Silla woke at last to find the canoe gently rocking. The sea was finally rid of the storm’s wrath, and she was more than halfway to shocked that her small, wooden outrigger had survived it. Through the ragged holes in the canvas she’d stretched over the hull to protect from the rain, the sun shone in with a blinding fierceness. She bent her sore back up from the smoothed wood and untied the twine that held the canvas in place so she could move it aside and sit straight. In the back of her mind, she wondered if she’d be lucky enough to find that the black powder for her flintlock had stayed dry.
The only thing more surprising than the fact that she still had her breath in her was the sight that greeted her to starboard. A duo of swift clippers patrolled the harbor of the grandest walled city she’d ever seen, nestled in a sprawl of tidy farmsteads. Washington by the Bay was the largest settlement in what had been the old colony of South Caroline, and many folk said it had no equal in all of North America. Some 20,000 souls padded its cobbled streets and fished its waters. It defied Silla’s imagination to think there were cities of over a million before the Long Winter.
Apocalypse 1780 is a post-apocalyptic, alternate history universe created by T.J. Hafer. It separates from our timeline in October of 1780, in the middle of the American Revolution, when the largest supervolcano eruption in human history takes place somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. The particulate material thrown into the atmosphere causes an unprecedented, brutal cooling period known as the 12-Year Winter. Combined with pandemic disease outbreaks and the breakdown of civilization, this climate change results in the deaths of more than 750 million of the Earth’s 800 million inhabitants.
The main story thread picks up in 1895, about a century after the end of the 12-Year Winter, with the world population having recovered to roughly the level it was at during the Bronze Age. Industrialized society has been set back massively, but not all knowledge of the Enlightenment has been lost. Trade and communication across the open ocean has still not recovered, so the bulk of the story will focus on the localized region around the South Atlantic coast of North America, where survivors from the former 13 Colonies, as well as many native tribes and current or former slaves, managed to cling to life and rebuild.
In a world resembling “Fallout with frontier technology”, the short fiction we’ll be posting over the coming months will follow several characters from different post-Catastrophic cultures as the turn of the 20th Century brings massive changes for everyone from the Knights of Washington to the Free Angola Nation. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to be informed when new stories are posted!