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My story idea is that on an Earth-like planet, with a human-like, intelligent dominant species (basically human), there are multiple apocalypses. Each gap between the apocalypses is called a cycle and in each cycle, there is a different theme and a reason for it.

The only differences between Earth and this planet is that the continents are merged into one big continent (like Earth during the Triassic period (no dinosaurs or giant insects, just geography)) and the trees can be processed into fuel.

The "timeline" of this world goes sort of like this:

  • the first cycle (before any apocalypse) is a pre-apocalypse, nuclear powered fallout style world.
  • Then (to be expected) there is a nuclear war, plunging the world into a nuclear winter, making the second cycle into a cold, snowy Mad Max style thing.
  • Then the cycles after that go genetic/electric [where the dominant species improves itself through CRISPR type technology] -> [currently unknown event]
  • Space and NASA style solar exploration (nothing outside the solar system) [at the end of this cycle, all life on other planets die out except on the main planets moon] -> [currently unknown event]
  • almost medieval/tribal but with 'tech relics', early 1900s knowledge and mechanical transportation. [At this point the dominant species has split into three different breeds, through isolation and genetic engineering to suit conditions]-> [currently unknown event]
  • an unstable mess of sci-fi tech, people, ongoing squabbles over borders and resources and a looming threat from the moon.

So what I am asking is:

Can multiple apocalypses happen without either a solution arising or extinction happening over multiple cycles?

Follow-up questions:
How long would cycles last? (my educated guess is from 150 to 500 years judging by how long it took Earthlings to develop)

What kind of apocalypse or age-turning event would happen in all the gaps I didn't fill (->)?

Are there any other obvious flaws that I have missed?

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    $\begingroup$ Please, one question per question. It's fine to have detail questions to narrow down the main one, but I'm not sure if this is the case here. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Mar 14 '17 at 9:14
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    $\begingroup$ As @Mołot said you should only ask one question at a time. Normally you can focus on one question first, wait for some feedback and then incorporate that feedback into a second question. I think your first question would be the best to start. So please try to focus on the current title of your question. $\endgroup$ – Sec SE - clear Monica's name Mar 14 '17 at 9:36
  • $\begingroup$ The other three questions look somewhat like brainstorming, or idea-generation. They might be off-topic here, as things like "How would characters act?" cannot be answered somewhat objectively. You should test these follow-up questions in our Sandbox. It is specifically created to get feedback on the style (on-topic, grammar, background info, general stuff, ...) before releasing questions onto the main Site. Have fun! $\endgroup$ – Sec SE - clear Monica's name Mar 14 '17 at 9:36
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    $\begingroup$ To edit proposers: While it is correct that the question should only include one, clear, question; removing the other three changes the intended message of the poster. Let the OP remove or reword the follow-up questions so that the intended message is kept intact (To Gnorshk, check the rules of what is off topic). $\endgroup$ – Mrkvička Mar 14 '17 at 10:26
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hen the cycles after that go genetic/electric [where the dominant species improves itself through CRISPR type technology] -> [currently unknown event]

You would have eugenics war. There would be safe monitored facilities where people could get standard well researched genetic modifications. However, they would produce results much slower as the long term effect of the modifications would have to be studied. Then there would be a medium risk group, and a high risk group of genetic alterations. They would provide more extreme modifications, but a higher number of them would go wrong. Some would end up say super strong, but now there are like 2 year olds mentally. The legit places would destroy them, but the less reputable might just turn them lose into a neighboring forest,desert, or etc. They could reproduce some faster than others. Eventually the modification would be understood, and most of them would be deemed bad. All but a handful would eventually be discarded, that were safe and needed. Most of the experimental places would go out of business because of bad reputations. Hay what happened to Joe? Last seen going into Genetic-R-Us.

Eventually herds of genetic abominations would roam the land. Now society, tired of genetic failures, would have raise an army to wipe out the failures. It would cost many lives as some of the failures are smart, or got smarter through inter species breading. Finally after many years of fighting society would stabilize again. We would again have spare resources, and the science communities would move away from genetics back to regular sciences.

At this point NASA re-emerges.

