Questions tagged [alternate-history]

For questions that ask what might have happened if history had taken a different path.

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4answers
136 views

What POD Would I Need to Make the European “Flag Samurais” a Reality?

In honor of the much-delayed Tokyo Olympics, Japanese artists (I've never found their names) have drawn the flags of all the nations personified as anime warriors. For this question, let's focus on ...
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3answers
135 views

Are there any tools that people use to generate borders during alternate histories?

I personally think that this question is only slightly more suited for Worldbuilding Main rather than the Worldbuilding Meta, but I'm not sure where else to ask. Is there a website that I could use ...
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13answers
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Why would the first manned Mars mission have a huge crew?

In 1948, Wernher von Braun wrote The Mars Project, in which he outlined a scientific expedition to Mars involving 70 crew members who would stay for around a year before returning to Earth. Since then,...
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Lowest tech to generate electricity with mirror solar thermal tower

I'm thinking of a story where one country gets very technologically advanced compared to its neighbours, and I figured the best way to do that is with one of those towers that create steam by ...
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7answers
548 views

What would an Industrial Revolution that never exploited fossil fuels look like? [closed]

Clarification: Oil, coal and natural gas still exist but have never been exploited. And the Industrial Revolution is capitalized to emphasize on the massive episode in human history spanning from ...
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3answers
261 views

How Would Freshwater Reefbuilders Differ from Saltwater Reefbuilders?

Here's the context: Even back home, the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum was not a good time to be a marine organism. Equatorial seas spiked up to 36 degrees Centigrade, or 97 Fahrenheit! And the ...
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1answer
150 views

Can ferrets substitute for cats as mousers?

House cats are among the oldest domestic animals on Earth. They basically followed domestication of cereals in the Middle East; mice infiltrated human habitation to eat the stored grain, and cats came ...
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0answers
49 views

How different, geographically, would Western North America look if the ice ages lasted 14 million years rather than two-and-a-half?

If such iconic landscapes as the Great Lakes, the Mississippi Basin and New York Harbor are proof of anything, it's that the North America we know has been shaped by ice ages coming and going and ...
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14answers
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What point of departure would incite the medieval peoples to develop The Industrial Revolution at an earlier date than back home?

In our timeline, the Industrial Revolution spanned from 1760 to 1820...or 1840, depending on which source we're talking about. Bottom line is, this period in modern history was a pretty big deal, ...
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1answer
191 views

What Point of Departure Would I Need to Turn The World's Largest Cities Into Kowloons?

In 2018 estimates by the United Nations, 81 cities around the world have been categorized as metropolitan areas with a minimum human population of five million. Tokyo stands out on top, with a ...
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1answer
134 views

Speedrunning medicinal science

Many believe that being incredibly rich equals to being god on earth and in artificial situations, yes it would make sense... except it never happened. All Kings and Queens got fooled, betrayed, ...
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5answers
780 views

Inventions that could have come earlier [closed]

There are some technical ideas that could have been developed much earlier, changing the ancient or medieval world. A sterling example is the hot-air balloon. It was actually invented at the close of ...
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4answers
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What would have been required for rockets to have dominated instead of cannons?

What would have been required for rockets to have dominated historically instead of cannons as the standard artillery weapon? There was enough of an overlap that this feels like it could have been ...
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1answer
207 views

What impact would it have had if BFCs had been adopted instead of CFCs?

In the late 1920s, Thomas Midgley, Jr. improved the process of synthesis and led the effort to use chlorofluorocarbons, CFCs, as refrigerants: to replace ammonia (NH3), chloromethane (CH3Cl), and ...
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3answers
106 views

The Marine Invasion Had Come in Full Force, But How Would They Adapt to the Challenges of Terrestrial Living?

Related to my previous question. 252 million years ago, in an alternate timeline, a gamma ray burst wiped out 96% of all terrestrial species and only 70% of all marine species. The ozone layer, the ...
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1answer
144 views

Who on Land Will Survive The Inverse Great Dying?

