Three recent texts from alternate timelines
October 8, 2017 5:34 PM   Subscribe

"The Primordial Gound" by Justin E. H. Smith (The Public Domain Review, October 2017; but reworked from earlier articles): "Klopp records that in May of 1777 Kant's ship suffered heavy damages in a storm in the South China Sea." "From The New Ecyclopedia" by Byron Landry (Conjunctions, April 2017): "Little is known about the pre-Socratic philosopher Polycyathus, and that little unlikeable: ... he believed that, of all the forms of governance, tyranny was best, because 'it breeds monuments.'" "The Doctor is Who?" by Heavy (, July 2017): "Several actors were considered to play the Second Doctor ... Peter Jeffrey, Valentine Dyall and Patrick Troughton were all approached but each declined the role."
posted by Wobbuffet (11 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Metafilter: I immediately thought of Gūnd, the pagan god of fennel
posted by theodolite at 6:27 PM on October 8, 2017 [3 favorites]

Of course I went to the Alternate Doctor Who first... I was quite skeptical of a history that included Colin Baker as the only one of OUR history as The Doctor (but several years earlier and with better hair). I just assumed that in all but the Worst Possible Universes, we had Tom Baker and David Tennant sometime along the way. And the different manner in which it was revived (on the SciFi Channel with Anthony Stewart Head) seemed more of Best Possible Universe, for the production AND for the story arc with no need for a War Doctor...
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:04 PM on October 8, 2017 [1 favorite]


Natalie Dormer

I'm in.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:29 AM on October 9, 2017

My goodness, that Alternate Who saga was a great, well-thought-out read.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 8:35 AM on October 9, 2017

You have to pay a price in alternate timelines, though. Improve Dr. Who, and you get Charlton Heston as Batman, something like that.
posted by thelonius at 8:40 AM on October 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

They got Shatner as Batman instead of Adam West, which feels like a draw.
posted by nonasuch at 9:57 AM on October 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

*scrolls idly down the alternate Doctor Who timeline*

"Art Malik
(1987 – 1991)​"

*screeches to a halt*

*reads on*


Guh. Swooony, suave, 80s Art Malik as the Doctor, with Michelle Gomez! Something I had never before considered, but now will haunt my dreams, daydreams, and possibly a large volume of harrassing letters written in red crayon to Big Finish.
posted by Vortisaur at 12:19 PM on October 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm slightly confused - is the Who timeline just fantasy, or is it based on actual possible alternate choices?
posted by Grangousier at 3:34 PM on October 9, 2017

The Doctor Who timeline is alternate history, so it's not supposed to be pure fantasy casting but rather a 'plausible' sequence of events given some point of departure from our timeline. The site FAQ and the original discussion thread with feedback on the Who timeline may make the constraints and/or flexibility they work with there more clear.
posted by Wobbuffet at 5:08 PM on October 9, 2017

So fantasy, then. Which is fine, but not the kind of thing I'm interested in - what is fascinating with Who is the interplay between the corporate and editorial and budgetary constraints and the programme that was made. For example, it's entirely plausible that John le Mesurier might have been considered, though I can find no reference to it in his Wikipedia entry, and he had enough work as it was without committing to that kind of schedule for that kind of money. However, I know that Geoffrey "Catweazle" Bayldon was considered in both 1963 and 1966, so that might be an interesting conjecture. Similarly, Sylvester McCoy might have lost the job to his old boss Ken Campbell (who I think was magnificent, but the casting director definitely made the right choice there).

Alternate history, like Science Fiction, is more interesting the fewer variables one changes - if we alter this one thing, how much does it alter what happened? If you just keep making stuff up, with no discipline, why bother? Without constraint, there's not even any fun.

If I seem to be missing the point, its because I really don't see what the point is. The history of Doctor Who is a through-line of over fifty years of BBC TV drama production. Pretending that it turned into a hit U.S. show at some point (which it wouldn't have, for a bunch of reasons), is less informative or entertaining than would justify the amount of typing necessary. As is my comment, of course, but for reasons I'll pass over I need the typing practice at the moment.
posted by Grangousier at 3:46 AM on October 10, 2017

Considering "Alternative Medicine" and the "Alt-Right", Alternate History is our last hope for redemption for keeping the three-letter prefix "alt" from becoming a total loss.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:31 AM on October 10, 2017

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