A giant dust plume crosses the Atlantic.

Marcos Hernandez Article

Dust from the Sahara crossed the ocean and landed in the southeast United States. The most massive dust storm to cross the Atlantic, it’s effects are projected as far inland as Ohio. The dust will reduce visibility, lower air quality, and hazy skies.

The benefits? With more particles in the air, sunrises and sunsets will be more colorful in the affected country.

To make this the start of a story, let’s make this storm MUCH denser, so the effects will be more than just pretty skies. What if there was enough dust to block sunlight for a prolonged period? To ratchet up the stakes, what if I made the period back when cotton was still a significant export?

An alternate history where John Wilkes Booth’s gun jammed, Abe Lincoln lived, and the former slaves and plantation owners both found themselves scrambling to make a living.

Making this story would require a sensitivity reader, to make sure any black Americans we’re given appropriate treatment. But this could be a way of providing southern black Americans the future they deserved when the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.

It could be a family story with a former male slave, the leader of a former slaves group. They could create their town. The primary opponent could be the Ku Klux Klan, and the leader of the black community could create their opposing force that operated under hidden identities. 

This story would be a family saga story told from different angles, from the patriarch, the mother, and various children.

Further books could take place in the universe and deal with either other areas hit by similar situations or follow the children as they grew up. There could be echoes of Pride and PrejudiceOne Hundred Years of Solitude, and even a “Mad Max” style book from a radical son’s viewpoint.

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