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When making a timeline for a fictional universe, there are many Speculative Fiction Tropes that tend to pop up, especially if it is based on the real world. This list notes them in the order they (typically) appear. Its purpose is both to help with World Building, and to help when writing a Crossover.
This list also includes nonfictional historical and scientific "facts" that are the basis of many fictional stories, such as the "A meteor killed off the dinosaurs" theory.
Related to Hollywood History, but more detailed.
- Billions of Years Ago:
- Creation Of The Universe -- Either the Big Bang or some Supreme Being (or both, they aren't mutually exclusive) creates the universe (or recreates it, see End of The Universe below) approx. 13.5 Billion years ago (according to the latest theories.)
- Precursors begin to appear.
- The Earth forms. (Scientific theory -- Approx. 5 Billion Years ago.)
- Life begins on Earth. (Theory -- Approx. 3 Billion years ago.)
- Might possibly have been influenced by the Precursors.
- Millions of Years Ago:
- Eldritch Abominations lived on Earth, but left, were destroyed, hid, or were sealed away. Ex: Cthulhu Mythos.
- The dinosaurs evolve.
- An Ultraterrestrials civilization (of terran origin) exist alongside them.
- Approx. 65 million years ago, an object (a meteor, comet, spaceship or war caused by the ultraterrestrials) crashes on Earth, killing off the dinosaurs... except in certain hidden places.
- One Million BC:
- The human race evolves.... or is created by someone or something. (Note: science currently believes that mankind evolved somewhere between 150,000 BC and 50,000 BC, so actually setting something 1 million years ago will get you flak from academics.)
- Advanced civilizations such as Atlantis may have existed, but were wiped out before recorded history. Often a source of Lost Technology or Lost Magic.
- Ancient Astronauts arrive.
- The Time of Myths:
- Humanity spreads over Earth and develops several cultures.
- Beings of great power are worshiped as gods. Some may actually be aliens in disguise. Example: Stargate.
- Some humans are taken off planet and end up colonizing other worlds, then forgetting about Earth. (This explains all those Human Aliens.) Ex: Again, Stargate.
- The Dark Ages:
- Witch Hunts (and/or the magic going away) cause supernatural beings to either leave for a Magical Land or hide their existence from normal humans.
- At some point, A Alien Non-Interference Clause is enabled in space, preventing more aliens from coming to Earth -- except for criminals and castaways. Ex: Men in Black.
- The Present:
- The Near Future:
- Before FTL is invented:
- The solar system is colonized.
- But the colonies may fight for independence. Ex. Gundam
- After FTL is invented:
- Very Far Into the Future: (let's say, for the purposes of symmetry, A.D. One Million)
- The End of the Universe: