The Silent Decades

Anna D. Aclan, The 21st Century: Before and After the Silent Decades (York: New Capital Books, 2190)


Part 1: 2001-2025

1. Josef J. S. Lane, Fading into Silence (Toronto: Modified Publications, 2175).

Katherine Utgaard, The Silent Decades (York: York University Press, 2168).

Lane considers the coming of the Silent Decades as a gradual restriction of communication culminating in a total ban. Utgaard’s book argues for the more widely subscribed view of mass destruction of data during the War.

2. Oil-fuelled flight was the fastest form of long-distance travel, and the safest. It is estimated that over a million people would die in car accidents each year. For more information on this topic, see chapter 7 of Alyssandra Remond, May We Meet Again: Deadly Travel Throughout the Ages (York: New Capital Books, 2185).

3. Although the first half of the 21st century is known for its controversially-named Petty Wars, I do not count this among them. See p.170 for a discussion of it as one of the causes of the War, as part of the Conglomeration Theory.

4. Countless similar attacks would occur leading up to and likely continuing into the Silent Decades. See Dante Lizar, Stifled Cries (South Monterey: Shifted Perspectives, 2181) for a (somewhat dramatised) detailed history.

5. Considering the highly controversial status of this facility prior to the War, it is easy to imagine the moral deterioration of governments that must have occurred to produce the dozens of similar facilities that emerged at the other end of the Silent Decades. This will be discussed in Part 2, but for more detailed information on these facilities, see Rachel Paul-Jansen, ‘Descendants of Guantanamo’ in Detention: A Fragmented History of Imprisonment ed. by Michael J. Nottingham (Vancouver: Chickadee Publishing, 2179).

6. Hannah Jordan, Oil (York: New Capital Books, 2179) – a fascinating and controversial history of petroleum, from the discovery of paraffin in the 19th century to the effective depletion of the Earth’s oil at some point during the War. Most notably, Jordan boldly argues that, “the lives of our predecessors were tied to this substance–their suicidal tendencies grew with the onset of its extinction, and each leader was ready to bring down the world for a final gulp.” (Jordan, p.330)

7. Casey Russo, The Human Genome: A Sociocultural Disaster (York: New Capital Books, 2185), p.115. Russo’s work, first published in 2132, has since been met with severe criticism for her treatment of modified people as an unwanted by-product of the war.

8. Chike Oni, The Invisible Continent (Edmonton: United University Press, 2168).

9. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The rest of the country used a similar system of measurements, already outdated in most of the world.

10. Historians including Jasmine Hanton and Colin S. Goldman have argued that the European Union was a practical early model for the USW.

11. Facebook, 6 July 2170-present, New Capital Museum, York. The famous interactive exhibit allows visitors to browse millions of messages written during the final hours of the pre-War social networking site. This information was recovered during the ongoing Internet Project. A limited version of the exhibit is also available remotely.

12. Jerome Agne and Jamie He, Duck Out of Water: How Environmental Weaponry Saved the Earth (South Monterey: Shifted Perspectives, 2175). Agne and He argue that this and other natural disasters were test runs of environmental weapons later used during the War.

13. For a better understanding of American international interference, see Peter Schultz, World Police (York: Viking, 2168).

14. For a catalogue of species that went extinct during and around the Silent Decades, see Marie T. Chilwell, The Way of the Polar Bear (Aberdeen: Cults, 2184). Chilwell argues that while most of the 21st century’s extinctions are believed to have occurred during the Silent Decades, the case of the Baiji and a fair number of others show that late pre-War human activity was already incompatible with the natural world.

15.  “The Great Depression, the Great Recession – the greatest of them all was yet to come, unnamed until its job was done.” Antonia Lucescu, ‘Its Shadow’ in Post-War Poetry (York: York University Press, 2165), p.62.

16. iPhones, 6 July 2070-present, New Capital Museum, York. Another exhibit in the museum’s 21st Century Hall, this pile of damaged and discarded personal communication devices is an apt illustration of pre-War throw-away society.

17. Celia D. Huwlett, Economic Models of the Past, Volume III: Capitalism (Edmonton: United University Press).

18. At this point, the world’s population reached an unsustainable seven billion people. Such staggering statistics, along with the tsunamis that later destroyed many of the world’s major cities, gave rise to religious organisations such as the Second Flood, whose members believe that the War was an apocalyptic event caused by God.

19. The first nuclear meltdown caused by a natural disaster. Agne and He discuss the post-War nuclear exclusion zones likely caused by natural disasters (or environmental weapons) as an unavoidable side-effect of environmental warfare but argue that the effects of nuclear warfare would be far more devastating. See the previously mentioned Jerome Agne and Jamie He, Duck Out of Water: How Environmental Weaponry Saved the Earth (South Monterey: Shifted Perspectives, 2175), pp.60-100.

