alternative history n.

= alternate history n.

SF Criticism

  • 1970 R. J. Polito The Heights (Boston College) 15 Dec. 16/4 page image

    Of the previously untranslated stories, ‘The Other Death’ and ‘Rosendo’s Tale’ are probably the most finely drawn. The former postulates the existence of an alternative history, and the ability of God to modify the past; while the latter is actually a rewriting, in the manner of Akutagawa’s Roshomen, of the aforementioned ‘Streetcorner Man.’

  • 1976 B. Ash Who’s Who in Science Fiction 12 Brian Ash

    Alternative histories, tales of Earth with usually one historical detail changed in the past, and chronicling the resulting effects today.

  • 1977 B. Aldiss Future & Alternative Histories in B. Ash Visual Encyclopedia of Science Fiction 116/3 Brian W. Aldiss bibliography

    A noted example is the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, which provided the trigger mechanism for the First World War, which, in turn, led to the second conflict a quarter of a century later. What kind of world might we now be living in had the Archduke survived? Such speculations form the basis of alternative-history fiction, or worlds that might have been.

  • 1977 B. Aldiss Future & Alternative Histories in B. Ash Visual Encyclopedia of Science Fiction 123/1 Brian W. Aldiss bibliography

    Silverberg’s ‘Trips’ (1974), referred to at the beginning of this sub-section, depicts tourist trips to such alternative histories as those where the Industrial Revolution never happened, where the Mongols have achieved a world-wide Empire, and, inevitably, where Germany won the Second World War.

  • 1979 A. C. Clarke Fountains of Paradise 87 Arthur C. Clarke

    Almost all the Alternative History computer simulations suggest that the Battle of Tours (AD 732) was one of the crucial disasters of mankind.

  • 1986 B. W. Aldiss Trillion Year Spree 257 Brian W. Aldiss

    Ward Moore’s name lives on because of two novels, the satirical Greener Than You Think (1947), a great success in its time, and a classic alternative world story, Bring the Jubilee (1953), in which the hero lives in an America where the South won the Battle of Gettysburg; his interference in the battle to which he time-travels, causes the North to win. So matters turn out as we know them today. The wit and ingenuity of this story influenced more recent excursions into alternative history such as Harry Harrison’s A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah!

  • 1989 I. Watson World Renews Itself in M. Bishop Nebula Awards 23 (1989) 8 Ian Watson

    This time, however, the distancing devices are the fantasy elements of hexes and effective magic and the SF paraphernalia of alternative history. Seventh Son is the fascinating first volume of an other-history saga of the American frontier, flawed only by the inclusion of an emigré William Blake as Taleswapper.

  • 1990 Thrust Winter 9/3

    In this excellent alternative history, vampires rule the world of the 17th century.

  • 1990 Thrust Winter 10/2

    The novelist, delightfully impervious to notions of alternative history, swallows the values of his own society lock, stock, and barrel.

  • 1992 J. Brunner Kipling's Science Fiction (1994) 137 John Brunner

    This time it’s the turn of that hardy science fiction standby, the alternative history story, built around the question ‘What if events had worked out otherwise?’ But RK stood it on its head. This is the tale of how a history different from ours was stopped from happening.

  • 1994 Science Fiction Age July 87/1,

    I say alternative history is science fiction.

  • 1998 P. Anderson Blurb in H. Turtledove How Few Remain (unpaginated, before title page), Poul Anderson

    Harry Turtledove has established himself as the grand master of the alternative history form… How Few Remain is perhaps his best so far.

  • 2002 Interzone Mar. 17/2,

    I did play a little game at the beginning, having to do with ‘the moment of change,’ which always is of interest in an alternative history: i.e., what precisely was the moment in which history changed onto the alternative track, and what was it?

  • 2002 K. S. Robinson in Locus Jan. 7/1 Kim Stanley Robinson

    I thought it would be naive and something like racism in reverse to suggest that if we got rid of Europe the world would have happily put itself together. There are all kinds of double binds in writing an alternative history. Do you make the alternate world better or worse?

  • 2002 K. S. Robinson in Locus Jan. 7/2 Kim Stanley Robinson

    The science fiction tradition of the alternative history and the time travel story often discuss the same set of hypotheses.

Research requirements

antedating 1970

Earliest cite

Robert Polito, in his college newspaper

Research History
Jeff Wolfe submitted a cite from a quote by Poul Anderson on a 1998 reprint of Harry Turtledove's "How Few Remain".
Jeff Wolfe submitted a cite from an undated reprint of Benford and Greenberg's 1989 anthology "Alternate Empires".
Jeff Prucher submitted a 1977 cite from an article by Brian Aldiss in "The Visual Encyclopedia of SF".
Michael Swanwick submitted a 1986 cite from Brian Aldiss' "Trillion Year Spree"; Jeff Prucher checked the 1973 "Billion Year Spree" and determined the cite does not appear there.
Jeff Prucher submitted a 2002 cite from a Kim Stanley Robinson interview in Locus.
Katrina Campbell submitted a cite from a reprint of Brian Ash's "Who's Who in Science Fiction"; Mike Christie verified the cite in the 1976 first edition.
Jeff Prucher submitted a 1986 cite from Gary Wolfe's "Critical Terms for Science Fiction and Fantasy".
Jeff Prucher submitted a cite from a 1994 reprint of John Brunner's 1992 "Kipling's Science Fiction".
Simon Koppel submitted a cite from 1970, from the distinguished poet and critic Robert Polito.

Last modified 2021-04-07 13:12:52
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.