.x of Ubuntu and the UI aren’t quite right. Not a important deal, I can still essentially read the articles and research for info, but just wanted to inform you about that. The navigation bar is kind of tough to use with the config I’m running. Keep up the great work!

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  5. Thanks for writing about this. There’s a lot of good tech info on the internet. You’ve got a lot of that info here on your web site. I’m impressed – I try to keep a couple blogs somewhat on-going, but it’s a struggle sometimes. You’ve done a big job with this one. How do you do it?

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    • The secrets to keeping a blog going?

      Learn to type fast and accurately. Always always spell check.

      Commit to how often you are going to publish new material e.g. daily, weekly, etc, and force yourself to stick to the that schedule. You can always draft posts ahead of time for busy periods or scheduled release while you are offline.

      Try to put aside a specific time of day for drafting and posting.

      When you have an idea for a post while you are offline, write it down.

      Hope this helps…

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