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Literature / Arose From Out the Azure Main

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"A spectre is haunting the noble houses of Europe, the spectre of Thatcherism."

Arose from out the Azure Main is a timeline/story in the ASB section of AH.Com written by Iainbhx.

In the early hours of the morning of February 18 1980 the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is transported 250 years backwards in time to 1730.

Hilarity Ensues.

The TL uses distinctive in-universe terminology in referring to anything from 1980 as "cis-" and everything else from 1730 as "trans-".


It can be read here (link requires forum registration, and for a forum administrator to manually activate your account).

Be warned that this page contains unmarked spoilers.

This work provides examples of:

  • Alien Space Bats: A literal ASB named Ignatz is responsible for originally engineering the Dislocation as part of a competition with his fellows to make the most interesting ISOT.
  • All the Little Germanies: To the dismay of the foreign office, who have to deal with them.
  • Allohistorical Allusion: A number, particularly to The Falklands War, which will now never happen but many of the same people, weapons, ships etc. involved in it play a role in this story.
  • Alternate History Wank: Cis-Britain naturally has considerable technological advantages and acquires a large part of the world after a brief war with Spain. However, it still has realistic limitations (not attempting to conquer the world) and the government knows full well that their advantages will not last forever, averting this trope in its purest sense.
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  • America Is Still a Colony: Whilst the timeline is set before the American revolution, most of the people in the 13 colonies are appalled at the idea of the American Revolution, including one Benjamin Franklin. One of the colonies even applies to join the UK.
    "Oh Christ, we own them, don't we."
  • Bears Are Bad News: The Alaskan brown bear are regarded as the biggest problem in trans-Alaska as they are large, numerous and not very scared of people than their modern day descendants.
  • Cool Train: The Morning Star. The queen of a new age of steam.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Any battle between cis-Britain and trans-anywhere. However, Britain is still realistically limited by things like logistics, averting Easy Logistics - it's just that this trope ensues whenever British forces meet Spaniards, Jacobites, pirates, Marathas, and Ottomans.
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  • Determinator: The Spanish and Jacobite troops in Ireland, who come from an era in which troops marching into enemy musket fire is a normal battle tactic and it's accepted that there will be heavy losses in battle. Their cis-British opponents are shocked at how much machine gun fire and ensuing deaths the enemy take before they surrender.
  • The Future Is Shocking: Generally averted - most of the trans-people regard the society of 1980 Britain as somewhat reprehensible, but in a balanced way and they acknowledge some things are better. A few trans-people are more openly enthusiastic about future society.
  • Giving Radio to the Romans: The cis-British know this trope is inevitable, but try to limit the technology they give to the European powers and others because they know that many of the European rulers will enthusiastically start World War One a few centuries early as soon as they get hold of machine guns. The cis-British are more open to giving technology to the trans-American colonies in return for them accepting a new form of government and the end of slavery.
  • Historical Domain Character: Loads of them, from Benjamin Franklin to a young Frederick the Great to dozens of 1980's politicians and public figures who are affected by the isot in a variety of ways.
  • Implausible Deniability: Fawlsey claims he has no idea who leaked that a prominant member of the Far Right had been working as a rent boy in Italy to the press.
  • In the Past, Everyone Will Be Famous: Justified, in that much of the timeline involves major affairs of state and other significant affairs, so most of the trans-people seen are major political, scientific, literary etc. figures of the eighteenth century.
  • Insistent Terminology: The British continue to use 1980s dates for events after the Dislocation, which is reflected in the dating of the updates. Justified in that several different calendar definitions were in use in the 1730s, and trans-Britain was on course to change its calendar twenty years later anyway.
  • Irony: Runs on it.
    • Because of the huge market now opened up to British industry and the collapse of international finance, the Thatcher government presides over a boom in the North and a recession in the South, the opposite of what happened in real life.
    • The Republicans and Loyalists in Northern Ireland essentially switch sides.
    • Diana Spencer ends up marrying a muslim prince rather than Prince Charles.
    • Margaret Thatcher is going to be known as a champion of British Industry and Liberator of Slaves.
    • She's also forced to create several nationised industries and support public transport to deal with the effects of the Dislocation.
    • Tony Blair gets involved with a "Stop the War" campaign.
    • Texas ends up one of the most socially liberal places on the planet.
