1. Jonathan Edelstein Rooted Cosmopolitan

    Oct 25, 2009
    Kew Gardens, NY
    Mexico has an outsized sense of nationalism, both because of its early 20th-century revolutionary history and because it's right next door to an Anglo great power, and still remembers the last American intervention even if it was a century ago (especially since it had only been half a century at the time the Mexican nuclear program began). Sure, the US is a good neighbor now, but why not have a deterrent just in case?

    Bolivia is one of the two leading states of the Andean region, an indigenous-dominated republic in a sea of criollo/mestizo societies, and at the time it began its weaponization program, its neighborhood was still a bit rough.

    The Union of Nigeria is one of the great powers.

    In any event, none of the current nuclear-armed countries have used their weapons in anger - the two countries that have done so are no longer nuclear powers - and by now they're considered increasingly anachronistic, but for the moment everyone has their reasons for keeping them.

    It varies depending on the terms agreed between the regions in question and their sponsor countries; there's no set standard. A lot of the nomenclature also depends on the historical relationship between the parties and the identity of the nominal head of state (especially for dominions) rather than the amount of actual self-rule. In general, the autonomous areas, which are actually part of another country rather than having a looser affiliation, are less independent than the others, but there's plenty of overlap.

    Actually, the reason why Ethiopia and Egypt aren't on the list is that I forgot to put them there - you can safely add them. The South African Union never invested in a nuclear program because its conflicts and threats have historically been mostly internal, and because it's a loose confederation that doesn't have a large federal military force. It does have nuclear plants as part of its power grid, but no weapons.

    And go right ahead - you may also want to check out post 6413 if you haven't done so already.
  2. xsampa Well-Known Member

    Mar 23, 2014
    Is there anything OTL comparable to the Spanish or Japanese dominions, or the Bornu federated states?
  3. Goldenarchangel Well-Known Member

    Dec 23, 2016
    Glad to see Egypt as a nuclear power in at least one timeline .

    I already did and I loved that post it’s what inspired some of my ideas like a malverse Wolfeinstein with the protagonist being a Gruhka fighting against a world conquering out of control Imperial Britain
    Simeon, Al-numbers, I'tikaf and 2 others like this.
  4. xsampa Well-Known Member

    Mar 23, 2014
    Btw, are the Russian second-tier republics counted as separate countries like Turkestan?
  5. Somebody-Someone Well-Known Member

    May 4, 2018
    Define "seperate countries". In Malê Rising, there are lots of conflicting definitions of "seperate countries".
  6. Jonathan Edelstein Rooted Cosmopolitan

    Oct 25, 2009
    Kew Gardens, NY
    I'd say that the closest OTL example is probably the French "overseas countries" - French Polynesia and New Caledonia - which are both integral parts of the French republic and territories with substantial self-government and some regional diplomatic authority. The New Zealand territories of Niue and Cook Islands may also be similar, although neither they nor the French overseas countries have quite as much ability to conduct independent diplomacy as the dominions you mention (this follows from the nature of the Consistory, which makes treaty-making authority a natural function for autonomous territories to demand and exercise).

    What Somebody-Someone said. Those who define Russia ITTL as a multinational federation would regard its second-tier republics as states; those who define Russia as a state would find the constituent republics to be subnational units. The consensus position is the former, but it's not a universal consensus by any means.
  7. Somebody-Someone Well-Known Member

    May 4, 2018
    What is the economic balance of power in the world?
    What countries have what %s of the world GDP?
    Simeon and xsampa like this.
  8. Richard Osborne Well-Known Member

    Nov 15, 2017
    Were the Afro Latinos of Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, Mexico, etc ever mentioned? Pygmies, Hadza, Adamanese, Negritos, Zoroastrians, Sorbs, Mandaeans, Yazidis, Assyrians, Copts, Nubians, Afro-Arabs, Afro-Turks, Afro-Turks, black Abkhazians?
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2019
  9. Goldenarchangel Well-Known Member

    Dec 23, 2016
    Not sure if this counts as a Necro , but I need to ask something for the biotech history post I am working on .

