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"For Want of a Nail" consequence streams (and webs)

Charles EP M.

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The divorce, combined with the fall in Star Wars merch sales post-Jedi, does seem to have led to the cashflow issues that got Pixar sold so if you could prevent the divorce (or delay it), then Pixar remains tied to Lucas and eventually it's LucasArts that makes Toy Story. That'd be a huge deal as well: now the Disney Renaissance era runs into competition years before Dreamworks hits big with Shrek. This either kills the Renaissance earlier or undoes the post-Lilo and Stitch, pre-Tangled era of mostly cack films because Disney have serious competition & no Pixar to lean on.

Sadly this won't butterfly that much for the prequels because Lucas is still around as the driving force, with nobody who can say "nah" (his wife could only do so much!). It would buttefly Lucas's rep though, as he's associated with popular, classic animated films as well as Jar Jar, the narrative changes to "Lucas is great at picking winning ideas but he might be too close to Star Wars" rather than "guys, I think George is past it".


Always mysterious!
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Municipal Commune of Bourne
- Disney's period of disruption may disrupt the buyout of Marvel or Star Wars, more likely Star Wars - it took a lot to get Lucas to sell. So right now, the third trilogy is making it to cinemas and it's as George intended and nerds worldwide are seeing it whatever they said about the prequels, YOU KNOW THIS.
and i should imagine the female stars of it will still get hounded off social media
A seemingly minor incident in a game of 'chase' involving a group of late teenage boys on a country estate on what was then the outskirts of the English holiday resort of Bournemouth in , I think, 1893 had potentially lethal consequences for world history nearly 50 years later. The 18-year-old Winston Churchill was staying with his aunt Lady Wimborne at her estate at Branksome Chine ('chine' being Dorset county dialect for a valley running down to the sea). He was escaping from a chase by his cousins and ran onto a bridge over a narrow wooded valley only to find a pursuer had come the other way and was waiting at the end. As a resourceful and determined type, he decided to jump off the bridge and land in the branches of a tree overhanging the valleyside, a few feet below, like a squirrel. But the tree was not strong enough to support him, a branch broke after breaking his initial fall and he fell around 30-40 feet further to the ground being knocked out and having internal injuries. The episode is mentioned in his autobiography 'My Early Life'.
Luckily he was not that badly injured, but he came within inches of being killed. So if he had missed the tree altogether and been killed, he would not have been First Lord of the Admiralty in 1911-15 (so no Gallipoli campaign, his being the decisive voice in arranging it, and no great heroics and resultant military strongman role for the most notable Turkish defender, Kemal Ataturk?). No Churchill as PM in May 1940 - Lord Halifax, who the King and many MPs seem to have preferred, as PM and an armistice with Hitler? So no Blitz but a free hand for the Nazis to invade Russia in 1941?


"One of popculture's most iconic men"
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Didn't Ataturk first make his name with the recapture of Edirne in the Second Balkan War?

It is interesting, certainly. For all that the Great Man school of history has been overegged; they're are times when one individual can have a disproportionate impact upon events.


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There is also the case of how AIDS got from monkey to man. the chances were abysmally small, yet it happened.


See Jacques Pépin papers. AIDS should never had happened at all. https://www.quora.com/How-was-the-HIV-virus-first-contracted

How did HIV-SIV enter the human population?
Simple answer is that African tribesmen hunted and cooked monkeys. It is easy enough to imagine people being bitten and scratched by monkeys.

By back tracing the various strains of HIV now in existence the virus (which was SIV and became HIV) entered the human population at 8 different points/occasions some time between 1900 and 1930. For convenience of reference Pepin gives 1921 as year one of HIV.

