a timeline that is different from that of our own world, usually extrapolated from the changing of a single event; the subgenre featuring such a timeline; (also) a story featuring this
We had thought that Mr. Reynolds had pretty well covered the subject of time travel and alternate continua in such deft exercises as The Business, As Usual (F&SF, June, 1952) and The Adventure of the Snitch in Time (F&SF, July, 1953); but here is yet another adroit variant…with a startling footnote to the alternate history of our own Old West.
May I submit a long-cherished premise? Why doesn’t someone base an alternate history series on the absence of Mohammed? This single difference could have drastically changed our world.
You have heard of the alternate history theory—that from each major historical decision two alternate worlds come into being.
Essays in alternate history have long been a favorite game among historians, but as respectable intellectuals the historians have been timid in their ventures. SF writers, by contrast, are anything but timid—what they often lack is a sense of historical coherency.
Allen Steele’s ‘Goddard’s People’ is more substantial as alternate history.
Contrary to popular belief, science fiction does not necessarily have to look to the future to ask the question. A growing sub-genre of the field is the Alternate History story: what if Jesus had never lived, what if the Spanish Armada had destroyed the British fleet, what if the South had won the Civil War?
‘In the Stone House’ is by far the best, an alternate history tale in which Joe Kennedy…survives to become President.
Even though he writes passionately against the genre of alternate histories being included among sf subgenres, two of his most expansive ruminations are on steampunk books, Tim Powers’s Anubis Gates and Gibson-Sterling’s Difference Engine, which became occasions for passionate lectures on Dickens’s contribution to urban fantasy.
This continuum is one of the fascinating things about alternate history: it runs from the borders of elfland fantasy to the common rooms of academia.
Few alternate history tales really concern themselves with alternate history at all, in the sense of tracing large patterns of historical change; instead they tend to focus on alternate presents, with the evolutionary processes that lead to such presents sketched in with a few paragraphs of backstory.
From the beginning, though, Robinson’s interest in the alternate-history motif was far more complex than what the subgenre has since turned into, with alterations in history viewed as little more story machines and setting generators.
Here’s an alternate history based on the assumption that a series of comet impacts in the mid-nineteenth century forced the British empire to relocate the center of its government to India.
Editorial matter in Fantasy & Science Fiction
Last modified 2021-02-05 02:54:57
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.