AH Challenge: Blade Runner

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Diamond, Jun 21, 2005.

  1. Diamond Banned

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    Here's something a little different: Create a timeline for the movie Blade Runner. For those disturbed individuals out there who've never seen it, tough. For the rest of you, have at it. The movie was made in 1982, and the story takes place in 2019. I don't think you're going to be able to change history enough to get the job done in 37 years, so set the POD whenever you need to. If you can do it from 1982 onwards (with no ASB), you get a cookie.

    Some things to keep in mind from the movie:
    • Artificial humans, 'replicants' are widespread, but are outlawed on Earth.
    • There are numerous mentions of off-world colonies. For the sake of this discussion, let's assume they're limited to our solar system.
    • Replicants are used as slave labor in the colonies.
    • Overall levels of technology seem to be pretty far advanced over ours: hovercars are common, as are artificial animals, and neat little gadgets like Deckard's voice-activated picture-enhancer.
    • Pollution seems to have run rampant.
    • The female replicant Rachel mentions 'trying to head north' to escape being shot as a replicant. Does this mean Canada?
    • The movie is set in Los Angeles; there seems to be a much more pronounced Asian influence, on everything from architecture to music and dress and advertising.
     
  2. Forum Lurker Member

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    Not sure if this is ASB or not: the 1989 Pons-Fleischmann cold fusion experiment proves replicable. This energy source is more than ample enough to allow for off-world colonies, hovercars, and the amount of energy needed to produce the other technological marvels; butterflies from this could also easily account for the social disorder. The real trick is getting rampant pollution with fusion power: the easiest solution is an explosive mishap which produces Krakatoa-like results, but it's also possible that manufacturing processes simply go into extreme overdrive, so that even with clean methods there's still a titanic amount of waste being pumped into the air.
     
  3. csa945 deity-worshipping caveman

    You could have the replicants come into use in a similar manner to the robots in Asimov's universe: used by the off-world colonists because of the relatively low population, but unnecessary on earth.
     
  4. Forum Lurker Member

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    But that wasn't why either of them weren't used on-planet. In both cases, it was because they were very useful for hazardous work, such as was no longer found on Earth but very common on the frontiers of space, and because people had a major Frankenstein complex about them, more justified in Dick's novel than in Asimov.
     
  5. Wendell Wendell

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    I would think that the POD would have to be before the 1980's.
     
  6. Doctor What Charismatic Cult Leader

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    Mid-1980's--smallish asteroid crashes into south pacific/Indian ocean area. Asteroid is just big enough to do massive damage but not big enough enough to be a planet killer (Krakatoa was ~ 200 megatons--figure maybe twice as higher for this). It causes massive death/destruction to the asian subcontinent and messes up the weather patterns on a global scale for a few years. These weather disruptions are having a devastating effect on many animals worldwide. There's a massive wave of refugees of all kinds away from the devastated areas--some (naturally) end up on the West coast of North America. Other parts of asia are 'super-concentrated' with people--more so than OTL--due to all the refugees moving about.

    1989--Cold Fusion perfected.

    Early 1990's--Two breakthroughs--both as a result of side-effects of influx of manpower & money from displaced refugees and sudden interest in all things related to space.
    -Genetic engineering/robotics advanced enough that small artificial animals can be made that look almost like the real thing.
    -Extraction techniques for oxygen and energy from lunar rock cheaply and efficiently are perfected.

    Mid-90's --Clmate still messed up. Huge numbers of refugees moving about and clustering in huge groups in a limited number of areas are having a major effect on the local ecosystems--and the smoke/dust/debris from the asteroid impact is still messing things up on a global scale. First lunar colony successfully set up. Soon--there's a second and a third and.....

    Late 90's--Most of the major countries--either unilaterally or in cooperation with other countries--are 'encouraging' their residents to move off-world to all the colonies that are springing up. Most of the colonies are small (mining colonies and so forth) but techniques are slowly improving and places are being scouted out quite quickly. Genetic engineering techniques with animals are improving by leaps and bounds. 'Officially', human experimentation is outlawed. 'Unofficially'--there are a number of secret projects going on.

    1999-First successful 'replicant'. By 2019 standards it is quite crude--but it is the first. A highly irreputable mining consortium decides to use the replicants for slave labor in some of it's more dangerous mining colonies--with phenomenal success. Unfortunately the story leaks out. There's a great deal of confusion over whether or not the mining company actually did use 'slave labor'. The mining company's lawyers argue that-since they created the workers to begin with and that the workers are not 100% human--then, by definition, they aren't slaves. The case goes all the way to the Supreme Court--and the mining company wins.

    2000--Eldon Tyrell (an extremely bright researcher with phenomenal business skills who was part of the original research team) leaves the mining company (with a few of his assistants) and starts up his very own 'Replicant' company, dedicated to researching and developing new and improved replicants. Replicants start being used as everything from sex slaves to domestic servants to workers--both on Earth and off-world.

