Map Thread XX

Cross-posting from MotF 244:
The Turbot Wars:

The Gulf Stream mixes with the Labrador current in the shallow waters off Newfoundland Island to create some of the richest fishing waters in the world. The Grand Banks are host to an almost limitless number of Cod, Haddock, Swordfish, and Turbot. Known to European explorers almost as soon as the Americas were discovered (and possibly, as some scholars argue, before the “official” discovery), the rich waters of the Grand Banks (and the lands bordering those waters) were immediately coveted by European powers – particularly the United Kingdom and France. By the middle of the 18th century, the British had firmly established themselves on Newfoundland Island and the Nova Scotia peninsula, while the French held smaller islands and the Gaspe peninsula (which was governed as part of Quebec).

When the Seven Years War broke out between the United Kingdom and France in 1754, the Maritimes become one of the theatres of conflict. The British sought to capture French Acadia to clear the way by sea to Quebec City, the capital of New France. To that end, the British made a number of attempts to capture Louisbourg, the capital of Isle Royale, and the largest city in French Acadia - including a particularly protracted effort in 1758 – but all of these attempts ended in failure. The fortress-city had earned its moniker as the “Gibraltar of the Americas”. Despite this setback, militiamen and colonial soldiers from British America managed to secure an overland route to New France, capturing Montreal and Quebec City in the closing months of the Seven Years War. In the resulting peace, France was expelled from the mainland of North America, clinging only to Ile Royale, Ile Saint-Jean, the Magdalen Islands, and St. Pierre & Miquelon.

Two decades later, the British would find themselves almost entirely expelled from North America, clinging only to Rupert’s Land and Newfoundland, after the fifteen colonies successfully revolted with French and Spanish assistance. The British maintained an anchorage at St. Johns, but significantly scaled back its involvement in North America (the United States would eventually purchase Rupert’s Land). One exception to this draw down came during the French Revolutionary Wars, when the British occupied French Acadia (in collaboration with Acadia’s governor who was a closet royalist) to prevent the colony from falling into the hands of Napoleon. After the war, the British retained ownership of Acadia, but governed it as a separate colony from Newfoundland (efforts to consolidate the colonies into a Maritime Union were consistently rebuffed due to linguistic differences between the Anglophone Newfoundland and Francophone Acadia).

While governed separately, Acadia and Newfoundland colonies would share the fisheries of the Grand Banks for the next hundred years. When Acadia and Newfoundland were granted self-government as dominions of the British Empire in 1897, the two dominions agreed to continue to share the fisheries – and coordinated the construction of additional lighthouses to make fishing safer in the often-foggy waters. While there was a de jure conception that the waters west of the Cabot Straight and the waters of the St. Pierre Bank “belonged” to Acadia, while the rest of the Grand Banks “belonged” to Newfoundland, this distinction was largely ignored by Newfoundlander and Acadian fishermen. Additionally, American fisherman paid no heed to the maritime claims of their small northern neighbors. As the fishing stocks of the Grand Banks appeared to remain limitless, these violations were brushed aside and ignored. However, the situation would begin to change in the mid-20th century.

Starting in the 1950s, technological increases in fishing enabled fish production from the Grand Banks to skyrocket. Newfoundland and Acadia, whose economies were dependent on fishing, became worried that what once seemed like a limitless supply of fish could become exhausted if overfishing continued without interruption – particularly if American fishers were allowed to continue using the waters of the Grand Banks without regulation. The two tiny insular nations were well aware that they lacked the clout to directly coerce the United States to respect their claims to fishing waters. Accordingly, the two countries closely-coordinated a legal campaign to utilize diplomacy and international law to secure their claims. Newfoundland and Acadia were among the most active participants of the First International Conference on the Law of the Sea and brought suit against the United States in the International Court of Justice to press their claims.

At times, Newfoundland and Acadia employed extra-diplomatic actions, fighting the United States in a series of bloodless conflicts designed to put additional pressure on their larger neighbor to acknowledge their claims to an “exclusive economic zone.” These conflicts came to be known as the “Turbot Wars” (named after a type of Halibut that American fishers were particularly responsible for overfishing). The primary tactic employed by Newfoundland and Acadia was to use fast trawler craft to cut the fishing nets of American fishing vessels (though ramming and boarding tactics were employed less frequently as well). During the 1977-1978 fishing season, the “Turbot Wars” reached their peak, when the United States deployed a squadron of Navy vessels to protect American fishermen from Newfoundlander and Acadian sabotage. Ultimately the conflict was resolved when the United States faced domestic pressure to discontinue the costly Navy supervision effort and because Newfoundland and Acadia had been threatening to revoke NATO basing rights if the USA did not compromise.


Today, Newfoundland and Acadia hold an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) over the bulk of the Grand Banks fisheries, and the two counties continue to jointly regulate the fisheries to prevent depletion. In 1992, Newfoundland and Acadia formally demarcated a boundary between their EEZs, though a few active disputes in the Grand Banks area remain. Acadia and the United States currently dispute a section of EEZ near Sable Island. Acadia (backed by Newfoundland) argues that the uninhabited Sable Island should not count towards the demarcation of the mid-point line dividing the American and Acadian EEZ, while the United States maintains that it should (to its benefit). Elsewhere, Newfoundland, despite the backing of Acadia, has thus far unsuccessfully secured international recognition for its continental shelf extension claim over the remainder of the Grand Banks and Flemish Cap.
ah shit I've just created 2 Americas didn't I?
Don't feel bad, it's an incredibly common thing to do. People have difficulty comprehending how much larger the US's population is, even from the very beginning. Even just Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont have like 1.5 million people, making a very significant impact on Canada.
Here I present you, a 1756 Worldmap on QBAM:
(It has been posted on its own thread but as it has been a long work, I wanted to post it here too):

Aboriginal tribes in Australia and New Zealand are approximated, as so are American Natives, but it is as best as I could map it.
I hope you enjoy it!
View attachment 686272
"...The 1920s is known as one of the darkest times in human history, with the end of the Great War in 1919 there came the collapse of great empires such as the German, Austrian, French and Nicholasite Russia really the only real 'victors' was the British but even then the economic and moral toll was high for all nations. One nation that was originally thought to be better off was the neutral United States but as we know this wasn't even close to the harsh reality of America before, during, and after the Great War and all these combined lead to the second Civil War and the rise of the United Socialist States of America we know in the modern era..."
Americana Socialism: A New History of the USSA by Antony Beevor

I got an idea, the good 'ol USSA! I might do more things involving this concept but I need to do more research on stuff.
Alaska has become independent?
What happened to the other American territories in the Caribbean and the Philippines?
Genuinely a super interesting world you have there. Be a shame if someone got it into a massive war and destroyed it.
Thank you! Hopefully the Hearts of Iron AI can put up a decent fight instead of freaking out at the sheer number of fronts it'll have to cover. In my head this world has about 1.5-2x the population and 3-4x the industry of OTL 1936, so the war will be pretty apocalyptic in terms of sheer scale.
Alaska has become independent?
What happened to the other American territories in the Caribbean and the Philippines?
  • The Philippines is to be a shared Japanese-British Protectorate for 40 Years.
  • Puerto Rico is to become an independent nation of its own accord
  • The "Guano Islands Act of 1903" is to be repealed, all islands claimed by the Act are to be transferred to the British Empire.
  • All other unmentioned American territories of the Pacific are to become a shared Japanese-British Dominion.
Here I present you, a 1756 Worldmap on QBAM:
(It has been posted on its own thread but as it has been a long work, I wanted to post it here too):

Aboriginal tribes in Australia and New Zealand are approximated, as so are American Natives, but it is as best as I could map it.
I hope you enjoy it!
Wow, great work. It's a big improvement over maps that leave most of the non-Eurasian world blank. Thanks for making the effort. If you're looking for maps of Indigenous nations in the Americas and Australia, the site might be worth looking at, if you haven't already.

