"They are the utter opposite of everything we know as civilization, yet are not savage. Rather, they are like a black mirror unto ourselves. As industrious, as clever, as restless and dynamic. They have taken my ship apart like a child's puzzle, meditating over each component, striving to duplicate and better the production. I curse the day that the wandering spirit sent men to sail the seven days. ...in my heart, I feel fear, because now they know that we exist..."
A Dark Fic Alternate History
, written by its member D'Valdron. The story concerns a world that is to all appearances like ours, until Captain Cook discovers an enormous, technically sophisticated civilization in Antarctica that has been developing on its own, quite unaware of the rest of humanity. The people there are not friendly. The timeline starts with the colonization of a more livable Antarctica by a small group of swept-away prehistoric humans from Australia, and follows the development of society and technology on the southernmost continent. And a truely bizarre and often horrifying civilization it is...
Can be read here
if you're a member of AlternateHistory.com
. Its overview on the AH.com wiki can be found here
. For easier reading, said overview now comes with a handy chapter guide
(currently, it is still under construction, but should be finished soon).
This series contains examples of:
- Affably Evil: The Hali culture. They'll invite you into their homes, politely respect your differences of opinion, and engage you in a discussion about the translated works of Charles Dickens. And then you find out that the Hali's hat is cold blooded torture. Even their women and children enjoy it as a recreational activity.
- Alliance, The: The Southern Pact, an alliance of European and South American against the expansive Tsalal in Southern Cone.
- Alternate History: You wouldn't want to live in this one!
- Badass: The original survivors who founded the Tsalal society. Unfortunately, the very beginnings of Antarctic human civilization were a pure Start of Darkness.
- The Bad Guy Wins: This happens repeatedly in Tsalal history. That's how Antarctica gets the way it does.
- Beneath the Earth: The Tsalal created numerous subterranean settlements called sunken cities. Tcho Tcho is the biggest sunken city, home to more than two million Tsalal, many unique species, and the oldest still-inhabited known human city.
- Black Speech: Most Tsalal languages sound this to people from the outside world.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: The most recent "update" of this timeline takes the form of the author roleplaying as a modern Tsalal member of an alternate version of AH.com posting on an "ask me" thread.
- But Not Too Foreign: Johnny Tsalal. Hunter S. Thompson took comfort in this.
- Butterfly of Doom: Averted until cca. the 18.-19. century, when Europeans start venturing closer to Antarctica.
- Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Averted. Antarctica actually has a surprisingly detailed ecology of unique animals. Most of them are based on the prehistoric animals native to Australia and South America, of which they are evolved forms, specialized to the insanely hostile Antarctic climate and ecosystem.
- Chupacabra: The Chupa/Shupa is a very obvious expy.
- Church Militant: Several examples of Tsalal religious authorities that form a state within a state.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Too many to count, but the Hali culture is the most infamous practitioner of this. And they do it For the Evulz.
- Crapsack Continent
- Dark-Skinned Blond & Dark-Skinned Redhead: Becouse of their Australoid origins and about 40000 years of social selection preferring black skin, Tsalal skin tones are as dark as humanly possible. Hair colors show more variety, but those redheads are quite rare.
- Death World: The native lifeforms of Antarctica are just plain nasty. There are the Gugs, ants that shoot fire, giant platypi that have evolved convergently similar to crocodilians, and a kind of small mammal whose bite sends humans into comas. And that's just the tip of the iceburg...
- Defector from Decadence: To some extent, Chal Lovegrove. While he's quick to defend the Tsalal from the flak it gets from the rest of the modern world, he still considers cannibalism and torture to be abhorrent, and even joins an Anti-cannibal League that persuaded many restaurants to take Human Resources off the menu.
- Drop Bear: The Southern Koala is this, with some flavoring of Xenomorphs. A dreaded taboo creature even for the Tsalal.
- Even Evil Has Standards: The Nightmare Children (Child Soldiers who were raised to be complete and utter psychopaths from birth) were viewed as horrific and cruel even by the Tsalal.
- Everyone Is Bi: More like "Everyone of the Tsalal is bi, if it's a way of degrading your inferiors or their dead bodies". Especially if the body's going to be part of the buffet that night.
- Eviler Than Thou: The other Tsalal consider the Cold Islanders to be this.
