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Literature / The Atlantropa Articles

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The Atlantropa Articles is a novel written by Cody Franklin, host of Alternate History Hub. In the 1930’s, architect Herman Sörgel proposes an audacious plan. He wants to drain the Mediterranean Sea by building two of the largest dams ever imagined at both ends of it. The land left behind will become a new continent for Europe, rich in farmland and powered by free hydroelectricity. Sörgel believes Europe can create a modern utopia. He calls this land Atlantropa. Sörgel convinces his homeland of Germany that Lebensraum (living space) is not in Poland but in the untapped lands of Atlantropa. Europe spends decades working together to construct the project, but when the dams are finally finished in the 1980s, something goes terribly wrong. This supposed promised land unravels and chaos erupts.

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Thousands of years later, the Mediterranean basin has become a vast desert known as the Kiln, where life is barely possible. Ansel Engel, an Old Reich officer, sails the desert sands supplying Nazi outposts housed in giant structures known as Eagle Nests. Now joined by his younger brother Ulric, an incident with a group of Scavengers (former inhabitants of Southern Europe and North Africa that were forced out of the Reich centuries prior) forces Ansel to contend with the realities of his world, his nation, and the ideology he grew up believing. As he grapples with a history of race, war, politics, and the rifts they cause, discoveries from the past might just lead him to discover something about his world’s future.

The novel was released on October 15th, 2018. Watch the trailer here. Cody confirmed in December 1st, 2018 that he is working on a sequel for the novel that he plans to release in about a year.

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This story provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Expansion: In his ''Three Alternate Timelines: Worlds That Didn't Make the Cut'' video, Cody talks about how fascinating the idea of Atlantropa is, but that the end result simply didn't have enough material for him to cover the scenario on his channel. The novel goes into far more detail.
  • Alternate History: Herman Sörgel's Atlantropa Project is carried out starting in the 1930's, World War II never happens, and the Third Reich is still in power far into the future.
  • Crapsack World: Southern Europe is a barren wasteland under control of the Thousand-Year Reich.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Sanding, a punishment used for captured Scavengers and traitors to the Reich: the victim is dangled off the back of a ship by a rope, and then essentially sandblasted to death by the dust cloud the ship kicks up as it moves. Its stated that it can be several days before the victim actually dies.
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  • Culture Shock: The main source of conflict between Ansel and Ulric: Ulric believes that Aryan's should be upstanding members of civilization, while years in the Kiln have desensitized Ansel to the violence around him. This comes to a head when trying to deal with the Scavenger prisoner.
  • Desert Punk
  • The Empire: The Thousand-Year Reich dominates all of Europe unopposed. It's also stated that the Scavengers that threaten the Eagle Nests in the Kiln are sent north by a Muslim Caliphate that apparently dominates what used to be North Africa.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Ansel is introduced breaking a bar girl's arm after she tried to pickpocket him. Ulric is introduced reprimanding him for it.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Several of the captured Scavengers go out this way.
  • The Future: Set millenia in the future.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: A project designed to bring peace and prosperity to Europe instead brought it to ruin.
  • Nazi Protagonist: Ansel.
  • Great Offscreen War: The "Glass Wars", a massive Scavenger invasion several centuries prior, is referenced several times as a Cryptic Background Reference.
  • Hero Worship: Hitler, after millennia of myth and legend, is for all practical purposes remembered as a god, with Mein Kampf being Holy Scripture.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: In-Universe, Adolph Hitler has been Retconned into a Blonde-Haired, Blue-Eyed perfect Aryan who's rise to power was entirely peaceful.
  • Kill Sat: The Reich has a system called Aegir Strike which functions as a cross between this and a miniaturized Colony Drop.
  • Reality Ensues: Rather than a vibrant, agriculturally-rich utopia, the new land produced from draining the Mediterranean was nothing more than salt flats. As the years went on, the sea disappeared completely, leaving behind a giant desert.
  • Regional Redecoration: The Atlantropa project eventually caused the entire Mediterranean to drain away. The result is the Kiln, a huge desert that conjoins Southern Europe with the Sahara.
  • Sand Is Water: Ansel has a huge ship that sails through the Kiln.
  • Unreliable Narrator: As a resident of a world where the Nazis have existed for millennia, Ansel has a very biased viewpoint.
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