Skip to main content

Questions tagged [alternate-history]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
1 vote
1 answer
109 views

Would a flipped Northern Hemisphere still have huge deserts in the Sahara and Siberia?

I am making alternate history timelines where Earth has radically different geographies. I noticed one day that a huge chunk of Earth's land area is near the Arctic Circle. Canada, Siberia, Alaska, ...
Rhymehouse's user avatar
  • 3,679
9 votes
12 answers
2k views

Which invention from the last fifty years could have the biggest impact on history? [closed]

Similar to the Three Body Problem, humanity has learned it will soon be attacked by an advanced alien civilization. Humanity as it currently stands does not have the technology to withstand them. They ...
Ucinorn's user avatar
  • 496
3 votes
2 answers
1k views

How many people can China geographically support?

I'm writing an Alternate History Timeline. In that timeline, the Self-Strengthening Movement implemented by the Qing Dynasty actually works. As a result, the Qing Dynasty is able to modernize, fight ...
Rhymehouse's user avatar
  • 3,679
3 votes
1 answer
91 views

Would Earlier Knowledge of Rubber Vulcanization have been a Game Changer?

I was working on an alternate history world where the Americas are not heavily colonized and I became aware of how some people in the Yucatan were vulcanizing rubber long before Goodyear. Assuming ...
Coquí's user avatar
  • 127
1 vote
5 answers
263 views

How would a CIA program to investigate the truth of religion work? [closed]

I'm developing a story in which the CIA has investigated the truth of religion. In real life, during the Cold War the CIA investigated things like aliens, psychic powers, etc. That’s because if ...
Keshav Srinivasan's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
61 views

Earliest possible time for hydrothermal carbonization

Assuming that some lucky (and very wealthy) alchemist was on the right track, what is the earliest time that the hydrothermal carbonization process can be both discovered and implemented on a large ...
Seraphim's user avatar
  • 4,971
3 votes
6 answers
609 views

How early can the concept of "evolution" come to be? Can it come earlier than religions? [closed]

To this day, some "primitive" tribes still don't have any concept of god or religion. When presented with the idea of a divine being, they will call you a liar or a fool the moment you say &...
Xenophile's user avatar
  • 1,332
0 votes
1 answer
166 views

Steampunk-inspired constructed world tips? [closed]

Nothing too complicated but what are some tips and tricks to consider when creating a steampunk-inspired conworld and the like?
OyoJan's user avatar
  • 19
12 votes
6 answers
3k views

Is this diesel gun concept feasible?

Inspired by this question here regarding the possibility of gasoline firearms. On a world that is equivalent to the Late Victorian Period technologically where smokeless or even black powder was not ...
Seraphim's user avatar
  • 4,971
5 votes
1 answer
252 views

If you had a fusion reactor the size of a suitcase, would it be possible to power a car with it via a steam turbine with 1950's level technology?

The specifics of the reactor are intentionally vague. It would be a form of lattice-confinement, produce very little radiation, and be scaled up or down very easily. I'm working on a Fallout-like ...
BigDumb's user avatar
  • 377
0 votes
1 answer
200 views

Help with realism for extended US Civil War [closed]

The US Civil War runs normally until August 1863, when the fictional nation Mexicatan (all of Central America minus the Panama islands) joins the CSA in invading the Western USA. Mexicatan is a puppet ...
Sage Grant's user avatar
-3 votes
1 answer
131 views

How would you scuttle a nuclear submarine in the 19th century? [closed]

Imagine a nuclear submarine arriving in 19th century Europe. Everyone on board agree the world is not ready for such power, and the ship and especially the nuclear weapons must be destroyed as ...
Censored to protect the guilty's user avatar
2 votes
3 answers
470 views

What are the most important elements for creating a semi-integrated mythology? [closed]

I am currently in the process of building my fantasy world, specifically the history of the fantastical world. So, I've been contemplating the essential elements used to construct a cohesive and ...
Black Shadow's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
263 views

What temperature range would a country north of Spain and west of France have? [closed]

I'm writing an alternate timeline about a new country in Western Europe called Biscay. Biscay has a broadleaf forest biome and has many mountains along its southern border. Biscay is roughly equal to ...
Rhymehouse's user avatar
  • 3,679
5 votes
4 answers
3k views

What coordinates on Earth would provide the most arable land for a large island?

For my Alternate history story, I want a new ethnic group with their own landmass. Said landmass is a perfectly circular island the size of Egypt (area of 1 million square kilometers). This island ...
Peabody jr.'s user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
268 views

What parts of the human brain can a truth serum modify to prevent lying?

As I mentioned in a previous question, I am writing an alternate history story with many different countries by the time 2023 rolls around. Vitruvia is one such country that runs many experiments and ...
Rhymehouse's user avatar
  • 3,679
8 votes
10 answers
3k views

Can a device that causes memory loss be created with near-modern technology?