Long ago, I asked a question on what would create an inverse Great Dying. Allow me to clarify on what I meant: 252 million years ago, the worst event in the history of life on Earth occurred. 70% of ...
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1answer
98 views

Effects of a sudden change in magnetic poles

In my verse the Magnetic Poles of the planet underwent a sudden shift due to the construction of a great tower imbued with great amounts of Magic. This shift made it so that the poles shifted to the ...
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1answer
102 views

If people had different views on biology/nature since the 1600s, would scientific and technological development be different or would it be the same? [closed]

I was reading this article, https://aeon.co/essays/can-animals-be-usefully-described-as-clockwork-machines, and was wondering if people kept viewing animals as machine like would technology and ...
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2answers
174 views

How to Build the Fictional Continents Using Our Real Continents

Presented here is a map of Earth with the fictional continents resurfaced, by the Redditor "Stagman1111": Source From left to right, the presented additional continents are Mu, Atlantis and ...
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2answers
114 views

What POD Would I Need For Earth's Lost Worlds to Exist Today?

This is a map of Earth as depicted by the DeviantArtist ToonHolt: As you can see, many new landmasses have been added, from lost worlds like Sundaland, Zealandia and Kerguelen, to fictional worlds ...
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4answers
363 views

Could one make decent armour based on a jaguar pelt?

I have always loved the fursuit uniform of the Aztec Ocelotl warrior: But, to my great disappointment, it turns out that in reality the suit was not made out of an actual jaguar pelt: the helmets ...
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0answers
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What if California Had Trisected in 1855? [closed]

In 1855, the California State Assembly passed a plan to trisect the state. All of the southern counties as far north as Monterey, Merced, and part of Mariposa, then sparsely populated but today ...
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0answers
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What if WW1 never happened? [closed]

After learning more about the assassination of Franz Ferdinand I wondered, what would have happened, if he never had been shot. Similar to the man in the high castle, I want to explore an alternative ...
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1answer
128 views

Creating Genetically Engineered Individuals [closed]

Let's say I want to make a genetically engineered being, who doesn't have iron-based blood, and is an improvement on humans across the board: strictly stronger, more resilient, greater lung capacity, ...
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5answers
159 views

What would be some changes in regards to courtship to a society where men are conscripted for three years into the military? [closed]

Let's say there's a major or constant level of warfare with an external enemy is a modern developed society. Think like modern day Korea or Israel. As a result of this level of warfare men are ...
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1answer
142 views

What kind of education would telekinetic children get in a modern country?

In this case I'm assuming a low level telekinetics that can do anything they can see. People with Telekinetic skills are not discriminated against too much but they make up a small portion of the ...
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2answers
3k views

If the Roman Empire in the Year 90 AD Found a Living Tyrannosaurus Rex, What Creature in Their Mythology Would They Most Likely Mistake It For?

I'm writing a story where a group of mischievous aliens teleport iconic creatures to inappropriate time periods. (Dimetrodons in colonial Germany, Pterodactyls in the medieval Ottoman Empire, ...
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3answers
267 views

Can I have an otherwise High Medieval society, if they are in perpetual Bronze Age?

I may have been too ambitious with one property of my advanced Mesoamerican civilisation. The very summarised background (which you can take as given; don't frame challenge this) is that after a wise ...
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4answers
2k views

Could the Troubles in Northern Ireland and England have ended in reunification?

I am trying to plot the background of an alternate history story revolving around an Irish-British teenager living in a post-Troubles London where tensions are much higher. Unlike our timeline, the ...
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7answers
2k views

How powerful could a person with superpowers/group of superhumans be without greatly affecting world history?

One of the major problems I've always had with the MCU and the DC universe is how powerful many of the beings or people are whilst the World is still almost the same as ours. It was as if the writers ...
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8answers
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What could be the the consequences in this world if nuclear bombs didn't release radiation anymore?

In an alternative earth, or just a few decades from now, someone was able to make a breakthrough in nuclear bombs. Developing a way to make the radiation be nullified by its extreme chain reactions or ...
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6answers
804 views

Television without primary colors

As humans, we're incredibly lucky that we only see in three primary colors. It makes the development of color displays quite easy. We only need to squeeze three subpixels into a single pixel! What if, ...
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9answers
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What would it have taken for navies to control air forces historically?

So the idea of space navies is extremely common in science fiction, with the navy as the branch that is more or less dominant. Generally speaking they have marines under them and there is rarely an ...
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4answers
214 views

How would the cold war continue- in space?

