Writing alternate history fiction histories

Definition[ edit ] The Collins English Dictionary defines alternative history as "a genre of fiction in which the author speculates on how the course of history might have been altered if a particular historical event had had a different outcome.

Writing alternate history fiction histories

Definition[ edit ] The Collins English Dictionary defines alternative history as "a genre of fiction in which the author speculates on how the course of history might have been altered if a particular historical event had had a different outcome.

Science fiction set in what was the future but is now the past, like Arthur C. A Space Odyssey or George Orwell 's Nineteen Eighty-Fouris not alternate history because the author did not make the choice to change the past at the time of writing.

This term is used by some professional historians to describe the practice of using thoroughly researched and carefully reasoned speculations on "what might have happened if Livy contemplated an alternative 4th century BC in which Alexander the Great had survived to attack Europe as he had planned; asking, "What would have been the results for Rome if she had been engaged in a war with Alexander?

Related Neatorama Posts Wednesday, January 8, at 5:
Alternate History Fiction: 3 Useful Rules You Should Know In many respects, these books are similar to those that use a fulcrum divergence:

In his famous work De Divina Omnipotentia, a long letter in which he discusses God 's omnipotencehe treats questions related to the limits of divine power, including the question of whether God can change the past, [12] for example, bringing about that Rome was never founded: If, as you assert, God is omnipotent in all things, can he manage this, that things that have been made were not made?

He can certainly destroy all things that have been made, so that they do not exist now. But it cannot be seen how he can bring it about that things that have been made were not made. To be sure, it can come about that from now on and hereafter Rome does not exist; for it can be destroyed.

But no opinion can grasp how it can come about that it was not founded long ago It tells the story of the knight Tirant the White from Brittany who travels to the embattled remnants of the Byzantine Empire. He becomes a Megaduke and commander of its armies and manages to fight off the invading Ottoman armies of Mehmet II.

He saves the city from Islamic conquestand even chases the Turks deeper into lands they had previously conquered. It recounts the tale of a man who is considered "a madman" due to his perceptions of a differenta reality in which long-dead famous people, such as the poets Robert BurnsLord ByronPercy Bysshe Shelley and John Keatsthe actor Edmund Keanthe British politician George Canningand even Napoleon Bonaparteare still alive.

The first novel-length alternate history in English would seem to be Castello Holford 's Aristopia In Aristopia, the earliest settlers in Virginia discover a reef made of solid gold and are able to build a Utopian society in North America.

Early 20th century and the era of the pulps[ edit ] A number of alternate history stories and novels appeared in the late 19th and early 20th centuries see, for example, Charles Petrie's If: A Jacobite Fantasy [].

The essays range from serious scholarly efforts to Hendrik Willem van Loon 's fanciful and satiric portrayal of an independent 20th century Dutch city state on the island of Manhattan. The entry considers what would have happened if the North had been victorious in other words, a character from an alternate world imagines a world more like the real one we live in, although not identical in every detail.

Speculative work that narrates from the point of view of an alternate history is variously known as " recursive alternate history ", a "double-blind what-if", or an "alternate-alternate history".

Lee won the Battle of Gettysburgpaving the way for the eventual victory of the Confederacy in the American Civil War named the "War of Southron Independence" in this timeline.

writing alternate history fiction histories

The protagonist, autodidact Hodgins Backmaker, travels back to the aforementioned battle and inadvertently changes history, resulting in the emergence of our own timeline and the consequent victory of the Union instead.

American humorist author James Thurber parodied alternate history stories about the American Civil War in his story "If Grant had been drinking at Appomattox", which he accompanied with this very brief introduction: This is the fourth. Another example of alternate history from this period and arguably the first to explicitly posit cross-time travel from one universe to another as anything more than a visionary experience is H.

How To Use Pop Culture In Your Alternate Histories - Mark Gillespie Author

Wells ' Men Like Godsin which several Englishmen are transferred via an accidental encounter with a cross-time machine into an alternate universe featuring a seemingly pacifistic and utopian Britain.

When the Englishmen, led by a satiric figure based on Winston Churchill, try to seize power, the utopians simply point a ray gun at them and send them on to someone else's universe. Wells describes a multiverse of alternative worlds, complete with the paratime travel machines that would later become popular with U.

However, since his hero experiences only a single alternate world, this story is not very different from conventional alternate history. While earlier alternate histories examined reasonably straightforward divergences, Leinster attempted something completely different.

In his "World gone mad", pieces of Earth traded places with their analogs from different timelines. The story follows Professor Minott and his students from a fictitious Robinson College as they wander through analogues of worlds that followed a different history. A somewhat similar approach was taken by Robert A.

Heinlein in his novelette Elsewhenin which a professor trains his mind to move his body across timelines. He then hypnotizes his students so they can explore more of them. Eventually each settles into the reality most suitable for him or her.

Some of the worlds they visit are mundane, some very odd; others follow science fiction or fantasy conventions. World War II produced alternate history for propaganda: Time travel as a means of creating historical divergences[ edit ] The period around World War II also saw the publication of the time travel novel Lest Darkness Fall by L.

Sprague de Campin which an American academic travels to Italy at the time of the Byzantine invasion of the Ostrogoths.But an alternate history novel can easily turn into a disaster of historic proportions, if you don't know what you're doing.

Here are 10 writing mistakes that authors of alternate history fall into. We talked to some of our favorite alt-history authors, to find out what classic mistakes bother them.

Here's what they told us. List of alternate history fiction. Jump to navigation Jump to search. This At the same time he is secretly writing a play for the English underground resistance.

Techniques in Writing Alternate History | The King of Elfland's Second Cousin

but this has (according to the prologue) been censored out of official histories by Henry VII, leaving the history we know.

Otherworld. Alternate history fiction begins at a point in time until which the world in the story has had the same history as ours, and then in deviates in some respects.

For this deviation to be meaningful, the situation until the deviation happens must be historically accurate. Techniques in Writing Alternate History by Chris Gerwel on February 22, For the past several months, I’ve been having a lot of fun reading recent alternate histories and historical fantasies (I’ve reviewed a couple in earlier posts).

Alternate History Fiction (AHF) exists to promote and to provide a guide. We promote books in the genre, the artwork used for them, and the authors and artists who produce them.

We provide a guide to where books and ebooks can be bought, to websites dedicated to Alternate History, and to blogs on writing and world-creation. According to Steven H Silver alternate history requires three things: 1) the story must have a point of divergence from the history of our world prior to the time at which the author is writing, 2) a change that would alter history as it is known, and 3) an examination of the ramifications of that change.

List of alternate history fiction - Wikipedia