2012 (the crappy movie) future and map.
1. For the rest of the backstory, go to my Alien Space Bat scenario thread [link]
2. Don't start arguing about what the temperatures, rainfall, etc. will "actually" be like. Working out the new planetary climate? Move the continents consistently so many degrees south and east? Too much work. It's ASB, like the movie, only hopefully less brain-hurty.
It is now 2262, ten generations after the apocalypse. Humanity survives, but remains as previously, quarrelsome, superstitious, broken into hostile tribes.
Unable to easily colonize and extract the resources of southern Africa in the face of hostile locals well armed and well advised, the Ship Folk divided, some seeking to achieve a working coexistence with the locals, while another group headed off, seeking an area from which to hold off all comers.
(The mostly Russian, Northern European, and Folks Who Didn’t Want the N*er in the White House Bastion of Civilization was able to cut quite a swath for a while, but in the end wasn’t able to maintain its technological edge, as resource inaccessibility and insufficient numbers to maintain a complex society forced a tool-back to 19th century level: in 2262, their descendants form a servile class of clerks and mechanics in some African states).
Oddly enough, global communication is worse than it was in the years right after the disaster: once the volcanic clouds thinned out and the electrical disturbances died down, the satellites were still up there, and for the few decades that they stayed in orbit, radios allowed people in Africa and what was left of South America and Canada and some scattered areas elsewhere to communicate: this led to various movements and migrations over the subsequent century. Nowadays, although there are primitive crystal radios and telegraph lines, overseas communications are limited to the speed of a boat: there is currently some talk of laying a telegraph cable from Africa to Columbia, or perhaps South America. There also is some talk of getting a cathode tube industry going at last and making TV a mass industry again, an idea most historians rail against.
The Three Arks are now no longer functional, although their nuclear hearts, with careful maintenance, kept beating for many years, and during the Great Survey of 2022-2027, they circled the globe, discovering surviving populations beyond the reach of radio and bringing some hopes of the return of civilization (mostly disappointed). They have largely been broken up for useful parts, scattered fragments littering the beaches of SW Africa.
Currently a number of tiny nations are scattered about the non-African bits of the globe: some have been created by people fearing the loss of their national culture through dissolution in larger groups, others are Wacky New Religion establishments, or wild-eyed Utopias of a more secular bent. Many more have briefly appeared only to later go extinct.
Larger nations exist in South America, where parts of the Andes and the alarmingly uplifted western Amazon basin remained above the waves, and in the chunks of interior North American plateau and mountain that similarly escaped inundation. Most people, however, survive in sub-Saharan Africa, where the Arks landed and most of the land remained above water.
Technology has been slow to return to 21st century levels, simply because there aren’t enough educated people to maintain a fully developed society. Even in the more advanced states, tech generally is generally only a bit past an early 1900s level, with an odd scattering of more advanced technologies: there’s no computer industry, but some remarkably clever mechanical calculators: no fancy materials for solar panels, but a lot of ingenious solar furnaces. Good antibiotics and steamships powered by coal and wood. And, of course, dirigibles.
Smaller and more scattered communities have in many cases reverted to a pre-industrial lifestyle. Pastoral nomadism is back, baby. The “wandering pillaging horde” model largely died out with their supply of working guns and bullets, manufacturing not being their forte.
Populations have grown substantially, given a combination of a lack of contraceptives and retained knowledge of basic medical technique. From a low of around 8 million, mostly African, world population has grown to over 160 millions, although growth has been rather unevenly distributed. The larger concentrations of people of American and European descent, for instance, in spite of two and a half centuries of progress in that direction, have not entirely succeeded in returning women to a state of barefooted pregnancy (they can still even vote in the West Cape Federation!), so tend to have increased at a rate less than one-half the global average. In some parts of Africa and the rump of South America, on the other hand, populations have grown to a level that is beginning to strain the capacities of a mostly pre-industrial agriculture.
Religion has undergone considerable upheaval, with some taking a strictly secular approach rather than accept a God capable of allowing such horrors, but others doubling up on the religiosity. A number of new religions have emerged, of which the South American Sun-worshippers are the most aggressively expansionist: isolation and a collapse of educational systems have brought forth a rash of new “heretical” versions of Islam and Christianity in Africa, and a number of oddball cults unsuccessful at the job of converting their nations have set up shop on the largely uninhabited continents overrun by or arisen from the sea.
The global ecology remains a total mess, although enough vegetation survived that the oxygen has not (at least yet) dropped to dangerous levels. There is an oversupply of insects on land and jellyfish at sea. Various odd new species, perhaps mutated by the dark matter radiations, have appeared on land and sea: among larger animals, rodents in particular seem to be evolving at an alarming rate. Rather than mutants, some of the new Marine creatures noted by human observers perhaps were unsuspected deep-sea life, now forced into different lifestyles. Opinions differ as to the Man-Catcher Squid, large and alarmingly intelligent. On the other hand, the strange blind basalt-dwellers which ever now and then dig their way out of the ground on the new continent clearly seem to be a pre-existent sub-seafloor life-form never seen before due to their tendency to disintegrate in sunlight.
