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What makes an alternate world? [May. 16th, 2006|06:55 pm]
dalekboy
[mood |thoughtfulthinking]

Thanks to a discussion in one of my previous posts, I find myself wondering - What large or small obvious things can there be to clue people into the fact they are in an alternate universe?

The most common is the good old airship in the modern day world. I'd like to hear about some others. So see this as a writing or thinking exercise, or just a bit of fun.

The setting is 2006. You land in a version of the world where things are just a little different. The cities/people are more or less the same but there are other changes. Let's not go for airships (unless it compliments you ideas), that's the classic, and no 'nazi's won the war', either. We're just after changes that make you do a double-take as you realise this isn't your Earth.

king_espresso came up with two great ones - Elvis Concert Tour posters and the Twin Towers intact. No need to try and match other people's ideas, just write what you want.

Here's one to start you off. The microchip revolution never happened. No mobile phones or computer shops. Lots of phone booths and the like. Televisions are still big as are cameras. VCR's are huge beasts.

So, what it's like in your parallel universe?
linkReply

Comments:
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[User Picture]From: callistra
2006-05-16 09:30 am (UTC)
people dressing in one solid colour as every day wear.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2006-05-16 11:40 am (UTC)
Does everyone wear different solid colours, or is it uniform? i.e. everyone wears blue on monday.

This is cool.
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[User Picture]From: cheshirenoir
2006-05-16 09:42 am (UTC)
The Communist Propoganda everywhere.

(My alternative world has an expansionist Leon Trotsky having Stalin arrested and shot within hours of Lenin's death, the reds oust the nazis in Germany and the Red Axis successfully take over the world)
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From: lonewolf23
2006-05-16 09:44 am (UTC)
In mine, Rob Roy MacGregor was sent to the Americas after his imprisonment by the English, instead of being pardoned, where he organised a rebellion much earlier than the War of Independance. Thus was formed New Scotland, and from there a reign of highland terror swept the planet, as the Great Scottish Empire conquered most of the world. Australia was colonised by the Scots. Men wear kilts. Teenagers wear them down around their knees. And have their sporrans on backwards. The most popular instrument in rock music are the electric bagpipes. Scottish brogue is the world language. MacDonalds serves haggis.

Hmmm... might have to hold onto this one. These are not the droids you're looking for. Move along.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2006-05-16 11:44 am (UTC)
I really like the idea of modern Aussie men all in kilts. That's just fabulous! If I could wear a kilt and not get based up by yobbos, I'd be there in a second.

I am jealous of this one. I want to do a story featuring Aussie drovers all wearing kilts. Of course, they're all nicknamed Macca.
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[User Picture]From: capnoblivious
2006-05-16 10:01 am (UTC)
So, what it's like in your parallel universe?

Heh. It's just *warmer* and *nicer*. My fantasies lack grit. :)
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From: gutter_monkey
2006-05-16 10:19 am (UTC)
Gay marriage. A female US president.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2006-05-16 11:46 am (UTC)
Both good. I think you and I need to find the universe where being hairy and loud = male model/sex god.

Actually, I'm already there, I just don't like you missing out.
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[User Picture]From: purrdence
2006-05-16 10:21 am (UTC)
"The microchip revolution never happened. No mobile phones or computer shops. Lots of phone booths and the like. Televisions are still big as are cameras. VCR's are huge beasts.

So, what it's like in your parallel universe?"

I'm single.

I don't think I like this parallel universe...
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[User Picture]From: stephen_dedman
2006-05-16 11:16 am (UTC)
I've already written a stack of parallel world stories, including one where Alan Turing went to the US instead of committing suicide, one where tougher US gun laws meant that JFK, Lee Harvey Oswald and J.R. Tippitt were still alive in 1980, and one in which the Twin Towers still existed at the end of 2001. Unfortunately, that one was rejected by editors as too political...

http://stephen-dedman.livejournal.com/1674.html
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[User Picture]From: twetwe123
2006-05-16 11:21 am (UTC)
In mine, prisons are full of captured vampires.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2006-05-16 11:49 am (UTC)
Cool. I assume the windows have blackout curtains :)
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[User Picture]From: harveystoat
2006-05-16 11:44 am (UTC)
Charles Bronson is elected Mayor of Chicago.
During the Meiji era, after firearms oust the principle weapon of the samurai in terms of popularity, the redoubtable Nintendo clan create the world's first bona fide machine gun.
Adolf Hitler changes his name to "Neil Diamond". As a result, the invasion of Poland is ignored for about a month.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2006-05-16 11:50 am (UTC)
That last one had me in fits.

Fitz was most upset about this.
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[User Picture]From: shrydar
2006-05-16 12:19 pm (UTC)
No refridgeration. I'm not sure that that counts as a "little" different, as it would make for huge differences in diet.

I suspect fruit and vegies wouldn't be so bad; they'd just be more seasonal and more local. But meat and fish would all have to be salted, dried or pickled to be transported or stored any great distances or times.

No microwave ovens would be subtler :)
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2006-05-19 08:14 am (UTC)
Like both of these. No refrigeration has massive side effects, including not being able to keep blood to use in transfusions and such.
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[User Picture]From: king_espresso
2006-05-16 12:19 pm (UTC)
How about this one: La Perouse almost beat Cook to Australia. Rock up in Sydney, or St Denys and everyone's spruiking French, dressing much better and eating better quality food.
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[User Picture]From: kaths
2006-05-16 12:20 pm (UTC)
In my parallel world, violins are played the other way around, so the left hand bows and the right hand does the fingering (a very small number of people do that now in the folk genre). That'd be really weird to get used to.

Was bad enough tonight when I was playing in a different orchestra and on the opposite side of it to where I usually sit.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2006-05-19 08:16 am (UTC)
Well, take that a step further and the world is majority left-handed... very subtle but strange. Or we just all read right to left here.
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[User Picture]From: king_espresso
2006-05-16 12:21 pm (UTC)
Or Israel being set up in the Northern part of WA as was suggested in the 40s... Might be some trouble there with Moslem Indonesia...
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2006-05-19 08:16 am (UTC)
Ohh, when was this floated?
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From: livelurker
2006-05-16 12:40 pm (UTC)
In my alternate universe, the Twin Towers aren't standing. I figure I crossed over in that week of 2001. I wish I could get back.

In the alternate alternate universe, we didn't forget how to build moon rockets and the technology was used as the basis for incremental ongoing expansion into the universe. And the Mac/PC marketshare is reversed :)
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2006-05-19 08:17 am (UTC)
Great. I so wish we had a permanent base on the moon. It'd be cool to look up and know there were humans living there.
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[User Picture]From: hespa
2006-05-17 11:16 am (UTC)
No combustion engine. We still have the internet (though it took longer to propagate), so we can still communicate with people on the other side of the world, but to actually meet any of them would take many weeks or even months of travel. Other countries (outside of our immediate neighbours) still seem like exotic, mysterious places, with customs and cultures far removed from our own.

I don't know if it would work like that, but that's as far as I've gotten in five minutes of thought...
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2006-05-19 08:22 am (UTC)
Still a nifty idea. Still horse-drawn, steam driven, electric... lots of interesting possibilities.

I love the original film version of On The Beach for one wonderful shot of a Melbourne steet. It's an ordinary, bustling 1950's Melbourne street, and there are two businessmen on horseback! My dad lived in Richmond around that time and kept horses there, he and mum used to go riding.
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