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What I want is an alternative Earth history where long-distance communications and transport are unavailable, but all other modern techs are there.

So, would humans achieve modern medicine, technology (computers and solar energy), skyscrapers and mass production, while taking 20-30 days to travel from Europe to America by ship and without the following long-distance techs:

  • Satellites
  • Radio communication
  • Rockets or missiles
  • Airplanes or Helicopters

What other technologies would I need to remove (for instance, internal combustion engine, TVs or Internet)?

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  • $\begingroup$ Why downvotes? What should be done to make this question better? $\endgroup$ – Chaotic Aug 28 '16 at 21:41
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    $\begingroup$ Fallout : Divergence TL;DR : no transistors. It's a start at least.... $\endgroup$ – Mazura Sep 11 '16 at 0:20
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I'm going to have to say not possible to this one.

You're asking for high tech while basically preventing people from having the idea of using their tech to power any sort of transport.

Let's starting with the Atlantic crossing times: 30-45 days by sail, as soon as you start getting steam ships that comes down to around 15 days and continues to fall. A modern fast catamaran can do the crossing in 2-3 days, but the Blue Riband was already at under 5 days over 100 years ago.

So somehow you're asking us to preserve transport tech at a period around 150 - 200 years before everything else. While still requesting technologies that depend on that higher speed transport and communication.


Preventing heavier-than-air flight could possibly be done but it would be hard. You'd have to have a real ingrained belief that it wasn't possible along with some really bad luck for anyone who tried it.

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To achieve an alternative Earth with no radio communications, aircraft, rockets or satellites you to change the basic nature of planet Earth.

Make the gravity higher. High enough to prevent rockets making orbit. Make the Earth bigger so travel travel across the oceans takes much longer.

The Earth has virtually no coal or oil reserves. Therefore, no internal combustion engines. No steamships. Sailing ships will exist until the current day.

Without fossil fuels the Industrial Revolution will be a slower, gentler and less intensive process. Presumably powered by wind, tidal and water, and then eventually solar energy.

The combination of higher gravity and no fossil fuels means no aircraft and helicopters. Engines won't be powerful enough for mechanical flight.

If this alternative Earth has no ionosphere, then long-range radio communications will be impossible except by line of sight. (Note: while this would be ideal for this putative world, it's most likely this is an impossible requirement.) Alternatively, the solar system is excessively active in its space weather that radio is effectively jammed permanently. Long-range communications could still be possible via the telegraphy. The 19th century laid down transoceanic cables across the world, so this form of long-range communications will still be present.

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  • $\begingroup$ You might have coal but no petrolium. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Aug 28 '16 at 5:26
  • $\begingroup$ That is an alternative option, but coal-fired steamships would allow long-range transportation. I decided to clear the decks will nearly all fossil fuels. The petrology of a higher-gravity planet hopefully will fix that. $\endgroup$ – a4android Aug 28 '16 at 5:36
  • $\begingroup$ You can't have trees either or everything would run on charcoal. $\endgroup$ – Mazura Sep 11 '16 at 0:13

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