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Literature / The ISOT'd House: One Woman Goes from 2012 to 1952

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In our timeline, despite its political and economic strength and influence all over the world, the United States of America is a deeply divided nation, both politically and internationally. Domestically, its politics are partisan and there is a growing wealth gap between the rich, the major corporations, and the poor. Internationally, for every nation that views the US as a force of good, there are those who view the US as a detrimental, imperialistic force only serving itself, various "friendly dictators", and big corporations at the expense of the world.


This polarization makes one wonder what if this could all be changed? What if America was a nation where all are fundamentally equal under the law, corporations are punished for malfeasance and everyone enjoys the benefits of freedom and prosperity? What if the US was a force that stands, not for its own hegemonic gain, but for genuine belief in freedom and the fight against tyranny of all forms? And most importantly, what if one woman proved to be the key that put America on this better and more just path? This alternate scenario is explored by one Sergeant Heretic of in her timeline in the "alien space bats" section The ISOT'd House: One Woman Goes from 2012 to 1952.

In this timeline, Janet Forrester, an average American woman, went to bed on December the 21st 2012. She was positive that the next morning she would be able to laugh and jeer and poke fun at all the Mayan calendar Chicken Littles as she wallowed in smug satisfaction at the world not coming to an end. However, the next day she wakes up in 1952. She is quickly introduced to Skippy, everyone's favourite Alien Space Bat, who tells her she has a divine purpose to change the world for the better. What follows are a series of events that will change the history of the United States forever.


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Contains Examples Of

  • A Date with Rosie Palms: At one point during the 1960s Janet Clifton inadvertently interrupts her son, Michael being the "Master of his domain".
  • A Father to His Men:
    • Colonel Michael Clifton Jr (he's literally a father to a whole bunch of soldiers under Project Spartan, see Evilutionary Biologist below).
    • Also, Colonel David Hackworth in the more usual metaphorical sense.
  • After the End: On Mars, present day Vinithi society took shape after a global thermonuclear and chemical and biological war devastated Martian society millions of years ago.
  • Allohistorical Allusion: Too many examples to list, but for starters, "John McClane" is a real individual who's part of an elite special forces squad.
  • Advertisement:
  • Alternate History: With a point of divergence starting in December of 1952.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: Invoked by Janet toward her son when warning him not to be a bully in the late 1960s.
  • Amazon Brigade: The Green Angels in World War III, who becomes Big Damn Heroes when they rescue the American ambassador, after they Took a Level in Badass. The first command group of G.A.'s in 1964 initially started as support and logistics personnel, and were not front-line soldiers. They had originally been termed "The Green Witches" by their LABARO opponents, but got their present name after news of their heroics reached the United States.
  • America Saves the Day:
    • Averted with World War III, beginning with an attack on American soil and the U.S. needing her allies big-time during the first few months of the war as they geared up for the major offensives in the mid to late 1960s.
    • Even more deconstructed with the Charlie Foxtrot in Central Africa showing the U.S. making a world-class mess of things via well intentioned blundering.
  • Alien Space Bats: The premise of this timeline, and oh, Skippy directly appears to guide Janet in some points
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: The LABARO Fascists in Brazil and South America, who actually have Nazi War criminals like Eichmann and Bormann serving in their governments. The Illinois Nazi party also try to assassinate Michael Clifton during his presidency.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Scott Roeder is kicked out of West Point, The Army, and serves five years in military prison for sexual assault, rape and violation of gender quarantine.
  • Asshole Victim: Quite a few Ultra-Conservatives in this timeline don't get treated well. The Far-Left Crystal Wingrass would count as this as well.
  • As You Know: In 2009 Lt. Colonel Angelina Jolie encounters Morgana Van Pelt and tells her about regen therapy using this style of exposition.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: Men regenerated as women by the biological regeneration/repairative chambers are virtually always regenerated as a more attractive version of their 18-to-20 year old selves in female form. For example, when Lee Oswald regenerates, he closely resembles a young Winona Ryder.
