Recommendations Wanted

Can suggest a good AH novel or series that is both realistic and interesting? I don't mean Turtledove, whom I don't care for, or the Draka thing which is so far-fetched as to be ASB.
Hmmm, realistic AND interesting.

One of my favorites is James P. Hogan's "Proteus Operation", which is probably more of a time travel novel, but includes good real and alternate universe WW2 details. Like most Hogan, it's also much better written that Turtledove or Stirling.

Michael Moorcock's "Warlord of the Air" is a good imperialistic alternate zeppelin-filled yarn. Its a little too sarcastic and snide for it's own good,though. I believe Moorcock also wrote something called "The Land Leviathan" from the same TL. Haven't read.

Of course "Bring the Jubilee" is a good south-wins-civil-war book.

"Fatherland" is also surprisingly good.

I'm sure there are others I'm not thinking of.


zoomar said:
Michael Moorcock's "Warlord of the Air" is a good imperialistic alternate zeppelin-filled yarn. Its a little too sarcastic and snide for it's own good,though. I believe Moorcock also wrote something called "The Land Leviathan" from the same TL. Haven't read.

Is that the one with Oswald Bastable? :)

I think its hard to quantify 'realism' in an AH novel. One man's realism is another man's ASB. It depends on your knowledge of the pertinent time period(s) and people/places involved. I might read an AH dealing with a period I know little about (like Hannibal's Children, by John Roberts, and really enjoy it (I did), but someone who is well-versed in the Punic Wars and early Roman history might find it awful.

Voyage, by Stephen Baxter, is a very well thought out alt space program stemming from a surviving JFK; its a little dry in places but entertaining and logical.
Is that the one with Oswald Bastable?

I'm not great at protagonist names, but I believe it was. - transported magically from Victorian Nepal to a wonderful imperialistic 1970's with zeppelins, 'e was.
There's also THE STEEL TSAR after THE LAND LEVIATHAN. Two of my favourites are- THE IRON DREAM by Norman Spinrad. It's the text of a SF novel written by Hitler who moved to America in the 1920s and became a writer and illustrator and A DANGEROUS ENERGY by John Whitbourn. The life of a black magician in an alternate England. Magnificent. None of his later books have lived up to this one.
Fatherland, The Man in the High Castle, Hannibal's Children, and The Forever War are probably my favorite AH novels.
The man in the high castle, SS:GB and The Eyre Affair are my favourite AH novels. The Man in the High Castle and SS:GB are more traditional style AH books; the Eyre affair uses AH as a backdrop for the story, a literary detective who 'jumps' into Jane Eyre to kill a madman.
Ugh...who would ever want to enter the book Jane Eyre? That was my least favorite book I've ever read, but the story you mention sounds interesting.

I should mention that The Forever War is not strictly AH; it was written in 1977, but the book begins in 2007 (and spans to c. 3100); however, it takes place in a universe where a more powerful Un lead to, among other things, no Vietnam and the creation of starships by 2000.
You insulted Turtledove... I'm not helping you... :p
just kidding... hmm... have you read 1632? it's not too bad, although the characters have a bit too much 'larger than life' quality to them...


I just finished Lion's Blood, by Steven Barnes and am getting ready to start the sequel, Zulu Heart.

Two words to describe the first: simply magnificent. I held off reading this for a long time, because the only person on this board who had anything to say about it is, shall we say, politically incompatible with me. :)

I'm sorry I waited as long as I did. It's not only some of the best AH I've ever read (tho purists will probably say there are too many unlikely parallels to OTL), but one of the best novels I've ever read. If the second book is half as good as the first, I'll eagerly await a third.
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A few I like

1632, 1633, and Ring of Fire are a fun bunch of ASB novels. As some said, the characters can be a bit larger than life--but I'm still anxiously awaiting 1634--The Galalieo Affair.

1901 recently came uot in paperback--the Germans invade the USA for the purpose of forcing the USA to hand over its overseas empire. Although there are some flaws, it does seem that the war could go as in the book.