697 years ago, King Andrew II of Hungary invited the Teutonic Order to strengthen his positions and protect the borders from the Cuman pagans. The knights settled in Burzenland, Transylvania, began to pursue an independent policy and wage crusades against the nomads in Wallachia and Moldavia. In another world, their policies eventually led to a conflict with Andrew and their banishment from Transylvania in 1225. In this world, the help of Pope Honorius and the diplomatic talent of the Order's Grand Master Hermann von Salza helped to resolve this conflict. The knights stayed in Transylvania.

The history happens. Just like the Mongol conquests.

Mongol hordes swept across the lands of Central Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and China with fire and sword. By 1241 they reached Pannonia. While Hungary was devastated by the invasion, the Transylvanian Knights gave the Mongols a couple of battles and hid in their mountain fortresses - just in time, the Mongols soon left the lands of eastern Europe and hid in their steppes.

The Teutonic Order quickly filled the power vacuum and expanded westward into devastated Pannonia and southward into Wallachia. After the Mongol invasion, the Order's golden age began. Trade on the Danube enriched the newly formed state, the flow of immigrants from Germany increased every year, crafts and culture developed. Although, soon the Hungarian kings ended their Time of Troubles and united the fragmented kingdom. The century of continuous wars between two powers at the peak of their power began. Until a new player came from the south and interrupted the exhausted opponents...

The slightly alternate Mongol invasion of Anatolia and its aftermath changed the local landscape; some Turkic clans were slaughtered, while others survived. Unified after the aftermath of the Fourth Crusade, Byzantium moved much further east in its reconquest of Anatolia. All of these factors made sure that the Osmans would never rise and create the Ottoman Empire. Their place was taken by the Karamarids.

The history went on:
  • Without strong crusaders in the Baltics, the local peoples were not destroyed. At the same time, the absence of a common threat did not unite the two neighbors, Poland and Lithuania, which became bosom enemies.
  • The Karamanid Empire broke into Central, Southern and Eastern Europe and was slowly squeezed out of there over the next centuries.
  • Moscow was burned in one of the raids of the more powerful Golden Horde. Eventually, North-Eastern Russia was united around two centers - Rzhev and Novgorod. The absorption of the remnants of the Golden Horde took much longer.
  • The New World was discovered by the baptized Muslim Anabia Mustaph at a Castilian service under different circumstances and in a different place.
  • Portugal, once dominated the Indian Ocean and Central America, was ousted by England and Frisia, and then triumphantly returned to the colonial race in the early 19th century.
  • Ilkhanate survived and outlived all its nomadic brothers. Over time, the nomadic elite disappeared into the local population; a huge khanate turned into a new Persian empire. Persia managed to avoid fragmentation, the rise of Shi'a and Timur [1].
  • India has never seen the Mughal dynasty, but Islam has not faded away. The decadent Delhi Sultanate was overthrown by a hostile Islamic dynasty in Bengal in the 17th century. A new empire centered on Gaura unified the subcontinent and launched India into a golden age... Unfortunately, it quickly ended, and the European predators are getting closer and closer.
  • Post-Yuan China took a completely different turn in history. The Ming dynasty was replaced by another native dynasty. The Manchus were unable to advance south and directed their conquests to Korea, founding the Geum dynasty. Unfortunately, the Chinese Liao dynasty did not avoid isolationism and falling behind Europe, which led to a disaster.
  • The New World (named Anabis after the discoverer), as in OTL, suffered from the diseases of the Old World. European colonies changed hands during a series of colonial wars until the European ideas created by TTL Enlightenment reached the colonies and provoked a series of anti-colonial revolutions.
It is 1908, 10 years since the end of the Great War. What began as a diplomatic conflict between France and the young (less than 10 years old) German Federation has grown into a disastrous coalitional slaughter. Germany was once again divided into small petty states; its allies suffered no less. Italy, having been united for two hundred years [2], was again divided. Castile lost the remnants of its colonial empire. The Karamanid Empire, which had been on its last legs for a century, was completely occupied by the victorious powers. They were preparing to decide the fate of the dying empire at Kostantiniye in 1898. It was this year that became the year of a catastrophe that shook the foundations of the world.