  • The Atoner: The Martians are helping and teaching humans to make up for fighting a nuclear war that destroyed Mars's ecosystem.
  • Author Appeal:
    • The Martians give humanity a Gender Bender technology that totally regenerates a human being but only as the opposite gender (e.g. male to female). Take note of SergeantHeretic's account on
    • Reverse engineering extends this tech to the healing of injuries, since it rebuilds the human body from basic building blocks of proteins, amino acids and the like, without necessarily changing a person's outward-appearing gender.
  • Author Tract: Right Wing Authoritarianism and far-left authoritarian Stalinism are equally bad, Corporate neo-feudalism is bad, Objectivism is bad and economic lawlessness is bad.
  • Balkanise Me:
    • This happens to China after the Third World War.
    • Averted (somewhat ironically) with the trope-namer, Yugoslavia.
  • Becoming the Mask: Vice President Richard Nixon starts out as something of a craven self interested political operator and a bit of a jerk. When he meets and gets to know Janet he decides to play the role of the hero statesman to get what he wants. In time, it stops being a pretense and he actually becomes a good, selfless caring leader and statesman who cares more about the people he governs than he does about himself.
  • Big Bad: The LABARO Fascists and Chinese Communists in the WW 3 arc, and in an upcoming arc set in the Middle East and Africa, it is shaping up to be an Arab nationalist and Islamic Fundamentalist coalition led by Nasser along with various authoritarian regimes in Africa. The corporate bodies and ultraconservative right in America can be seen as this trope as a whole overall.
  • Big Good: By the 1990s and 2000s, the United States of America as a nation and culture is seen as this overall.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: in 2009 Morgana Van Pelt and her Draka confederates release a virus that turns ten percent of Americans temorarily into violent criminals.
  • Colonel Badass: Colonel Michael Clifton Jr., as well as the inestimable Colonel David Hackworth.
  • Conscription: Essentially three phases of evolution of social attitudes can be outlined:
    • Because of World War Three, conscription fails to be the politically divisive issue it was in our timeline of the 1960s and 1970s, and so it only starts to be seriously debated by the late 1990s.
    • In 1999/2000, the United States military still has and uses active conscription. However both men and women are subject to it and it is very difficult nigh impossible to obtain a deferment from call-up if one receives a notice. At one time, American conscripts were prioritized for support, logistics and other non-combat duties with volunteers prioritized for any front line or second echelon duties. Because of rising casualties in the Central African Humanitarian Intervention and falling volunteer rates, conscripts were being sent into combat; as of 1999 and the post-war drawdown the U.S. military is 0.5 percent conscripted.
    • By the late 2000s, conscription has become an issue important enough to be the subject of debates among major media and political figures.
  • Competence Zone: Subverted, as people in this work tend to be talented, capbable ans skilled to varying degrees based on circumstances much more than arbitrary ages.
  • Crossover: In the 2000s, Jenny Everywhere and Jenny Nowhere make appearances - for a time, Jenny Nowhere was the primary villain. It was soon revealed that Jenny Nowhere was merely The Dragon to Morgana van Pelt.
  • Culture Clash: Between the Earthlings, Venereans (used in preference to the usual "Venusian"), and Martians In addition, in the late 1990's Janine Frasier experiences culture clash in a society that is far more liberal, tolerant and accepting than she personally find comfortable.)
  • Curbstomp Battle: There was actually a 'Curbstomp War' between METO (Israel, Turkey, Iraq, and Iran) and the radical Islamic regimes of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, and Pakistan. In addition, the US forces annihilated the militaries of Angola, Somalia, and other rogue nations. It's the post-war that'll be the problem.
  • The Dragon: Jenny Nowhere is this to Morgana van Pelt.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Janet Forrester early and often, especially with Michael. It crosses over the edge of some sensibilities of the 1950s and 1960s from time to time.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance:
    • Janet attracts the attention of a cop for jogging.
    • The bookstore where she worked in 1952 is torched because she let black people in and treated them decently.
  • Eagleland: The positive freedom-and-liberty, justice-for-all vision of America.
