Today In Alternate History:
in 1181, a star lights up, outshining all others in the sky. The Canterbury monk’s death cult, which had been preaching the doom of the world since 1178, take this as the sign of Christ’s return, and expect the rapture that very evening. When it doesn’t happen, half of England “raptures” itself.
in 1181, a branch of the Speaker’s Children watches a nova occur. One of them is watching through a hunk of glass, and gets a slightly clearer picture than the others. This branch begins work on seeing devices that use glass to magnify the sky; if they cannot travel to the heavens, they will at least be able to see them clearly.
in 559, Allah shone a star over Islam to show that He was well-pleased in the effort to conquer and convert the infidels. Caliph Hakim bin Suleiman said, “Allah has given us His favor this night with His Holy Light. Let us be guided by this light in a jihad to show the infidel the path to Paradise.” From that day forward, all Islamic nations carried a star on their flags.
in 3877, royal astronomers use a new device that focuses light through glass prisms to make distant images sharper to observe what appears to be a bright new star in the sky. While they are unable to make very many observations about the star, their ability to see features on the moon and some of the nearby planets is a breakthrough in Chinese astronomy.
in the Dreaming, Wandjina lights a star for the people. This is a sign that a battle has raged in the sky, and that Wandjina has emerged victorious. Soon, Wandjina descends the backbone of the night to come to the Pindanjaru and give them great stories of this epic struggle.
in 10-17-13-8-8, a flame in the sky lights up, and the Mayan King Tzitzilopantha says to his people, “The gods have given me a dream, and set a fire in the sky to show me that it is they who spoke. This fire is the heart of every Maya; and the sky is the empire which we will rule.” Tzitzilopantha began a series of conquests against his neighbors, spurred on by his religious passion. By the end of his life, he controlled the bridge between the 2 great continents, and many lands alongside.
in 1862, England’s House of Peers is bombed by the Human League during a ceremony ennobling the Mlosh Lord Kirtlel. Kirtlel is killed, as are three other nobles. Kirtlel’s daughter, Mritsist, takes her father’s place among the Peers, and promises that all the great wealth of her family will be spent in pursuing her father’s killers.
in 1944, Dutch Greater Zionist Resistance cell leader Otto Frank is captured with his family in Amsterdam. In the fight with New Reich police forces, Frank’s cell is wiped out; the police even kill his 15-year old daughter.
in 1975, the lead singer of the band Led Zeppelin, Robert Plant, is killed along with his family in an automobile crash on the island of Rhodes. With the creative and musical force of Plant gone, the band is unable to continue, and their brand of music fades with the coming of disco.
in 1996, Professor Thomas and Dr. Courtney walk into the offices of the underground publication Strange News. Dr. Courtney is reluctant to give his paper to these people until Professor Thomas points out, “Nobody else will publish it, Melvin. We need to let people know what happened in Chimanimani.”
in 2000, searching the desert around Las Vegas, Mikhail von Heflin and Velma Porter find the strange presence that has been summoned into this world. The glowing heart of the presence beats in time with their own, as it links its mind to theirs. For a few brief hours, the three become one.
in 2004, the broadcast from Lalande 25372 cuts out for several hours. When it returns, the Lalandians inform the earth that they don’t think they will be able to hold out much longer. Personal information for many of the signal’s operators is broadcast through, with the request that the humans keep these last records of their people safe.
An alternate birthday wish
Your humble alternate historian is about to leave the pleasant decade of the 30's behind and enter into the downhill slope of the 40's on August 14th. Before he does, he would like one simple wish - a contract with a publishing company like Workman Publishing to produce a page-a-day calendar of TIAH. If you are an editor for such a company, or can place us in touch with one, please fulfill this birthday wish!
Thanks to everyone for their generosity!
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