The History of Things That Never Were

Now linked to 418 timelines!

Appended April 7, 2010.

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History is a fascinating subject. There is an almost irresistible draw to look at the bigger picture, the overall course of events, in an attempt to glean some insight or approach some greater knowledge.

Peering into the real past is fine, and in fact I enjoy doing so quite often, but it takes a certain amount of panache to hold an interest in fictional history. Gleaning knowledge from a past that never existed--or a future, for that matter--is simply so much more sublime. That is what this site is all about.

Below, you will find links to many online chronologies, timelines, and histories (including a few which I myself have had a hand in creating), and in cases where I am familiar with the subject matter, I have added my own commentary beside the link. They are divided into five media categories:

Most importantly, every one of these links is to a history that never happened. There are only references to actual historical events insofar as they fit into the context of the timeline at hand. Thus, the purity of this pursuit is maintained.

Research is an ongoing project here. Each category mentions a number of general and specific requests for information that are still pending, and the only order the timelines are listed in is roughly by how detailed they are. Feel free to contact me if you can help add to the archives, or if you have a request of your own.

When you're done perusing the fictional history on this site, you can check out the Dictionary of Imaginary Places (for fictional geography), The Invisible Library (for fictional bibliography), Starship Dimensions (for fictional topology), and The Rocklopedia Fakebandica (for fictional musicology).

On another note, you may also wish to take a look at my homepage, or look for me on LiveJournal, MySpace, and Twitter, where I should be tracking further developments here for those of you who want to keep up with what happens next.

Finally, this site is dedicated to all the other historians of things that never were, the devoted men and women who are responsible for putting fictional history on the Internet for all to enjoy. May your quests be fruitful.


Television

By its very nature, television provides a rich resource for the development of timelines. Many series rely heavily on their continuity, now more so than ever. Fans of various shows have taken it upon themselves to trace their internal history, and a heavy emphasis can be seen here on genre series.

This category is the most developed, but even so, any number of recommendations for timelines have come in from visitors to this site. A comprehensive guide to series that have been asked for but haven't been covered yet includes: The Adventures of Brisco County Jr., Baywatch (it was on for a long time), Beauty and the Beast, Blake's 7, The Brady Bunch (including its follow-ups), Covington Cross, Deepwater Black, Due South, The Dukes of Hazzard, Gilmore Girls, The Greatest American Hero, Gunsmoke, Homicide: Life on the Street, Ironside, Life on Mars, Lonesome Dove, The Mod Squad, Ocean Girl, Reboot, Roar, Saved by the Bell (whether to include The New Class is up to you), Sealab 2020, The Six Million Dollar Man, Space Rangers, Starhunter, The Tomorrow People, The Undersea Adventures of Captain Nemo, and even Highway to Heaven.

The general request I have is for any timelines of shows not listed here, or more detailed versions of the ones that are. Personally, I'd like to see timelines for 24 (it's not all real-time information, you know), 2030 CE, The 4400, Alien Nation, Birds of Prey, Blackadder, Commander in Chief, Cowboy Bebop, Earth 2, Family Guy (though Stewie Griffin would present a problem), Farscape (I'm shocked that this doesn't exist already), Heroes, John Doe, Kim Possible, Knight Rider (including Team Knight Rider), Mad About You, Max Headroom, Oz, The Practice (including Boston Legal, of course), Queen of Swords, Queer as Folk (either the British or the American version), Rocket Robin Hood, South Park (challenging, but possible), The Sopranos (kudos to whoever puts that one together!), Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Thundercats, V: The Series, Wolf Lake, Yes Minister (including Yes, Prime Minister), and finally, MacGyver.

Now, that is a mouthful.

My own current works in progress include a Degrassi Timeline, in light of my fondness for both the original Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High, as well as the newer series Degrassi: The Next Generation.

Star Trek

Star Trek is the quintessential series for pseudohistorical debate. Despite four decades of canonical material, there is still much disagreement, mostly due to the fact that The Original Series never bothered to tell us when it was set.

Doctor Who

Doctor Who, as involved with time as it is, provides any number of difficulties for historians of things that never were, and only the most intrepid dare to try unravelling all of the series' contradictions. If you thought Star Trek was inconsistent...

Highlander

Highlander, by definition, is the story of those who live and travel through the centuries, leading many different lives...which are apparently difficult to sort out at times. The consensus amongst its fans seems to be that there can be more than one timeline.

Battlestar Galactica

All this has happened before, and all this will happen again, but no matter which version of Battlestar Galactica and its ragtag fleet you wish to follow through the yahrens (or years, depending on who you're following) of searching for Earth and fighting the Cylons, there'll be those who chronicle how it happened.

Robotech

Robotech fans seem to be quite fond of making timelines of the series, due in large part to some major continuity disagreements between the various forms the story has taken.

Gundam

The similarly sprawling Gundam franchise actually has two separate histories: Universal Century, used by the original series, Mobile Suit Gundam, and all related stories; and After Colony, used by Gundam Wing and its spinoffs. As can be seen below, both have been outlined in detail by different historians.

Other Television


Movies

Movies, as detailed as they sometimes are, do not create a world or a history as thoroughly as a television series does. Nevertheless, there are a number of timelines out there already, and doubtless more to come. Recommendations for chronologies include one for Austin Powers (Yeah, baby, yeah!), The Crow, Demolition Man, the Evil Dead trilogy (including Army of Darkness), The Fifth Element, the Jurassic Park films (as opposed to Michael Crichton's novels, though that would be nice, too), Kill Bill, Lethal Weapon, The Matrix trilogy (an obvious choice, in my opinion), Pulp Fiction, RoboCop, Rocky (especially with the release of Rocky Balboa making this more relevant), and Tron. Along with all of these, is it wrong that I'm somewhat curious to see what an American Pie timeline would look like...?

