Here it is, my 2010s-punk world. Made with help from theHombre from AH.com.
It is the year 2114 and humanity as we know it is no more. Every single human child, at least in the developed world, is implanted with a backpack unit which contains a social media profile, telecommunications and Internet equipment and supplementary organs for surviving in the hostile environment. All communication is conducted through social media: romance without making it "Facebook official" is considered as lewd as prostitution would have been two hundred years prior, most day-to-day conversation is conducted with a 140 character limit, and if one does not have a social media profile, they do not legally exist. Geopolitically, the world is dominated by the Big Six: the Eurasian Federation, the People's Republic of China, the European Union, the Republic of India, the Union of South American Nations and the North American Union. The Big Six send legions of reprogrammed citizens into the eternal battlefields of Africa and the Middle East to fight the primitive locals who no longer know which of the many groups fighting for supremacy are the legitimate government. These super-federations monitor their citizens closely, working in tandem with the great corporations to ensure that discontent from the various hacker resistance organizations never get too far ahead.
Life in the Big Six nations is virtually indistinguishable from one another. The majority of the common people live their lives connected to the Internet. Most work is done from personal computers, smartphones or internal chips, as is almost all socialization. Some people live their entire lives online, their bodies permanently entombed in cybernetic sarcophagi and interacting with the outside world through mechanical means. Media is vapid and lacking in any educational value whatsoever; entertainment manufactured by major producers mostly focuses on the "real lives" of some idiots, and those created by regular folk typically focus on the real lives of idiots they know. Major producers manufacture brain-rotting media both to act as a distraction from the problems plaguing these societies, and because the consumers desire this sort of media in the first place. Democracy is nonexistent in the Big Six, although the people are so apathetic with regard to politics that any democratic elections would favor political extremists. Leaders are instead chosen by powerful groups and individuals within the Big Six countries; these are typically major corporations, the military, and the remnants of 21st century governments. There are those who oppose the order from within the Big Six: hackers. Taking advantage of the increasingly digitized world, many underground hacking organizations work to bring down the Big Six in an attempt to restore justice, or simply to cause chaos.
After several financial crises, Europe’s national governments weakened and a stronger European Union replaced them. The final event that federalized Europe was the Ukrainian War, a war which first saw the united European military in action and split Ukraine in two. Europe remains one of the richest of the Big Six, although they are behind the Chinese. The EU remains under the control of its bureaucracy, which grew in power as national governments weakened. As American influence in the world waned, the Europeans sought to replace them, becoming involved in many conflicts in North Africa. These conflicts continue to burn, decades after the Europeans first intervened. The EU is in the middle of its campaign to eliminate national identities through the development of a common European language (a mix of Latin and German), and through heavy indoctrination beginning at childhood. There are plans to replace the current federal states in Europe with more “rational” ones, signaling the final destruction of European national identities.
The Eurasian Federation was forged in a union between Russia, Belarus and eastern Ukraine after the stalemate of the Ukrainian War. Eventually, the EF began to absorb most of the former Soviet republics, and began to replace American influence in the Middle East as the Americans pulled back. Still less technologically advanced than the EU or the NAU, life in the EF is somewhat more backwards, although the EF’s economy has recovered and it is a major industrial power. Unlike the other Big Six, power remains in the hands of one man, the President of Russia. Naturally, the President is the third Putin to hold the office.
The North American Union arose from the ashes of the Second American Civil War of the 2030s, a war when extremists on both the left and the right attempted to take control of the United States. Several states seceded from the chaos, and the rump United States was left under a military government which enforced a “centrist” ideology, a theoretically moderate ideology which in truth meant that the military could to what it pleased. The North American Union was formed by the United States in an attempt to regain some of its lost power, an attempt which was ultimately successful. Canada, Mexico and Cuba, also having suffered during the 2030s, joined the NAU as founding members. The other nations of North America joined afterward, as the NAU used political and military pressure against the slowly decreasing number of independent states in North America. The government of the NAU is currently conducting the "Great Experiment", which comprises of destroying the English language as we know it, and replacing it with "text-talk", a shortened and syndicated English that will shorten the average citizen's vocabulary and prevent them from thinking of such words as "freedom" and "revolution". However, there has been little progress, as the "talker" minority still protests such advances on human freedom.