    Was there an equivalent of the Human Genome project ITTL ?
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2019
  10. Somebody-Someone Well-Known Member

    May 4, 2018
    It's not a necro, since JE's last post was less than a month ago.

    I think one got mentioned, but even if not, it is likely to have happened anyway.
  11. BootOnFace Buoyant Armiger

    May 15, 2012
    Commune of Cascadia
    What I am interested in is what the National Geographic world map looks like. What are the borders that the cartographical community has largely agreed upon?
    Simeon likes this.
  12. Goldenarchangel Well-Known Member

    Dec 23, 2016
    National Geographic exists in Male rising? And with OTL name too
  13. Somebody-Someone Well-Known Member

    May 4, 2018
    By the way, where did the yamali followers get the idea of the flaming swords from?
  14. Jonathan Edelstein Rooted Cosmopolitan

    Oct 25, 2009
    Kew Gardens, NY
    The world is more economically multipolar ITTL just as it is more politically multipolar, but I haven't worked out the exact numbers and rankings, and I doubt I'll do so anytime soon. Don't hesitate to add detail if you want - just run it by me first.

    Most of these have either not been mentioned or have been mentioned in passing - for instance, I mentioned the pygmies and other pre-Bantu peoples fighting for land and civil rights, and the Sorbs as one of modern Europe's self-governing minorities. I've discussed Afro-Latinos in Honduras but not in the countries you mentioned.

    At a first approximation, I'd imagine that in TTL's present, the Afro-Latinos' situation varies a great deal from country to country, the Ottoman minorities are doing fine within the decentralized federation, the Copts and Zoroastrians are comfortable, assimilated religious minorities within their respective countries (both of which are less post-Westphalian than most), and the Hadza suffered during the Bloody Forties but are now one of the recognized members of the Tanganyikan federation. The Andamanese and Negritos are the ones most likely to be in serious trouble given their extreme vulnerability to disease and acculturation and the fact that the 1922 peace settlement created a Chagos-like arrangement in which the Andaman chain became Indian territory but subject to a British naval lease. I'd imagine their case has been in front of the Court of Arbitration quite a few times, possibly leading to international guarantees of autonomy after the court's jurisdiction expanded in the 1990s.

    I'd be happy to listen to any ideas you might have about any of these ethnic groups and how they are faring.

    I don't remember whether there was any explicit mention, but Somebody-Someone is right - it's hard to imagine a world with modern medicine and biology not wanting to undertake such a project. I'd expect that ITTL it was a collaborative, Consistory-coordinated project involving various governments, treaty agencies and university networks.

    IOTL, the magazine began about 48 years after the POD, so I doubt it would exist in the same form. OTOH, it's inevitable that someone would start an American geographic society, and if so, there's a good chance that it would publish a journal. Maybe ITTL, there's a magazine called American Geographic or American Cartographic, and while it might have a more academic and less popular focus than the OTL magazine, it also might not.

    Anyway, if "National Geographic world map" is shorthand for "the standard world map aimed at popular audiences," then it might not look that different from OTL. Countries are still considered the basic geographic units, so the first page of a popular atlas would show national borders, with the following pages showing the entities above, below and alongside the states. A single-page general-purpose world map would show the countries and use color and/or shading to indicate regional federations, with the other units reserved for more specialized maps. Regional or single-country maps would go into a lot more detail about cross-border entities, autonomous areas and collectives.

    From the candomble, with elements of the cults of Xangô (the orixá of thunder, who is sometimes depicted with an axe that trails lightning) and Ogum (the orixá of war and iron, who carries a sword).
  15. Somebody-Someone Well-Known Member

    May 4, 2018
    National Geographic is a pretty obvious name that someone would have used at some point.
  16. Threadmarks: Malêverse 2100: The Community of Change

    Jonathan Edelstein Rooted Cosmopolitan

    Oct 25, 2009
    Kew Gardens, NY

    The biodesigner from Ilorin was out of central casting. A hundred and eighty centimeters, plain and tall as an iroko with eyes the color of its bark and deep as its roots. Silk tunic, trousers and gele in indigo neo-adire, sandals that changed shape with the ground, datacloth flowing across the shoulders and tied loosely near the waist. She could have been in a movie, except for one thing – she was old.