20. Emmet L. Barnes, Red Earth: From Curiosity to the Colonies (Edmonton: United University Press, 2183), p.12.

21. Janna Tones, A History of Asteroid Mining, (Saskatoon: Saskatoon Publishing, 2180), p.351. It is regrettable that less than a decade later, such promising scientific progress would be stunted for over fifty years, and even then, required years to recover. Katrina Stussy, The Unrealized Decades (South Monterey: Shifted Perspectives, 2187) is a fascinating exploration of the utopian possibilities of an imagined timeline where the War never occurred, and “the Silent Decades were unheard of; the years 2025-2078 were a golden age… a period of resolution and growth.” (Stussy, pp.30-31)

22. This was not the first time the United States of America elected a television star – Ronald Wilson Reagan, the country’s 40th president, was a famous actor prior to his political career.

23. For a better understanding of the destabilised condition of the United Kingdom’s internal politics in the years leading up to the Silent Decades, see Dean Bexley, The United Kingdom, 2010-2025: A Sociopolitical History (York: York University Press, 2164).

24. Peter Smolov and Lisa C. Barker, ‘Harnessing Gravitational Waves as a Power Source Using Orbital Graviton Farms’, United University Physical, Mathematical and Engineering Sciences Review, 40.2, (2170), 201-350, (p.205). A century passed between Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity and the first confirmed detection of gravitational waves. The first graviton farm is predicted to be operational by 2230, meaning that humanity took over 200 years to realise a practical use for this energy source.

25. Killed using a high-precision Sarin gas bomb on the 17th of July 2022, just three days after the president’s death. The bomb also killed four of his bodyguards.

26. For more detailed information on the particulars surrounding the assassinations, including the copycat theory, see Cristofer Jimenez, ‘An Inspection of the Shared Circumstances Surrounding the 2022 Leader Assassinations.’, World History, 38.1, (2177), 3-58.

27. Claire L. Baker, ‘Seoul and Pyongyang: The First Fallen Cities’ in Lost Cities of the 21st Century ed. by Kathryn R. Chorley and Harry S. Wright (Toronto: Horizon Publishing, 2186), p.12. Baker’s essay stands out from the rest of the collection as the two Korean capitals were destroyed just before the Silent Decades – for this reason, her essay is also by far the most factual and does not rely on conjecture.

28. Robert Malinky, ‘The Extent of the 2024 Geneva Peace Summit’s Success: Did the Nuclear Disarmament Agreement Prevent the Nuclear Apocalypse or Did the Removal of the Threat of Mutually Assured Destruction Usher in an Age of Environmental Weaponry?’, World History, 43.3, (2182), 283-370.

29. Radiochemical analysis performed during the 2090s has suggested that the blast occurred somewhere between 2025 (the beginning of the Silent Decades) and 2030, leading to speculation that this was the event that triggered the Silent Decades and possibly even the War. For more information on the capital’s destruction and a discussion of its effects, see Isaac Taylor, ‘Washington, D.C.: Questions Raised by an Examination of the Irradiated Zone.’ in Lost Cities of the 21st Century ed. by Kathryn R. Chorley and Harry S. Wright (Toronto: Horizon Publishing, 2186), p.116.

Part 2: 2078-2100

30. For most of the world, the Cognitive Awakening happened on the 7th of November 2078. However, records suggest that about 10% of the population experienced the phenomenon three days earlier. Initial claims that this 10% were modified have since been debunked – the proportion of modified to non-modified was roughly the same as in the other 90%. See chapter 2 of Bruce Matthews, The Cognitive Awakening (Queenstown: Wakatipu Books, 2179).

31. Griselda Van den Berg and Joke Dekker, ‘Amnesiac Effects of Solar Flares’, Psychoanalytica, 2.1, (2080), 3-120, (p.43). This essay, excerpts of which were reprinted in all major newspapers as well as being widely broadcast, appeared to be the government’s official stance on the cause of the phenomenon. Today, the essay’s claims are largely viewed as a total fabrication.

32. For a more up to date view on the theory, see Joao Gamboa, The Solar Flare: A Government Invention (Toronto: Modified Publications, 2171).

33. Samantha Bell, The Unsilenced Tribes: The Key to the Solar Flare Conspiracy (Toronto: Modified Publications, 2185). This ground-breaking text was originally published in 2140. After decades of close, life threatening work with previously uncontacted tribes, Bell effectively ended the discourse on the validity of the Solar Flare theory with her revelation that none of the tribes uncontacted before the end of the Silent Decades had experienced anything like the Cognitive Awakening. Their lives seemed unaffected by the Silent Decades – they had memories and traditions that remained unchanged.