There's also enough source material, clearly, to justify timelines for several horror series which don't already have them--including The Exorcist, Hellraiser, and Night of the Living Dead--as well as the expansive continuity within The Chronicles of Riddick. I myself am working on a Terminator Timeline (partially in light of the serious continuity problems in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines), and I've been considering whether to do a Blade Runner timeline, unless someone beats me to the punch....

Star Wars

Star Wars, of course, has garnered a lot of attention lately. With the many new stories being created in various media and the completion of the prequel trilogy, a number of people have taken it upon themselves to lay out the history of a galaxy far, far away.

(N.B. Although there are a multitude of these chronologies online, most of them don't provide much more than very basic information, so I have only included the most detailed ones to come across my path.)

Other Movies


Books

Authors often place multiple stories or novels in the same universe, both for convenience and for the opportunity to create a more complex setting, and some people online have been brave enough to take on the more tedious task of sorting out the internal histories of such book series.

At the outset, I realise that this section is the farthest from being complete. I have no doubt missed any number of very good timelines, so any help would be much appreciated.

Many recommendations have been sent to me regarding good candidates for timelines in this section, including Orson Scott Card's Ender series, Katherine Kurtz's Deryni series, and Kim Newman's Anno Dracula series; and I myself would like to see any other detailed Sherlockian chronologies out there, as well as a timeline for the alternate history of The Difference Engine, by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling. These could definitely benefit from pseudohistorical study.

For a while now, I've noticed that this section (and all the sections, really) are very science-fiction related. I understand that fantasy and sci-fi create more alternate universes than soi-disant "conventional" fiction, but there are any number of works that would benefit from the creation of timelines. A visitor's email which asked if anyone is "interested in dabbling in classic literature" finally convinced me to put these thoughts in writing. Amongst other possible works, she mentioned Jane Eyre/Wide Sargasso Sea by name.

The Lord of the Rings

"I much prefer history, true or feigned," wrote J.R.R. Tolkien, and indeed, his Middle-earth has been expounded upon in so many ways that it is arguably the most seriously studied fictional history in the annals of literature. As such, it is no surprise that several timelines relating to that realm are available online.

The Wheel of Time

Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time saga has a huge following and an intricate storyline. Amongst the intense discussions between its fans about every aspect of this series are a number of attempts to set out its varied history in understandable terms.

Cthulhu Mythos

The journey into ultimate terror that is H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos carries with it the unique terrors inherent in trying to precisely date the actions of dark cosmic forces...

Wold Newton

The Wold Newton Universe Crossover Chronology, by Win Scott Eckert, details the history of Philip José Farmer's intertextual novels, although his graphics can take quite a while to load. As tangents to the Wold Newton Universe, Win offers a number of other chronologies, put together by Win himself or (often) in collaboration with others:

The French Wold Newton Universe Timeline, by Jean-Marc Lofficier, covers similar territory but offers its own take on the material by bringing in characters from the vast field of French popular fiction. Jean-Marc also offers a few tangential timelines:

Other Books


Games

Games, in whatever medium they are played, present a unique problem for historians of things that never were, since the outcome of any given history is often dependent on the player(s) of the game in question. The universe that a game or series of games takes place in, however, still needs to be set out for these players, in much the same way as it is outlined in other media, and the histories presented in such games are just as worthy of pseudohistorical study as those provided elsewhere on this site.

As with the other categories, difficulties brought on by the subjectivity of gameplay do not hinder the attempts of these brave scholars to sort out game histories as consistently as possible. In the interests of simplicity, these timelines tend to follow the "official" path for the history of a game's setting as described in the sourcebooks, novels, and so forth that are associated with it. Requests thus far for timelines in this section include the Final Fantasy titles which have yet to be covered, as well as Crimson Skies, EverQuest, Might and Magic, Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, and Wizardry. With a movie series in existence, I myself would really like to see a Tomb Raider Timeline.

Dungeons & Dragons

Dungeons & Dragons is the original roleplaying game, and as such, it has the most elaborate history to its name. A number of worlds have been spawned from the D&D setting over the years, and timelines for some of these have been described online.

Other Games


Comics

While comics, like books, provide an array of possible fields of study for the fictional historian, most people do not undertake such a task because of the extensive problems that arise from such practices as trying to tell a long continuous story while keeping all of its characters the same age, or spinning off more and more forking paths of time and alternate Earths (with their concomitant alternate versions of the same people) until the mind boggles with divergent histories.

Despite these quandaries, some people online have still decided to tackle the glaring continuity issues before them and create coherent histories for their favourite comic book heroes. One of these people is a friend of mine, Bradley Taylor-Pirogov, who's been working on his own version of the Preacher Timeline for a while now.

As with the other sections, requests for timelines continue to come in, especially since many specific heroes and superhero teams--even those with detailed histories--have not been the subject of their own timelines up to this point. I, for one, cannot understand why no one has yet put together a Spawn Timeline--and in a strange way (given that I'm not very familiar with the subject matter), I'd really like to see a Doonesbury Timeline.

DC Comics

Marvel Comics

Other Comics


Celebrating over a decade of study!

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Smack Dab in the Middle of the Blue
Consigned to history August 3, 1997.
Appended April 7, 2010.
Speak then to me, who neither beg nor fear
Your favours nor your hate.
arphaxad@mts.net