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In the European-influenced world the more advanced biological sciences have meant that racial and gender equality has existed for longer than in the real world. Also, for similar reasons, homosexuality has been accepted for longer as it is understood to be a natural thing. There was also an earlier sexual revolution than in the real world arising from the earlier availability of the female contraceptive pill.

Female soldiers are used in some parts of the world. There are female guards and archers in India (particularly Hyderabad) and Ceylon, and female spear-wielding guards in Siam. Some female troops are largely ceremonial. However, others, as in Dahomey, are effective front-line troops.

Despite this, abortion and contraception are illegal in much of the Catholic world. This does not stop back street abortionists existing in many places, and contraception being widely available 'under the counter'. In France contraception is legal, but abortion is treated as murder.

Science in this world has thoroughly disproved there being any rational basis for discrimination between people based on racial, gender or class differences, and this has been the case for generations. However, humans being humans, this has not eliminated discrimination, only changed it in form. In the modern world, people are often (explicitly or implicitly) discriminated against on the grounds of culture and religion (as a subset of culture). This cultural discrimination is justified by many on the grounds that different cultures do affect the achievements of people who follow them, and thus it is scientifically justified...

Catholicism is more widespread than in the real world due to the larger French colonial empire. This is particularly the case in India, but also in other areas where French influence is strong, such as its colonies. However, because of the Economic Collapse and different circumstances, there was not a large degree of missionary activity in the 19th century, just much the same as previously. Because of this many native religions are stronger and more widespread.

Many (though not all) Christian churches around the world support the ideas of eugenics [more than was the case in the real world].

There is less emancipation of Jews than in the real world. Many European Jews have moved to Israel or New Israel. Anti-Semitism is still fairly common.

Most nations have national service of one kind or another.

All nations retain the death penalty, though they vary on who and what crimes it applies to.

A better understanding of biology and neurology means that in this world brainwashing, interrogation and indoctrination techniques are better developed, and more effective than in the real world. These are, needless to say, abhorred by the Nullopticon movement.

Because of the large-scale surveillance that formed part of the Panopticon Society of the nineteenth century, obfuscational [encryption] systems of many different kinds are used around the world to maintain the privacy of the people of many different nations, in addition to the privacy laws most civilised nations possess. These range from the encoding of televox conversations, to systems for obfuscational written text, to the use of secret or constructed languages and alphabets. While some of this originates within the Nullopticon movement, much of it arises from everyday average people, and its use spreads far and wide beyond its creators.

Many drugs that are illegal in the real world are legal here. Marijuana in particular is widely used. Opium is legal in some places, but most nations banned it after French pressure following the Long War of 1915-1916, when too many French people became addicted to it. Khat is also quite widely grown and used.

The use of tobacco is widely restricted in many nations. In Russia it is banned, although thanks to the efforts of 'baccyrunners' it is still available on the black market.


Formal wear (the equivalent to a business suit in the real world) does, of course, exist in this world. However, unlike the real world where it has evolved from court dress mainly via the British Empire, in this world it has evolved from much the same source, but mainly via the French Empire.

As such male formal wear, which is still known as a suit, consists of a frock-coat-like jacket, knee length at the back and waist length at the front, worn over calf-length breeches over which are worn knee-length ornamental gaiters and shoes. In colour, suits are dark, but other than that can be of any colour, so that in addition to the blacks, greys and blues of the real world, dark greens, reds, purples and so on are equally common. Of course, precisely which colours are popular at a given time is subject to the vagaries of fashion.

Under the jacket is worn a waistcoat and a shirt. The waistcoat is much as in the real world in form. The shirt is collarless and normally a white or pastel colour. Over the shirt and waistcoat is worn a detachable lace collar. The waistcoat and collar are both coloured and patterned, normally to coordinate with one another and also to some extent display the personality of the wearer [much as ties can in the real world]. In more modern suits adapted to a warmer world, the waistcoat is often omitted.

Women's suits are similar to those of men in terms of colouration and jacket style. They can be worn with either calf-length skirts or trousers, and boots or shoes. Female suits have similar detachable collars to those of men, but these are larger and more ornate, giving them something of a shawl-like appearance. They are often worn over the jacket, which is normally collarless. However, women's collars, although more ornate than men's, are normally more drab in colour and less excitingly patterned than those of men.

Hats are quite common for both genders. Again these come in a variety of colours, normally to coordinate with the rest of a suit. In style, hats tend to be of a short, flat-crowned and broad-brimmed type known as a 'cordobés' from its Spanish origin. These have become particularly popular with the rise in levels of ultraviolet due to ozone depletion from human activities, and are normally UV-proofed to protect the wearer. Similar, somewhat more conical hats not unlike a short capotain hat are also common.


Because of the greater influence of the French Physiocratic philosophy in this world, and the values it places on agriculture, many governments have restricted the expansion of towns and cities despite their growth of population over time. Because of this towns and cities tend to have far more tenement buildings in older areas and tower blocks in newer and redeveloped areas (along with vertical farms and factories) than is the case in the real world. Most tenements and tower blocks also have rooftop farm plots.

Although inhabited rooms within the buildings people inhabit are normally lit by electricity, public spaces and normally lit by lighting tubes filled with engineered bioluminescent bacteria that feed on sewage [not unlike a developed version of this].

Most buildings, and certainly those built since the Pogrom War of the 1960s, can be sealed in case of a biological warfare attack, with air filtering, quarantine facilities and supply caches [this is roughly analogous to the preparation for nuclear war built into some buildings of the real world, though rather easier to implement due to the lack of the destructive effects of a nuclear blast].


As in the real world, there are a number of organised crime groups in this world, originating from different parts of the world.

Most nations have more permissive drugs laws than the real world, and prostitution is also legal and licensed in most countries. Because of this organised crime has been able to gain less of a grip on society, and so in general is weaker than in the real world. France still suffers a significant amount of organised crime thanks to the tobacco prohibition that was applied between 1930 and 1963, and because its large empire has more varied organised criminals than other nations.

French organised criminals include Indian dacoits and Thugees as well as criminal groups that began as Hindu militias that formed during the Popes War. The most widespread of these are the Kali Ke Hatha [Hands of Kali], though by the present day they are usually known simply as the Hatha [Hands]. Other militias that have degenerated into organised crime groups over time are Ananta Hatha [The Infinite Hands], Abhinav Bharat [Pride of India], Rashtriya Jagran Manch [National Revival Forum], Sri Ram Sene [Army of the God Rama], Hindu Dharam Sena [Army for Hindu Religion] and Sanatan Sanstha [Eternal Organization]. Most members of the Hindu militias use code names that are the names of Hindu gods and heroes.

Other French organised criminals include North and West Africans, northern Italians, Spaniards, Chinese [not unlike the Triads of the real world], Japanese Yakuza and Germans from those states bordering France.

There are a number of significant organised crime groups in the Union. These include Poles, arising from their long-term historical treatment as second class citizens. There are also a few small British, Prussian and Hanoverian organised crime groups in places where they are immigrants (for example, Prussians in South Wales), as well as Germans from outside the Union, and Columbian and Quebecois groups in the North American states of the Union.

The OSU and the Alexandrian Concord also have a number of organised criminals. Many are North or East Africans from states bordering those of the Alexandrian Concord; others are Greek or Balkan criminals. Others still are Arabs, mainly originating in marginalised and more fanatical Muslim groups. A few are Persian or Russian in origin.

The Dutch Empire has a number of its own criminal organisations, most of them formed from Dutch East Indians.

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