Under “normal” circumstances the 8 people who had contracted the virus would have died within 10 years and that would have been the end of the virus and the disease--which brings us to the next question.
Belgian and French Congo misery and prostitutes, and much later, Haiti blood trafficking by Duvallier and his "vampire" advisor in the 60's resulted in the pandemic. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luckner_Cambronne


8 Bushmen stuck deep in the congo equatorial forrest, contract AIDS from monkey blood
the pandemic first spread to Congo but remain limited for half a century (1910 - 1960)
then it goes to Haiti, because both countries are french speaking, and the most miserable in the world.
The exact story is mind blowing. Haiti dictator being a doctor (Duvalier !) he send Haitian doctors to Congo to help that country... and these doctors brings back AIDS to Haiti (ain't that sickening absurd ?)
meanwhile gay people fight millenia of opression, they fight for their rights, at the cost of many lives (Stonewall to Harvey Milk, you get the point)
after years of struggle, as they start to breath in relieve, AIDS strike THEM first
in 1981, the same year conservative backlash against the 60's (civil rights) result in Reagan being elected president
for the conservatives, AIDS is a God-send bonanza, just figure: a deadly illness that cripple gay people. too good to be true - for them at least !

The entire story is of absolute, sickening injustice. For Congo, for Haiti, for gay people, and for all AIDS victims of course.
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One major but little known historical 'small event that led to big consequences' was the carelessness of (hurried?) preparations for a Roman Imperial visit to a minor town in what is now NW Turkey, near Ankara, early in AD 364 . The Roman Imperial army and court was returning from a major campaign against the (pre-Islamic) Sassanid Persian Empire in what is now Iraq, where the 31-year-old and heirless Emperor Julian had been mortally wounded in a minor skirmish. He was the last of the ruling dynasty of Constantine 'the Great', who had converted the Empire to Christianity a generation before, but was himself a pagan who had abandoned Christianity and ended legal privileges for the Christian Church - to the fury of the latter so his death may not have been at enemy hands but deliberate 'friendly fire'. As he had no children his generals and court elected a second-ranking , Christian officer called Jovian, aged 33, to succeed him as a candidate who had no major enemies unlike some more experienced generals. Jovian signed a hurried peace with Persia to end the war and extricate his army from Iraq quickly, handing over some important border towns around what is now Mosul (scenes of major conflict don't change much in that region!).

The new ruler had a young son and was expected to rule for decades, but died a few months later (February 364) as his army was en route across Asia Minor (now Turkey) to the Eastern capital, Constantinople. He was found dead in bed in his lodgings with no sign of violence, and though accounts are vague it seems that due to a strong smell of plaster or else smoke in the room he was assumed to have suffocated from noxious fumes. If the window had been open, the fire put out, or the plaster not mixed with toxic material, he would probably have survived. With him dead and his son too young, there had to be another election; a more competent general, Valentinian, was chosen.

With German tribes threatening the Danube and Rhine frontiers in the West, V chose to separate the Eastern provinces from the West so he could concentrate on the latter; he chose his inexperienced brother Valens to rule the East as he could trust him, against advice. The pressure of incoming Asiatic nomads (led by the Huns, 60 years before Attila) raiding from the Ukraine to the lower Danube led to scores of thousands of Goths fleeing into the Roman Empire without permission, anti-immigrant panic, Roman officials fleecing the incomers with over-priced food, and them rebelling. Valens attacked the Goths without waiting for Western reinforcements to show that he was a capable general, but lost his life and most of his army at the battle of Adrianople (378). Jovian was a far more cautious man, and would have waited for reinforcements from the more experienced Rhine armies - and won? The Goths forced the Romans to let them settle in the Empire and never left - and the 'Fall of the (Western) Roman Empire' began. Of course the Romans could have lost a battle and control of their frontiers in other circumstances around this time - but the existence of a rash and incompetent ruler who got his army destroyed in 378 was due to the (presumably) accidental death of Jovian by fumes in 364.
Someone needs to write this.
I have a 'Later C4th AD: How to Avoid the Disaster at Adrianople' chapter already written up as one of the sections of my planned book on the alternatives that could have helped the later (Western) Roman Empire survive, which covers scenarios from the time of Marcus Aurelius in the 170s to the final disasters in the 460s. This is material which I had to leave out of my original 'If Rome Had Survived' book for Pen and Sword in 2011 for reasons of space; arrangements aren't finalised yet for when and where it appears, but hopefully with Sealion.

