The first time I came across the current version of AF was a book by the Reigning King of AF (in that he just keeps churning out AF novels like a sausage factory), Harry Turtledove, called the Guns of the South.
It was a What If the South Won the Civil War story, or more technically, What Would It Take For the South to Win The Civil War story? And the answer to that is: It would have taken a Fucking Miracle, (when you think how the North did practically everything it could to lose the war, and still managed to Fuck Things Up and win it).
And so Turtledove had to resort to Time Travel to make it all happen. Intervention From The Future. (Kind of like how Governor Schwarzenegger, so I'm told, is currently building a killer robot to send back in time to kill the mother of his campaign manager so that he is not elected Governor).
Now, Time Travel is guaranteed to mess with you head. There is just no way to resolve the paradoxes involved - unless you invoke bizarre topics like multiple universes, or self-similar causality. Even guys like Stephen Hawking and Kip Thorne, or Kurt Godel, or Albert Einstein, would tell you that the subject will just plain gizoogle your shiznit. Better to stick to a safe wank of a subject like AF.
And of course, AF is basically a public wank. There is really no useful purpose for it, not even from a counterfactual analysis of history standpoint. Because, quite simply, the whole saying of how "Hindsight is 20-20" is just pure horsehsit. Nothing is EVER clear. Nothing is EVER, EVER certain, regardless of past-ness, or present-ness, or future-ness. So, really, just shut the fuck up about all that.
Anyway, here's my AF contribution, which I never wrote out until now, called What If Hitler Knocked.
Hitler wanted to be an artist. He was rejected twice from entering the Vienna Art Academy, due to a "lack of talent". His drawings and paintings were considered stiff and lifeless. However, a friend suggested he apply for a job doing set design at the Vienna Opera House. Hitler showed up for the job appointment, but at the last instant, in a nervous moment of low self-esteem, just at the doors of the theater, turned and left without being interviewed.
Had he knocked, had he taken the interview, he would have gotten the job. Not only would he have gotten the job, he would have been quite successful at it. Because it would turn out that he had quite the talent for pageantry and spectacle. Over time, throughout the 30s, he worked his way up the ladder, with no end of glowing reviews of his shows. He caught the eye of Hollywood producers, and was enticed join Warner Brothers studios in 1934. In California, he directed and eventually produced movies that rivaled anything by Busby Berkeley (a "close personal friend"). He became a citizen of the United States at the outbreak of the War, and directed many patriotic tributes throughout the hostilities. He even directed a hilarious sendup of the Third Reich starring the Three Stooges, with Moe as Der Fuhrer Heinrich Giesel. He continued to produce movies up until his death from a stroke, at his Beverly Hills mansion in 1956. The End.
The point? Not so much about destiny, or inevitability. Possibly a thought along the lines that evil is situational, and that perhaps freedom of choice is limited by information, and that someone who is all-knowing may have no free will at all?
Nah. Nothing so heavy. Its just my little public wank.
Here's a hankie!