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Kite World



A commission by , illustrating an AH story he wrote, to be published in December in the Tales from Alternate Earths 2 anthology from Inklings Press. (Link here:… )

I call it "Kite World" because it diverges from ours with the development of man-carrying kites and gliders in 9th century Islamic (or "Moorish") Spain. A fascination with flight develops and pushes air technology, leading to things like hot air balloons and rocket-enhanced gliders. This in turn leads to greater mobility of armies and explorers, faster movements of peoples, bigger and faster-growing empires, etc, massively butterflying history.

By the "present day" of the story, technology is up to a roughly Our TimeLine level, and the world is (relatively) at peace, although the currently nationless Mongols, who want their homeland (and possibly MoarLand) back are a nuisance on a level with Islamic terrorism in our world. Islam, as Early Adapters of flight technology, gained an edge on Christian Europe, a lead which was further broadened by an utterly devastating Mongol invasion of Europe.

Christianity-dominated states are mostly limited to the far north and northwest of Europe, although northern Italy has managed to stay Christian-run and even prosper through cunning diplomacy and banking services. OTOH, Christianity has done fairly well in North America, and the (mostly) Christian states of the United North American Nations have surpassed Christian Europe in wealth and influence. South America was colonized by Iberian and west/northwest African Muslims, while Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean are dominated by a democratic federation of the successor states to the Karamanid Turks, whose empire substantially exceeded that of our Ottomans at its height.

What in our world would be Russia and central Asia are neither Muslim nor Christian, but instead dominated religiously by the Tengriists, a syncretic religion mixing old Mongol shamanism with Buddhism, Islam, etc. 
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