Ditto for another book on the earlier Empire and scenarios for that from Marius and Sulla (80s BC) to Trajan (AD 100s)- some of which I thought up as a student while watching 'I Claudius' on the BBC in the late 1970s. There are plenty of odd moments in Greek and Roman - and Byzantine - history where one minor incident turning out differently could turn into a chain of developments affecting the entire course of European/ world events. With a few twists of fate, could the Roman Empire have lasted as long as China and ended up battling the Mongols, Aztecs, or Chinese themselves? Or in the 'Space Race'?

Roger II

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I am curious about this book and might read. OF course, a surviving Rome might butterfly any or all of those. It just stood out as an obvious "For want of a nail" thing when you posted it.
One moment of carelessness by an English king - the creation of a powerful French monarchy and the fall of Constantinople?

Another long-term stream of international consequences from a minor incident occurred in April 1199, when the 41-year-old, childless King Richard I 'the Lionheart' of England (also duke of Normandy and Aquitaine and Count of Anjou in France so with more land in France than the French king) did not bother to put on a protective padded coat for a tour of inspection during a minor siege. Richard, as ruler of Poitou/ Aquitaine, was besieging the minor castle of Chalus to force its lord to hand over a treasure that he was rumoured to have found - which technically belonged to R as his overlord. Richard was a highly competent warlord who had held back King Philip II of France from reconquering his domains when he was in Europe during his 10-year reign, most of which he had spent away on Crusade, but he had a reputation for carelessness. He did not bother to protect himself against archers on the distant battlements as he wandered around inspecting his siege-engines, and was shot in the shoulder by a crossbowman. Nor did he hurry to have the wound properly seen to or have a competent doctor on hand, and an infection set in; he died of blood-poisoning a few days later.

Richard had no children by his wife Berengaria of Navarre after an 8-year marriage, most of which he had spent apart from her; though it was rumoured that he was homosexual and Church historians alleged this he had bastards and was more likely bisexual. If his wife was infertile, that adds the possibility that he would have had children had he not abandoned his earlier fiancee, Philip of France's sister, after allegations that she had been his father Henry II's mistress. His next heir had been his younger brother Geoffrey , ruler of Brittany, but he was killed in a freak accident in a tournament in Paris in 1186 so the choice was between the lineal heir, G's 12-year-old son Arthur, and Richard's youngest brother, 32-year-old John. There were no definite rules of inheritance of the English throne at this point, and an adult younger brother could be preferred to a boy if the latter was too young and the nobles did not want a feud-prone regency. John was preferred despite his reputation for treachery, having tried to take the English throne and deny R a ransom when R was captured en route home from the Crusade in Germany earlier. Other nobles preferred Arthur, who Philip of France backed; civil war followed; John captured Arthur but the latter disappeared in custody at Rouen, Normandy, and was presumed murdered. Many of the Norman nobles deserted to Philip, who posed as A's avenger and overran Normandy, Anjou and part of Aquitaine in 1203-4; the English 'empire' in France collapsed. Philip thus created a powerful centralised French monarchy, which from then on was stronger than its local vassals.

John, disliked not least for sexual attacks on his barons' womenfolk and holding enemies hostage for ransom, put up a poor showing and lost the war convincingly - possibly due to lethargy caused by bipolar disorder as well as desertions. By contrast, Richard was a better general than Philip and was widely admired and feared as a great general; though he was greedy and extortionate and capable of atrocities he was capable and reliable. P, a poor general, had never dared fight him in open war and would have been unlikely to risk invasion as long as R lived, and so if R had lived into his 50s or 60s the revival of French royal power and English loss of Normandy would have been delayed - possibly for many years if R had left a capable and liked adult heir, eg an adult Arthur or a son of his own. In real life, John's England fell into chaos too.