  • Enemy Mine: WW3 is made up of alliances consisting of this—we have the LABARO Fascists and Mao Zedong vs the US and USSR in WWIII, the victory of the US and USSR leads to an era of cooperation between the two powers and an informal end to the Cold War
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The Synthetic Plague CRIME virus Mark Two creates the Nightsiders, who are criminal masterminds who shun rape, brutality, and other crimes of assault and violation in favor of racketeering, black market trades and other much less detectable white-collar crimes to gain power.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: In this TL Michelle Bachmann is an unscupulous doctor in charge of a project to turn the bastard children of Michael Clifton Jr. and over a hundred volunteer "mothers' into super soldiers that are potentially disposable.
  • Evil Versus Evil: The various factions in Africa in a nutshell, on one hand you have the Lord's Resistance army and Joseph Kony, along with the various warlords in Somalia and Africa as a whole, and on the other hand you have a corrupt corporatist regime in the Congo run by greedy businessmen that is a thinly veiled expy of the Draka along with the Apartheid system in South Africa, which has lasted a bit longer than OTL. All of them fight for land and resources while exploiting and enslaving millions and committing horrendous atrocities and human rights violation against innocent civilians. The US declares war on these factions in the 1990s to set things right in Africa. However, as we soon find out, the aftershocks of the armed intervention there makes the problems get worse instead of solving them.
  • Face–Heel Turn:
    • The Kennedy family become fixtures and icons for the conservative and corporate right. Bobby even runs against Michael Clifton Sr. with Jerry Falwell as his running mate!
    • Averted with JFK leaving the Senate to become a news reporter and opinion-piece writer.
  • For Want of a Nail: Due to just a few initial interactions that Janet has, a whole chain of changes occurs to make the United States ultimately far more open to the use of government intervention on behalf of the poor and racial minorities, and considerably less disposed to create conditions for the expansion of corporate influence in the workings of government.
  • Four-Star Badass: General Tyn Daley, U.S. Army.
  • Fix Fic:
    • The timeline's vignettes ultimately fix every single foreign policy mistake in US history, such as the Vietnam War and every single covert operation they did resulting in the overthrow of democratic leftist governments as well as hardens it's attitudes torwards corporations, fundamentalism and political extremism, allowing for a more socially liberal and tolerant USA that is respected worldwide to the point where the USSR believes the US are better socialists than they are.
    • Other countries get a breather because of Janet's changes, as well. East Germany is de facto if not de jure unified with West Germany by the 1970s/1980s, Yugoslavia survives, and Afghanistan becomes a stable gateway between the USSR and its satellite, Pakistan.
  • Friendly Enemy: After mutual victory in World War III, the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics are this with varying levels of public "animosity" for the rest of the 20th century.
  • From Bad to Worse: Exemplified by the US action in Africa: at first we have some quick victories against fascist regimes, but then get stuck fighting against both fascist soldiers and militias who want Mighty Whitey out. More recently, a few US soldiers are out there slaughtering entire villages just on suspicion of enemy forces.
  • Fun with Acronyms: H.A.T.E pods, which the USMC drop from space out of, and Practical Inquiry and Moral Philosophy, or P.I.M.P. class.
  • The Great Politics Mess-Up: Averted and deconstructed. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics experiences a liberalisation and reformation similar to OTL's China and is still alive and well and a major player in 1998.
  • Girls Behind Bars: Lampshaded, then again deconstructed and played for realism and believability. Allison Mack, as of 2012/13 in the TL, is serving time in maximum security and it is decidedly unlike many OTL exploitation movies involving women in prison.
  • Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex: Occurs in the armed forces regardless of the genders of the participants. Justified in that this world has seen bigger conventional wars than our present world. In-verse, it is generally tolerated by the brass on the grounds that their soldiers are trained and equipped well enough that they know when to exercise judgement in matters of the sleeping bag.
  • Good Republic, Evil Empire: The United States and her Allies Versus the LABARO Regime in Brazil during World War Three.