I am creating an alternate history world that leads to modern Earth having many different nations & cultures than it has in real life. One country is big on funding many extreme experiments to ...
Rhymehouse's user avatar
  • 3,679
10 votes
5 answers
3k views

How heavy does a "city" for two thousand people need to be?

This question is inspired by Mortal Engines, but I imagine something more feasible. The original question I wanted to ask was "How to keep a city in the air?", but I figured out there is ...
Mołot's user avatar
  • 33.3k
4 votes
6 answers
422 views

How far can a limited group of people advance in technology?

following scenario: a group of people (like 20-30) is brought to a new planet by a higher power. They are granted immortality, but can't reproduce - so they have a lot of time, but a hard limit in ...
ManoG1234609's user avatar
4 votes
8 answers
840 views

Does the addition of dominant fantasy races change racism in humans?

Context: This takes place in an alternate reality earth; several fantasy races have existed since the Ladinian era of the break up of Pangea; meaning by the time humans evolved into homo-sapiens, they ...
Saxionkin's user avatar
  • 443
2 votes
6 answers
441 views

Is it reasonable that magic would become a subject and magi would become students in military academies in a world with rediscovered magic?

Until twenty years before the time at which my story is set, the world was pretty much as our modern-age world is now. Magic was thought to be nothing more than myth and superstition. Alien worlds ...
Monty Wild's user avatar
  • 62.2k
1 vote
2 answers
256 views

Radio, but earlier

Let start with a current history tech-levels. Suppose, a relevant scientist in a mid-tier Great Power in 1850s receives a mysterious package. To be concrete, let's say a mid-tier Great Power is maybe ...
Oleg Lobachev's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
2k views

What would happen if the Panama Isthmus was turned into an island chain?

I understand that the Panama Isthmus is necessary for the Gulf Stream, but what would happen if instead of a solid land bridge, like shown below, it was radically changed into a series of islands ...
Sage Grant's user avatar
5 votes
0 answers
154 views

How much smaller would the industrial revolution been if it had relied on wood/biomass? [closed]

Terra: People burned mostly wood for their heating/fuel needs. Then they figured out steam engines. Their fuel needs exploded. They could have kept burning biomass, and they did a little bit, but the ...
wokopa's user avatar
  • 4,735
4 votes
14 answers
5k views

Does magic speed up technology?

In a classic RPG magic system, energy/mana/handwavium points are expended to manipulate reality. The cost increases with the complexity and extent of the alterations being made. Natural talents for ...
user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
279 views

Help solving the issue of how the existence of a giant uninhabited continent change the history of my world?

I'm writing a story (not sure if it's speculative fiction or low fantasy or sci-fi) that is set in a fairly realistic world except that there is a parallel dimension which humans colonized in what ...
Doguskang's user avatar
  • 529
15 votes
6 answers
5k views

Would fixed-wing aircraft still exist if helicopters had been invented (and flown) before them?

The current setting i'm working on plays in an alternate timeline to our own in the late 1920's, with one of the key differences being that the helicopter had already been invented in the late 1880's ...
NimRad's user avatar
  • 1,222
8 votes
7 answers
4k views

What would naval warfare look like if Dreadnoughts never came to be?

I sadly couldn't find any answers to this question, probably because it's quite niche, so i'm posting this as my first question here! The https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Dreadnought_(1906) was ...
NimRad's user avatar
  • 1,222
2 votes
0 answers
82 views

How would a societies evolve where almost everyone can shapeshift into last person they have touched [closed]

In my world, every individual gains the unique ability to shapeshift into the last person they have touched upon turning 16 years old. Somethings to note is one cannot revert back to their original ...
intro's user avatar
  • 846
1 vote
3 answers
321 views

If modern computers evolved a different way, how different might their keyboards look?

I've been sketching up a constructed script, and I've been drawing a computer keyboard to accompany it. Now, I've drawn up keys equivalent to Ctrl and Alt, and a "OS Direct key" (equivalent ...
Katy's user avatar
  • 137
12 votes
8 answers
2k views

Reasonable Relative Value in Domestication of Kelenken Terror Birds?

I'm working on a pretty detailed alternate history of the ancient America's, and currently I'm focusing upon Mesoamerica in particular. The core difference is that, through several different ...
Onyz's user avatar
  • 1,846
8 votes
8 answers
2k views

How would civilization differ if silicate glass wasn't so useful? [closed]

(This is a "hard sci-fi" chemistry question.) Silicate glass is malleable when hot, stiff at human-compatible temperatures, transparent, and chemically inert. It's cheap and easy to make, ...
Foo Bar's user avatar
  • 488
0 votes
1 answer
117 views

Feasability of an OGAS/Cybersyn-style Socialist Internet In An Alternate 1930s

OGAS and Project Cybersyn were both plans in socialist countries for an internet-style system that would be used to coordinate central planning. In this alternate timeline, World War 1 has never ...
Trurl50's user avatar
  • 17
9 votes
16 answers
6k views

How do I prevent combat-oriented aircraft from being viable?