The Union of South American Nations formed in response to the NAU. Centered around Brazil and Argentina, the USAN expanded as fears of NAU and EU interference on the continent increased. The modern USAN is not as involved in foreign wars as the other Big Six, focusing their efforts on gaining control of what’s left of independent South America and pushing back the NAU. Internal USAN politics is defined by the rivalries between Brazil and Argentina, both countries which maintain their national identities and seek to be the dominant power in the USAN. Many believe that if it were not for the NAU threat, the USAN would shatter in two.
The People’s Republic of China benefitted greatly during the decline of the United States, and has been the dominant power throughout the 21st century. At the dawn of the 22nd century, however, its power has started to wane, and with this its military interventions in Africa have increased, as the military is desperate to find new prestige. China is still under the leadership of the Communist Party, although almost all references to socialism have been dropped. The fact that China still faces regional opposition in the form of Japan and India greatly infuriates China’s leadership as China’s strength wanes, and there are fears that the Chinese may try to take by force what they cannot take through economic dominance.
India had a very promising 21st century, until the Kashmir War began and India had to deal with both Pakistani nuclear attacks and repairing Pakistan after its nuclear collapse. However, by the 2110s, India has finally caught up, its economy already larger than the EF’s and USAN’s. The so-called world’s largest democracy is certainly large at two billion people, but it is not very democratic. The military gained a lot of power during the Kashmir War, as did domestic corporations that arose with India’s economic boom. It is these two groups that dominate India’s government, although India does maintain the pretense of democratic elections by holding online polls. The rise of India has worried its northern neighbor, and the possibility of an Indian-Japanese alliance to “contain” China is greatly feared in Beijing.
Two great regional powers exist in the Pacific: the Oceanian Union and the Pacific Rim Association. Both formed as a response to the rise of China, these regional powers are beginning to turn on one another as China becomes less of a threat. Japan, its population already majority robot and clone, is seeking to expand the PacRim as China’s grasp over East Asia grows weaker. In Africa, four geographical blocs battle for supremacy over the continent. Although backed by different Big Six powers (the EU for North Africa, China for East Africa, the USAN for West Africa and India for South Africa), these blocs are very weak and often suffer from internal violence. Poorly-equipped armies of men and children slaughter one another in the deserts and jungles of Africa, ostensibly fighting for peace and unity but in truth are merely advancing the interests of corrupt politicians at home and their foreign backers.
Africa and the Middle East have had a rough 21st century. Torn apart by the great powers, and more recently regional blocs, these two areas have been beset by poverty, disease and war. The civil wars, instigated by the Arab Spring, have been particularly damaging, as all semblances of law and order in these countries have disappeared completely. Many citizens are unsure about which government is currently ruling. The interference of the Big Six has not helped matters, and often the Big Six will send entire armies to enforce their will. Although highly destructive, the Big Six never succeed, as their armies are slowly eroded away by the guerrilla fighters waiting for them.
Environmentally, the world has degraded greatly. While global warming was eventually counteracted through the rise of green energy and action by governments around the world, air and ocean toxicity has only increased. While those in the Big Six can survive through the use of mechanical augmentations, those in the wartorn countries have no such luxury. They instead depend on genetically modified “scrubber” organisms, unstable creatures that are banned in the Big Six both because government agencies dislike their tendency to mutate into dangerous creatures and because they reproduce themselves and are therefore not profitable. High birth rates also make up for the pollution.
