AlternateHistory.com is the internet's largest Alternate History site since the collapse of Soc.history.what-if. Revolves around a discussion forum that has been in existence since 2000 and in its current form since 2004. Has produced a great deal of AH fiction output; a full list of timelines with links can be found here on the site's wiki.
AH.com has also produced some AH, science fiction and fantasy stories in the form of prose, which can be found here.
In addition to the main Series, there have been several other similar productions, such as Luaky Commer and AH.com Wars (parodies of Harry Potter and Star Wars starring the characters from the Series), the Spin-Off AH Dot Com The Next Generation, and others.
As a disclaimer, however, much of the content, including the Future History, ASB and Off Topic sections, on the forum is accessible only to logged in members. The main logic behind it (according to the moderators) is so that it would encourage people to sign up for the more "serious" discussion threads, with the rest available afterwards (with a Writers' Block section sensibly restricted for copyright reasons).
It also has a Shared Worlds section divided up into Shared Worlds, Moderated Games, Nation Games, and Map Games.
Tropes appearing in AH.com board culture include:
- 419 Scam: Often referenced due to similar scams being attempted by spambots invading the forum occasionally. The name 'Charles Akawele' for an archetypal Nigerian spammer is a Running Gag.
- Alien Space Bats: The Trope Namer is soc.history.what-if, of which AH.com is a spiritual descendant.
- Alternate-History Nazi Victory: The "Nazi Victory" is generally seen as Cliché, not only because it's primarily popular for newbies to the forum, but because it's very prone to Alternate History Wank and Artistic License – History for the sake of Rule of Cool. In particular, positing "Operation Sea Lion", the planned Nazi German invasion of the United Kingdom in 1940, as a Point of Divergence has become a meme on the forum for being one of the most ill-conceived invasion plans in recorded history and highly unlikely to result in a Nazi victory. Still, there are a few timelines that have gained some acclaim for being well-written/researched:
- The Anglo/American – Nazi War: Nazi Germany succeeds in subduing the Soviet Union in 1943 after several lucky breaks, but doesn't conquer Britain. Eventually, the United States gets involved in the Battle for Europe and they get defeated anyway, basically a repeat of how World War I ended.
- Weber's Germany: The Veterinarian Totalitarian reinterprets "victory" as "prolonging its existence in an increasingly moribund fashion no further than the 1960s".
- Thousand-Week Reich, as its name implies, also features a short-lived Nazi victory; after barely edging out the Soviets, the Third Reich gets to work carrying out Generalplan Ost (i.e., mass genocide and enslavement of Slavs in Eastern Europe to make way for German settlers) and suppressing dissent, which, as you can imagine, is prevalent. Unable to hold on to power, the system quickly unravels after Hitler's death in 1952, losing client state Vichy France to a popular rebellion, before ultimately succumbing to its own civil war and collapsing entirely in 1958.
- Argentina Is Nazi-Land: Averted. The board has long deemed this an overblown cliché, whether in AH works or real life (the idea of Nazi emigres setting up a Fourth Reich in South America is ridiculed in particular).
- As You Know:
- Ban on Politics: Expressing political opinions (especially on current events) outside of the Political Chat sub-forum (which is specially zoned for discussion of current politics) is very frowned upon by the site's moderators.
- Brain Bleach: AH.com's version is to scream and call for "THE FORKS! THE FORKS!"
- Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Justified Trope, given the Alternate History settings the board's authors create and tackle. Here's the specific wiki page that lovingly maps the whole phenomenon.
- Cosmic Horror Story: Parodied with "The Underboard" running gag.
- Different World, Different Movies: Naturally, alternate pop culture is a frequent feature of many of the board's AH stories and projects. Pages compiling some discussions on these topics can be found here and here.
- Double-Blind What-If: Naturally, some forum games will ask for an “alternate timeline” that produced an event in real history, with the forum members coming up with both a timeline without it, and then determining how residents of that world would write the original request.
- Some of the most popular timelines on this website would span multiple volumes in book form. What Madness is This?, Blue Skies in Camelot, Chaos Timeline, Decades of Darkness and Kentucky Fried Politics are prime examples of this trope for the website.
- Player Two Start, full stop. Even without taking account it's sequels, the timeline has over 171 individual chapters that span over two decades. In fact, this timeline so extensive that its TV Tropes page has an entire Recap section to document every major event that has happened over the last thirty years.
- Eagleland: When "Ameriwank" scenarios come up, generally their authors have flavor #1 in mind and everyone else is pointedly reminded of flavor #2.
- El Spanish "-o": A Running Gag on the site, started by member Thermopylae, who refers to map updates to his timelines as "El Mappo!", and later used by the Heterosexual Reconquista.
- Fake Movie Real Trailer: This thread.
- Fan Sequel: Many published works of alternate history have received this experimental treatment over the years in various scenarios posted on the board.
- For Want Of A Nail: Great care is usually taken by writers of counterfactual timelines in the choice of the point of divergence.