  • Good Versus Good: In December of 1997 the democratic leaning United Principalities of Africa begins fighting the United States military in the Congo. This begins an eight-month war that last until both sides realize the horrible mistake they've both made. The Americans want a free and democratic Africa, the U.P.A.ers want basically the same thing. The eight month "friendly fire war" happens because neither side realizes the OTHER side is not acting from ulterior motives.
  • Happily Married:
    • Eventually Michael Clifton and Janet Forrester. Later, Janet becomes married to a woman in a new incarnation.
    • In the Venus arc, two women consider themselves all but actually married; they will be once it becomes legal.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Richard Nixon is much less corrupt than in real life, with some help from Janet and Michael.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Rexford Tugwell and Robert Welner's relationship is, at the core, this.
  • Hide Your Queers: Averted quite hard. The more liberal American and Canadian societies of the 1970s and 1980s create more conducive environments for gays, lesbians and bisexuals to at least be quietly "out" at school or at work. By the 1980s and 1990s it's legal for them to marry and adopt children.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: President Eisenhower and Richard Nixon respectively.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: In one particular recent update, Dick Cheney(and many of the Project for an New American Century Think Tank), Kenneth Lay and Newt Gingrich are seen as important officials in the brutal corporatist regime in the Congo.
  • Humans Are Explorers: Invoked directly by Michael Clifton Jr. in a speech in 2012
  • Humans Are Warriors: Lampshaded in the same speech
  • Human Aliens: Martians and Venereans are genetically and physically similar to humans, Venerians are even being able to interbreed. Martians are asexual reptilians that no longer breed as humans know it.
  • In-Character Commentaries: Several vignettes in the timeline are written from the perspective of people living within that timeline.
    • A rather amusing example is the article by Lee Harvey Oswald, noted left-wing journalist who entertains a JFK death conspiracy theory, in which he blames Christian fundamentalists for the death of his good friend.
    • Later, Oswald writes a rather rambling summary of the "Alligator War" (as he terms the African conflict he has gone on an embedded tour to report upon).
  • Insane Troll Logic: Ayn Rand herself displays a lot of this in an interview with Janet Clifton on "Meet The Press" in 1962.
  • Insistent Terminology: The personalities that have taken over the bodies of various CRIME virus MK II's bodies aren't split personallities, they're "Nightsiders".
  • In Spite of a Nail: Elements of the timeline remain somewhat similar to ours; the French occasionally have bouts of truculent refusal to go along with the prevailing NATO consensus, and there is still sizable social inertia in the USA that slows the progress of the welfare state until the Presidents themselves make speeches that essentially embarrass the country into doing better.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: During the last weeks of the Korean conflict some parties of DPRK troops pretend to surrender only so they can kill Coalition troops.
  • It's Raining Men: The USMC save the Army's collective ass in Galtville by dropping from the edge of space in HATE pods. The name of the chapter is the trope image from Semper Fi.
  • Jerkass: Charles De Gaulle.
  • Jerk Jock: George Jenkins Jr. and his Fraternity brothers at Theta Alpha Rho. They literally targeted 5 total strangers and raped them as a fraternity initiation and did so specifcally because their victims were M to F transmen.
  • Karma Houdini: The Nazis that served under LABARO manage to flee to Apartheid South Africa and live comfortably for the rest of their days.
  • The Kindnapper: "Colonel" Franklin Graham's forces kidnap Leigh Oswald (having renamed herself upon regeneration as a young woman), but instead of being treated like a prisoner she is feted and guested and eventually becomes almost an homored guest as Graham falls in love with her, with a hefty dose of rationalizations as to why that is acceptable given his rather hardline conservative religious beliefs.
  • Lady Land: Most of the primitive tribes that were placed on Venus are heavily matriarchal. Female chauvinism is the rule, not the exception, on Venus.
  • Long-Runners:
    • The story has been going strong since the middle of 2012 and has mostly wrapped up by late 2014.
    • An in-universe example is the Star Trek franchise, which has been a television standard for forty years continuous from 1966 to 2006.
  • Make the Bear Angry Again:
    • In 1979/1980 the Soviet Union SEEMS to go into a hard line phase and a return to the cold war as they become more militant and xenophobic The "Sunshine" policies of Sergei Kolchin appear to be over.