  • King Incognito: Friedrich, Kronprinz in Preußen, Kurprinz von Brandenburg? Everyone knows he is studying English in one of the boarding schools in the south of England. Freddie at Cambridge? Son of some bigshot in trans-Settin with a knack for languages, he swears.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: France is the greatest power in Europe in this era, but it is also run by people clever enough to realise that Britain will dominate the world for the foreseeable future, and thus they design a new foreign policy based around working with the British in close alliance while planning how to profit from it. This is in contrast to the far less wise responses of the Spanish and Dutch governments.
  • Mass Teleportation: Referred to as 'the Dislocation'.
  • The Mole: Some of the people working in the embassies of Communist countries in cis-Britain (countries which are now vanished) decide to give up their espionage contacts to MI-5, with the result that several spies only unmasked much later in real life are caught.
  • Noodle Incident: Viscount Fawsley mentions a dueling incident in Sienna with a Super Soaker, but never elaborates.
  • Page Three Stunna: One of the many reasons the trans-Spanish hate the cis-British.
  • Patriotic Fervour: Employed by many British Newspapers (as usual) during the war with Spain. Brewster also tries to stoke it up among trans-Americans, with rather less success.
  • Politically Correct History: Most of the characters are intelligent enough to know this trope is not in effect, but there are examples of cis-people from other countries in the UK who returned "home" only to come back to the UK again because of how far removed the 1730 version of "home" was from what they knew.
  • Precrime Arrest: Some Israelis try to kill Hitler's ancestors, in an extreme version of the trope. Also, a lot of trans-rulers exile or kill the ancestors of future revolutionaries.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: On 3 July, King Felipe V ordered his general La Paz to scrape up one victory so Spain could walk to the treaty table with a scrap of pride left, at which point "If you succeed, then you I think you can retire with dignity, say to Guam." By the 28th (after Cadiz is taken and the Treasure Fleet captured)....
    FV: "Ah, yes, La Paz. As soon as this war is over, you will travel to Guam."
    LP: "Not the Captaincy of Guam, please, your majesty."
    FV: "No, La Paz, you are appointed to be the Captain of the Islas Carolinas."
    LP: "But we don't own those cannibal islands."
    FV: "Well, I want the claimed before the bloody English do. You may take twenty men, I suggest trying the death cells and the debtors prisons."
    • The French king also does this to the fathers of some OTL revolutionaries.
  • Screw Destiny: Once the historically important trans-people learned about their date of death or how they die, some try by any means to avoid it. For those who historically died naturally, they try to improve their health by adopting a healthy hygiene, exercises, and diets from the cis-British to live longer. But for those who learn that they were supposed to be killed by their rivals and enemies, they try to exile political agitators or the ancestors of potential prominent revolutionary leaders, cancelling and re-examining arranged marriages. Or in the most violent cases, they basically eliminate their rivals. However, there are some people who died way earlier by accidents, most of which are too suspicious.
    • There are others who accept their fate because they regarded their death as being the will of God and generally claimed that God should not be mocked.
    • On the other hand there are those who do not take the news of their fate too well, and at least two people decide to "beat" their supposed death date is by committing suicide.
  • Send in the Search Team: The search of the missing Mark Thatcher in South Africa which ends with a deliberate echo to Henry Morton Stanley's search for David Livingstone by one of the searchers saying "Mr. Thatcher, I presume?"
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The cis-British are determined to end slavery a hundred years earlier. In a more debatable and selfish example, many of the cis-British also want to try and stop German unification.
  • Shown Their Work: The level of detail and research in the story...
  • Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil: Inevitably, the British and cis-people alike are appalled of 18th century slavery, and have been making attempts to abolish it.
  • Wretched Hive: Florence is this, as described by Viscount Fawsley that all its depredations makes its description in Harold Acton's "The Last Medici" to be merely a toned down version of the truth.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Shows up a few times with the cis-British (and other people who came through the Dislocation). Some cis-people who think they can easily take advantage of Medieval Morons get a rude surprise when they are outwitted by the trans-people. The former American Ambassador Brewster thinks he can stoke up the 'spirit of '76' in the American Colonies, but in 1730 nearly everyone in the Colonies considers themselves "British people who happen to live in America", so it doesn't get much traction. And some anti-slavery campaigns and activists tend to think of slavery as the fairly homogenously brutal and race-based institution it was in the nineteenth century, whereas in the eighteenth there is a huge variation in how well or badly slaves are treated and there are even a few white slaves in the Caribbean.

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