Islamic Reformation and Counter-Reformation
The Karamanid Empire was too busy expanding northward, so Islamic North Africa remained independent. Eventually, the Hafsid dynasty in Tunisia became a mini-Ottoman Empire and united the Maghreb into a single empire [3]. While time was inexorably moving forward, European civilization developed and grew, while the Islamic world stagnated and slowly died out. This raised questions among the best minds of the Maghreb. Since the beginning of the 19th century, the study of European thought begins in the famous madrassas of Tunis and Al-Jazair, just as Europeans once studied classical Greek thought Arabic sources. There was a slow modernization of the army and the administrative system in the European model. Prominent Islamic thinkers left such schools and returned to their homelands carrying the banner of the new Islam. While the Islamic society was changing, Islam itself was changing. The concepts of jihad and animal sacrifice were condemned; many of the strict practices have been softened.

At the same time, dissatisfaction with the "Christianization" of Islam grew in various parts of the Muslim world. Many respected teachers began to call for a return to the origins of Islam, for the rejection of modern trends that defame Islam and lead to current weaknesses. Ironically, the leaders in Tunis called themselves the Reformers of Islam (Muslihists as the Europeans called them), but the reactionaries (Didaists) in their rhetoric resembled the reformers of the Christian church of the 16th century much more.

For half a century, supporters of the reformist and conservative wing of Islam have been fighting among themselves within the walls of madrassas and in street skirmishes. Everything changed when the Karamanid Empire, the seat of the tensest disputes on both sides, lost the Great War.

The victorious forces, namely Albion, France, Portugal and Dacia [4], gathered in Kostantiniye and started to decide how to divide the dying empire. Their support belonged to Muslihists, a coalition of Turkish reformers, liberals and a pro-reform-minded part of the army. European recognition inspired them and made them braver to their conservative fellow citizens who tried to wage a guerrilla war against the occupiers and their reformist henchmen. In one of such skirmishes in Syria, the last Caliph [5] of the Karamanids was captured and, for unknown reasons, killed [6].

The reaction of the Islamic world was not long in coming.

The sluggish clashes turned into a full-scale civil war, no longer in favor of the Reformists and their European patrons, but in favor of the disaffected Didaists. The newly elected Caliph in Angora addressed the entire Islamic world by radio and declared jihad on the Europeans and their reformist henchmen. The European colonies flared up in anti-colonial uprisings; the conservative populations of the Muslihist countries took to the streets to overthrow the "colonial" governments. This is how the ten-year era of Islamic counter-reformation began, or, as future historians will call it, Jihad against reform.

[1] The absence of Timur is a mini-POD by itself in terms of its influence on history.
[2] The presence of the Turkish threat in the south gave rise to early Italian nationalism and provoked earlier unification.
[3] For a time, the Hafsids owned the southern tip of Iberia, but the Iberians' desire to finish the Reconquista eventually pushed Islam out of the peninsula.
[4] Once freed from the Karamanid yoke, the Protestant Burzenland became the locomotive of the Balkan anti-Turkish struggle. Everyone from the Chechia and Italy to Rzhev sent weapons and support here. It's not surprising that after the final expulsion of the Turks from the Balkans, it was Burzenland that became the core of the Dacian Federation.
[5] Unlike the OTL Ottoman Empire, the Karamanid Sultan did not take the title of Caliph for himself but appointed a puppet Caliph. Competing Caliphs also existed in Ifriqia, but after a couple of significant defeats from the Karamanids and the loss of Egypt, they had to give up this title.
[6] According to rumors, the Caliph was not shot by accident, but on purpose. The gunman was a Greek mercenary in the Albionese service.

