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Alternative History by OSC

2015-11-08 10:17 írta grin

Alternative history by Orson Scott Card, anno domini 2000. You may posibly have an eerie feeling.

Over a million Indians made it out of India before the Chinese sealed the borders. Out of a population of a billion and a half, that was far too few. At least ten times that million were transported over the next year, from India to the cold lands of Manchuria and the high deserts of Sinkiang. Among the transported ones was Tikal Chapekar. The Chinese gave no report to outsiders about the fate of him or any of the other “former oppressors of the Indian people.” The same, on a far smaller scale, happened to the governing elites of Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos.

As if this vast redrawing of the world’s map were not enough, Russia announced that it had joined China as its ally, and that it considered the nations of eastern Europe that were not loyal members of the New Warsaw Pact to be provinces in rebellion. Without firing a shot, Russia was able, simply by promising not to be as dreadful an overlord as China, to rewrite the Warsaw Pact until it was more or less the constitution of an empire that included all of Europe east of Germany, Austria, and Italy in the south, and east of Sweden and Norway in the north.

The weary nations of western Europe were quick to “welcome” the “discipline” that Russia would bring to Europe, and Russia was immediately given full membership in the European Community. Because Russia now controlled the votes of more than half the members of that community, it would require a constant tug of war to keep some semblance of independence, and rather than play that game, Great Britain, Ireland, Iceland, and Portugal left the European Community. But even they took great pains to assure the Russian bear that this was purely over economic issues and they really welcomed this renewed Russian interest in the West.

America, which had long since become the tail to China’s dog in matters of trade, made a few grumpy noises about human rights and then went back to business as usual, using satellite cartography to redraw the map of the world to fit the new reality and then sell the atlases that resulted. (my vafourite part of the quote) In sub-Saharan Africa, where India had once been their greatest single trading partner and cultural influence, the loss of India was much more devastating, and they loyally denounced the Chinese conquest even as they scrambled to find new markets for their goods. Latin America was even louder in their condemnation of all the aggressors, but lacking serious military forces, their bluster could do no harm. In the Pacific, Japan, with its dominant fleet, could afford to stand firm; the other island nations that faced China across various not-so-wide bodies of water had no such luxury.

Indeed, the only force that stood firm against China and Russia while facing them across heavily defended borders were the Muslim nations. Iran generously forgot how threateningly Pakistani troops had loomed along their borders in the month before India’s fall, and Arabs joined with Turks in Muslim solidarity against any Russian encroachment across the Caucasus or into the vast steppes of central Asia. No one seriously thought that Muslim military might could stand for long against a serious attack from China, and Russia was only scarcely less dangerous, but the Muslims laid aside their grievances, trusted in Allah, and kept their borders bristling with the warning that this nettle would be hard to grasp.

­— Orson Scott Card: Shadow of the Hegemon, chapter 20

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