Science fiction theature

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bensen-daniel's avatar
Thanks for all the great comments on the Urchin-bushes!  But now that that conversation seems to be winding down, I thought I'd crack open a new bottle of weird ideas.  These are some more notions from my science fiction file---seeds for possible short stories (mine or yours: I'm not afraid the Reds will steal my ideas).  I would appreciate anything anyone out there has to say about:

1) The Frontier:  This is my answer to the Fermi Paradox (…).  Somewhere else in the galaxy and many millennia ago, an alien civilization passed through the technological singularity. They developed god-like powers, to such an extent, in fact, that they learned how to re-write the laws of physics to better suite their needs. One of the things they did is change things so that faster than light travel is possible.  (actually, they probably made several spheres, like an onion, each one with better physics than the last, but that isn't important) The zone(s) of changed physics they created is a sphere, and the sphere is expanding at the speed of light (because although normal rules do not apply inside the sphere, the sphere itself must still obey the cosmic speed limit as it grows).  On the sphere's borders---the Frontier---new worlds are constantly being thrown open to Improved Space, and the borders throng with business of varying degrees of legality.  Enter the Earth.  Or rather, the Earth just entered the sphere.  

2) Ice Moon:  What if the Earth (or an Earthlike planet) had a captured comet, or even a larger moon made of (or holding significant quantities of) ice?  All of a sudden, spaceflight is much easier---you have reaction mass at your destination, oxygen to be freed by electrolysis, not to mention drinking water.  It would be a stepping stone into the rest of the solar system.

3) Tsarigrad:  A young man named Temujin dies of malnutrition in 1167 in Mongolia.  As a result, the Mongol and Turkic tribes of Central Asia never make a concerted push westward.  China remains isolated from the Middle East, which in turn is not horribly sacked and does not suffer environmental collapse.  Heretical forms of Christianity west of the Black sea are not stamped out by converted-Muslim mongols, but instead continue to develop along their own strange lines.  Instead of the Christian West and the Islamic/Chinese East, we have the Christian/Islamic West and the Chinese East. Gunpowder is not introduced to the West, and the age of castles continues.  The Eastern Roman empire, when it collapses, is not gobbled up by Turkic-speaking Muslims from the east, but Slavic-speaking westerners.  Constantinople does not become Istanbul, but Tsarigrad, and the Bosporus is not closed to European trade ships.  Portugal has no reason to seek alternate routs of Asia, and the coast of Africa and the New World go unexplored for hundreds of years.

And I have another story idea, but I think that one deserves its own post.  I'll post it after the this one stops producing comments, in a few weeks.  :)

So in the mean time, what do you guys think?
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nemo-ramjet's avatar
The frontier idea reminds me of S. M. Stirling's "Dies the Fire" series.

The "no Mongols" scenario is also great. Without the Mongol invasions, the Islamic "Golden Age" in the middle east might never have been interrupted, and the state of the world today might have been very, very different.

I'd have to disagree with Daniel about the Bulgarian takeover of Byzantium. Without the Mongol/Turkic surge, the Byzantines would have retained at least the Western half of Anatolia, and most of the Balkans. The Caliphate and Byzantium would have reached some sort of equilibrium, as the Arabs were more interested in Sicily, Spain and Northern Africa anyways. The Bulgarians would either be the Mexicans to Byzantium's U.S, or independent trustworthy vassals supported against the Russians and/or the Serbians.

Man, I really missed some good ol' Alternative History discussion :)