Dacian borders are from this map
Siberian situation is suggested by TrueBananakonda
Geum dynasty by tormsen
Alaska has become independent?
What happened to the other American territories in the Caribbean and the Philippines?
Alaska would most likely become independent in my opinion, mainly because how far it is from the Lower 48 and I kind of don't see it joining the "Legitimist" Government.

Puerto Rico and the Philippines are independent as well, the smaller pacific territories would still be apart of the Legitimists... for now...
This one's been a long time coming: the universe of Peter Watts' 'Rifters' trilogy (a.k.a. 'And Then It Got Worse!' - The Timeline') - few ideas here from a 2000s-punk world, and a few borrowed from the 2006 mockumentary 'Death of A President':


World of Rifters: 2050

The year is 2050. Welcome to the future! Sea levels have risen to cataclysmic proportions, strange new antibiotic-resistant diseases crop up every 24 hours, swarms of botflies allow unprecedented levels of surveillance, and increasingly totalitarian governments keep their populations in check through pacifying drugs. And this is before shit hits the fan.

In similar vein to the Roaring Twenties and the Dirty Thirties, the 2000s decade is one embedded in the popular consciousness as the 'Awful Aughts' - an apt moniker, defined as the decade was by terrorism and political scandal, although many would argue that the past four years haven't been a great better. This history diverges from our own c. 2002, the PoD being Paul Wellstone surviving his fatal plane crash.

2004 was a far crazier year than IOTL: on February 28, Dick Cheney was involved in a hunting accident, shooting 67 year old sheriff Roland Morris Quayle while participating in a quail hunt at a ranch in Riviera, Texas. Sheriff Quayle died from his injuries the following day (naturally, there was no shortage of jokes about the victim's name on late-night talk shows, and Bob Marley's 'I Shot the Sheriff' experienced a brief resurge in popularity). Cheney resigned his position in early March, becoming the third Vice President in US history to do so, and was replaced by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (much to Hastert's chagrin).

A few months later, in early June, Marvin Heemeyer demolished over a dozen buildings in the city of Granby, Colorado, using a modified bulldozer (a.k.a. the 'Killdozer'). The vehicle in question never became trapped in a basement, instead causing dozens of fatalities, resulting in the authorization of an anti-tank missile strike. On August 31, the city of New Orleans was devastated by the category 5 storm, Hurricane Frances. Government response was harshly criticized, and Bush's approval ratings took a nosedive.

The final nail in the Bush administration's coffin came in late October, after it emerged that the Department of Homeland Security had been asked to raise the nation's terrorism threat level in the hopes of scaring undecided moderates into voting Republican. Bush and Frist were soundly defeated that November the Democratic ticket of North Carolina Senator John Edwards and House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt.

April 1, 2005 saw what has become known as 'the Day the Laughter Died', when two brothers stormed Braniff Studios in California, killing eleven people, including South Park showrunners Matt Stone and Trey Parker, in an attack motivated by the foul-mouthed cartoon's previous depictions of the prophet Muhammad, as well as terrorist leader Osama bin Laden. The two brothers were later found to have been radicalized online, leading to some panic surrounding the internet's role in such attacks (social media never really progressed past Friendster).

On October 13, 2006, former President Bush was shot outside a hotel in Orlando, Florida, where his brother, future Vice President Jeb Bush, was serving as Governor. Bush died en route to hospital, and the assailant was arrested. He was subsequently identified as 43 year old Gulf War veteran Clyde 'Claw' McClelland (so nicknamed after losing his two left forefingers in Iraq). 'Claw' McClelland (coincidentally, born 22 November, 1963) is believed to have been motivated by the death of his son, Wesley, in Iraq shortly before Thanksgiving the previous year. The assassination took place on what would have been Wesley's 20th birthday.