    You never see an old person from Ilorin in the films. No producer would admit to believing that they’ve really cracked the code for eternal youth, but maybe in their heart of hearts they do, or maybe they think the rest of us do. And maybe they’re not wrong.

    Granted, there are reasons. They do a lot more gene editing in Ilorin than is legal in most of the States, and their modifications include some of the traits that make aging more visible. Their bodies are also even more full of nannies than ours are, and some of theirs are custom-made microorganisms rather than machines. But they die at a hundred or a hundred and ten like the rest of us – their record is 125, but so is ours – and even now some of them show their age more than others. And the woman standing before me now was old – if you looked at her face, you knew it, and if you looked at her eyes, you were sure.

    But I couldn’t look too long – I had a job to do, even if it was the kind of job that’s given to the newest person on the project when he really needs to be doing something else. “Welcome to Tanana, Senhora…”

    “Amina,” she said. There wasn’t any trace of age in her voice. “Amina bint Laila bint Asma’u Abacar. And I’ve been here before. This has been one of my projects for seventy-five years.”

    Damn it, Raven, you could have told me. Yes, now I knew who I’d been sent to greet – one of the directors-general of the Consistory Environmental Section, lords and masters of a tenth of the world’s GDP and more jobs like this one than could be counted. And this had been one of her personal proposals in another life, a project she’d designed and had a hand in since before my parents were born.

    All the gene-edits and nannies in the world hadn’t managed to cure embarrassment, and I wasn’t sure which was worse, the embarrassment itself or the realization that I’d been set up for it. Somewhere, my boss was enjoying this far more than he had any right to do.

    “I’m sorry…”

    Amina held up a hand. “No need. I know Dimitri. You're one of his lesser victims."

    "Dimitri" puzzled me for a moment until I remembered it was the name Raven used when he had to be official about things. The sense of recognition lasted for a moment and then brought me up short again. Raven was local, from one of the narodnik settlements on the Kenai Peninsula. Those towns are as traditional as it gets, and folk culture is one of their cherished constants, but Raven wasn't Mitya or Dima or any of the other things you'd expect him to be called. I'd never thought about it before, but there was probably a story to that.

    Right now, though, I was standing at the front gate with someone who it wouldn't do to keep waiting. "This way," I said, although I'm sure she knew, and we walked to where the new designs were waiting.


    The project began two thousand meters under the sea, in the cold methane seeps that we began to explore early in the last century. Down there, methane-oxidizing archaea and sulfate-reducing bacteria enacted a two-step symbiosis; the archaea ingested methane and excreted sulfates, and the bacteria broke the sulfates down into bicarbonate, bisulfide and water. Someone figured out how much methane would bubble to the surface if not for those microorganisms, and at a time when climate change was still a new priority, those figures were noticed.

    If microbes could break down hydrocarbons under the sea, why not here in the Arctic, where the warming permafrost was a crisis in waiting? The lakes here are the weak point – the existing methanotrophs are efficient enough to oxidize almost all the methane that comes to the surface through the soil, but much less so in the anoxic lake sediments – so anaerobic water-living symbionts could be just what we needed. We couldn’t just use the ones we found on the ocean floor – the seasonal temperature changes would kill them – but we could use them as a template and design our own. Or, should I say, Amina could.

    The microorganisms she built were the first ones ever synthesized rather than edited. There was some cheating involved – she did some of her building from parts, and a passing Methylobacter might recognize pieces of its DNA – but what in this world is truly original, whether in science or in art? It had been a labor of fifteen years with many trials and many errors, but at the end they’d lived: two symbionts that could bury themselves in the lake bottoms and ensure that the methane seeps never made it to the air. They’d performed well in quarantined tests… and for sixty years, they’d stayed in quarantine.

    “We can make them mutation-averse, but we can’t make them mutation-proof on the time scales we need them to be,” Raven had told me when I first came here – it was nothing I hadn’t heard before, but there was a briefing that he had to give and I had to get. “And we can’t guarantee that they won’t crowd out existing bacteria or show up in the water supply. It doesn’t matter how many simulations we run – they won’t let them out of the cage until we can say that they won’t spread out of control or start releasing poisons a hundred years from now.”