34. ‘This substance’s effects fell far short of the… 21st century’s government’s expectations… in concentrated doses, the agent’s main effect is a permanent zombification… a totally compliant workforce’ (my italics). From Gregory Kovacs, Don’t Drink the Water, Don’t Breathe the Air: How the United States of the World’s Government Erased Fifty Years of Human History (South Monterey: Shifted Perspectives, 2184), pp.24-25.

35. Members of the Second Flood subscribe to the Divine Intervention theory, with a yet smaller minority believing the phenomenon to have been caused by intelligent extraterrestrial beings.

36. Muhammed Gamal, ‘The 2078 Post Awakening World Riots’, World History, 48.2, (2187), 228-278. Gamal refers to the aid effort as ‘an unexpected moment of unity and a great sign of promise for the United States of the World, going forward.’ (Gamal, p.228.)

37. Rosie Sherwood, Yesterday was Fifty-Three Years Ago: Rediscovering Our Past (York: Viking, 2180), pp.40, 122. Sherwood’s book was originally published in 2099. Its merging of historical findings with poetic language has created a new literary genre and deserves to be read to this day. It is a personal favourite of mine.

38. Cassandra Silver, Awaking Different: A Modified Mother’s Memoirs ed. by Strawberry Silver (Toronto: Modified Publications, 2166), p.72. Silver’s memoir vividly captures not only the confusion of the Cognitive Awakening, but the slow shock of finding herself to be “abnormal.” Like many modified people, Silver suffered from schizophrenia, which made it even harder to comprehend her situation: “it was impossible at times to accept myself as real.” (Silver, p.20.)

39. For more information, see Janice Costo, Inside Modified Communities (York: New Capital Books, 2075)

40. Since the first edition’s publication, my claim that the violence was propagated by plainclothes government agents among the peaceful protesters has been challenged. However, I stand by my claim; my research has been thorough and included an interview with Portia Benton, one of the last living participants in the 2079 York protests, who has since sadly passed away. Furthermore, my findings were corroborated by Harry S. Wright, Alicia Penn, and Ross J.M. Osborn. My essay on this subject, published in World History, provides a more detailed look at the situation, which should extinguish any remaining doubts. See Anna D. Aclan, ‘The 2079 York Protests and Their Effects: Government Involvement, Worldwide Outcry and the Freedom of Information.’, World History, 49.2, (2188), 301-359.

41. This number is highly disputed due to the fact that the tsunami occurred before the investigation could be completed. See Emily L. Bryant, The San Francisco Disaster (Toronto: Horizon Publishing, 1974). Also Adreian Ramos, ‘San Francisco: The Final Victim’ in Lost Cities of the 21st Century ed. by Kathryn R. Chorley and Harry S. Wright (Toronto: Horizon Publishing, 2186).

42. “I’ve existed for 30 or so years, but I was born six months ago. Unlike you, I don’t see an opportunity to start my life. I see a body that has been doing things without me for 30 or so years. In the mirror, I see a face as strange and frightened as those I pass on the streets. I see a 30-year-old corpse and I wish I had never awoken.” Anonymous, in Letters from the Post-War Suicide Wave ed. by Jan Visser (Saskatoon: Saskatoon Publishing, 2179), p.87.

43. Some of the more notable publishers and journals formed as a result of this thirst for knowledge include New Capital Books, Horizon Publishing, and Recovered History (now World History) in 2079, Jungle Publications, The General Scientific Review, and Chickadee Publishing in 2080, and Modified Publications, Viking, Political History, and the Biological Sciences Review in 2081.

44. Philip Streep, RCP (York: York University Press, 2180), p.35. Streep’s book is worth reading if you are interested in a comprehensive history of the Remote Communications Platform, from its beta phase to what it is today. The book also includes a full discussion on the failure to reintroduce the Internet.

45. After a delay that dragged out into the next century, the project was finally abandoned in 2106. For a better understanding of the crushing effect of the project’s failure, see Oleg Bezrodny, The London Restoration Project: Giving Up on the Old Capital (York: Viking, 2175).

46. This was also the first step in the Earth Cleanup Programme, completed in 2158. Despite the success of the mission, it was the only one of its kind. The risk of ‘radioactive ash… enveloping the earth as a result of a failed launch is a very real possibility that could lead to our extinction.’ Ned Bennet, ‘The Nuclear Waste Expulsion Mission as an Unrepeatable Achievement’, The Journal of Space Technology and Engineering, 60.1, (2160), 60-110, p.67.

47. Winnie R.H.H. Athelstan, The 22nd Century: Unsilenced (Edmonton: United University Press, 2187).