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Old 01-15-2016, 01:42 PM   #1541
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Default Re: New Reality Seeds

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Originally Posted by PTTG View Post
Not a bad idea. Do the aliens keep visiting or did they just stop by?
The idea was one stop. Enough to let everybody know that there are civilizations out there and that Earth is vulnerable until Earth folks have their own ships.

As to the superconductivity info. It's real and solid. It just took years of work to make the information valuable. Which is why both Centrum and Homeline want the data.

The Aliens are a driver of change because aliens are known to be real. People look up at the heavens and see new vistas they never truly saw before.

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Here's one: Lee decides to go with the North; maybe he married a northern girl (possibly because he decided that marrying his cousin would be unwise), maybe Lincoln just managed to make his perspective a little bit clearer.

As a result, the south is crushed immediately. The North has population, industry, economy, terrain, and in this case tactics on their side (in OTL the North had catastrophic failures in leadership; even in this TL between supreme commander Lee and his soldiers there's a couple layers of inept leadership that Lee overcame). In a matter of months Northern forces end southern pretentions; near the end southern troops are so demoralized that they surrender more often than they fight.

Here we can go two ways: Either the reconstruction is much more successful, ultimately leading to a modern south with an average standard of living much closer to the north, or reconstruction goes worse because the North is less committed. The south remains a festering rural backwoods and drags the rest of the US down, possibly rebelling again and again over the years.
Another possibility, and a darker one. The war doesn't last long enough for Lincoln to grab the chance to abolish slavery. Lincoln was amazing, but even he would need opportunity to act.
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Old 01-15-2016, 01:50 PM   #1542
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Default Re: New Reality Seeds

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If they land in the US, does the US keep a monopoly on trade with the aliens? I mean, can they? The aliens can go where they like, of course, but why did they choose the US in the first place?
They aliens land once, and don't come back. The chose the USA because they thought there were wars on the other two interesting areas.

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I would think the Cold War would have been over pretty quick in this scenario. The Soviets couldn't take the chance that they aliens would eventually start trading with them, and would attack NATO immediately. The 50s would be one long war, maybe with nukes at first. The US responds by offering the aliens anything they want for help, or at least for tech. Its a buyers market for them.
The Cold War was affected, but on the whole, when the aliens don't come back, geopolitical types see them as a lesser issue. But no one thinks that the Aliens won't get involved in a nuclear war. How the Aliens might get involved was up for debate. View ran from "Rescuing space Brothers" to "then they make us slaves/cattle."

The reality of aliens might nuclear exchange even more unlikely.
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If the aliens have any instinct for profit they might start selling trinkets to both sides. In this case they prop up the Soviets and you get a stale-mate after the first flush of war. Both sides are impoverished by making payments to the aliens for the occasional beam weapon or old freighter converted to human use. Think Cargo Cult economics. You get your Cold War, a number of nuclear ruins, weird ultra tech mixed with shotguns and mortars. Spies trying to capture allien tech sold to the other side and super scientists trying to reverse engineer items the aliens really don't want you being able to build yourself.
That sounds like an interesting campaign in and of itself.

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Homeline and Centrum will want the tech AND specifics on the aliens. If they are on this timeline they are on the primary timelines too.
Good point.
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Old 01-15-2016, 08:24 PM   #1543
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In 1947 a spaceship lands near Washington DC, it a minor trader/scavenger group. Basically good natured. They trade some details on superconductivity for rare Earths.
Rare earths become valuable. You want a stockpile either as trade goods for the next ship or because if they are valuable to someone with the tceh to do interstellar travel they must be real useful.

There will be nothing like the current Moon treaty where no one claims rights to objects in space.

Science fiction and movies change in ways I'm not sure of. SF probably becomes much more popular. Do movies in the 50s have more or less aliens as threats?
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Old 01-15-2016, 10:55 PM   #1544
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The apparent preference of the benevolent aliens for trade, and their landing in DC, would have a pretty big impact on the Cold War. Claims that "scientific socialism" was the way of the future and enlightened people would not compare well to free trader FTL aliens with superconductor tech for sale. Non-rapacious space faring capitalists don't really match up with a lot of the thinking put forward at the time. The USSR might need another rationale than being the only way of the future. They might go "defenders of humanity", with socialism being the one true human form of political economy. I suspect the Cold War comes to a head or ends earlier due to the dual use benefit of...

A broad based boom in all technical fields, even beyond what was generated by the military and aerospace buildups in the Cold War on Homeline. Homeline drove hard toward science on the dreams of the space age. These people have seen stuff, and know the Earth is behind the galactic curve playing catch up. They know there are places to go and people to see. The educational and scientific reformation they'll undertake will make the space race look like a bunch of hobbyists. The arts will substantially suffer in the public schools, but every high school will have a battle bot team and a launch pad for their courses in rocketry.

SF would look different as well. Just one example, you might get a ST:TOS that looks similar, but TNG would have a very different feel. Further, I'm betting you get fewer stories about galactic federations and more stories about free traders. I suspect you get fewer stories about "space gods" and the like, and more stories where aliens, while alien, are pretty much people.

The civil rights battles of the '60's face about the same in terms of dead ender opposition, but there's probably a line of thinking that humans should stick together which hastens the process.

I'm not sure what other impacts the "playing galactic catchup" would have. A greater acceptance of risk in the fields of concern seems likely. The need to advance quickly will probably result in a lot of accidents compared to Homeline. However, they'll also learn lessons much quicker.
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Old 01-16-2016, 02:26 AM   #1545
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OK, lets say aliens land in 1947 to trade for rare earths. But being relatively advanced they are going to do most of the heavy work themselves so they can get the stuff and get back to where the action is. So they trade with the locals, but why go to DC? Not too many rare earths in the Virginia area. So in this timeline they aliens aren't quite so Euro-centric and go to where the rare earth sources actually are and trade with those humans instead.

India, Brazil and South Africa get alien superconductivity tech in exchange for mineral rights.

The British attempt to retain India but are routed in a disastrous defeat demonstrating the abilities of even the most basic uses of this new technology. Indian forces go on to take Pakistan and, in heady over enthusiasm, move into Indo-China, Indonesia and southern China. While their weapons are irresistible, they can't control the vast areas they've conquered with the anti-Islamic policies they attempt to enforce.

South Africa enacts Apartheid and warns India away from attempting to move West or into Australia or the Pacific. Its policies of racial segregation become the norm across Africa and Mid-East. While it never institutes a Final Solution policy it becomes a pretty close replacement for Nazi Germany otherwise. Its military moves across Africa during the 50s and 60s, and it attempts to politically dominate Europe and the US.

Democratic Brazil becomes the main opponent to South Africa during this time, promoting democracy and integration via the UN, which moves its headquarters from New York to Sao Paulo in 1958. While it doesn't use overt military force Brazil replaces the US as the the political and economic leader of the West. The US remains a major ally but is in constant turmoil as South African ideology appeals to the Southern regions, making the US an intermittent partner at best.

The Cold War is there, but the struggle is now a three-way judo match between the Indian and South African Empires and the Brazilian backed United Nations. The Americas are the most peaceful and advanced areas, while Europe is not that far behind but wracked with political extremism and refugees from Africa and the Slavic States. Britain, humiliated by India, swings toward South African politics, moving further toward dictatorship as the decades pass. With no political backing from the new Powers, the Soviet Union collapses into anarchy, the various nation-states fought over by the allies of the Powers if not the Powers themselves. With China divided, the last bastions of Communism fall. Hindi caste systems, South African racial theories and Brazilian capitalism are the ideologies of this 20th century.

Brazil, the US, Mexico and India have bases on the Moon. Everyone is waiting for the aliens to reappear and if the Three Powers agree on anything, its that THEY will be the ones dealing with the aliens again.

Again, Centrum and Homeline would love to get their hands on some superscience. The espionage is more industrial here, as the military is very well protected, and industrial uses for superconductivity have reshaped the world.
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Old 01-16-2016, 09:15 AM   #1546
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Default Re: New Reality Seeds

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Originally Posted by dcarson View Post
...
Science fiction and movies change in ways I'm not sure of. SF probably becomes much more popular. Do movies in the 50s have more or less aliens as threats?
According to GURPS Atomic Horror, the majority of '50s SF with aliens had them as either threats or menaces. (Backing that up, the only '50s SF movie I can think of that had anything resembling a benevolent alien was The Day the Earth Stood Still, and I've watched dozens of '50s SF movies.)

So it's safe to assume that this timeline would have a different selection of visual entertainment.
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Old 01-16-2016, 10:40 AM   #1547
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Default Re: New Reality Seeds

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Originally Posted by Drifter View Post
OK, lets say aliens land in 1947 to trade for rare earths. But being relatively advanced they are going to do most of the heavy work themselves so they can get the stuff and get back to where the action is. So they trade with the locals, but why go to DC? Not too many rare earths in the Virginia area. So in this timeline they aliens aren't quite so Euro-centric and go to where the rare earth sources actually are and trade with those humans instead.

India, Brazil and South Africa get alien superconductivity tech in exchange for mineral rights.

The British attempt to retain India but are routed in a disastrous defeat demonstrating the abilities of even the most basic uses of this new technology. Indian forces go on to take Pakistan and, in heady over enthusiasm, move into Indo-China, Indonesia and southern China. While their weapons are irresistible, they can't control the vast areas they've conquered with the anti-Islamic policies they attempt to enforce.

South Africa enacts Apartheid and warns India away from attempting to move West or into Australia or the Pacific. Its policies of racial segregation become the norm across Africa and Mid-East. While it never institutes a Final Solution policy it becomes a pretty close replacement for Nazi Germany otherwise. Its military moves across Africa during the 50s and 60s, and it attempts to politically dominate Europe and the US.

