Justifying Retro '50s Post-Apocalypse:

Total posts: [4]
Yeah, I was inspired by Fallout.

The basic story of my setting is that at the end of the 1950s, cold fusion was miraculously discovered by the United States. This led to huge leaps in scientific understanding, and also heightened the Cold War. All developed nations scrambled to get their own cold fusion power plants and weapons online. By the 1960s, power and military expenditures were through the roof, and many nations (the United States included) found themselves in an economic recession by the late 1960s. As a result of this heavily technological "nuke rush" and subsequent depression, the iconic (atomic) culture of the '50s and early '60s continued on until 1989 (or possibly earlier), when instead of destroying the Berlin Wall, the impoverished Soviet countries led a last-gasp nuclear attack on the United States. Within hours, the war was over, and the apocalypse had begun. Leading up to this nuclear war were events such as the American conquest of South Ontario in 1979, adding new territory to the US stretching from just below Ottawa downward, and including some southern parts of Manitoba and Quebec. The reason for this attack was that Ontario and Quebec were both huge providers of cold fusion power, and were the nearest to the United States, who could not afford to build more nuclear power plants. Another event was the destruction of Vietnam by the Soviets, who opted to eliminate the country from existence than let it turn to Capitalism. The Red Scare in this alternate history continued long after Senator Mc Carthy was in power.

Alright, that's it. Now, what I need help with is mainly justifying this. The landscape is more similar to Fallout 3 than Fallout 1 or 2, to give an aesthetic example. Now, why could this happen? The terrain in F3's Washington D.C. is pretty much a desert, which in a logical setting would not happen to such an area, especially after two centuries, which is the same amount of time after the bombs dropped as my story.

Another thing is, how would people survive the few hours of nuclear war? This is a global war, and fallout shelters advertised at the time of the 1950s were pretty terrible for protection. How could I make a logical reason for survival and remain different from the Vault idea of Fallout?

Similarly, how could food and electricity survive? My explanation at the moment is that cold fusion generators were miniaturized, and were efficient enough that they could last for centuries, allowing stuff like T Vs and radios and at least basic electricity to function.

And assuming a massive technological leap like the discovery of cold fusion, how fast could items such as laser pistols and semi-efficient robotics appear and become rather ubiquitous? Is a time frame of 1959 to 1989 too short, or could I shorten it further? I'd prefer the latter.

Finally, the biggest hurdle, how could the culture and essence of The '50s, ie. the music, the fads, the fashion, the cars, the society, the slang and the overall stuff that makes the '50s iconic be preserved throughout two to three decades? Culture changes a lot in modern society, so I really have to find a way to make this all make sense.

Also, yes, I have read the The '50s and The '50s pages. I understand the style and culture and society and politics, I just have to figure out how to make it all make sense. Within the confines of somewhat broken laws of science, of course.
2 BalloonFleet4th Oct 2010 11:48:49 PM from Chicago, IL, USA
Well, for one thing you can have the exchange go as long as a week as some nuke scenarios do go that long

....with lolis!
Have rural areas remain mostly intact, but be affected by collapse of infrastructure, diffusion of radiation and radiation in water supplies, etc. In fact, maybe the only survivors were in a rural area at the time of the attacks.

The impact would vary depending on proximity to a large city (since large cities all got bombed) and economic dependence on said city. For example, if most wage-earners work in the city, then they'd either be killed or jobless (depending on whether it was work hours). Losing those wages would be a major blow to the town. Also, many small towns get supplies from the city, or possibly electricity, water, etc. And many of them commute in for medical care.

So you could get some nasty devastation without killing everyone off.

edited 5th Oct '10 10:11:00 AM by Ettina

If I'm asking for advice on a story idea, don't tell me it can't be done.
Ah, good ideas. Could it also make sense that some electronics still work, due to using small fusion energy cells? Something like small electronics like radios, personal computers, household robots, etc. having energy cells and larger stuff (like homes in general) being powered by power stations? Alternately, what would be a good fuel to use? Given that this is based on the fifties, diesel would work, right? Of course, the fuel of choice has to be relatively easily available, found and/or created or distilled.

To clear some stuff up, the main story of this setting takes place roughly 200 years after the nuclear war. Not sure if I mentioned that in the first post.

Also, the most important issue is still the culture freeze. Or could I just handwave that based on Rule of Cool for fifties stuff?

edited 5th Oct '10 4:12:57 PM by Five_X

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Total posts: 4