While President Edwards enjoyed fairly high approval ratings throughout his first two years in office, this was (shockingly) not to last: in mid-2007, a 28 White House secretary named Jessica Twelvetrees (1979 - 2027) became pregnant, and claimed Edwards to be her child's father. Edwards initially denied these allegations, and Twelvetrees was subject to much public scrutiny, until the President reluctantly agreed to a DNA test, which ultimately came back positive. Edwards resigned the presidency on November 7, 2007, and his daughter, Zephyr Twelvetrees, was born two months later.

As the affair occurred when the President's wife, First Lady Elizabeth Edwards, was battling breast cancer, Edwards has gone down as one of the most despised Presidents in living memory. Zephyr Twelvetrees would later marry the wealthy Quebec-born politician Vernon Tremblay, and is, ironically, currently serving as First Lady of the United States.

On May 22, 2008, a disgruntled software engineer named George St. John crashed his private plane into an IRS building located in Texas. Also on board the plane were his wife, Cynthia, and his brother, Bruce (who St. John believed to be having an affair behind his back). All three passengers were killed, along with 30 IRS employees, and the tragedy received significant news coverage. St. John's suicide note, posted to the internet, detailed the engineer's long history of troubles with the IRS.

Notably, St. John cited Marvin Heemeyer of 'Killdozer' fame as an inspiration for his attack (much like Heemeyer, St. John has amassed a small gathering of followers, buying into his story of one man's struggles against a corrupt system). President Gephardt was voted out of office in November, losing to the Republican ticket of John McCain and Olympia Snowe, the country's first woman Vice President.

Late 2009 saw another, far deadlier terrorist attack involving aircraft: on December 25, a date remembered as Black Christmas, multiple planes travelling between the US and Europe were downed using liquid explosives designed as energy drinks. All in all, 911 people lost their lives on Black Christmas, and the wake of this tragedy saw further widespread patriotism in the United States (a constitutional amendment was passed in late 2010 banning flag desecration), and a growth in anti-Muslim sentiment.

2010 saw a failed attempt at capturing terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, causing multiple American casualties (with the terrorist subsequently gloating of his near-miraculous escape in a video addressed to the American people). This blunder came less than eight months after the Black Christmas attacks, and President McCain's public image never fully recovered from the incident. Not helping matters was the ongoing recession (although not as severe as OTL's Great Recession), and in November, Paul Wellstone was elected, and was widely expected to serve as the country's 47th President. Sadly, President McCain passed from a fatal stroke on January 14, 2013, with Olympia Snowe serving the remaining six days of his term. Snowe is the country's shortest-serving President, and as of 2050, remains the only woman to have held the office.

In light of the growing terrorism, both foreign and domestic, brought by the Awful Aughts, NAFTA's successor (and N'am-Pac's predecessor), the North American Economic and Security Community, was established early in Wellstone's term, the foundations having been laid by the McCain administration. It was around this time that Osama was (finally!) captured (unlike IOTL, there were photos this time round, although a small minority still believe they dressed a dummy in a turban and fake beard).

The 2010s also saw the rise of increasingly-sophisticated internet worms and viruses. Parasites such as Whiptail and the Clap, which reproduce through what has creatively been termed 'e-sexual reproduction', were a nuisance, but it would not be until the following decade that the first true viral ecosystems were confirmed, eventually rendering the internet almost unusable. 'Internet' has been regarded as a quaint, antiquated since the 2020s: up to the 2040s, 'onion' and 'metabase' became the more common terms. Since then, what we know as the internet has become known by the decidedly more accurate name of the 'Maelstrom'.

Rick Santorum, who was elected along with his running mate Jeb Bush in 2016 and 2020, was the first American President since Clinton to win more than one term in office. Both Santorum's victories were highly controversial - indeed, he remains the only President to have lost the popular vote twice, and at 92 years old, is currently the oldest-living former President. The 2020s are widely remembered as the 'Coughing Twenties', having seen a series of epidemics far more infectious (though mercifully, much less lethal) than coronavirus. Facial masks have remained a common sight in the following decades, and social distancing is much more commonplace (the expression 'gone the way of the handshake' has entered common vernacular, meaning something once common practice, since abandoned due to health and safety concerns).