The light-intercepting crap in the atmosphere from steadily decreasing but still energetic volcanic activity cools things off, but it is partially compensated by the moderating effects of a greater sea-to-land ratio and no land masses in the polar regions, so things are currently Little rather than regular Ice Age. Things at the Cape are now north European rather than Mediterranean and hotter, with snowy winters, but the planners had counted on cold conditions and prepared agricultural equipment and seed stocks accordingly (and for the Christians, there are regular white Christmases). Things are steadily warming, and with the increased CO2 from volcanic activity, there is worry that the globe may before long be too hot rather than too cold. The Sahara is rainier than it used to be, but there isn’t too much nutrient yet for plant life and the ocean soaking the lower-lying areas received didn’t help: the region is still only slowly greening.
Africa, from a descent into warlord chaos of the worst sort, has slowly recovered, with the aid of first-world expertise without the resources to induce the dependency of OTL 2011. Dictators and kings and Big Men and the occasional idealistic Republican had to survive by their own merits, and with the spread of early industrial technique and the reestablishment of sea trade, at first by sail and later by steam, the chaos of Africa slowly resolved into a multitude of states, which over the last century have seen considerable consolidation, although things are still pretty backwards in the north and west, especially away from the coast and north and west of the fuming volcanoes of the former Rift valley. Industrial kinda-sorta modernity is mostly confined to the east coast (most marginally among the Somalis) and the southern half of the continent: what railroads, etc. exist in the north are mostly run by foreign expertise. African states now join the Cape in launching colonial adventures abroad, the harsh labor for developing new land often provided by bonded labor from poorer and more backwards interior and northern states. (Slavery has made a comeback, but the more advanced nations usually have various sorts of euphemistically sorta-kinda slavery than the full magilla).
The Confederation of the Cape is a mess of autonomous regions, incorporated tribal groups, national “refuges”, etc., and the politics are complex, messy, and as patronage-and-corruption rich as the OTL US in the Gilded age. Population is about seven million, about half descended from local Africans (some white), either immigrants or warlord states incorporated as modern “foederati.” The rest are a complex mix of nationalities from all over the pre-Catastrophe globe: some have managed to maintain their separate identities, and in some cases “national territories” within the Confederation, while others have blended together: British and Canadians and Americans and Australians have largely merged into “Anglos” of sorts, and a certain national reluctance to assert their separateness (the fate of those who did and went off to join the aforementioned Bastion of Civilization strengthened that) has largely put an end to the Germans as a separate nationality. The various Hindu groups have largely merged, and the more secular Jews have also tended to assimilate into European groups: the religiously ultra-Orthodox now tend to dominate, having managed through Prodigious Breeding to increase their numbers to some thirty thousand, the majority of people now identifying as Jews.
The Chinese have remained very much themselves, and are second only to Hindus in number among the various blended, mixed, and pureed ethnicities of the Cape, and have at the same time managed the only “national re-creation” colonial effort which doesn’t look like a sad joke. Still, a common Afro-European-Asian-what-the-heck-is-this culture increasingly prevails and erodes ethnic differences, and in spite of various efforts to reverse the trend, the common language is most definitely English (if peppered with words from two dozen other languages).
The Cape is tied into the rest of the continent through complex bonds of trade, importing a variety of important minerals and exporting more manufactured goods than any other state, and has a number of closely allied African states which depend upon it economically in various ways. Of course, there are also a number of states which it does not get along with at all: railways from the Cape to other parts of Africa often follow circuitous routes to avoid hostile or simply lawless states, and most trade with Africa west and North of the Kongo Empire is by ship, the rail system of the Empire being closely controlled by the tyrannical government of that state. Rail travel through the Somali states is also something of a gamble…
“Greater Africa” now includes bits of the Middle East and a large part of former Europe. The largest of the emigrations in terms of percentage of a sub-population from the Cape Settlements was by Muslims: although many remained behind, perhaps half decided that remaining citizens of a state mostly Hindu, Christian, and Buddhist would be a Bad Thing in the long run. After the Great Survey revealed surviving Muslims in the mountains of what had been SW Arabia, a powerful “return to Mecca” movement eventually led to a great exodus to (fortunately now wetter) Arabia and eventually the formation of the Caliphate (actually less obnoxiously religious than OTL Saudi Arabia). Shia’s mostly stayed in SW Africa, not finding being ruled by a Sunni majority much of an improvement.
The depopulated continent of Europe is largely avoided by African colonizers, who have a certain superstitious dislike of that graveyard of nations. It is therefore largely left to various half-assed efforts at re-founding dead nations, various Krazy Kolonies of teeny size, and the Swiss. The Swiss, it turned out, had nuclear shelters at depths and of a quality even the US and USSR had never imagined, and in spite of the ocean sloshing over the Alps, some of them survived. Unfortunately, not enough resources and infrastructure survived to get civilization started again, and the Swiss have regressed to a simple pastoral lifestyle of goat-herding and head-hunting. (The cheese-and-human-bits fondue is a local specialty). In case of another Great Flood, the Swiss tend to live underground as much as possible.