Also, if R had lived into the 1200s he might well have decided that due to his failure to take Jerusalem from Saladin (now dead) in the Third Crusade in 1192 he owed it to God and the Church to make another attempt on the Fourth Crusade in 1203-4. He could have left an adult Arthur (17/18) to govern his lands, and if he had been on the Crusade he is very unlikely to have gone along with what really happened - the Crusaders being blackmailed by their ship-supplier, the city of Venice, into helping them put a friendly pretender on the Byzantine throne in Constantinople first. As a man of honour he would have gone to Palestine and urged others to do so too - and probabaly been joined by his 1190s ally, Count Baldwin of Flanders, who in real life went to Constantinople on the attack to help Venice and ended up as its new 'Latin' emperor after the city was sacked. With part of the army joining Richard not obeying Venice, the attack would more likely have failed - leaving a united if already weakening Byzantine state to fight off the Westerners and then tackle the Turks from c. 1280 in a far stronger position than in real life. No break-up of the Byzantine state and no wrecked capital - no or a much later Turkish conquest of Constantinople and Greece/ Bulgaria/ Serbia?


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Here is a rather unbelievable historical coincidence.

Early in the year 2004, two terrorists groups decided to strike Madrid the next month, with the same goal. To ruin the legislative elections of Sunday, March 14 2004 - the very ones were Zapatero PSOE won against Rajoy PP.
The two groups were ETA and Al-quaeda, and they completely ignored each other, there was zero connections between them as their objectives were polar opposites.
Hence the two planned strikes against Madrid were completely separated operations, no consiracy there.

ETA packed no less than 536 kg of explosives into a van, then proceded to Madrid from Cuenca (South-west Spain).

Al-Quaeda made contact with Trashorras, a former miner in Mina Conchita, Asturies now a drug trafficking criminal. He sold the group 200 kg of explosives. The Al-Quaeda cell went to Trashorras hometown of Aviles (northern Spain), packed all the explosives in two stolen cars, and then proceded to Madrid.

And there the story turns crazy. By some unbelievable coincidence, both ETA and Al-Quaeda huge loads of explosives went to Madrid the very same night - saturday evening, February 28 2004. Hence that very day, no less than 700 kg of explosives headed toward the unfortunate Spanish capital !

Luckily enough the ETA bomb, the largest and most sophisticated of the two, was stopped by the Guardia Civil near Cuenca. Its objective ? a Madrid suburb industrial area with the name of... Alcala de Henares.
The very same place were, on March 11, 2004, people boarded trains in the direction of Atocha railway station, Madrid, where 191 people were killed in the Al Quaeda strike that had not been stopped, unfortunately.

Now imagine the carnage: the ETA bomb was to explode on March 1, and it would have hurt people over a radius of 1 km. Alacala de Henares would have heavily suffered.
Of course had ETA suceeded, maybe the Al-quaeda cell would have changed their plans, since Spain would have been in alert ofr other attacks. Yet the 11 March attacks were done, not by cars or trucks, but by backpacks loaded with explosives and abandoned in trains (no suicide bombers in this case).
Imagine if Al quaeda had not changed their plans and carried on with OTL attack. Alcala de Henares would have been stricken once again, since most of the Atocha trains come from Alcala.

Dear God.

I was in Spain (not in Madrid but Andalucia) back then as an exchange student; I witnessed and shared their anger, sadness, and fear. This could have been far worse.

A lot of people noted the coincidence and some, of course, build a conspiracy theory out of it - claiming THIS confused Rajoy PP when they said, on March 11 "ETA made the Atocha bombings".

Yet this is total bullshit, despite the pretty astonishing coincidence of dates (ETA and A-Q bringing their explosives to Madrid the same night !), both terrorists plots were completely unrelated. Proof: the explosives and detonators were completely differents.