- Kangaroos Represent Australia: The Sicaripods.
- Faux Affably Evil: Face-crotch Guy. He's Hali.
- Feathered Fiend: Antarctic teratorns (type C) are two hundred pound acid spewing, horn-tufted killer birds with faces sort of like a big cat, a tiger or lion, except with a jagged beak instead of a muzzle.
- God Is Evil: The central tenet of the Zhu religion.
- I'm a Humanitarian: A whole continent of them.
- In Spite of a Nail: Something happened that Antarctica didn't have the glaciers they did in OTL. Yet world history still went on exactly the same until the Tsalal got into the picture.
- I Love the Dead: The Yag culture.
- In the Original Klingon: Tsalal claim Charles Dickens as one of them.
- Killer Rabbit: The Kuddly Kritter or Tsalal Koala looks like a big Australian Koala Bear and is one of nastiest species from Green Antarctica.
- Knight Templar: Most Tsalal religions are very dogmatic.
- Land of One City: During the 19th century, Argentina is reduced to Greater Buenos Aires.
- Luke Nounverber: The Tsalal have a mythological hero who's title is "the childraper".
- Merchant City / Vice City: Buenos Aires becomes a major hub of all kinds of trade between the Tsalal of the Southern Cone and the northern powers.
- Mysterious Antarctica
- More Teeth than the Osmond Family: The Devils, lampshaded in-series.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The author described the Flayermen as "sort of like Nazi Pedophile Vampire Ninja, except unfriendly and evil".
- Oedipus Complex. In time's of famine, it's perfectly acceptable in Tsalal culture for a boy to kill and eat his father, and then take his mother and sister as his wives. That is assuming his father doesn't do it first.
- Orange And Blue Morality: The Tsalal civilization in general, but especially the Hali.
- People Zoo: Irish in Tsalal Zoos are quite popular.
- Powered by a Forsaken Child: The Tsalal use children as guidance systems for their bigger rockets and space program. And they don't understand why the Northerners are so upset about it.
- Prison Rape: The Ptarh culture is built on it. Ironically, the same culture also lacks real prison.
- Rule of Scary
- Schizo Tech: The Antarctic natives discover things like coal mining, rocketry, and domesticated monkeys way, way ahead of time. Guns, not so much.
- Schmuck Bait: BY THE WAY, DO NOT READ POST 1515
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Howard Phillips' Flayerman mask.
- Shadowland: Antarctica is this to Europe.
- Secret Police: Probably.
- Shout-Out / Homage:
- To Edgar Allan Poe and his famous adventure/horror novella The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. The very name of the disturbing Antarctic natives of this Alternate History is kind of a dead giveaway. The story by Poe featured the "Tsalals", black-skinned, black-toothed evil natives living near the South Pole. The author has acknowledged this series was Inspired By them.
- Also, to virtually every other Mysterious Antarctica piece of fiction ever written. including those by H.P. Lovecraft : The Plateau of Leng, complete with wierd landscape, architecture and really disturbing inhabitants. That, and... Suprise ! Lovecraft himself is a journalist in this Alternate History, who travels to Antarctica to study all the weird and creepy native civilizations (and get some ideas for his short stories, presumably). Another Lovecraft shout out is the name of the city of Tcho Tcho, named after his race almost-human cannibalistic Mythos-worshipers.
- To The King in Yellow, not only with the obvious "kings in yellow", but also by using other names supposedly present in the fictional play, like Hali.
- To Robert E. Howard and Conan the Barbarian, specifically the story The Tower of the Elephant, with the name of the dead Tsalal culture of Yag.
- Slave Race: All other humans. The Gugs.
- The Gugs (mentioned above) are a a kind of eusocial gorilla sized monkeys that drag their prey under ground, rip their legs off so they can't get away, keep them alive so they can "use" (rape) them, and then eventually eat them. However, the Tsalal have found a way to domesticate them. This involves the Gug master wearing the skin of a Gug king, castrating the young males, and raping and beating them daily to show them who's boss. They are used in both mine labor, and as shock troops. They are also smart enough to use human tools and weapons.
- Snow Means Death: The Tsalal attitude.
- Justified by the long, deadly, and very snowy winter, as well as the massive, uninhabitable glaciers in some antarctic regions.
- These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: Tsalal art can be disturbing. Extremely.