    2010 There is a small scale 'revolt' with some replicants. It's put down--but quite a few humans got killed in the process. Subsequently all Replicants were banned from Earth and only allowed to be used on the Off-World Colonies in space. Many Replicants on Earth tried to hide there blended in with the normal population. Special police taskforces nicknamed "Blade Runner" Units hunted down the Replicants on Earth until none was left--supposedly.

    2019 setting of Blade Runner the movie
     
  7. Tyr air in space

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    The colonies are just in the solar system in Blade Runner.

    Wasn't there a WW3 befoire blade runner?
    Or is that just Akira I'm thinking of...
     
  8. Doctor What Charismatic Cult Leader

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    Yeah--colonies are just in the solar system--see original post.

    As for WW3--depends on whether you're referring to the book or the movie--the book does mention some kind of nuclear war of some kind but the movie never mentions it.

    Akira had the big WW3 scenario--damn, that movie rocked.....
     
  9. Tyr air in space

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    I don't like Akira. Cool at the beginning with the bikes but rapidly becomes sub standard.

    I really should seek out the Blade Runner game...
     
  10. Doctor What Charismatic Cult Leader

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    Game came out in 97, I think. I have a copy at home. You should be able to pick it up at any bargain bin for next to nothing. Quite good--interesting puzzles--and it has a few different endings, depending on what you do during the game.
     
  11. MerryPrankster Gone Fishin' Donor

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    Doctor What,

    That's a good scenario right there.
     
  12. General_Paul Finding the fine line...

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    Kick ass Dr. What. Now, to add an even larger...twist to this. The refugee fleet from the New Battlestar Galactica shows up right after the events of the Movie. How do the refugees, and the comand crew of Galactica deal with such a society?
     
  13. jolo timeline perfectionist

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    The Japanese decide to switch from state controlled economy to market economy in the 80s, thus avoiding their economy's sluggishness and reducing their dependance on exports, which reduces tensions with the US and increases sympathy of the US for all of Asia.

    Therefore, nearly no restrictions on immigration from Asia and more willingness to copy from Asia (lifestyle, architecture...).

    By 2005, the higher speed of development gives us the first simple "slave robots" - robots which look like r2d2, understand some verbal commands, and pretty autonomously find strategies to do the chores given to them.

    By 2010, they have replaced every worker and some look like humans.

    By 2012, a little war erupts between humans and robots, which means, they are outlawed. Basically, only replicants survive.

    The war takes a lot of casualties, causes a lot of destruction and turns Canada and some other areas, where the robots have built their factories during the war, into lifeless wastelands. Too polluted to be inhabitable by humans, those wastelands are ideal for the surviving robots, some of which hide there.
     
  14. Doctor What Charismatic Cult Leader

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    Canada is the second largest country in the world--for the war to turn it into an uninhabitable wasteland but still leave the U.S. (relatively) untouched would be difficult to pull off.

    How about something really simple--Canada only has 30 million people in OTL and huge areas of underdeveloped and untouched forests and stuff--a person can hide out in a cabin in the woods in some of the more wilder areas for years and probably never be found.

    And since replicants look almost human and none of them are suppose to exist on Earth anyway and almost all the people who knew of Rachel's existence are dead......
     
  15. Diamond Banned

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    Good job, Doc! That's a good skeleton to hang things on.

    Sir, this is the police. Put the crack pipe down and step away. Thank you for your cooperation.

    I don't think the whole Galactica milleu fits well with Blade Runner. At all.

    But what about combining Blade Runner and... Robocop? Maybe human blade runners just aren't up to catching the new and improved Nexus 7s, 8s, and 9s that the Tyrell Corporation begins developing, and a rival corp develops Robocop-like cyborgs to do the job and maybe eventually replace the Replicants?
     
  16. Flocculencio Fabian Socialist Donor

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    Sweet Zombie Jebus! They'd all collectively freak, turn the fleet around and get the hell out of Dodge.
     
  17. Diamond Banned

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    <bump>

    Any new ideas? (Sorry; Blade Runner just fascinates me. :) )
     
  18. Broohah God's gift to the multiverse

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    Found this thread during a search of Blade Runner material on the forum. Great timeline, DoctorWhat. Here's an expansion of it I put together:

    In 1981, a small asteroid crashed into South Pacific/Indian Ocean area. The asteroid was just big enough to do massive damage but not big enough enough to be a planet killer. It caused massive death and destruction to the Asian subcontinent and disrupted the weather patterns on a global scale for a few years. These weather disruptions had a devastating effect on many animals worldwide. There was a massive wave of refugees of all kinds away from the devastated areas. Many ended up on the West Coast of North America. Other parts of Asia became 'super-concentrated' with people--due to all the refugees moving about.

