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World Without Doomsday (1983: Doomsday)

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World Without Doomsday, a book published by Reading Eagle Press, is a compilation of twenty alternate history stories written by Readinger citizens as part of the 27th Doomsday Commemoration Event, of which the common theme is what the world would have been without the nuclear devastation of World War III. The stories were chosen according to content, plausibility and readability. Governor John E. Jones III wrote the foreword.

Stories

The Iron Curtain Rises (Anonymous)

The story opens with the Soviet government disregarding the infamous warnings on Doomsday, thus completely averting it. It then cuts to twenty years later, in 2003, when it seems a civil war between the various Soviet republics has become inevitable. A Russian shopkeeper, Sergei Mikhailov, is drafted into the army after the outbreak of war. The story then follows Sergei as he fights on the front lines. While serving in Georgia, he becomes a war hero. However, after seeing the Soviet Union’s brutality to its own people, Sergei defects and eventually leads the resistance to victory, paving the way for the establishment of a peaceful, democratic Russia and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact after the war’s end.

Red (Jack Coggins)

Originally written in 2003, Red tells the stories of the United States and Europe in a world where nuclear disarmament is much more successful. The Soviet Union launches an invasion of Europe in the 1970's, igniting World War III. The Soviets refuse to surrender and take over Italy and West Germany by 1980. On the day of Doomsday, the United States launches a massive bombing campaign. It's ultimately unsuccessful, and the USSR wins. President George Bush surrenders in November, 1993. All over the world, Communists celebrate the downfall of capitalism. Australia is the last to fall, in 2002. The story is noted for its dark ending and pessimistic view of the world.

Carpe Mundum (Anonymous)

Originally written in 2004, Carpe Mundum tells the story of a world in which Andropov decides to launch only a limited strike, designed to destroy a few key NATO missile silos and AFBs. Reagan, however, dismisses the alarm as a false alert, and quickly spreads the word to the other NATO commanders, only to be surprised when most of his counterstrike capability is destroyed as the Soviet strikes actually land. Meanwhile, Andropov, realizing that he accidentally might have started WWIII, kills himself after ordering a general strike on NATO. Reagan is killed when an EMP hits his helicopter over Washington. The few remaining US nuclear weapons are launched, destroying a few Russian cities and AFBs. However, much of the USSR survives. With NATO totally devastated, the result is Soviet domination of the world.

The story starts in 2002, as a Soviet colonel stationed in Iran, where he is part of a Warsaw Pact mission to 're-stabilize' the nation, witnesses a massacre of Iranians by Soviet troops. He begins to plot, along with several other generals, to overthrow the brutal Communist regime. As the story progresses, the plot gets closer and closer to success. The viewpoint is divided between the colonel and a KGB agent assigned to uncover his plans. At the end, the agent catches the colonel just seconds before he starts the takeover; despite having the option to stop the coup, he instead decides to support him. The story ends as the messages come in throughout the USSR that the communist regime has collapsed.

The Baltic Revolution (Anonymous)

In 1993, tensions in the Baltic SSRs come to a head when Lithuanian, Estonian and Latvian protesters occupy a set of buildings in Vilnius, Tallinn and Riga and demand that their countries be allowed to separate from the Soviet Union. The hard-liner Premier of the USSR (implied to still be Yuri Andropov) refuses to answer to the protesters' demands and instead sends in the newly-created OMON to disperse the crowds in the three cities. The Lithuanians are the first to fight back, with ethnic Lithuanian General Vytautas Ilgauskas leading his division against the incoming OMON. This emboldens the other Baltic republics to rise up in revolt, and soon new revolutionary governments are established in the Baltics' main cities. The United States recognizes Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia as soon as word of the Baltic revolutions reach it, and other NATO countries soon follow suit. The three Baltic states are accepted into NATO, and soon NATO forces are conducting missions against the Soviet forces. Despite the feared Soviet-NATO war coming true, no nuclear weapons are launched because the Soviet leadership believes that the revolutions in the Baltic, which they describe as "large-scale riots," can be dealt with by the Soviet Army within six months, even with NATO assistance on the side of the rebels.

Eventually, when Kaliningrad comes under threat from a combined Lithuanian and NATO attack, the Soviet Premier threatens to launch his nukes at both the rebels and the attacking armies. But when he gives the order to fire, the Strategic Rocket Forces refuse to fire the nukes on their own soil, and the Premier is deposed by virtue of being unfit to lead the Soviet Union anymore. The Baltic republics are given independence and immediately join NATO, and it is implied by the end of the story that the Baltic Revolution may have inspired the other peoples within the Soviet Union to rise up in revolt against Moscow

Faith In the Ruins of War ("J. Forrester")

Mark White is a pastor in Pennsylvania, and he's about to be thrust into the forefront of a war that no one could have seen coming. When a large group of right-wing militias enter Mark's city (implied to be Reading, PA) and takes over vital government buildings, the National Guard is called on to lay siege on the city. Mark will be forced to keep his congregation's hopes up as the city is cut off, and supplies begin to dwindle. Eventually, Mark will learn that despite all the things happening, and with hell on earth almost at hand in his own city, it is his faith in his God, and his congregation's faith in him, that will see them through the chaos of war. This story is notable for focusing on the civilian side of war, and in emphasizing on the faith of its characters.

The Shadow (Herb Fleet)

Reception

(to be continued)

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