alternative world n.

= alternate world n.

SF Criticism


  • 1943 A. E. van Vogt Search in Astounding Science-Fiction Jan. 56/2 page image A. E. van Vogt bibliography

    Yesterday, you found this place deserted. Well, that wasn’t exactly yesterday…. That was today in the alternative world to this one.

  • 1953 A. C. Clarke Other Tiger in Fantastic Universe June–July 117/2 page image Arthur C. Clarke bibliography

    ‘Or perhaps,’ said Arnold, ‘I'll get fed up with the whole conversation, pull out a gun and shoot you.’ ‘Quite possibly,’ admitted Webb, ‘except that I'm pretty sure you, on this Earth, haven’t got one. Don’t forget, though, that in millions of those alternative worlds I'll beat you on the draw.’

  • 1956 A. Cogan In the Cards in Galaxy Science Fiction June 128/2 Alan Cogan bibliography

    Maybe it was some sort of alternative world we saw, showing us what could happen if we didn’t work hard at our marriage. It could have been a sort of warning of what could happen to some people. But not us, of course!

  • 1977 B. Aldiss Future & Alternative History in B. Ash Visual Encyclopedia of Science Fiction 116/1 Brian W. Aldiss bibliography

    The text mentions the alternative consequences of the Second World War, of which the two most brilliant examples are Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle (1962) and Sarban’s The Sound of His Horn (1952). The latter once appeared in paperback editions with an introduction by Kingsley Amis, whose interest in alternative-worlds is well known.

  • 1985 Oxford Companion to English Literature (ed. 5) 876/1

    Science Fiction elements are present in the ‘alternative world’ of Tolkien, the interplanetary stories of C. S. Lewis, the fantasies of Burgess and the later works of D. Lessing.

  • 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!

  • 1993 B. Stableford Alternate World in J. Clute & P. Nicholls Encyclopedia of Science Fiction 23/1 Brian Stableford

    An alternate world—some writers and commentators prefer the designation ‘alternative world’ on grammatical grounds—is an account of Earth as it might have become in consequence of some hypothetical alteration in history.

  • 1994 Interzone Apr. 66/3

    If alternative-world scenarios intrigue you…then this magazine is a must.

  • 2000 R. K. J. Killheffer Books in Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction Aug. 26 Robert K. J. Killheffer

    Perceiving the world—our particular world, as it is now—as ‘contingent’, a product of historical accident, merely one of millions or billions of possibilities: that’s sf at its heart, imagining alternative worlds future, past, or parallel.

  • 2003 M. Berry Little blue men, sorcerer's apprentice, and dark future in San Francisco Chronicle 1 June M3/2

    The plot twists, turns and swoops in unpredictable ways, the rules of the alternative worlds are revealed more by implication than by exposition, and the familial and marital relationships among the characters get a little confusing at times.

Research requirements

antedating 1943

Earliest cite

A. E. van Vogt, "The Search"

Research History
Rick Hauptmann submitted a 1993 cite from the second edition of the Clute/Nicholls "Encyclopedia of SF"; the cite does not appear in the first edition.
Michael Swanwick submitted a 1986 cite from Brian Aldiss' "Trillion Year Spree"; Cory Panshin checked the original 1973 version, "Billion Year Spree", and determined that the cite does not appear there.
Jeff Prucher submitted a 1977 cite from an article by Brian Aldiss in Brian Ash's "A Visual Encyclopedia of Science Fiction".
Jeff Prucher submitted a cite from a 1991 reprint of the 1985 "Oxford Companion to English Literature".
Jeff Prucher submitted a 2000 cite from Robert Killheffer's review column in F&SF.
Jeff Prucher submitted a 2003 cite from the San Fransico Chronicle's Book Review.
Fred Galvin submitted a 1956 cite from Alan Cogan's "In the Cards".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1953 cite from Arthur C. Clarke's "The Other Tiger".
Jesse Sheidlower submitted a 1943 cite from A. E. van Vogt in Astounding.

Last modified 2020-12-16 04:08:47
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.