    He didn’t name the first they in that sentence, but his voice made plain who he meant: the same people who thought that Ilorin had discovered the fountain of youth. It hadn’t been the right time to tell him that I still had enough of my parents in me to share those concerns. Once a creation was loose in the world, it was beyond its creator’s control: the story, and the fear, were as old as the ancient Prometheus or Mary Shelley’s modern one. Let the methane-eaters remain safe in the lab until we knew they would be safe outside it.

    Making them safe had been the work of the past six decades – it had been some of my earliest work at William and Mary and then at Potosí. The microbes had been taken apart and put together again, rebuilt to be three-step symbionts with other microorganisms that lived only in Arctic freshwater, redesigned with built-in environmental limits. Other advances had come from that work, and some of them were now living in the deep permafrost under the protection of hundreds of meters of earth. But none of its products were safe enough for the lake bottoms – or maybe none were safe enough until today.

    We were gathered in the main presentation room – Raven, Amina, the others on the team, myself – with the lights dimmed and the ceiling datacloth inert. Raven stepped back and motioned me to stand apart, and with a word – “David” – he signaled me to begin.

    For a moment, I had no words to answer him, and the embarrassment I’d felt at the gate came back redoubled. Raven began to frown, but he was cut off by Amina’s smile.

    “I also had a boss once who thought the youngest one should speak for the team,” she said, “and I know how much of the work is yours. Come, show me.”

    And I did. I moved my fingers and the datacloth came to life – I’d always been much easier with sign-controls than with voice – and with another motion, a schematic of a microorganism filled the center of the room. I focused on a particular part of it, and as the scale grew smaller and the symbol- and color-coding more refined, I heard Amina draw in her breath.

    I’d done so too – in fact I’d done so two times, once when Dr. Yadav at William and Mary had introduced me to the idea, and once when I first realized it was practical. But I’d thought a biodesigner from Ilorin, one step from the fair folk, would be immune. But she wasn’t. She was staring at the single knotted hexagonal lattice-tube where a double helix should be.

    “As you can see, we’ve developed another molecular chain to hold the genome,” I said. “It doesn’t code as efficiently as DNA, but it’s good enough for prokaryotes, and it doesn’t vary between individuals – every microorganism that descends from this model would be identical. Without DNA, they can’t become parasites. And we’ve keyed each model to the environment of a specific lake bottom, and outside that environment, the bonds dissolve and the microbe dies.

    “I can show you…” I began, but Amina stepped in herself, fingers moving too quickly for me to follow as she focused on structures and bonds and examined embedded codes with the eye of someone who had been studying them for ninety years. I could see minute by minute how they were becoming familiar to her, how she found what she was looking for more quickly and precisely, how the codes became a story to her, albeit one written in a new medium. But something in her eyes didn’t change.


    “Living things, but not part of a common nature,” Amina said. We’d gone down to a gravel bank by the river and found a fallen tree to sit on; it was late in the day, but at this time of year there was never really any darkness. “Symbiosis, but no sharing.”

    She didn’t say more than that, but she didn’t need to – like any apprentice biodesigner, I’d been steeped in Belloist bioethics since before the university. The filmmakers might portray people from Ilorin nearly as fair folk, but they didn’t keep secrets like the land of faerie did – their principles were stated and the debates in their ulemas, legislatures and academic councils were laid bare for all to see. Chief among them was that nothing should be made, or changed so much, that it was no longer part of a single community. They would make no genes that could not be shared – a rule that more than one Malê student at Potosí had cited to me as proof that genetic modification bans were futile. “Banning gene-edits is like banning the wind – they’ll come to your country in the second generation even if you don’t let them in the first.”

    What I didn’t say then, and what I wasn’t sure I should say now, was that not everyone would be part of that second generation. No one knew that better than I did – I’d grown up in a sapientist family, and I’d seen the negotiations and exchanges of genetic profiles that my brother and then my sister had done before they married. They would consider Amina an allohuman – a person, a child of God to be honored like all His other children, but no longer a member of the same species, and not to be married lest one’s own children lose the attributes unique to humanity.

