By Tom Anderson, Monroe Templeton, Phillip Clarke and Wm. Garrett Cothran
In the previous article in this series, we looked at the idea of telling complete stories through Maps, a familiar graphic often used in genre literature to help illustrate an existing story but which can stand alone.
But Maps are far from the only graphic that can be used this way.
Take the below by Monroe Templeton, which is a screenshot from an online book seller showing a bunch of entirely fictional history books, which paints it sown picture of events in this timeline. It is classic microfiction in that it implies a lot more than it says, it just takes the form of a graphic rather than a short story.
Or take the four flags below, all by Tom Anderson. They are flags from respectively, a Socialist India, an alternate Germany, a non commonwealth New Zealand and an independent Northern Ireland.
All have enough otl elements to be recognisable but also differ in ways that tell you something about the sensibilities of the people in charge of those countries. The German flag is in a different style than the OTL German flag, its institutions are more visibly influenced by Nazi iconography, in the way our Bundesrepublik takes more visual inspiration from Imperial Germany.
How old the flag is, what styles inspired it and how much it was created by artists rather than by political compromise can tell you as much as what land it represents. An entire history can be shown in that single graphic.
And that doesn't just apply to flag but also to advertising, to political posters and to event tickets. Take for instance the following by Phillip Clarke.
That poster above is a classic example of microfiction. It can be read in a matter of seconds but it implies a lot and so can still paint a detailed picture. Monja Jaona was a communist from Madagascar so that a lecture about him is being delivered by a Somali man implies various things about this Union of East Africa. Likewise the existence of Mao Zedong as a subject in a study on failed socialist leaders implies things about China. And a Crossman Hall in a Tawney College implies greater prominence of R. H. Tawney and Richard Crossman and so a much more left wing UK.
Below, much less immediately revealing about geopolitical changes, you will find the work of Wm. Garrett Cothran. These paint a picture of a society more than detailing the exact changes and thus show another way to do micro fiction.
Next time, this series will come to an end by looking at the graphic most synonymous with ah microfiction, the wikibox.