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lady_hockey
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Alternate History

What if Lincoln had never been shot? What if Hitler had won WWII? What if the dinosaurs had never been killed off? What if Russia became the greatest superpower in the world?

The idea of what ifs have tickled the fancy of writers for hundreds of years and some have sat down to write stories and novels addressing many of these facinating questions.

This is a place to discuss AR novels and stories, not to discuss the possible answers to these what if questions.

What if you've never read a novel in this genre? Where should you start? I highly recommend Best Alternate History Stories of the 20th Century, a collection of short stories to give you an idea of the genre.

What other authors do you recommend? Please discuss them and why you enjoyed their ideas.
~*~Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.~*~
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Nelsmom
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Re: Alternate History

How many have read Orson Scott Card's new book Empire and do you agree that it is an alternate history or is it more speculative future. I am having a hard time deciding though I thought the book was a great read. I know Harry Turtledove and David Drake do a lot of alternative history.

Toni
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dmillho1
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Re: Alternate History

I just finished "Hells Gate" by Michael Weber and Linda Evans. This is book 1 of the Multiverse series (a second book is out, but I have not read it yet.) In Hells Gate, the core premise is the existence of portals to multiple alternate Earths. These portals appeared spontaneously on an Earth about 80 years before the story. This Earth uses magic as it's base technology. They have never found an occupied earth in all the universes they have explored. But! Portals also appeared on an Earth where science is the core of the technology. And, this Earth has never found intelligent life either. When they do meet each other, mistakes lead to violence. A great read and I am going to read the next one as soon as it comes.

Kathy
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cnold
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Re: Alternate History

My all time favorites are the Timeliner Series by I believe Richard Meredith, starring Eric Mathers. Published during the early 70's, this series is about a kind of a Cold War across the Timelines between two nonhuman, artificial manmade species who use humans as their pawns in their insane war. Has a lot of detail about what many of these historical alternate timelines would be like, and many are not pretty. Is a very optimistic series, surprisingly, given the premise.
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SaviorOnEdge
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Re: Alternate History

I have to admit I have not read much by the authors mentioned previously. I have enjoyed many AR short stories--China colonized America first, the South won the American Civil War, the British won the American Revolution--but my favorites of these solid AR types are short stories.

My absolute favorite writings which are kind of in this genre are Robert Heinlein's "Future History" stories. When he wrote them, these were pure futuristic-scifi. However, Lifeline was set in the '70s, so the series definitely qualifies now.
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Commando_Cody
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Re: Alternate History

Wow, Kathy! That sounds like it's right up my alley! I gotta check it out. Thanks!



dmillho1 wrote:
I just finished "Hells Gate" by Michael Weber and Linda Evans. This is book 1 of the Multiverse series (a second book is out, but I have not read it yet.) In Hells Gate, the core premise is the existence of portals to multiple alternate Earths. These portals appeared spontaneously on an Earth about 80 years before the story. This Earth uses magic as it's base technology. They have never found an occupied earth in all the universes they have explored. But! Portals also appeared on an Earth where science is the core of the technology. And, this Earth has never found intelligent life either. When they do meet each other, mistakes lead to violence. A great read and I am going to read the next one as soon as it comes.

Kathy

Gary Val Tenuta
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Tamec
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Re: Alternate History

[ Edited ]
As I stated in the graphic novel thread I like alternate realities. There was a muder mystery a while ago set in a USA that surrendered to Germany called "Fatherland" I think....it was a long time ago when I read that one. I haven't read any recently I'll have to pick up some of the recommendations from this thread. :-)

Message Edited by Tamec on 07-28-2007 01:27 AM
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tkillham
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Re: Alternate History

I haven't read many of these type of stories, which is kind of strange for me. Outside of science fiction, history is my favorite category of books. I've seen several alternate history books in the bookstores, but I really haven't found one that I've connected with. I would appreciate any suggestions that you may have.
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Nelsmom
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Re: Alternate History



tkillham wrote:
I haven't read many of these type of stories, which is kind of strange for me. Outside of science fiction, history is my favorite category of books. I've seen several alternate history books in the bookstores, but I really haven't found one that I've connected with. I would appreciate any suggestions that you may have.


I would suggest that you try Harry Turtledove's books. He has a seies that shows an alternative American Civil War; World War 2, They are both pretty good. Those are my suggestions.

Toni
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kidzero2525
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Re: Alternate History

Me, I like story arcs of 2000-3000 pages but if you'd just like to get your feet wet, try Turtledove's "The Guns of the South."It's only 560 pages, but you'll get a whole story and a feel for how he weaves fact and fiction together.
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lady_hockey
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Re: Alternate History



tkillham wrote:
I haven't read many of these type of stories, which is kind of strange for me. Outside of science fiction, history is my favorite category of books. I've seen several alternate history books in the bookstores, but I really haven't found one that I've connected with. I would appreciate any suggestions that you may have.