Democratic Brazil becomes the main opponent to South Africa during this time, promoting democracy and integration via the UN, which moves its headquarters from New York to Sao Paulo in 1958. While it doesn't use overt military force Brazil replaces the US as the the political and economic leader of the West. The US remains a major ally but is in constant turmoil as South African ideology appeals to the Southern regions, making the US an intermittent partner at best.

The Cold War is there, but the struggle is now a three-way judo match between the Indian and South African Empires and the Brazilian backed United Nations. The Americas are the most peaceful and advanced areas, while Europe is not that far behind but wracked with political extremism and refugees from Africa and the Slavic States. Britain, humiliated by India, swings toward South African politics, moving further toward dictatorship as the decades pass. With no political backing from the new Powers, the Soviet Union collapses into anarchy, the various nation-states fought over by the allies of the Powers if not the Powers themselves. With China divided, the last bastions of Communism fall. Hindi caste systems, South African racial theories and Brazilian capitalism are the ideologies of this 20th century.

Brazil, the US, Mexico and India have bases on the Moon. Everyone is waiting for the aliens to reappear and if the Three Powers agree on anything, its that THEY will be the ones dealing with the aliens again.

Again, Centrum and Homeline would love to get their hands on some superscience. The espionage is more industrial here, as the military is very well protected, and industrial uses for superconductivity have reshaped the world.
In 1947 Brazil was still under the Vargas military dictatorship. While there could have been a democratic revolution, it seems more likely that the military would only strengthen their hold, maybe create a pseudo-fascist populist regime like Peron did/would in Argentina (more Mussolini than this South Africa's Hitler).

America and Western Europe might go more reactionary - suddenly the Western Allies aren't the biggest boys on the playground. The colonial powers could be more determined to hold on in Africa, with South Africa's support and the example of independent India (particularly if it invades other Asian colonies, like British Malaya, Dutch East Indies, and French Indochina). The United States might not push anti-colonialism, being more wedded to its European allies and more afraid of independent India and the new superpower in the Americas, Brazil.

The Soviet Union would sink into isolationism. It could get first nuclear weapons, then a missile program, but so would the U.S., Brazil, South Africa, and India.

Which side would India back in China's civil war? The southern Nationalists might be a natural choice, but perhaps Mao could turn from Moscow to Dehli. India would extend its influence into independent Tibet, perhaps back Mossadegh in Iran, and intrigue against Europe & USSR in the Middle East.


Any 'aliens arrive' could make science fiction more paranoid. So often in it, especially in the fifties and sixties, humans were the main power in space - but now they're just some backward little planet that's only interesting for raw materials, like some third world commodity producer.

This makes me think of GURPS Uplift, where humanity is a minor race in a galactic community. This wouldn't be to that extent (key would be whether there is just one spacefaring race, or many, and what the galactic set-up is), but could be along those lines.
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Old 01-16-2016, 01:15 PM   #1548
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The Basic Idea is closer to the "We are behind the curve, we must catch up or be something's colony!"

but you guys have taken the basic idea in many lively directions.

The real idea is one big piece of weird and watch the world morph and mutate.
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Old 01-16-2016, 02:49 PM   #1549
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Well, one sort of has to pick a date later than '47 to make that work, since...apartheid was formally established in '48, and if Smuts negotiates with the aliens to make the miners of witwatersrand rich and powerful beyond their previous imaginations, he's going to hang on in the general election of '48. Still a very regressive and racist state, and the nationalists don't simply vanish, but it won't be what we historically got from Malan. I like going forward for '47 for the same reasons it was selected, but you don't get Afrikaan Nazis out of it anymore than you get Brazilian Democracy. Three world powers rather unlike the ones we got historically, is all.

I really like the idea of a world where the 'aliens' trade discreetly with both sides from '47, and some second-tier powers too, leading to nuclear war in '62 because both sides are confident their secret alien superweapons are so much cooler than the other sides' secret alien superweapons. I think I'm gonna label this a Teller, since Infinity won't realize it's really a Roswell until they've been there and investigated a bit. Another one whose classification rating ratchets up after the cat is already out of the bag...but it will be giving certain people ulcers, since these 'aliens' have proven they are NOT benevolent, and they are patient and understand humans very well...
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Old 01-16-2016, 02:58 PM   #1550
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Might also set it a little further back, for fun. If rare earths are indeed the point, suppose they show up in 1908? Sort of accidentally disassembling the British Empire on the eve of WWI by making two of its colonies much more powerful than the home isles...but also spreading things around a bit simply because humanity will be a bit less organized and disciplined...could even do it farther back, I suppose, to get some really strange cultures to collide with European colonialism...or in prehistory, they strip the place bare! What does the world look like if humanity never had access to much of those elements?
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