It’s August 15, 2338. It’s a cool fifteen degrees on the red beaches of Mars. Basketball scores are up; minigolf scores are down. And a transmitter in Canberra is just hearing back from the first colony on Proxima Centauri. Welcome to the future.
Looking at the Big Sky is a sci-fi alternate history setting that’s been marinating in my head for half a decade; now, for the first time, i’m throwing my little paracosm cyber-on-line (as the kids say). It might take a while — i’ve got three centuries’ worth of history to deal with here! — but i hope you enjoy what there is so far.
- The point of divergence is the 18th of February, 1980, when a Soviet security officer in Kabul is hospitalised with tuberculosis. Four days later, a mob storms Afghanistan’s presidential palace, killing Babrak Karmal, the USSR’s puppet leader.
- While not a “utopia” by any means, things in 2338 will be better than they are now. Democracy survives, Earth is at peace, human culture is flourishing — none of the usual dystopian claptrap.
- The setting stops at Sedna (for now, at least). 2338 is when word comes back from the first extrasolar mission — everything else concerns itself only with our own solar system.
- There is no singularity. Yes, most technogens think faster than baseline humans, and they think differently, but those two things don’t necessarily translate to “smarter”. A sufficiently dedicated human could (veeeeery slowly) follow along with an technogen’s reasoning if it were patient enough to explain.
- Sapien civilisation, as of now, has not made any kind of confirmed contact with intelligent life originating outside of Earth.