Author Topic: Alternate history story idea...Tunguska  (Read 2017 times)

Peter Ahlstrom

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Alternate history story idea...Tunguska
« on: April 21, 2008, 08:55:35 PM »
I had this idea pop into my head yesterday, but have no intention of using it. Still, I thought I would throw it out there.

On June 30, 1908 (or June 29th in an earlier timezone), a comet or meteor struck the earth with an explosive force of 10 to 30 megatons, obliterating a major city of a major world power. The devastation, and its economic and political aftershocks, were so terrible that a future scientist's first major test of a time machine was to go back and somehow affect the comet/meteor's path so that it instead exploded relatively harmlessly 3 to 6 miles above Siberia.

Is the world better off now, or not? Was there a major change of history, or were the same slowly building events simply given different catalysts?
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Archon

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Re: Alternate history story idea...Tunguska
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2008, 02:03:04 AM »
Wow, you could take that in so many different directions. Granted, that is true pretty much any time you use time travel as the basis for a story. But for Russia, that time frame would be especially significant considering you have World War I and the October Revolution within a decade. If your time traveler changed either of those events, the effects would be massive.
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Peter Ahlstrom

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Re: Alternate history story idea...Tunguska
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2008, 05:50:41 PM »
My idea is that the effects already were massive (potentially, or not, depending on how one takes it). We live in the world that was already changed by the time traveler.

The question is, what event did the time traveler successfully stop, and how successful was the stoppage of that event at altering the perceived repercussions of that event. It could be that the same basic events still happened in our new history as they did in the original history, just shifted around a bit. For example, maybe the meteor originally wiped out some city like Berlin, and Russia sensed weakness and attacked Germany, and that was the start of World War I (rather than the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand). Or something. In the changed history, the same basic events ended up happening, if delayed a couple years, because they had been building for a long time and no one event, even something as large as a meteor, would alter the outcome significantly.

Or one could take the other tack—the meteor did something very bad, but the changed history ended up worse.

Anyway I am not near enough a student of history to think this through thoroughly, and don't want to become enough of one. That's why I'm not going to attempt to write a story like this. :)
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Pink Bunkadoo

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Re: Alternate history story idea...Tunguska
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2008, 07:54:49 PM »
Interesting idea!
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Eudaimoniac

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Re: Alternate history story idea...Tunguska
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2008, 09:59:14 AM »
Or, you could start by having the original event (meteor) happen in the future and the timetravel set further in the future still. this would mean that you did not need to know as much about history, but since you and the readers do not share the history leading up to the big event, you would have to worldbuild that...

Chaos

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Re: Alternate history story idea...Tunguska
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2008, 02:26:15 PM »
You could have it destroy Moscow. With the Czars destroyed in the capital city, perhaps the Russian Revolution and resultant Communism would come out earlier. So, the horrible side-effects of the meteor would be a world where Communism ruled the world earlier, before the Soviets, and much more extensively.
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Peter Ahlstrom

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Re: Alternate history story idea...Tunguska
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2008, 05:28:48 PM »
Heh, that would have been a good story to write back when people still thought Communism was the Great Satan.

Or, you could start by having the original event (meteor) happen in the future and the timetravel set further in the future still. this would mean that you did not need to know as much about history, but since you and the readers do not share the history leading up to the big event, you would have to worldbuild that...
Well, yes, but then it doesn't have anything to do with the 1908 Tunguska event, which was the focus of the idea. :)
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Chaos

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Re: Alternate history story idea...Tunguska
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2008, 06:09:32 PM »
Plus, it is quite a bit easier in a worldbuilding sense to build off our own world (present or past). If the meteor happened in the future, Ookla would have to do some future-predicting to get the one historical outlook. He would have to establish that in order to fully grasp the gravity of the alternate history. The alternate history would be, then, a mostly different, futuristic history.

It could be done, if you are a great writer, but I think it would be easier to base things off of our own world, present time.
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Peter Ahlstrom

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Re: Alternate history story idea...Tunguska
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2008, 02:58:30 AM »
I'm not the only one who had this idea.

http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2008/06/dayintech_0630

Sort of.
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bhthomas

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Re: Alternate history story idea...Tunguska
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2008, 03:16:16 AM »
I love alternate history books and this sounds like a cool premise.If that comet destroyed St. Petersburg at that time Russia would probably be torn apart in a civil war. This would make the outcome of WWI a lot different. With out Russia Germany would only have to fight a one front war. Since germany was the most powerful at the  time they would be able to focus all there power on france.  i think the more likely out come would be a Europe controlled by a WWI Germany. This would mean Germany would have had no war reparations which would mean Nazis would never be able to take control which means no WWII. So would this be a better out come or would this be the worst of 2 evils.A really good author would be able to give a great twist to this story.

 I cant wait for the book and no one is even writing it yet.HAHA