I just wanted to open a discussion on the setting I'm currently working on, to flesh out a few certain aspects of them and make sure that I'm getting them at least somewhat right. So to put things in perspective, I'm putting together a sort of science-fantasy AltHistory novel with its backstory being that mankind gained the means to tear open physical gateways into a multiversal crossroads (for lack of a better term)... in 1977. How this comes about involves a lone scientist from a parallel-Earth (in the year 2117) jumping to the 1930s and spending four decades trying to rebuild the invention that got him there - what he winds up building instead opens up a whole new frontier into a seemingly-endless 'world' with differing laws of nature, where alien civilizations of different calibers roam and where materials and artifacts lie that could change the course of mankind's growth forever. (Think Half Life meets Mass Effect 1 with a side order of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and Halo) Anyway, that's the setup for how it happened. The story proper opens in 1993, following the perspective of one of these frontiersmen during a pivotal discovery and the hectic events following after it, and while the story itself is primarily set within this multiversal crossroads, the fact remains that all the human characters hail from a history that has diverged from the late 1970s onward. Regardless of the 'distance' between them and home, they will still have been living in and will be referring to this changed-yet-familiar world. My question is this: what would such a world look like under that point of divergence? Technologically, given that only sixteen years have passed, I would imagine that most of mankind's divergent advancements by alt!1993 are more along the lines of new avenues opening up via bypassing their world's limitations (possible trade with aforementioned alien civilizations notwithstanding). For instance, getting spaceships and materials into space has simply become a matter of sending them through one rift on the ground and having them flown back through another rift drifting in orbit - no more fighting against gravity/atmosphere just to get up there. To say nothing of the rest... Another thing of note is that the technology which creates the gateway-rifts themselves is expensive, but any sufficiently-developed country with the means to acquire it will have made a point of owning at least one such device - the greater world powers possess several of them each. If you have any thoughts on this subject, feel free to share them. What I am more hung up on is how the world will have evolved, culturally, politically, and socially from the 1977-PoD onward. These events begin in the later half of the Cold War, after all - a new frontier, first contact with advanced alien life, whole new avenues opening up in several fields of R&D, the knowledge that mankind has now become a very small portion of a much larger inter-universal community, etc. How would the standing governments of the time respond, and the people of the nations they run? What of NATO and the Warsaw Pact, and the relations between the two? What should I be taking into consideration as I shape my spatiotemporally-distant setting and its history? And something else to consider; how would Cold-War Earth and its factions deal with the presence of alien civilizations both just as advanced and more so than themselves - and each with their own factions, alliances and opponents? To most of them, mankind is just another new face, and far from being an influential power in that regard - in some cases, it would be rather analogous to Christopher Columbus landing in modern-day New York City: "look at that quaint little man with his quaint little ship".