    • As of the late 1990s and 2000s, this is now in effect for parts of the Middle East that were at least partly under the control of radical fundamentalist groups. But at the United Nations level and beyond Earth, the USSR is on cordial terms again with most of the world, especially the USA.
    • The USSR, with assistance from India, takes over Pakistan. On the plus side, it turned out much better than OTL Afghanistan.
  • Meaningful Name: "Cassandra Verivocas". Her first name evokes the never-heard Greek Cassandra, and her last name is dog Latin for "truth-speaker".
  • Middle Eastern Coalition: Two, in fact. A pro-American one consisting of a democratic Iran (since Janet talked Eisenhower out of Operation AJAX, Iran remains democratic) along with Turkey and Israel, as well as a anti-American Arab Nationalist/Radical Islamist one led by Nasser consisting of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Libya.
  • Mighty Whitey: Subverted in several ways. As one example, General Benu Panaka was educated in the U.K. and trained and served in the S.A.S. but was born and raised in southern Africa and is a native Bantu tribesman. He leads his own people in a Pan-African nationalist movement.
  • Revenge Myopia: Grand Cardinal Nikkos Tautapalous and the National Orthodoxists in Greece in 2011 have no problem overthrowing the duly elected government, attacking the U.S. Embassy and holding American military and diplomatic personnel hostage, but they throw a huge strop when the USA sends troops to fetch their hostages back.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Janet tried to prevent the carnage and death of the Vietnam war, only to result in the bombing of Tampa, Florida at the start of World War Three. Janet's paratime maternal analogue becomes a paraplegic veteran of the war (who goes on to become Speaker of the House via a grassroots election and nomination). Of course, this only delays the problem, as in the 1990s the USA gets in way over their head in Africa.
    • Along the way Janet occasionally suffers episodes of self-doubt over the changes she's made. Dr. Smarella, her psychologist, tries to help, but on one occasion it's only when Martin Luther King, Jr (by the time "read in" on who Janet really is) counsels her about the fact that personal agency is largely unaffected by the timeline changes - that is, people still have the freedom to make good or bad decisions and live with the consequences thereof, that she starts to pull out of her funk.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: In July of 1998 the Union of Islamic Nations terror bombs the United Principalities' capital city of Freeville. This ends the African war and focusses world attention on the local bully faction, the U.I.N., and how much no one likes them.
  • The Fundamentalist: Despite Janet's efforts, die-hard far right Fundamentalists still exist in places across America and eventually the Moral Majority forms in the 1980s on schedule, but thankfully dosen't have as much influence as they do OTL. Unfortunately, the Fundamentalist radical right wing loses so much face and influence that in the 1980s they resort to domestic terrorism.
  • Love Interest: Michael Clifton for Janet. They get married, and later in Janet's second life she will have a same-sex relationship with Beatrice Knowles..
  • Planet of Hats: Played with regarding the inner solar system. Venerean tribals are all hunter gathers combinded with Proud Warrior Race Guy female warriors. the Martian Saurians are all Lotus Eater Philosophers.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: The so-called "Nightsider" personalities created by the CRIME virus Mk II.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: When M to F transman Buddy Schackter is raped considerable detail is devoted to the effect it has on him and how traumatic the event was for him.
  • Red Scare: Averted, with Joseph McCarthy thoroughly discredited early on.
  • Richard Nixon, the Used Car Salesman:
    • Richard Nixon's volte-face compared to OTL: he conducts his Presidency with impeccable honesty and decency, and after he retires he becomes a respected elder statesman, remaining true to the values of his working-class background.
    • Happens to George W. Bush, who becomes an important anti-corporate lawyer in recent updates. He is the Attorney General for the Colin Powell Administration in 1995. Tyn Daley is in this time line a U.S. Army four Star general. John F.Kennedy became an Expy of Hunter S. Thomson, with Lee Harvey Oswald as his Great Lazlo.
