World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Alien space bats

Article Id: WHEBN0019695112
Reproduction Date:

Title: Alien space bats  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Alternate history, Operation Sea Lion, MacGuffin, Alderson disk, ASB, Jonbar Hinge, List of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Alien space bats

"Alien space bats" ("ASBs") is a neologism for plot devices used in alternate history to create a point of divergence that would otherwise be implausible.


"Alien space bats" originally was used as a sarcastic attack on poorly written alternate histories due to lack of plausibility. These attacks are usually phrased as the need for alien space bats or by saying the alternate history has gone into "ASB territory". This original definition was used by one critic to criticize Harry Harrison's Stars and Stripes trilogy.[1] The term eventually evolved into a reference to deus ex machina to create an impossible point of divergences.[2] Examples include changes to the physical laws of nature, introducing magic into the world, time travel, and advanced aliens interfering in human affairs. An example of the latter is Harry Turtledove's Worldwar series.[3]


The term "alien space bats" was first coined, then popularized in the usenet group

S. M. Stirling credited Brooks with creating the term in the acknowledgments section of Dies the Fire[6] and also used the plot device to send Nantucket back in time in Island in the Sea of Time and change the laws of nature in Dies the Fire.[7][8] One character throughout Dies the Fire and its sequels believes the change to the laws of nature was done by an advanced alien race because the changes were finely tailored and refers to this race as alien space bats.[9][10] In a review of Dies the Fire, Dale Cozort addressed the perceived implausibility of the novel by saying "Just say to yourself, 'The elder gods or alien space bats took our toys away and that’s all there is to it.'"[11] Paul Di Filippo uses the term often when reviewing the series.[8][12] The term also appeared in John Birmingham's 2008 novel Without Warning.[13]

Alien space bats in popular culture

See also

Novels portal


External links

Interactive sites

  • Alien Space Bats and Other Magic on the Alternate History Discussion Board.
  • Alternate History Wiki
  • Alien Space Bats Yahoo Group
  • The Ark: Counter-Factual.Net Discussion Forums

Non-interactive sites

  • Alternate History Books
  • The Original Alien Space Bats - Irony and Steal—a fictional story featuring alien space bats by Alison Brooks
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.