Space and NASA style solar exploration (nothing outside the solar system) [at the end of this cycle, all life on other planets die out except on the main planets moon] -> [see below]

Resource and land wars would slowly develop as more and more people move into space. The colonized planets will have habitable zones which will range from little to no protection needed to very expensive high maintenance protection needed. Rent would of course be high in the desirable zones, and low in the frontier lands. Class wars between these groups could easily develop due to unaddressed misunderstandings and envy or jealousness. Eventually the highly valuable resources would start to get depleted. At least the ones people could trade in for money. As soon as there were enough people who couldn't pay their rent or maintenance there would be wars over the habitable zone of the planet/moon. Many would probably die. The rich people would, having gotten even more rich and seeing the impending wars coming, moved off the planet moon to a new location. Possibly in their own ships, and maybe colonize their own moon,planet,whatever. The poor and middle class would primarily be stuck, but would take over the rich peoples houses as they have left, and whoever owns them still wants rent. The colonies would linger on in a state of subsistence, and people who died wouldn't be replaced to reduce shortages. Eventually there won't be enough people to do maintenance, and the places will crumble and most will die from exposure.

This is your most tricky requirement:

most medieval/tribal but with 'tech relics', early 1900s knowledge and mechanical transportation. [At this point the dominant species has split into three different breeds, through isolation and genetic engineering to suit conditions]-> [currently unknown event]

The 3 species is relatively simple, you have the rich,middle class, and poor. Each will develop into its own species with corresponding more mutation due to cheap genetic alteration. They will breed, and through years of breeding form their own sub species. Obviously the rich, who can afford top notch genetics will be the most human, and advanced.

I can't think of a good reason why tech knowledge globally would drop that far.

The rich will hoard the best technologies, and the poor won't have access to many of them, but the tech and knowledge will be preserved. One possibility, you might not have enough smart scientist who can understand the science. Eventually the poor's genetics will become too degraded and start turning them into animals. The rich and middle class seeing this coming will wipe them out. Which is your wars for this era of people.

an unstable mess of sci-fi tech, people, ongoing squabbles over borders and resources and a looming threat from the moon

Clearly this would be an automatic outcome from my story.

The rich survivors of the colonies would clearly fly back to earth, and have enough money to buy land, and re-settle. The people on the moon would clearly want to move back to earth once resource shortages start occurring. Either that or if they find themselves wedged between sides of a resource war among the other colonies as they start to die off. Being earth we would get first dibs on everything, and other would look on jealously at us. The moon would probably be the only ones would pose a serious threat. Many other ships coming back to Earth might simple run out of fuel, or the maintenance needs of the ships might overwhelm them. They would be in a weakened state and probably easy for Earth to take out should they become a threat.

Earth would still be the best preserved place in the solar system. Sure there could be some resource wars, but we will get our stuff from the outer planets,moons, or whatever. If push comes to shove Earth would have the most advanced fleet of well maintained ships, and would take what they need.

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A little bit too vague, but yes. If every time it's a different type of apocallypse there's no way to "solve" it, since the new one is not the same as the old one. For example, a nuclear war followed by a famine due to nuclear winter followed to a pandemic followed by a glacial age... you get the idea.

If the apocallypse is always the same, it maybe not avoidable. A planet cyclically suffering frequent meteor rain from a distroyed satellite which has approached too much to the planet or a whole solar system which is revolving around a distant massive body, such as a black hole, and every thousand years crosses through its gamma-ray bursts of energy. These apocallypses can be known in advance, but hardly prevented with our current technology.

If your species is as adaptable and advanced as ours, no apocallypse sort of complete planet anihilation would extermine us all, and a civilization could be quickly regenerated - with much reduced numbers. Books, educated survivors and pieces from old technology would allow for a quick coming back to the same technological level as before - in a Pareto way: 80% of technology in a few years, the other 20% maybe in a century.

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Here's my take on the edited question:

If enough people survive the dangers of nuclear winter, manage to band together, and share their skills, they might be able to rebuild. Especially if they extensively prepared for war.

If the genetic catastrophes don't lead to tumor-ridden, immobile, non-viable monstrosities for generations to come, we're still good.

However, be careful how you destroy almost all other life. One exception to quarantine, a misplaced decimal point, or a radical scientist might bring things to an abrupt stop.

If there's enough time between the apocalypse that throws the dominant species back into an "almost medieval/tribal" and the apocalypse that wipes them out around reaching sci-fi levels, they'll continue.

I worry, though, that with all the death combined with your 'relics" you'll end up with a bunch of warlords. If they can be allied (by a strong military or religious leaders) AND the intelligencia aren't overly demonized/are properly supported, they may be able to continue the cycle long enough to start going to war again.

Without some kind of warning--the gods telling everyone this cycle's going to be firestorms--I doubt anything will survive an apocalypse every thousand years.

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