3 days until the Sidewise Awards!

In case I haven’t beaten you over the head with this news enough already, my alternate history short story “Treasure Fleet” has been nominated for a Sidewise Award! They’re going to announce the winners on the 20th. Fingers crossed!

In honor of this momentous occasion, I’m sharing some of the backstory of the events leading up to the Muslim Chinese discovery of the New World. It’s all @melissamwalshe ‘s fault.

She had some REALLY interesting questions about alternate history. Specifically, what would have happened if explorers from Eastern Asia had discovered the New World rather than Western Europe?

1. What was the technological leap that made it possible for Europe to do it’s conquering?

2.  Would it make geographical sense for China to need the same technology to conquer, and if not, what challenges would they face and given where they were at, what’s the minimal change that would have made conquest feasible?

3. Was a philosophical difference in attitudes towards conquest a determining factor?

4. Who would the lynchpins have been and what would have had to change for them to be successful with a different message?

5. What is the Asian culture that would have been dominant at the time?

6. Would an Asian conquest be more likely if a different Asian culture had won a particular war?

7. How would the dominant philosophy (minimally tweaked for conquest purposes) impact the way that technologically less-advanced native peoples were treated?

8. What diseases were rampant in Asia at the time, and how would they have played out versus smallpox?

Read on to see my answers. But what about yours?

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