Top 10 Alt.Hist WWII novels...

Discussion in 'Alternate History Books and Media' started by MacCaulay, Jul 21, 2010.

  1. MacCaulay Banned

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    Now as most folks know, I'm not a WWII buff. I was always more interested in post-WWII technology and politics, but there was always such a dearth of Second World War-themed alt.hist out there that it was unavoidable. There were many of them that were quite good, and these are my ten favourites:

    10. Ministry of Space by Warren Ellis. The British manage to get Werner von Bruhn's team to London and then the RAF bombs Peenemunde before the US can get there. It's one of the fair amount of alt.hist graphic novels. This one is (like the vast majority of them) posessed of a dark and fairly spiteful tone though it's distrust of government is one I agree with.

    9. The Bush Soldiers by John Hooker. The Allies have an even worse time of it in the Pacific and Australia is invaded by the Japanese. A few months after that happens a group of Aussie soldiers go on a mission across the outback to take an enemy held mine and start encountering more enemies than the Japanese. What I like about this book is that it doesn't just say "Hey! I'm in alternate history, so I'd better have some cool AH-money-shots to make sure people know it. This is going to be some folks out in the middle of nowhere in a character study."

    8. MacArthur's War by Douglas Niles and Michael Dobson. The Battle of Midway goes south, and MacArthur uses the opportunity to gain operational control of the entire Pacific theater. There's an invasion of Japan in this one that is just epic.

    7. The Moscow Option by David Downing. The Nazis go for Moscow, and Downing tells the entire story of an alternate Second World War after that happens. Basically, Greenhill Publishing decided to put a TL into book form. It's well written, if only dry as fuck.

    6. SS-GB by Len Deighton. Deighton normally wrote who-done-its, and this is no different. It just happens to be in a Nazi-occupied England. What is great about it is the complete disdain Deighton has for a POD. He's telling a murder mystery, and he doesn't give a damn if you care how the Nazis got to England or not.

    5. In the Presence of Mine Enemies by Harry Turtledove. While some folks on the board dislike it, I myself am a big fan of using AH as a way to tell an old story in a new way. And this story presents the Soviet Union and it's vassal states in a very intriguing and fresh persepective. Also, there are scenes in this book that he's just nailed the characterization on.

    4. Fox on the Rhine & Fox at the Front by Douglas Niles and Michael Dobson. Rommel convalesces much quicker from his near death by an Allied fighter bomber and is assigned to lead the Battle of the Bulge. This goes into all sorts of other spinoffs that I can't give away.

    3. Triumph by Ben Bova. FDR quits smoking in the late 30s and Churchill decides to give Stalin radiation poisoning by presenting him with a poisoned sword at Yalta. Hijinks ensue towards the end of the war as Hitler and Stalin both kick the bucket and the 101st jumps into Berlin while the Soviets knock around with their heads cut off.

    2. Red Inferno: 1945 by Robert Conroy. Basically everything you could want from a conventional Soviet vs. Allies land war novel. Conroy's an author that can slip between great writing and cheesy schlock but this one's kept mostly in the great writing department. You get the feeling he didn't want to fuck such a great idea up.

    1. The Burning Mountain by Alfred Coppel. Imagine Robert Conroy's Operation Olympic opus 1945. Now imagine a film version of that done by Oliver Stone during his Platoon days. That's The Burning Mountain.
     
  2. zoomar Curmudgeon

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    I'm not sure I'd consider In the Presence of Mine Enemies an alternate WW2 novel because it is set well after WW2. By this standard, all Axis-have-won-the-war novels would count...and this group includes some fine fiction you didn't include
     
  3. MacCaulay Banned

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    By that logic, Ministry of Space and SS-GB wouldn't count either, though.
     
  4. Faeelin Lord of Ten Thousand Years

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    No love for Fatherland?

    Oh, and The Children's War. It's the best job I've seen showing a vicotiorious Third Reich as a bankruptc great power that's collapsing from within, only nobody knows how to get out.
     
  5. Fenrir_Angerboda Guitar Dad Dads you

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    I'm a little "Eh" on MacArthur's War. I didn't find it that good, but that's just me.

    I think Conroy's 1945 should be on the list, or at least 11th place.
     
  6. Petike Sky Pirate Extraordinaire

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    Very good (nearly perfect) list. I'd add Faeelin's two suggestions, but still, good picks. ;)
     
  7. Shimbo The Whisper of Death

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    What about, The Man in The High Castle?

    Fantastic literature, although with an ASB timeline.
     
  8. Ephraim Ben Raphael Super Writer Extraordinaire

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    Most realistic Axis victory I have ever seen. Plus the writing is great. Have you read the sequel, A Change of Regime?
     
  9. Petike Sky Pirate Extraordinaire

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    Yeah, that too. Especially thanks to The Grasshopper Lies Heavy.
     
  10. Mister Abbadon Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the list, I will now do my best to read all these
     
  11. Thande Brexit Out Now, Funk Soul Brother

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    I notice for most of these "WW2 AH" seems to be "AH with a POD to do with WW2" rather than "AH set in WW2"...
     
  12. MacCaulay Banned

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    I don't know...just...1..2...just a third of them...;)
     
  13. Oddball realy unknown

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    Author, please :confused:

    I cant locate the two books on amazon.co.uk :eek:
     
  14. lordroel Well-Known Member

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    I find lightning in the night by Fred Allhoff the best alternate WW2 novel ,as it was the first ALT histrorye book I ever read.
     
  15. wietze Figment of my own Imagination

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    lightning in the night may look alt history, but it was merely propaganda meant to push public opinion in a certain direction. It was written before the US entered WW2. Very well written though.

    Don't have a best alt hostory book, but I definately have one that I consider the worst one of all time - Harrisons stars & stripes, badly written, and shows how a well known scifi author can go wrong big way
     
  16. stirlingdraka Female Draka Defector

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    J N Stroyar.:) Hope that helps. I`ve read both the books and would really recommend them:D.
     
  17. zoomar Curmudgeon

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    Exactly the point I made regarding In the Presence of Mine Enemies.. I know there is a risk in bringimg up ASBs and ISOTs, but I would consider Turtledove's entire "WorldWar" series and Birmingham's ISOT trilogy better examples of "WW2 AH books" than all the "What if the Nazis won...." books set twenty, thirty, a hundred years after WW2. Another Turtledove that does fit is the two volume Hawaii invasion series. I'd also name The Proteus Operation, because a lot of its (time travel) action does take place in a WW2 setting.
     
  18. Matt Wiser Well-Known Member

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    I'd add Lighter Than a Feather, by David Westheimer (author of Von Ryan's Express), published in 1971, and reissued in 1996. It's a what-if story of Operation OLYMPIC, the invasion of Kyushu, set in November 1945-Jan 1946. Told from both the U.S. and Japanese viewpoints, and is pretty accurate in placing Japanese units, U.S. assault forces, and the depiction of combat is similar to real-life accounts from Okinawa.
     
  19. Andrew Hudson Well-Known Member

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    I would certainly include SS GB and would add the Man in the High Castle, also Frederick Mullaly's Hitler Has Won, Gordon Stevens And all the King's Men, Robert Conroy's 1942, Gingrich and Forschen's Pearl Harbour but definately not their 1945 which appeared to be tendencious and whilst I enjoyed Niles Mcarthur's War I was not impressed with Fox on the Rhine which I found heavy going. I was not impressed with Owen Sheer's Resistance or with Stephen Baxter's book four in the weaver series which seemed far fetched although I usually enjoy Baxter's books I enjoyed Murray Davies Collaborator