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The Cusanus Game

A German alternate history book from 2005 by SF grandmaster Wolfgang Jeschke. Known as Das Cusanus Spiel [sic] in the original, and translated into English since 2013/14.


Starting around the year 2050, Europe is a hellhole or pretty close at least: Global Warming has expanded the deserts, the seas are rising; many refugees try to go to Europe (many Bangladeshis and such in fact have been settled there, either in container cities or their own villages); several fascist movement like the ASEN, the Praetorians or the KKK derivate KICOB try to fight them; the French nuclear power plant in Cattenom has blown up and irradiated huge parts of Central Europe, as far as Poland; the EU has crumbled, states like e.g. Bavaria have proclaimed independence, for better or for worse; and oil has practically run out (although technology isn't dead yet).

In this world, the Italian botanicist Domenica Ligrina is hired for a very special mission…

As a bonus for AH fans, Austria-Hungary (incl. South Tyrol, Friaul and Slovenia) has been revived. They have the new Vatican, with the pope sitting in Salzburg now, and war airships named after various Habsburg rulers (and Franz Ferdinand).


  • 1460: Nicolaus Cusanus, supported by the pope, founds a new research institute, the Accademia Romana. Which will be lead by scientists like Regiomontanus, Leonardo da Vinci, Giordano Bruno and Kepler in the future.
  • 1467: The Accademia has to flee to Milan, where they got support from the Sforza.
  • 1478: The gunmaker Corbinian Seeshaupter invents the “Brennkreisel” (burning spinner), a primitive but working engine. Also called a “mechanical slave”.
  • 1480: Genua joins the Italian Alliance between Venice, Milan, Savoy, Florence, Monferrat and Naples.
  • 1486: Giovanni Caboto discovers Terranova for Genua.
  • 1492: The Sapienza invents primitive rockets which can be used for war.
  • 1494: Italian Alliance defeats French invaders under Charles VIII.
  • 1620: Counter-reformation fails.
  • 1672: First mechanical calculation engine built.
  • 1676: Constantinople reconquered by Christians.
  • 1682: Second Holy War: Turks defeated; Aleppo, Damaskus, Jerusalem, Cairo taken.
  • 1705: Suez Canal finished.
  • 1752: First airship (“Glory of Glasgow”) crosses the Atlantic.
  • 1763: First motor airplane, “Skylark of Massachusetts”.
  • 1780: New England gains independence, thanks to their Arrow airplanes.
  • 1825: Seas rising - Gay-Lussac suspects that excessive burning of petroleum is the reason.
  • 1845: Breakthrough of electric computers. Ada Lovelace is involved.
  • 1871: Maledives flooded.
  • 1886: First nuclear power plants built by Thomas Alva Edison.
  • 1906: After the San Francisco earthquake, two Maxwell power plants destroyed. Radiation disease spreads.
  • 1909: German empire sends four men to the moon - but the flight back fails, all of them die.
  • 1914: First Paneuropean conference.
  • 1918: European unification decided, Winston Churchill celebrated.
  • 1923: German nationalists protesting the European unification beaten, leaders Hitler and Ludendorff killed.
  • 1933: United States of Europe formally founded in Versailles.
  • 1936: Generals Francisco Franco and Benito Mussolini retreat from Morocco / southern Italy.
  • 1945: Europe's president Charles de Gaulle declares Europe a fortress, an arc that'll carry European culture into the future.

As you can see, the author of this work makes mincemeat out of allohistorical causality, with far too many blatant parallelism reemerging, including the exact same people as in OTL, often in the exact same positions as in OTL, still being born centuries after the POD. This is highly implausible, especially in a world with such divergent technological progress, including Moon landings in the early 20th century.

alternate_history/the_cusanus_game.txt · Last modified: 2019/12/10 15:14 by max_sinister