A Jonbar Hinge, also known as a change-point, or a point of divergence, is a fork in the road. An opportunity where a situation can go one way, or the other. The expression is taken from the novel, The Legion of Time by Jack Williamson (1952) where John Barr, picks up a pebble, or a magnet. Either object he picks up will be a major turning point in history. Hence the term — Jonbar Hinge.
This particular literary device lends itself to scifi time-travel plot lines, and to alternative historical novels.
In US history, the Kennedy assassination is identified as a Jonbar Hinge. What if JFK had lived? Diane Kunz’ Camelot Revisited, and Niall Ferguson’s Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals both explore this theme.
A very blatant Jonbar Hinge is taken from the movie, The Matrix, in which Neo has to choose between the red pill, and the blue pill. It is the defining moment of the movie and is what sets all things in motion for this trilogy.
What are some of your favorite Jonbar Hinges?