Technology has advanced leaps and bounds. Energy and magnetic weaponry is commonplace, and orbital “rods from God” have replaced the aging nuclear arsenals of the Big Six. Wireless Internet is everywhere in the Big Six, a necessity for these societies, but the third world remains “disconnected.” Space infrastructure is not as built up as those in the past may have hoped; most governments spend more on their endless wars than they do on space travel, and the economic crises of the early 21st century do not help. That being said, there are thousands of space stations that are easily accessible to a middle class person from the Big Six, in addition to hundreds of Lunar colonies. There are Martian bases, although they remain under the control of government space agencies as the costs involved in going to Mars are still very, very high. There is promising news about the development of faster-than-light travel, although the NAU spacecraft sent to test the drive disappeared in orbit around Neptune….
Is the disappearing NAU spacecraft a reference to "black hole"?
Wow...That was Too much Realistic; Great/Scary Work !
İs there a continue map or is it One-Shot ?
İs there a continue map or is it One-Shot ?
Of all alternate history dystopias I had seen, this is the most horrible one. Bravo.
I have to say, the quote in your althist sig certainly applies to this... Although of course you're searching for the ones worse than ours.
The idea of ours being the "best of all possible worlds" was actually one of my primary impetus to get into alternate history. So yes, I am looking for the ones worse than ours.
Your map showing a scary and accurate future. Ukrainian War, Scottish independence of 2014
I think Kim Jong Un saw this map and killed his uncle Jang Sung-taek
Is it weird that when I saw the backpack thing, my mind though of Invader Zim?
Nope, because that's where I got the idea.
Wonder if we'll ever see an Invader Zim TL Map from you.
No, I'm not trying to give you ideas, where'd you get that idea?
While I love the show, I don't see much that could be mapped on there, at least on Earth. Earth politics isn't really discussed.
I love these "current-punk" ideas that you see every once in a while. It points out the obvious but often forgotten fact that we are just passing through a small sliver of history, just like everyone who dreamed of nuclear-powered cars in the 50's.
The "serious" future history attempts remind me of this, too, which is why I can never take them seriously.
Hey, a "centrist" NAU. Cool idea .
Do any of the Big Six have a "Luddite"/survivalist movement that lives off the grid?
Do any of the Big Six have a "Luddite"/survivalist movement that lives off the grid?
Yeah, I took that from you.
Not really, the environment is too toxic to keep up that sort of lifestyle.
That's a hideous dystopia you've got there. I approve.
Pope in Buenos Aires?
Did Pope Francis did something there?
Francis himself didn't, but he became popular enough to create a new Catholic movement in South America, one that the rest of the Vatican disliked.
Welcome to the bright new future of freedom, love and prosperity. For those from the highest strata of course... people beneath them are just drones for them to make them even richier, freeier, and so on... depresing... and good job.
Nice Orwell reference with the english language "reforming".
That was theHombre's idea, not mine. But yes, I've noticed some similarities between Newspeak and texting lingo.
To be honest, this is a pretty interesting take on "the future seen from the early 2010s." Though like the visions of the 1950s and 1980s, this might have a very quick expiration date. Heck, it might already have: the idea of a European Federation for instance seems to have pretty much imploded for certain countries like the UK.
Also, nice Event Horizon reference.
These -punk settings are intentionally over-the-top and would get outdated very quickly. Indeed, this scenario is pure alternate history because of what I have going on in North Korea.
Though the whole "Civil War of extremists" idea for America at least seems one of the more plausible scenarios here. I mean, just look at how increasingly radicalized both the Tea Party and Occupy folk are starting to become.
Kudos. Lovin' it.
This is a true masterpiece, and an allegoric description of what is happening today.
You should work with strategists, no, you should work with the so-called leaders of the world, so they can see your works, be ashamed of themselves and prevent further damage to the planet and its inhabitants.
Bravado, my friend.
Thanks, though this work is less a warning of the future and more a satire on modernity.
What do these backpack units look like? Is it something that juts out from the person's back like a humpback, or is it more subdued than that?