The more I compare fictional military vehicles and tactics with real-life ones, the more it seems like aircraft are near-omnipotent in the battlefield (operating word here being near). As such, it's a ...
PanzerFan R191's user avatar
1 vote
5 answers
414 views

Murder is Legal, now what? [closed]

Background: I'm toying with a short story that deals with the concepts of: The limits of Policing, The (legitimate) use of force and the right to defend oneself. In the scenario - a society faces ever ...
TheDemonLord's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
499 views

How much and how powerful would a "phlebotinium" bomb launched from orbit be to create an artificial sea? [closed]

I am writing a setting for an unspecified goal, whether I will end up doing a video game or a novel out of it all, but I am still working on the worldbuilding aspect. Lore-introduction, (you can skip ...
Just Kherty's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
291 views

Indian Ocean continent - which humans get there first?

Trying to develop an ATL in which several 'lost' continents in the Indian Ocean - namely Kerguelen, Broken Ridge and the Mascarene Plateau (just east of Madagascar) - never end up being submerged and ...
HubbaBubba's user avatar
3 votes
8 answers
465 views

Conditions to help Paganism survive until a Revival Movement

In my world, the Northern Kingdoms are the equivalent to Europe. Like Europe, in the Middle Ages, their version of Christianity began replacing old Pagan religions and gods. However, in my world, ...
Crafter's user avatar
  • 2,591
9 votes
14 answers
3k views

Portable Alternatives to Traditional Keyboard/Mouse Input

In a near-future alternate reality where smartphones were never invented, people rely heavily on augmented reality and highly mobile computing. High-tech clothing and accessories are everywhere. Heads-...
automaton's user avatar
  • 2,535
7 votes
6 answers
2k views

How effective a sewage system can a roughly medieval location manage if told of sanitation but not how to make a sewer?

Let's say a modern man is transported to a world that is roughly medieval and modeled very clearly off of medieval Europe. He manages to impress the son of a king and eventually gets the king to hear ...
dsollen's user avatar
  • 33.6k
3 votes
5 answers
437 views

Justification for the cult of Tiamat (chaos deity)

While chaos might be well suited for raiding and pillaging, my world is to be in a sedentary setting. Indeed, chaos, in the true spirit of the term, seems to run counter to what a sedentary society ...
Arash Howaida's user avatar
-3 votes
6 answers
237 views

What conditions could help the Roman Catholic Papacy revive Paganism successfully to reduce Protestantism?

In this alternate history, the Papacy becomes worried when those such as Martin Luther began complaining about the Church's practices. At this point, Luther breaks away, beginning Lutheranism. Fear of ...
Crafter's user avatar
  • 2,591
24 votes
18 answers
6k views

At what technological level can a mixed-gender military not be at a disadvantage to an all-male one?

In various fantasy settings, female combatants are quite common. There is a history of women in the military in real life but such women were generally rare and often hid their identity. Warfare was ...
Rhymehouse's user avatar
  • 3,679
16 votes
10 answers
6k views

Max tech level for society of 200,000

Given a remote island colonised by modern day (2023) explorers, with a total population of about 200,000 but cut off from the outside world for political reasons, what level of technology could they ...
William.L's user avatar
  • 326
6 votes
13 answers
2k views

How to counter bulletproof plate armor with 19th Century technology? [closed]

I'm writing a timeline where the Russian Empire figured out how to make magical armor. By fully immersing plate armor in holy water, that plate armor is now fully bulletproof. No projectile will ...
Rhymehouse's user avatar
  • 3,679
0 votes
3 answers
518 views

How far back in time would the USA need to travel to be able to conquer the entire world? [closed]

I've been thinking of a scenario in which the US wants to control the entire world, via time travel, but I'm not sure what time to travel to. The US is generally considered to have the most powerful ...
Luke B's user avatar
  • 129
26 votes
24 answers
8k views

What would be the next logical step after crossbows?

In this world I'm making, I'm trying to avoid firearms (to keep things like melee weapons more balanced), but also be more industrial. I'm justifying it by the simple idea of 'we never discovered ...
Yun Kirk Ackerman's user avatar
12 votes
16 answers
5k views

What defensive invention would have made the biggest difference in the late 1400s?

One world I've been tinkering on for months is an alternate history where Europe did not colonise the rest of the world, different global cultures remained (more) independent, until in the age of the ...
wokopa's user avatar
  • 4,735
2 votes
5 answers
566 views

Why would a society persecute people who are antisocial misanthropes (sociopaths, psychopaths, narcissists, and sadists)? [closed]

An alternate-historical story is set in a third-world country in 1977 of the Gregorian calendar (the year George Lucas' masterpiece, Star Wars, was released). The country is a Costa Rica pastiche (...
mammifereviolet4694's user avatar
4 votes
4 answers
423 views

What population would the Americas have if the natives were as advanced as Europeans?

If you check a list of the most densely populated nations, a lot of New World countries are near the bottom and almost no Western Hemisphere nation (excluding small islands) are near the top. The ...
Rhymehouse's user avatar
  • 3,679

1
2 3 4 5
17