The one I linked in the top post is the best place to start, it's a collection of short stories. Turtledove is hard to jump into if you don't know the genre, so I recommend to start with the short stories.
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Nelsmom
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Re: Alternate History



lady_hockey wrote:


tkillham wrote:
I haven't read many of these type of stories, which is kind of strange for me. Outside of science fiction, history is my favorite category of books. I've seen several alternate history books in the bookstores, but I really haven't found one that I've connected with. I would appreciate any suggestions that you may have.




The one I linked in the top post is the best place to start, it's a collection of short stories. Turtledove is hard to jump into if you don't know the genre, so I recommend to start with the short stories.


I didn't start with Turtledove with the alternate history. I started with David Drake ad Eric Flint's series seet in Ancient Rome. I can't remember all the books but one of the was call Oblique Approach.

Toni
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Glittersword
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Re: Alternate History

Another very honorable mention is Leo Frankowski's Lord Conrad series.

A thoughoughly enjoyable read that doesn't take itself TOO seriously.
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Althalus
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Re: Alternate History

Alternate History is like candy to the mind...I love it! You guys are right that Turtledove is probably one of the best ones out there but don't forget Sterling, or Kim Stanley Robinson (he wrote the Three California books and The Years of Rice and Salt). If you want some more alternate history stuff but done from a real historical perspective check out the collected essays called "What If?" its great!
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TiggerBear
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Re: Alternate History



Althalus wrote:
Alternate History is like candy to the mind...I love it! You guys are right that Turtledove is probably one of the best ones out there but don't forget Sterling, or Kim Stanley Robinson (he wrote the Three California books and The Years of Rice and Salt). If you want some more alternate history stuff but done from a real historical perspective check out the collected essays called "What If?" its great!



------------------------------------------------------------------------
Agreed, "What if?" is great!
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Glittersword
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Re: Alternate History

What I realy like baout Turtledove is his ability to mix really character with fictional ones and have the fictional ones seem real and the real personages seem "Right and True" to the historical personage.
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Althalus
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Re: Alternate History

If that is what you seek then I strongly recommend the Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson...okay its not quite alternate history but its damned good historical fiction and almost perfectly executed.
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luciadelabyss
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Re: Alternate History

I really enjoy alternate history !  Harry Turtledove is good; I read the series about the alien invasion during WW!! and enjoyed it.  However, I tried 3 times to read Guns of the South, but just couldn't finish it.  The premise was wonderful, but all the techie details about the guns put me to sleep. 
One of my favorite books of all time is Fallen Angels, by Jerry Pournelle.    The consequences of global warming are happening; the top third of North America is becoming  glacier-bound.  The new government decides to stop all technological development.  The astronauts in the space station are ordered to abandon it and come home; they refuse and are declared outlaws.   As time goes on, they have to make supply runs with sympathetic groups to help them.  The government gets crazy and decides to outlaw anything and anyone that has anything to do with space.  Even writers are no longer allowed to write about space; anyone involved with science fiction is harassed by the police.   In the midwest, a group of underground convention fans find a crashed shuttle with a wounded pilot...and help keep him safe ....and find him a way home.
Currently I am reading a wonderful series by S.M. Sterling.   The first book is Dies The Fire, the second is The Protector's War,  and the third is A Meeting at Corvallis.   No one knows what happened to make the world Change.  There was an agonizing flash of light; everyone saw it and some passed out with the pain.  What the people saw immediately was planes fall out of the sky and cars crash, nothing electrical worked, and some immediately found out that guns didn't work anymore either.   The story centers on the upper Northwest area of Oregon...mostly in the Williamette Vallley.   It focuses on two groups of people in the beginning; how their leadership skills come out.  Their are other groups that are added as the story unfolds; people helping each other as well as bandits and criminals that band together to survive.   As the Change in the world shows itself to be permanent,  different types of people are needed to survive.  Farmers, hunters, history professors, SCA members, RenFaire crafters, and professional soldiers all have new importance.  Tolkien devotees will especially enjoy these books.  This series is unique for the inclusion of a deaf and mute girl who is the daughter of a main character; sign language becomes an important skill to many people.  I think there is a fourth book finished as well.   These characters are developed so well that you wish they were real people; the descriptions of the area changes are so detailed that visualization is easy.   I hope he keeps writing these for several more books!
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luciadelabyss
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Re: Alternate History--The Road

Read another alt history book that isn't considered science fiction....and curious to see what others think of it.  I did a seach for threads for The Road by Cormac McCarthy, but they were a year old so I didn't post on them.   I don't usually read mainstream fiction, but this book is turning into a movie that will star Viggo Mortensen in the title role.    I found out that it won a Pulitzer Prize...:smileysurprised:  and I don't see why.    I get that it is about the basic human survival during nuclear winter, told thru the tale of Man and Boy.  They have no names, and the author uses no quote marks for dialogue.  He uses as little punctuation as possible.   Fragments worthy of Hemingway.   Makes reading difficult.   One day read it all.   Opinions?