    • Kanye West and Angelina Jolie both appear as US soldiers, while the woman who would've been Beyonce in OTL is instead a worker for TechTel systems, a partner corporation of Nova Robotics.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Fully averted and deconstructed with every female African-American character shown in the work, but in particular, President Oprah Winfrey and Beatrice Knowles-Forrester are shown to be competent, cool, adult professionals and three-dimensional people, not racist caricatures.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The whole premise of Janet's transit to the 1950s.
  • Shout-Out: Quite a few super-soldiers have names of OTL movie badasses, such as John McClane and Joanne Rambo.
  • The Spartan Way: With the supersoldier program. Even so, the highly-trained troops also turn out to be very intelligent and capable of thinking for themselves. They decide to fake their own deaths in combat as a way to get out from under the thumb of their handlers.
  • The Squad: Third squad, Second platoon, Bravo Company First U.S. Air Cavalry Division.
  • Semper Fi: The U. S. Marine Corps saves the Third army group's buttocks at the battle of Galtville with almost literal Space Marines. Oo-rah!
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran:
    • Un the mid 1950s, a patronizing rear echelon colonel questioning Janet inadvertently triggers her with his insensitive remarks, and she experiences a flashback to the Afghanistan War.
    • People returning from Korea, World War 3 and now the Central African front sometimes come back with psychological traumas from what they've experienced.
    • In the 1990s, some of the soldiers returning from the Central African Intervention develop drug addiction issues.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Pretty far on the idealistic side with the Vietnam War averted and the Cold War easing up by the 1960s. Even World War Three ends without a nuclear bomb ever coming into play. However, according to Word of God and recent updates, it has become more cynical with the re-emergrence of a hardline USSR and when the US eventually intervenes in Africa.
  • Space Western: The situation on Venus since approximately the late 1970s; some people see it as the "new frontier" akin to the Scramble for Africa, while others (notably the United Nations and its UNIT forces) take a very dim view of appropriating Venerean land without clearing it with the local tribes.
  • Starfish Aliens: The jellyfish-like lattice builders who live in the atmosphere of Saturn are very much this. They have never communicated with humans and they seem to have no desire to, even after repeated attempts on the part of humanity.
  • Synthetic Plague: The CRIME virus. Especially the second strain.
  • Take That Me: The author pokes fun at her own writing style and flaws via a negative review for an in-universe series of stories by the main character.
  • Villain Over for Dinner: At one point, Morgana Van Pelt drops by Janet and Beatrice's home to meet her and is treated to supper. Its a REALLY creepy encounter to say the least.
  • We Have Reserves: Averted! General Tyn Daley is heartsick at the loss of live during the Christmas Offensive in 1998 and the Battle of Galtville and blames herself for the number of U.S. troops killed. She resigns due to seeing herself as unfit to command as a direct result.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After Michael Clifton's presidency, Lester Lawson seemingly disappears and we never see or hear from him again.
  • White Man's Burden: When the U.S. intervenes militarily in Somalia and Angola, they are very much percieved as behaving in this way by many natives and profoundly resented because of it.
  • A World Half Full: Thanks to Janet's foreknowledge, the US avoids the death and destriction of the Vietnam War and much of the foreign policy actions that it is criticized for during the real Cold War, and becomes a nation with much better wealth equality and technological, economic and social progress. However, as the Butterfly Effect kicks in and she becomes less reliable with her foresight, the unpredictable effects lead to World War III, through it ended quickly and will significantly less loss of life than WWI and WWII, along with ushering in the end of the Cold War and giving women a greater role in society. However according to the author, things WILL get progressively worse Now that the USA has intervened in Africa the African Adventure has bogged down into a quagmire war that seems as if it might be fundamentally unwinnable., even if it WAS genuinely acting on altruistic instead of imperialistic or ulterior motives.
  • World War III: Happens with an alliance of the USA and Soviet Union vs. Fascist Brazil and Argentina with Maoist China. It runs from 1964 to about 1968 with the US and USSR winning.
  • Worthy Opponent: The United Principalities of Africa is this to the United States and on a more personal level General Panaka is this to General Tyn Daley.


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