“A thousand years before the Wright brothers, a Muslim poet, astronomer, musician, and engineer named Abbas ibn Firnas made several attempts to construct a flying machine.” What if he had been successful?

How might functional gliders in the 9th century have changed history? That depends on what they might have been used for. Off the top of my head me got…

1. Couriers.

2. Dropping crap (boiling oil, arrows, rotting offal, grenades, actual crap) on enemies

3. Surveying (if they can sketch REALLY fast)

4. Breaking sieges. (princess, there’s only ONE WAY to get you out of here…)

5. Religious observances

6. Dueling (kick-ass!)

Any that I’ve missed?


This might be a good world-building detail to add to my No Mongols Allowed timeline.

Or why not its own timeline?

Why not his own story? “The Goose’s Wing,” is available now in the Tales from Alternate History 2 anthology.

This entry was posted in Short Stories and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.