    In the early 1990s, two technological breakthroughs were made--both as a result of side-effects of influx of manpower and money from displaced refugees and sudden interest in all things related to space. The first was that in 1991, extraction techniques for oxygen and energy from lunar rock cheaply and efficiently were perfected. The second was that innovations in the field of both synthetic biology and mechanical engineering led to the creation of the first "biomechanoid" animals in 1993. While outwardly indistinguishable from 'real' animals, the physiology of these biologically engineered creatures consisted not only of organics, but also inorganic and synthetic materials. These aspects were so intrinsically incorporated into the biological structure of animoids, that once created their bodies were able to synthesize them naturally.

    By 1995, the climate was still disrupted. Huge numbers of refugees moving about and clustering in huge groups in a limited number of areas were having a major effect on the local ecosystems--and the smoke/dust/debris from the asteroid impact was still causing damages on a global scale. The first lunar colony was successfully set up. Soon--there's was a second and a third and fourth.

    In 1996, most of the major countries--either unilaterally or in cooperation with other countries--began 'encouraging' their residents to move off-world to all the colonies that were springing up. Most of the colonies were small (mining colonies and so forth) but techniques were slowly improving and places were being scouted out quite quickly. Advancements in biomechanoid design were improving by leaps and bounds. 'Officially', human experimentation was outlawed. 'Unofficially'--there were a number of secret projects going on.

    The first successful human biomechanoids were created in 1999. They came to be called "Replicants." A highly irreputable U.S. mining consortium decided to use the Replicants for slave labor in some of its more dangerous mining colonies--with phenomenal success. Unfortunately the story leaked out. There was a great deal of confusion over whether or not the mining company actually did use 'slave labor'. The mining company's lawyers argued that since the process of bio-engineering Replicants incorporates applications of mechanical engineering and their physiology contains inorganic and synthetic materials--therefore they are not truly human--then, by definition, the workers weren't slaves because anti-slavery laws only applied to human beings. The case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and the mining company won. The laws in various other countries also concluded that Replicants are not human and therefore accorded them no rights nor protection.

    In 2000, Eldon Tyrell (an extremely bright researcher with phenomenal business skills who was part of the original research team) left the mining company (with a few of his assistants) and started up his very own 'Replicant' company, dedicated to researching and developing new and improved Replicants. People and organizations started using Replicants as everything from sex slaves to domestic servants to workers--both on Earth and off-world.

    In 2010, a combat team of NEXUS-3 Replicants staged a bloody mutiny against the Tanhauser Gate colony. It was put down--but quite a few humans got killed in the process. In response to "The Tanhauser Incident", the United Nations declared Replicants illegal on Earth in 2011. The U.N. ordered all Replicants on Earth be taken off-world or destroyed within 28 days. Many Replicants on Earth hid and blended in with the human population. Special police squads nicknamed "Blade Runner" Units were formed to hunt down the Replicants on Earth. In 2012, Dr. Johann Voight, a psychology professor, informed the U.N. that his "Voight Empathy Scale For Diagnosing The Maladjusted Psyche" will easily distinguish Replicants from humans. The Voight Scale was tested in major cities around the world with a 75% success rate.

    In 2016, the Tyrell Corporation secretly introduced the NEXUS-6 Replicant models to off-world colonies. Their programming was so advanced, the designers feared they may eventually develop their own emotions. They countered this by programming them with a four-year lifespan. By 2017, the NEXUS-4 and NEXUS-5 Replicants had learned to vary their answers in order to get a more positive result on the Voight Scale. The success rate dropoed to just 37%. A new test was called for. In 2018, Dr. Lurie Kampff, a psychologist specializing in lying and lie detection, began to expand on the late Dr. Voight's work, incorporating his most advanced lie detection equipment. The "Voight-Kampff Altered Empathy Scale For Identifying Artificial Intelligence" was secretly tested in New York, Beijing, Paris and Tokyo with an astonishing 98% success rate, even with NEXUS-5's who can pass on the Voight Scale. In February of 2019, the new Voight-Kampff test was put into use and regulated tightly by the U.N., who only issued the device to major cities. Blade Runners must receive training and certification before they can administer the test.
     
  19. dresdenfire1984 Member

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    Jun 17, 2008
    If I recall correctly wasn't there a mention of a past nuclear war with the U.S and U.S.S.R? Also I know for a fact that the Soviet Union still exists in the book and there is a colony on Mars called New America or something like that with the U.S government encouraging people to move on Mars to avoid the fallout.
     
  20. karl2025 Well-Known Member

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    I think there is a lot of evidence of a war in the movie's past. The massive depopulation, numerous characters with genetic damage and rampant dwarfism, and a population made up almost entirely of the aged. Most everybody who's healthy/can have kids has left the planet already.