    Sapientists were a minority in America but an influential one in several states. They’d headed up the campaigns to restrict genetic editing – I remember the “One Humanity” sign my parents had given me to hold, at a demonstration in Columbus when I was a child – and they were part of the reason why our symbionts had been held in the lab so long. And the same thing that made Amina unsure of our new design would be what made them comfortable.

    “If they can think of our microbes as biological tools,” I said at last, “something separate from nature and incapable of joining it, then they won’t think of them as a threat to it.”

    Amina nodded. She’d no doubt been thinking along the same lines; she may have started as a researcher, but as she rose through the Consistory ranks, she had to become a politician, and she was used to dealing with others’ fears.

    “Of course they share,” said Raven. He was a politician too, a project head, and he was speaking to Amina, but he was also using the voice he used to persuade himself – formal, almost stilted, as if he were making a presentation for his own ears. “They don’t have to share genes to share community. The way they live will make the world a better home for all life.”

    “That’s the narodnik in you,” Amina answered. “But the microbes break continuity – the narodnik in you doesn’t mind that?”

    “The narodnik in me does,” Raven admitted – his parents had been as strong in their beliefs as mine, and they’d raised him to believe that humanity, life, the world were an organism to be nurtured from past to future. “But the Dena’ina in me…”

    Raven. I remembered the stories I’d heard when I’d gone down to Valdez for a long weekend – Raven the creator, but also the trickster and the changer, the transformer who would change animals and things and cultures and sometimes himself. And the man who’d been baptized Dimitri Kurin called himself Raven, not Dima or Mitya.

    “They will live their fullest,” he said, “and they will help us live ours, because we made them to.”

    It was funny, I thought, how Raven and my parents might come to accept our microbes from opposite directions, and I could see that Amina, too, was tempted. She was silent, but she was thinking of what else she might design. If there could be two kinds of genetic coding, there could be many – we might build creatures to live in environments where we never could, or to live in our bodies and do things that were beyond the bionannies we had now. The Malê hadn’t unlocked the fountain of youth, but that didn’t mean they didn’t yearn for it.

    “It’s a good thing we won’t have to decide today,” she said at last. “And a good thing it won’t only be our decision.” I nodded my agreement and, after a moment, so did Raven; if we were going to create not only new life but a new kind of life, then no one faith, no one philosophy could give us the answer. We would all have to decide what community meant.

    Our symbionts had been seventy-five years in the making; maybe it would be another seventy-five before they lived free in the lake bottoms. Maybe they never would. They were potential life now. But I’d also been potential life once.

    Amina stood, plain and tall as an iroko, and turned back toward the gate. I knew where she was going and I followed. There was a universe that might come alive someday, and we both wanted to see the futures where it multiplied.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2019
  17. AmericaninBeijing Not Particularly Well-Known Member

    May 19, 2016
    Looking at the United States, perhaps more than anywhere else, drives home just how different this world is and was from our own. So much is unrecognizable in a way that’s just more dramatic than Africa, East Asia, or even Europe, perhaps because so much is still recognizable. It’s easy to imagine a POD that dramatically changes other places while not rendering the ethnicities and nationalities unrecognizable; they date back far longer than 1840.

    Much more difficult to imagine one that leaves the United States nearly identical in some ways and yet completely transformed in others, that removes everything of its politics while retaining some of its religiosity and much of its system of governance.
    Puget Sound, John Spangler and xsampa like this.
  18. 245 Well-Known Member

    Mar 7, 2015
    I could imagine some of this stuff happing in otl future, but it would also be different at the same time.
    Puget Sound and xsampa like this.
  19. Al-numbers Well-Known Member

    Sep 10, 2013
    Between Gensokyo and Berk
    Gene-editing? Ooooh, that's gonna be a veeeery controversial topic. How different is Ilorin from the rest of the Islamic world on the issue? And what of places like South America or Russia?
  20. Tjakari Locusts and Fishbones

    Oct 25, 2013
    Alba Longa
    Huh, and I'm still reading the first Great War updates. I didn't even know the timeline was this far along.
    Al-numbers, Libertad, Simeon and 2 others like this.