1.) Must be based in historical context (not further into our own future)
2.) Did my best to shy from stuff I've already seen/heard (just tried to avoid the obvious, i.e., "What if the Germans had The Bomb instead of the US?")
3.) Shouldn't be inherently fantastical (i.e., What if we'd discovered alien footprints on the moon in 1969?) but there is some leeway.
The intent of course is that these would seed some alternate-universe inspiration that would at least border on, if not embrace, a sci-fi outcome. Have a look and feel free to add yours in the comments or blog your own list:
- What if NASA had decided robotics were not a reliable enought tool for exploration? Imagine a different method our outcome.
- What if the Superconducting Super Collider in Waxahachie, Texas had been as well funded/supported as the Mahnattan Project and the US was leading the way in particle physics reasearch?
- What if Dolly the sheep had ushered in an era of cloning tech that was fast, cheap, and accessible to the middle class by 2012?
- What if the Manhattan Project split into two initiatives after 1945 to win the arms and space races simultaneously by the mid-1950s. Imagine where national defense and space exploration would have taken us by now.
- What if Saudia Arabia had dumped the profits from oil wealth into space and undersea exploration?
- What if China had become the world's largest democracy, instead of India?
- What if Arabian advancements in science and engineering had never slowed during the Middle Ages, but ramped up to lead the world in technology?
- What if both Venus and Earth had been hospitable--and home to--humans into the present. When would we have disovered, and how would we have influenced one another?
- What if whales and dolphins were the end-stage of human evolution?
- What if the human population on Earth hadn't been slowed by Black Plague--or any plague really?
- What if the ruling Empire of the last 4 centuries was from Africa, and not Europe?
- What if filmmaking had been around since the Renaissance?
- What if World Wars I and II had been fought in Antarctica to avoid spoiling homelands?
- What if Britain had owed a war debt to France and sold the Colonies (east of the Louisiana territory) to pay it off.
- What if fossil fuels had run out 50 years ago?
- What if spiritualism in the 19th Century had been confirmed as real and led to the biggest scientific breakthroughs of the 20th? (Technically runs afoul of rule #3, but whatevs.)
- What if the Knights Templar were still around today as the world's most prestigious and capable humanitarian fighting force?
- What if Native Americans had discovered and employed gunpowder long before it's ubiquitousness in Europe and Asia?
- What if flight technology had been around since Ancient Egypt--and never been a lost?
- What if all communicable diseases had been erradicated by 1950?
- What if Tesla--not Edison--had become the technology guru of his time? What if they'd been amicable partners?