Generating Ideas for Writing - What You Thought You Knew

Alternative history is always an interesting thought experiment. What if the US lost WW2? You get The Man in the High Castle. What if the US lost the revolutionary war? What if the South won the Civil War? There is another interesting thing to explore that runs along a similar vein. You thought you knew that aliens don't exist, but then there was Men In Black.

What if what you thought you knew about the shutdown of Alcatraz was wrong? Most people know that Alcatraz was shut down because the government wanted to save money. That seems like kind of an obvious lie. Everyone else knows that Alcatraz was shut down because two guys escaped. The real answer is that Alcatraz was shut down after all of the guards and prisoners mysteriously vanished without a trace. Then decades later they start reappearing and killing people. A secret government agency was set up to track them down and put them in a new black prison. That is the storyline for the show Alcatraz. It only ran for one season, but I think it is pretty good. What else do we think we know?

I think I know that JFK being assassinated was a bad thing. I think I know that the space race was against the Soviet Union, that the US won, and that the US went to the moon to do that. I think I know that the US invented the atomic bomb in a huge secret project. I think I know that Germany started WW2. I think I know that the allies won WW1. I think I know that humans evolved from other apes in Africa a long time ago. I think I know that dinosaurs don't exist anymore. I think I know that magic, or ghosts, or gods, or aliens don't exist.

What are some major changes we could make in history? Obviously, changing famous deaths does a lot, or changing who won a war changes a lot. Hitler dies young, Martin Luther King doesn't die, Constantine doesn't convert to Christianity, Rome doesn't fall, the Mongol hoard conquers and holds Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, Alexander lives to an old age, instead of diseases wiping out the Native Americans diseases wipe out the Europeans, the Ancient Egyptians conquer and hold Africa, the Brits hold onto their large empire, the Japanese get the atomic bomb first, etc.

Imagine what you won't know tomorrow. The possibilities are endless. I may have to explore some of these in the future. You are welcome to join me at


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