The cold war never ended in 1990-94, and the Warsaw pact still exists, as does the prominence of communism in eastern europe. It’s now 2030, and both sides have colonies on the moon and are ...
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3answers
207 views

What would have happened if the USA never dropped atomic bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki? [closed]

If the USA never dropped the bombs on Japan, how different would have japan looked today? Would it look like Taiwan or would it look like Europe? What would have been Japan's technological innovation? ...
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4answers
288 views

What could have caused a three-way cold war?

I was working on a story project some years ago which featured a highly alternate near future in which, among other things, a 3-way cold war had spread across the solar system. There were many other F&...
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4answers
233 views

What would an until-recently waterworld look like?

So, suppose a world that, for most of its biological history, was a water world, with minimal dry land. Starting from the Cambrian Explosion analogue, the world stays like this for roughly 460 million ...
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3answers
159 views

If the Vikings grew horns, what would their helmets look like?

Imagine all the Scandinavians started sprouting horns, much like their stereotypical image, out of their heads. Now, how do they redesign their helmets to match a horned head? Note that your helmet ...
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5answers
229 views

How would centaurs fight British musket infantry squares of the 18th - 19th century (aside from using artillery)?

How would centaurs fight British musket infantry squares of the 18th - 19th century (aside from using artillery)? The centaurs would have the same technology as the British, more or less. Would they ...
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4answers
186 views

How much trouble would a great depression era rural county have with settling a late cretaceous Montana/Wyoming?

I have a very specific setting in mind that can be pretty much summed up as "Wild West with Dinosaurs". However, I'm still trying to figure out the details of just how the people native to a ...
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2answers
212 views

How can Hong Kong be brought into the Commonwealth of Nations?

Between 1927 and 1949, a civil war in China was fought between the Nationalist ROC-led government led by Chiang Kai Shek, and the Communist Party led by Mao Zedong. These two forces put their ...
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3answers
174 views

In the modern era, how could I have a very bad recession comparable to the Great Depression?

In my world (modern day Earth, but at a higher technology level with national AI systems being commonplace across the world, cybernetics limbs being an option, and autonomous weapon systems being ...
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18answers
6k views

Could you design a fighter plane for a centaur?

It's the Great War, and all the nations are having a good time of it, painting their biplanes flashy colours, as they shoot into their own propellers! But over in the corner, lonesome and dejected, ...
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3answers
143 views

Could a pre-modern civilization make a gas canister with rough valves and pressure regulation?

I wanted to have a gas cylinder that would hold up to about 10 litres of gas (oxygen, mainly) at 20 atmospheres of pressure. Or, if that's impossible, 7 atmospheres would suffice. The setting is pre-...
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2answers
142 views

Could you develop Electrolysis with Pre-Modern technology?

Electrolysis was a popular idea for how mermaids would generate oxygen for their guests. This leads to another question: Is it possible to perform electrolysis with pre-modern technology? Electrolysis ...
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1answer
110 views

What smallest single change after 1949 would've relocated Canada's financial capital to Quebec, rather than Toronto?

Inspired by Toronto's unaffordable real estate prices and What single change in history would allow to make the German city of Munich be in modern France?. I haven't visited Canada in a while. But I ...
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3answers
151 views

Alternative Pre-Modern Rocket Fuel to Gunpowder: Can you make a naphtha rocket?

In a pre-17th century world without gunpowder, can rockets still be developed? Could you perhaps make a naphtha rocket? RP1 is made from highly refined kerosene, which has been about since at least ...
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5answers
244 views

What smallest single change would've produced a financial hub in Republic of Ireland, rather than London?

Inspired by Brexit that can boost Dublin’s finance hub, says Central Bank of Ireland's report and Duff & Phelps's Global Regulatory Outlook (GRO) report. Ireland and UK are similar because English ...
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4answers
1k views

School system for primitives

What is the most basic type of civilization which can sustain a school system where children spend 12 to 14 hours each day in school where they learn and develop attributes instead of culuture. A ...
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3answers
248 views

How can I redirect Great Britain back to Catholicism after the English Reformation?

I, Mary the Magnificent, am the greatest and most successful queen in the British Empire. I grew up in luxury as a member of the valiant Tudor family. Unfortunately, Europe had taken a dark turn some ...

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