The Universe


Blue Glow takes place, roughly, in the future of the 1960s. A world where an IPad would have more computing power than most university supercomputers, but humanity has nevertheless burst outward from its earthly cradle to colonize the solar system and beyond. A world where atomic rockets ply the spaceways, navigated by men with slide rules and log tables. A world where "Have Space-Suit, Will Travel" is the calling for tens of thousands of explorers and settlers from the hard vacuum of Luna to the icy moons of Jupiter.

Blue Glow is golden-age science fiction come to life as an RPG.

Alternate History Timeline

1957 - USSR Launches Sputnik 1 and 2; the Space Race begins

1958 - USA Launches Explorer 1 and Vanguard 1; NASA is formed

1959 - Under Project Rover, USA begins constructing and testing Nuclear Thermal Rockets (NTRs)

1960 - Robert McNamara is struck and killed by a drunk driving an Edsel

1961 - Yuri Gagarin becomes the first human to fly in space, followed by Alan Shepard; Apollo Program begins

1963 - Lee Harvey Oswald makes an unsuccessful assassination attempt on JFK

1962 - Microtube technology developed at Bell Labs; with transistors, it renders existing computers obsolete

1965 - Alexei Leonov performs the first spacewalk; USSR begins constructing and testing NTRs

1966 - President Kennedy orders strategic bombing of North Vietnam to begin; they surrender after 7 weeks

1967 - Fearful of losing the space race, the USSR starts a crash program to develop flight-ready NTRs 

1968 - Apollo 8 is the first manned mission to orbit the moon

1969 - Soviet astronauts land on lunar surface two weeks before launch of Apollo 11, carried by "Zvezda" (Star) nuclear rocket; US begins nuclear rocket production to answer public outcry

1972 - Chemical basis of NoRad anti-radiation drug discovered in Amazon rainforest

1975 - US and USSR begin construction of lunar outposts supplied by regular NTR-boosted cargo runs

1978 - US mars mission lands crew of 5 on red planet for 1 month of exploration. Soviet mission suffers catastrophic propulsion failure with loss of entire crew

1979 - Nuclear reactors primary source of power in USA, Western Europe; NoRad available from pharmacies

1980 - Construction of experimental space solar power array completed

1982 - USSR collapses, broken by the economic strain of its space endeavors; sells some facilities to USA

1985 - Moon supply/shuttle service privatized; first Martian outpost established by NASA

1987 - Lunar mining operations begin, attracting investors and workers from around the world

1990 - Launch costs reach $50/kg to LEO; private nuclear launch companies number in the dozens

1991 - EU founded, purchases most of remaining Russian space facilities to leapfrog ahead

1992 - China begins space program with construction of "Heavenly Fire" class vehicles. Claims lunar territory

1995 - First asteroid mines open; lunar population reaches 2000; total space population reaches 10,000

2000 - USA receives 30% of its power from space solar; Russian Republic is rebuilding its space assets

2010 - Solar Guard formed to mediate disputes between different nations and companies over space assets

2015 - First known case of space piracy occurs, an attack on a Chinese freighter heading in from the belt

2017 - First (official) space warships and soldiers ("Espatiers") assembled to counter belt piracy "epidemic"

2021 - Jovian colonies founded; Mercury fissionables mines open

2029 - Tensions over the Taiwan straits flare into open nuclear warfare; Solar Guard intervention ends it after only a day (and 200,000 deaths); the Guard council claims legal right to end wars on Earth

2045 - Hyperspace theory leads to construction of first experimental Seaton Drive

2050 - Solar Guard increasingly approximates a loose unified government of human civilization

2052 - First Nuclear Saltwater Rocket developed

2053 - First interstellar exploration ships are launched to nearby systems

2066 - First extrasolar colony founded on planet of Alpha Centauri

2071 - First successful Inertial Confinement Fusion drive developed

2080 - 10 extrasolar colonies established; dissidents of both Earth governments and Solar Guard flock to them

2100 - 27 extrasolar colonies extant, some with populations in the hundreds of thousands

Solar Guard Anthem and Flag


To give you a better feel for the tone of the universe, here are some filk (fan music) pieces that do a good job of it:

Sorry about the abominable sound quality, but they are old recordings.

Credit Where Credit's Due

Blue Glow would not be possible without the authors, scientists, and artists who created its vision of the future. This setting and game is therefore dedicated to Robert Anson Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, John W. Campbell, John Schoenherr, and all the others whose stories, ideas, and images I devoured as a youth.

It is also dedicated to Winchell Chung, whose website Atomic Rockets inspired me as a high-schooler to begin a serious study of spaceflight technology. The information and art aggregated on Atomic Rockets has been instrumental to keeping alive the spirit of Golden Age SciFi as well as to the creation of Blue Glow.

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