I can tell you it was pretty strange to see the ETA terrorists, who killed so many people cold blooded, actually pissing their pants at the scale of the Atocha slaughter, saying "We didn't did THIS." Fact is that Spanish people were so enraged, ETA was better trying to save their arses !

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Poor city of Alcala de Henares really dodge a bullet that month. Then again, some people are definitively unlucky in life. Or maybe history is insanely cruel at times.
Most startling example (I mentionned it various times but it is really sickening) is that handful of survivors from Hiroshima having taking shelter, of any possible places on Earth, in... Nagasaki. Hence they tasted the entire and complete horror of atomic bombs, TWICE in four days. I just can't help, it drives me mad just to think about unlucky those poor people were. The polar opposite being that (mythical ?) man who missed his plane twice the same day, and both aircrafts crashed with no survivors.


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As someone who (when in Spain) lives in Alcalá, with friends and family living there, well... Jeez


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As someone who (when in Spain) lives in Alcalá, with friends and family living there, well... Jeez
This story haunts me (a little) because, as said above, I was an ERASMUS exchange student in Spain at the time, although in Andalucia, not Madrid. It lasted nearly 5 months, between February 3 and June 21. I was in Malaga and travelled to Cordoba (that Saturday 28, February 2004, actually !!!), Sevilla, Granada, Ronda, Gibraltar... a pretty awesome time in my life, except that horror of course, that hit me in the face.
My flat mates (we were four to pay the bills) were Spanish but not particularly from Andalucia but every other corner of Spain... making the horror even closer. Fuck. I went to the peace protests the next day, March 12, in solidarity with the country that had welcomed me some weeks before the tragedy.
Something that burned in my mind is that peculiar spanish tradition of aplauding at the end of a ceremony. Obviously in France (and elsewhere) AFAIK you applaudes when you are happy or enthusiast, at a music concert but not exactly after Charlie or Bataclan comemorative ceremonies. In spain it's different, people applause at the end of a ceremony, in respect. This made the protests even more surreal, to me.

The ETA / A-Q coincidence is even more disturbing, of course, because of the PP major blunder (lie) that cost them the elections. Note that between 11 and 14 march 2004 they did not knew where and when the explosives had entered the Madrid area. Trashorras was arrested on March 18, after the PP lost the elections.
But imagine the faces of the PP officials when they realized that, while ETA and A-Q attacks were 100% unrelated, they (coincidentally) carried their explosives to Madrid the same night !!!!
For some, it was too much of a coincidence, hence "ETA + A-Q" conspiracy theories that the 2007 trial of Trashorras and surviving terrorist carefully debunked.

As for myself, like many others I watched the news on February 29 2004 when they stopped the ETA death squad. And when the trains exploded 12 days later, like everybody else I wondered "THIS IS ETA PLAN B" that is "Well, the bastards had 500 kg of explosives in the van, perhaps they kept some for a Plan B attack, and there it is. Son of a bitch"
And there come the PP blunder - they played on that very feeling "We stopped ETA plan A but unfortunately the bastards had a Plan B, some explosives left to blow trains".
Although that hypothesis did not lasted long. The trains blew up at 8 in the morning, by 12, conclusive proof already pointed to A-Q. Plus the horrific death toll that actually scared the shit out of ETA itself (which says a lot).

Seriously, that entire story has the potential for some awesome political thriller. It is a remarquable example of Ian Malcolm beloved chaos theory.

Imagine if the PP had known before 14 M that both ETA and A-Q loads of explosives had travelled to Madrid, converging on that city the same night - and turned the coincidence into a conspiracy linking ETA and A-Q (as they did OTL, somewhat - BUT with that intriguing coincidence of February 28, as a proof of "THEY DID IT TOGETHER").

Imagine (as suggested above) if the ETA truck had not been stopped, and poor Alcala had been twice martyred.

Although I hate death, violence and terrorism, I'm tempted to write a TL based on all this. No conspiracy (I hate conspiracies theories) just the Murphy law (which can make in real life things even more bizarre than any conspiracy).
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