New Dryas: A World History

A rough guide to how the world is fitting together. This is all subject to change as it gets ret-conned nearly every time I have a new idea and the dates are vague in order to prevent too much of such tinkering. It is also very Brit-centric. I am British, after all!

In fictional time-line / chronological order, the works set in this world are:

  1. Shelter From The Storm (Short play)
  2. The Longest Night (idea)
  3. The Ally-Ally-Oh (Short story)
  4. Never The Twain Shall Meet (idea)
  5. Wicked Games (idea)
  6. Three Little Pigs (Short story)
  7. Spindrift (Short story)
  8. Gone Fishing (Unpublished short story)
  9. Down Time (Unpublished short story)

The scientific / physical point of divergence would, of course, be when it was proven that the Gulf Stream wasn’t slowing down (around the turn of the century). Or was, in the New Dryas case. It would take a few years for the knowledge, and acceptance of it, to filter through to the decision makers and the first impact on social history was felt when the Northerly countries – anything with territory North of Marseille, for a rough guide – started to close down to immigration. Knowing that large scale evacuation is on the cards, the immigration laws get pretty bizarre in an effort to pre-empt later removals [Shelter From The Storm, c. 2015]. By the time the evacuation plans come into effect [The Longest Night, c.2018], the Northern Hemisphere is getting colder and the UK is finding winter has more bite than it’s used to. Of course, things don’t go to plan and some people get left behind. It will be a struggle but they’ll engineer a way to survive under the ice [The Ally-Ally-Oh, c. 2050]. The isolated underground communities manage to join together [Never The Twain Shall Meet, c.2100] but never quite manage to see eye-to-eye [Wicked Games, c.2200].

While the New Dryas ice only spreads over a large part of the Northern Hemisphere, it ties up a fair amount of the global fresh water. Things will get drier – more noticeably so in already delicate or marginal ecosystems. The influx of people into various countries will stretch resources. The initial wave of immigration won’t have a major affect on existing plans – such as sea-steadings near Australia and New Zealand – but the later influx from evacuation will lead to hurriedly formed colonies and later land grabs / local wars as large nations fracture and then collapse under the strain. The United Nations will collapse with them but the Commonwealth of Nations (the former British Commonwealth) will survive as just “the Commonwealth” – effectively a militia financed by business interests in an effort to keep trade flowing. The rich people who keep the Commonwealth going will also finance research and development projects, their aim to make a name for themselves as much as to find new niches to exploit. One particular such project is the space elevator at Nankura (African continent), which was primarily built to restore a section of global communications but also recovers materials and parts from the previous Space Age. Small states – some regional, some city-sized, some smaller – emerge with much rivalry / localised war between them. As far as the Commonwealth is concerned, however, there are only two kinds of state: those who join up and those who don’t. All in all, life has continued but it has been forced to take a leap sideways in order to do so.

(Several stories overlap at this part of the time-line, c.2200: Spindrift mentions the purpose of Nankura, the spotting of people from the under ice communities – who may be from Wicked Games – and the zoological research. Three Little Pigs and Gone Fishing follow particular people and show more of the role of trade and the Commonwealth along with life in the Pacific, out of the reach of Nankura’s comms. The order they happen in – in my head at least – is as given in the list above.)

The under ice communities become common knowledge and further trade opportunities open up. The Commonwealth struggles to unite as much of humanity as possible. Another space elevator is constructed on Pulau Kayoa (Maluka Islands), funded by the Commonwealth allied states in the Pacific in an effort to bring some peace and prosperity to the region. This is followed some time later by the construction of a third elevator at Cayambe (South America), putting a complete if delicate chain of comms around the Earth. The Commonwealth presses their advantage and encourages people to settle the connected space stations over ground settlements. The public reason is to protect the natural systems but in truth it’s more to do with control [Down Time, c. 2300].

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