Scotland broke away from the United Kingdom in the late 2010s, and Ireland was reunified in 2024 (coincidentally, the Queen passed away peacefully in her sleep the following week). The Koreas, similarly, reunited in the so-called 'Velvet Marriage' of 2027.

The 2030s brought about a series of widespread conflicts over access to clean water: at the time this conflict was often referred to as the Third World War, but since then, has become largely known as the Hydro Wars, or the H-Wars. The Hydro Wars saw the first usage of nuclear weaponry in almost a century, between Israel and Syria. Russia very nearly collapsed as a result of this conflict, and Japan has become the puppet state of a corporate syndicate. This era also saw the first major issues regarding Kudzu4, a genetically modified plant intended as one of several solutions to the ongoing climate catastrophe, with the plant now covering much of the North American continent.

The 2040s saw the development of the first-generation smart gels (a.k.a. 'head cheese'), cultured neurons used primarily to firewall online worms and parasites. This year has already seen the first 'murder' of a smart gel by a Christian extremist, who argued that their usage was, in his own words, 'desecrating to the human soul'. He was ultimately acquitted in this landmark case, which set the precedent that smart gels do not meet the necessary criteria to qualify for personhood. Public opinion against smart gels had been growing since 2045, when November 19 ('Black Box Sunday') saw 538 Londoners killed after a gel put in charge of a subway system neglected to turn on the ventilators in time.

In response to the growing energy crisis, the N'AmPac Grid Authority has constructed numerous deep sea geothermal stations along tectonic rifts, which are staffed by cybernetically-enhanced Rifters. Ordinary people tend to have a hard time keeping it together at such depths, so Rifter recruits are typically persons already used to bouts of intense psychological distress, ranging from hardened criminals to shell-shocked veterans to victims of long-term abuse. While there were no shortage of individuals meeting these criteria, in recent years, the Grid Authority has resorted to some rather unorthodox (not to mention highly illegal) means of producing Rifters, up to and include the implantation of false memories (although for the time being, this is kept carefully under wraps and away from the public eye).

The west coast, popularly known as the Strip, is inhabited by countless refugees (or fugies), where law and order is quickly breaking down, despite flocks of botflies coating the land's more troublesome communities with pacifying drugs. The region is fast becoming dominated by organized criminal syndicates, which (much like many megacorporations) ensure loyalty by GuiltTrip administration.

Fashion is odd: zebra/cheetah haircuts are in, as are golden xanthophyll tans. With gengineering increasingly common (although outlawed in many nations), 'Rifter chic' is a growing fad, and deep-sea tours are all the rage. The term 'TwenCen' has come into common usage, to describe ideas and attitudes now seen as antiquated. Virtual reality is a booming industry, from the vrcades of the 2010s to more modern, personalized headsets.

There is also a device known as the Sandman, which allow users to experience intense lucid dreams. Many regard Sandmans as superior to any VR systems ('dream addiction' is fast becoming a problem), although over usage has been known to lead to sleep paralysis, and nightmares far nastier than anything your brain would ordinarily come up with (the Sandman industry has faced a number of hefty lawsuits in recent years, after one or two older customers suffered nightmare-induced heart palpitations).

Most food these days is grown cheaply in labs - vatmeat, or veat, is generally regarded as inferior to the genuine article, with 'true' meat (or natmeat) considered a delicacy. Steve Jobs succumbed to his illness in the early aughts, and flipphones remained commonplace into the 2010s, although have since largely been supplanted with smartwatches that keep constant tabs on users' health.

Public medbooths are found on most street corners, using non-invasive scans to diagnose a wide-range of conditions (for a small fee of course), in-person checkups with doctors has grown increasingly rare. Mumps and measles have been eradicated. HIV and malaria are both largely things of the past, although many new afflictions have rushed in to take their place. Temperatures continue to rise, although there's recently been a cold snap (the so-called 'Long Winter') throughout the southern hemisphere due to the VEI-7 eruption of Mt. Taupo in February of 2047.

The field of manned space travel advanced significantly quicker than OTL: there are a number of space hotels, and orbital vacations are a popular option for the (ever-shrinking) middle-class. Similarly, many nations maintain orbital particle canons, and the Outer Space Treaty is pretty much null and void. The Chinese have put a man on the Moon, and there are several lunar bases under construction. Interest in the planet Mars grew significantly after the popularization of the 'Big Splat' Hypothesis.

First posited in the late 2010s, this theory argued that all (known) terrestrial life originated with 'Martian Mike', an object that collided with Earth aeons ago, introducing the primordial soup that would lead to the first sponges, arthropods, dinosaurs, and eventually, the human species. It has since been discovered that the red planet did indeed host a complex underwater ecosystem prior to losing most of its atmosphere. All exploration of the extinct Martian biosphere has been through conducted robotic exploration - despite the efforts of a number of private companies, there have been no attempts at a manned mission yet.

Weird Martian cults are dime a dozen (the most prominent being the Children of Ares), which teach that all humans are in fact the reincarnations of long-dead Martians (these are entirely pseudoscientific in nature - there's no evidence that indigenous Martian life ever made the jump to land, let alone complex brains - although popular sci-fi set involving intelligent Martians has enjoyed a massive resurgence).

For the time being, much of the world remains blissfully ignorant of the fact that while all known life may have originated on Mars, Earth also has its native life forms, far more alien and destructive than anything found in the fossilized seabeds of its planetary neighbor...
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SF writer Richard Lupoff did a couple alternate history/fantasy books set on a donut-shaped world:



(Spoilers: one side is rather like our 1920s, only WWI was a short and negotiated one-year conflict. The other side is... different. (The flying robot horses come from there). )

The sequel leaves a lot of questions unanswered, since it involves an expedition to the donut on the opposite side of the sun...
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The remnants of the former Soviet Union
March 30, 1954

1.- State of Russia, Moscow

2.- Republic of Ukraine, Kiev

3.- Republic of Crimea, Sevastopol

4.- Belarusian Republic, Minsk

5.- Republic of Estonia, Tallinn

6.- Republic of Latvia, Riga

7.- Lithuanian Republic, Vilnius

8.- Karelian Republic, Onegaborg

9.- Republic of Bessarabia, Chisinau

10.- State of Georgia, Tbilisi

11.- Azeri Republic, Baku

12.- Armenian Federal Republic, Yerevan

13.- Circassian Republic, Nalchik

14.- Ossetian Republic, Vladikavkaz

15.- Ingush Democratic Republic, Magas

16.- Islamic Republic of Chechnya, Grozny

17.- Avar State of Dagestan, Makhachkala

18.- Karakalpak Republic, Nukus

19.- Kazakh Democratic Republic, Almaty

20.- Republic of Uzbekistan, Tashkent

21.- Tajik Republic, Dushanbe

22.- State of Turkmenistan, Ashgabat

23.- State of Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek

24.- Tuvan Democratic Republic,

Same universe:
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Finally got another one of these done. Probably will do another Italy (embiggened modern Italy?) at some point.

Sharp-eyed watchers may note that I have skipped over a bunch of countries from Liberia to Jordan. That's because it's hard to come up with a way to greatly expand Latvia or Kuwait. Rest assured, I will get to them eventually.


28 for Italy should be " The Universal Slavic Republic is building six new million-inhabitant cities in Siberia. It's more about securing the area against the Chinese than any sensical economics."

3 for Jamaica should be "As both a member of the Francophonie and a full member of the Afro-American Market, the Ivory Coast has a somewhat complicated and bureaucrat-annoying status."

19 For Japan should be the label for Antarctica.

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