- Horse of a Different Color: In the board's less serious moments you will occasionally find mention of Bear Cavalry and the like for sheer Rule of Cool. Though outside the Alien Space Bats area of discussion, expect to see some deconstruction of the possibility for less likely animals.
- Inexplicable Cultural Ties: Criticised and dubbed the "Citroen DS Incident". The latter was based on how a former forum member once criticized the use of too much real world iconography on the reimagined Battlestar Galactica and in AH fiction.
- Intentionally Awkward Title: There's a timeline called "The Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies".
- Istanbul (Not Constantinople): As with the alternate terminology seen in many timelines, alternate geographic names are equally common.
- Lost Episode: In an infamous 2011 case of moderator powers abuse, now-banned board member maverick hard-deleted several threads from the discussion board, most of which were his own extensive timelines, projects and stories, an event that would become known as the Maverick Mutiny. Though some efforts have been made to recover them via the Internet Archive and similar sources, most of them have been permanently lost.
- Mad Mathematician: Zyzzyva jokingly received this kind of reputation.
- Mass Teleportation: Quite common in scenarios involving Alien Space Bats. The local term is ISOT, a verbed abbreviation derived from the initials of S. M. Stirling's novel Island in the Sea of Time. (E.g. "I'll ISOT myself/country XY/person XY to the year...").
- Middle Eastern Coalition: Routinely spoofed and skewed. Popular joke names include "the Randomid Caliphate", "Implausiblid Caliphate", "The Obligatory Supercaliphate", and "the Inevitablid Caliphate".
- No Name Given: The Sealion World Tour featured a stuffed toy sealion called... Sealion, because nobody could think of a suitable name. He was eventually dubbed "Silas" by the Brazilians, a Punny Name that only works in Portuguese.
- People's Republic of Tyranny: A number of examples appear in various timelines.
- Person as Verb: The mapmaking style of member B_Munro (minimalism coupled to snarky annotations) has become so popular that other mapmakers often refer to taking an older map and "B_Munrofying it".
- Play-by-Post Game: The Shared Worlds section contains a variety of them (map games, Alternate History RPGs, etc.). A good deal of them become complex stories or universes given enough time.
- Podcast: The AH.com Podcast.
- Running Gag :
- In addition to using some mainstream internet memes, AH.com has its own set.
- There are various related memes about the most common clichés seen in timelines (especially those of newbie authors preferring Alternate History Wank).
- At one point, there was a tendency to give really sadistic Crapsack World scenarios the "Vlad Tepes Award◊" (aka Vlad Dracula, Vlad the Impaler). That name alone explains itself. Due to increasing overuse, this meme is now frowned upon. Starting in 2018, members began replacing the Vlad Tepes Award with references to cheesegraters, after one commenter on Robb Returns half-jokingly asked for one particularly-hated minor antagonist to be executed with a cheesegrater (and for Roose Bolton to do the execution at the Broken Tower). Cheesegrater references became so frequent among certain ASOIAF fanfics on AH.com that both the second thread for Robb Returns and the thread for Snowrise have tags saying "No Cheesegraters".
- "If I see that damned Kazakh border one more time..."
- The collection of silly names for an "Eeebiiiil Muslim Middle Eastern Coalition". A variant is the "Boat People's Caliphate", a mocking name for a hypothetical Indonesia-led alliance of south Asian Muslim countries (a staple of the already cliché scenario "random near future war between Indonesia and Australia").
- Another notable running gag is that all the German members on the forum actually constitute a Hive Mind - despite their constant political arguments, which are held to be only an elaborate cover.
- Someone is bound to bring up the infamous "China need not democracy, need not throwing banana" statement by pro-Red China troll "kahing" every time there's a thread on said country.
- Trolls in general are often regarded as a rich and treasured source of memes among AH.commers.
- Occasionally, a discussion will bring up this obligatory string of statements:"X needs a warm water port!"
"And a transcontinental railroad to connect them!"
"With blackjack! And hookers!"
- Every once in a while, someone will happen upon a particularly atrocious world map and end up posting it to the "Horrible Educational Maps" thread, to the point that long-time posters in that thread are sick of it. Every re-post brings some laughs as well, though, when the typo reading out as "Caspian Sean" is mentioned.
- And, of course, "Blaming Thande". The member in question has remarked that "back in 2007, it was everywhere and part of the site culture's canon - by now, it's gone borderline meta...".
- Scrapbook Story: Many of the best works on the site.
- Shown Their Work: Because of their love for the genre, the members of the board try to do this as much as possible - even when writing deliberately silly and Rule of Fun scenarios and timelines.
- Silly Reason for War: While some of the on-board disputes have an amount of seriousness to them, they've been mostly jocular in nature.
- Spell My Name With An S: Nobody can ever agree on how to spell Colonel Gaddafi's name.
- Testosterone Poisoning: At one point a beard-growing contest was held, with the winner being given the title of "Ultimate AH.com Macho Manly Mountain Man In The Height Of His Manliness".
- Zeppelins from Another World: Generally seen as a codeword for "this timeline shouldn't be taken entirely seriously." They've been sporked as a cliche, but everyone still admits that they're too cool not to put in somewhere.