A somewhat more civilized group of pastoralists of Swiss descent live in the lowlands to the north: when contacted by French explorers a few years back, they were puzzled how all those Russian words had got mixed in with German Swiss.
What is left of South America is currently in the process of being overrun by the Children of the Sun, fighting a Jihad of sorts against the Catholics and the Agrarian Socialists. The Faith took a while to get up and running, but in the last half century expansion of the Children’s territory has increased at a terrific rate: if the next fifty years sees comparable success, the Servant of the Sun will rule all of rump South America. Some Africans and northern Americans are not happy about this prospect. Already the Faith has jumped beyond the confines of the continent: besides missionary preachers of the faith in Africa, North America, etc., a colony has been set up in Antarctica, much to the annoyance of the Confederacy, which thinks of the place as being their turf. (The piracy against the “blind ones” isn’t helping, and a smackdown is likely to come soon).The war is mostly being fought with black-powder guns and cannon and alcohol-based incendiaries, attempts to revive industry beyond the level of steam-powered pumps and mills having had limited success, although the island kingdom of New Venezuela is trying to create a working railway system with steam engines imported from Africa.
Some chunks of North America have remained above the waves, the largest being mostly occupied by the Republic of Columbia, whose mixed Canadian-US population of a bit over 1.25 million (largest single concentration of White People in the world) is thinly scattered over a vast area and has managed to reestablish from many tiny individual communities a functional 19th century sort of frontier democracy tied together with rails and telegraphs built with southern African investment: currently a political crisis is in the works as nativist and outward-looking factions in government argue the question of whether or not to let in much needed labor in the form of South American immigrants eager to get far, far away from the Children of the Sun and unable to get a ticket to Africa. Columbia remains the one place on earth where one can still get a really decent draft beer.
To the south, the descendants of the Mormons battle the descendants of Christian Evangelists, each of which consider the parts of the Colorado Plateau which stayed above the waves to be their promised land. Fewer in numbers, the Saints will probably win due to greater skill in duplicating foreign technology (not spitting in foreigner’s faces, while expounding on their likely damnation, probably helps).
The new continent (variously know as Mu, New Yamato, and R’lyeh) is mostly desert, plant life slowly colonizing the salty, friable soil. Most communities hug the coast, where there is fishing and seaweed and fish bits are available for fertilizer. The largest (if still rather small) is a Japanese community created by the “let’s not be assimilated by the Gaijin” crowd, inspired by the footage of Sato Hiroshi raising the flag and claiming the continent in the name of Japan. (His friends narrowly managed to argue him out of claiming it in the name of the Queen of Spain). Life is pretty hard, although the organo-metallic burrowers only occasionally eat people for their valuable chemical bonds, and anyway die once they encounter daylight. Most of the other settlements vary between “skuzzy” and “Pol Pot.” (Nearly as large as New Japan, and growing fast due to the death penalty for not having multiple children, the Macrocosmic Realm has a Space Aliens derived religion and political philosophy of fearsome complexity and profound loonyness. At current growth rates, they will probably cease to be a purely local problem in another four or five generations).
Antarctica is still thawing, and expeditions crisscross the land looking for signs of the Old Race. Most signs of civilization have been ground into fine powder between ice and stone, but in ancient chasms and holes in the ancient rock, or on the peaks of mountains always remaining above the ice sheet, strange things occasionally come to light. In spite of the poor prospects for agriculture (it’s warmer, but there is very little soil as yet) the Confederation has colonized vigorously, in spite of having to live mostly off imports and fish: although nothing truly useful has as yet been found, they intend to be the first if there is anything.
Some of the rather disquieting art and religious artifacts and the blasphemously huge carvings which reshape entire mountains have brought about a revival of interest in a pre-catastrophe writer which for a while existed only as mimeographed sheets and files on ancient and decaying computer drives: the philosophical movement/religion/art and literary movement known as the Church of Lovecraft is not entirely serious, except when it is.
Tensions rise as the aggressive new states expand: the Children of the Sun, and of more concern to the Confederations, African dictatorships (Kongo, densely populated and having duplicated most of the late 1800s industrial package, is quite formidable). Colonial disputes are beginning to arise as colonial ambitions increase. New wars of unification and expansion threaten in the more backwards African north. New religions disrupt exiting social balances. The world, so vast for a while, is growing smaller again. And some scientists in the Confederation (and in the Caliphate and the Kongo-scared Hegemony of upper Angola, no slouches when it comes to modernization) inspect some copies of old printouts (in long-lasting quality rag paper, not that wood pulp crap of olden times) regarding certain aspects of physics, and wonder if their somewhat steam-punk tech base is up to building an atomic bomb…