Friday, June 10, 2011

Another alternate history proposal...

Lately, another alternate history concept has been percolating in my mind. So, the concept of aliens bringing civilization and technology to Earth is an old one, right? Erich von Däniken, ancient astronauts, the Pyramids built by mysterious technology... all of that is kind of old hat to science fiction fans nowadays, who have encountered many variations on that theme over the years. But what if they came back and gave people more technology in the semi-modern age? Specifically, around 1700 or so, the five great powers of Earth's history at the time have had fifty years to adapt to alien technology, and even biotech, with eugenics and supersoldier programs and more. This creates an interesting dynamic where Great Britain, France, Prussia, Russia, and Austria all have essentially futuristic societies, at least in some regards, with superpowered soldiers and more, all hurtling head-long towards the Seven Years' War.

But before it can happen, interstellar empires take notice. See, it turns out that the alien technology didn't come to earth because aliens were benevolent and wanted to give humanity a leg up. It came to earth because aliens were secretly priming earthlings to be bush fighters, guerillas, and conscripts in a struggle against other conquering alien races. Although not unique, Earth is a world with a lot of potential, and various alien powers make alliances with Earth nations, and they in turn are drawn into interstellar politics, which are undergoing a Cold War of sorts. Earthlings are the latest soldiers, spies, and sometimes reluctant ambassadors in this war, and they suddenly find that even with their new technology, they are woefully undermanned and underequipped.

A new generation of superheroes, genetically engineered with alien help to have superpowers, based on the highly flexible and adaptable matrix of human DNA, is seen as the new frontier in intersteller resources. Some intersteller nations want to simply enslave humanity and harvest humans to be raised as jannissary-like slave-soldiers. Others want to prop humanity up to use against their rivals. And humans themselves, from various nations around the world, either want to be left alone to chart their destiny on their own... or explore the vast new frontiers of space and carve out all new niches for themselves across the galaxy.

I could do most of this without the alternate history angle. Why do I want the nations and polities of the Seven Years' War, anyway? No good reason other than that I like them, and I think five powerful rivals that already existed in history makes for a more interesting dynamic than the world today. I also think it's easier than trying to build up someone else to have that multipoint "great powers" matrix across the globe. And it's interesting to not yet have a United States of America. In the real world, the American Revolution started shortly after the Seven Years' War (which is known in our country as the French and Indian War, due to it being the only theater that we were involved in at all, really). But with intersteller enemies, and the safety valve of colonizing other worlds completely out of Britain's control, the American colonists may not have had a sufficient spark to revolt... yet. Although backed up by intersteller allies, the off-world "Americans" probably have no patience for the high-tech Redcoats who follow them, trying to take resources that they've claimed for King George.

Anyway, etc. etc. There's lots of different things I can do with this. I'm interested in reprising the American Revolution and what led up to it with high tech superheroes, space travel and aliens, though. Could make for a fun ride. What do I do with this concept? No idea. I won't be running it as a game anytime soon, that's for sure. I'm unlikely to write anything in this setting. Maybe I just need to write it down here and see what else comes to me on it over time, to see if it's something I can do anything with or not.

No comments: