Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Griffalco's Fictional ISOT TL

In today's post we're going to talk about the rise and fall of my first, and thus far only, timeline on Alternatehistory.com.  Wait, what?

Yes, it was called Griffalco's Fictional ISOT TL.  My user name is Nick Griffalco, and if you've ever encountered a user by that name then surprise, that was me.  It was inspired by the Fictional ISOT Map Games, but like my timeline you'll need an account to view those as they're in the Shared World's section.  My timeline is in the Alien Space Bats and Other Magics section, which you also need an account to view, but more on that in a minute.  

The Fictional ISOT map games involve players transporting fictional nations, characters, objects and various other things to an Earth devoid of human life.  Then each player writes a post describing how things play out.  Each post covers anywhere from a third to a quarter of a year.  These games are always creative, I learn about a lot of new series and it's always a lot of fun.  There have been plenty of spin-off timeline written by single author, and so I decided to try my hand at it.  

Actually, it really all started when I decided to create a series of Fictional ISOT maps to post in the map section; which can be viewed without an account by the way.  However, I decided it would be even better if I were to create a proper timeline for the maps to be a part of; so I did.  By the way, ISOT is alternate history slang for a mass teleportation, usually to the past, named for SM Stirling's Island in the Sea of Time trilogy   

The timeline was essentially a scrapbook from an alternate world.  It included excerpts from encyclopedia and newspaper articles, interviews, short fiction, documentary manuscripts, news announcements and much more.  I made sure to fill it up with all kinds of fun series like Percy Jackson, Legend of Korra, Fullmetal Alchemist, Code Geass, Leviathan, Captain Planet, Hunger Games, Neanderthal Parallax, and a whole lot more.  I figured it would be kind of like writing fanfiction, which I have experience with, so how hard could it be?

My style was considered a welcome twist on the Fictional ISOT timeline, and I received kind words and encouragement from many ISOT timeline experts/veterans.  I even got a shout out in a thread about ISOT timelines.  It stood poised to be a great timeline and potentially one of the next big things on Alternatehistory.com.  So, what happened?

Drgyen happened, that's what.  He started out as just another commenter and I was more than happy to have someone to talk about the timeline with.  Soon, however, I was talking with Drgyen more than posting updates to the timeline.  Then things started to get ugly.  Drgyen went from simply suggesting how the timeline ought to go to practically demanding that his ideas be made canon.  Speaking of cannon, I stated from the start that I was going to have a very pick an choose attitude to the canon of the various series I used.  Drgyen, however, always made a point of telling me, in the harshest and most aggressive and attacking way possible, whenever I'd contradicted canon.  

For that matter, Drgyen tended to be excessively aggressive and attacking even when it turned out I hadn't made a mistake.  I should have showed him the door, I should have seen his behavior as a red flag from the start but alas I didn't.  I was so happy someone was commenting I didn't want to screw it up, but I fear I may have in the process inadvertently driven away more level-headed (and much more civilized) readers.  Admittedly, I only really had the vaguest of ideas how I wanted things to go, and I was in large part making it up as I went along, but that certainly didn't excuse Drgyen's excessively attacking and frankly asinine behavior.    

After awhile I began to feel like Paul Sheldon from Stephen King's Misery.  I'd promised myself I'd stop the timeline if it ever quit being fun and began feeling more like a chore.  I wasn't going to continue if it mean I was going to constantly get screamed at no matter what I did.  It got to the point that I could have kicked Drgyen out, but the timeline was such a jumbled mess and so far from my original vision that I decided there was no point going on and so I pulled the plug.  

Still, I made sure to write a farewell address and formal closer to all the fans who'd stuck by through thick and thin, and who had conducted themselves in a much more civilized and polite manner.  I included details on what would have happened and how it all would have had a happy ending (I'm a sucker for those).  I did consider rebooting the timeline and starting from scratch using the lessons I'd learned from the first timeline, but the passion was gone and I wanted to move on to other projects.  

Still, it wasn't all for naught.  I did learn about writing timelines, I got to meet writers I admire and I even got a few good scene/bits of writing after all.  My favorite bits were about the Planeteers (assembled from across the nations of the ISOT), the Olympics and the start of the Jaeger program to combat the Kaiju invasion.  As you can see it was pretty crazy, but maybe it just might have worked under the right circumstances.  

Still, I'd hate to end this post on a sour note.  So, as a special treat I'll show you three maps from various points in the timeline.  

First we have a map from just after the initial ISOT

Next we have from a few years down the line as more nations appear

Finally, we have a map from a few more years after the second map, and when things start to really get fun/crazy

Not featured are the various aliens, both from other planets and other dimensions, that started to show up at this point as well.  What more can I say?  It was crazy, fun up until a point and I hope you guys enjoyed hearing about it.     

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