Then of course, there's Lord Kalvan of otherwhen. The POD is a long time ago, and it's definately ASB, but still a good book. Might be hard to find. It places a Police officer who fought in Korea into a pike andf shot timeline on the East Coast, where the making of gunpowder is a church monopoly. Things get interesting fast--small arms are quite good, and he knows how to make gunpowder...
Resurrection Day is a pretty good AH novel - it's set in the US, 1972 in a world where the Cuban Missile Crisis exploded into a nuclear exchange that destroyed the Soviet Union and seriously weakened the US. A lot of the plot is somewhat standard conspiracy-adventure-suspense stuff, but the setting is obviously quite different in a lot of ways.
Hey John, why don't you try novels like Guy Walters' THE LEADER and Daniel Eastmerman's K IS FOR KILLING, which I posted on the previous board ? Both very interesting AH works, IMHO.
Abdul Hadi Pasha said:
Can suggest a good AH novel or series that is both realistic and interesting? I don't mean Turtledove, whom I don't care for, or the Draka thing which is so far-fetched as to be ASB.

Realistic AND interesting is difficult IMO :)

Two books I did NOT like were Fatherland by Robert Harris and K by Daniel Easterman. Fatherland is boring, unimaginative and predictable. K is melodramatic and predictable and annoyed me by having a 7 year-old girl in it who acted like an adult.

Warlord of the Air by Michael Moorcock I thought was a good read - interesting and funny - but I don't think it's meant to be serious - it's a satire on Victorian attitudes (and there are thinly discguised caricatures of both a US and a UK politician in there). It's certainly better than the two other Oswald Bastable books (and Oswald Bastable is based on a character from the E. Nesbit books - very enjoyable Edwardian children's fantasies which are themselves quite satirical at the expense of Victorian attitudes).

The Iron Dream is one of my favourite books too - it's not really AH, but if you like AH you'll probably like it. And if you like AH you'll probably like Eugene Byrne's books too. They're not realistic but they are funny. He's written three - Things Unborn, in which people from throughout history who died "before their time" start reappearing, ThigMOO, in which an educational experience which allows students to interact with virtual historical personalities (artificial intelligences) goes badly wrong when an AI of a socialist rabble-rouser discovers a way to undo the safety features that keep the AIs from escaping onto the internet. Oh, and the third is "Back in the USSA" about a socialist USA.

Some books I think you would like:

Resurrection Day by Brendan DuBois. A realistic and well-written AH thriller in which the US in 1972 is a de-facto British colony after the Soviet Union failed to back down in the Cuban Missile Crisis and there was a short nuclear war between the USA and the USSR.

Making History by Stephen Fry. Very well written. A young history student writing a thesis on Hitler's childhood becomes friends with an aging physics professor whose father was at Auschwitz. Using an experimental and not particularly impressive time-travel device the professor has invented, they try and remove Hitler from history. As usual in these "time travellers change history" books things don't work out exactly to plan. I've seen criticism of this book that the way history works out in the AH is unrealistic, but to make up for that this book has a wonderful description of someone from our world experiencing an AH and getting totally disorientated. I've always thought that if you did ever find yourself in an AH it wouldn't so much be the big historical changes that would confuse you but all the inevitable random cultural changes - slang, food, fashions etc. and this is the only AH book I've seen that really addresses that - anyone know of any others?

The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick and Bring the Jubilee by Ward Moore are both must reads.

Pastwatch by Orson Scott Card is IMO both realistic and interesting. In the future, a bunch of academics using a time-travel device are considering using it to change history - then they discover evidence that someone has already done so - i.e. our own history is the result of time meddlers. One of the best AH books I've read.

Pacific Empire by G. Miki Hayden is good - the POD is an earlier and more successful Japanese attack on the US leaving the US suing for peace after it is left defenceless. The book has no particular plot but is a series of rather low-key short stories. I certainly found it both enjoyable and realistic but your milage may vary.
H Beam Piper's Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen and his paratime short stories

Richard C Meredith's Timeliner Trilogy

Mary Gentle - Ash a secret history


fatherland (great book, shit movie)

Resurrection Day


Gotta be honest, I didn't like man in the high castle

War Day By Whitley Streiber and ??? two blokes travel around US post nuclear strike

History of the third world war - dated but when it was released, v. good

Monstrum by ????? part sci-fi, part althist, all brilliant
It just occured to me that you might find the 1932 anthology edited by J.C.Squire, IF IT HAD HAPPENED OTHERWISE, of interest. A collection of alternate history speculations by people like Belloc, Maurois, and Churchill. You might have some trouble finding a copy. It's been reprinted a couple of times, there are differences between various editions.