What are good choices to introduce someone to A/H?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Books and Media' started by NHBL, Apr 26, 2019.

  1. NHBL Long Time Member, CMII

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    I have a few coworkers that like science fiction in general, and are intrigued by the alternate history genre. Any thoughts on some good choices to introduce people to the genre?
    <Best to avoid the American civil war! Anything that treats the era realistically would upset a coujple of people.>
     
  2. SpanishSpy A.K.A Dick Cheney

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    For those who like science fiction, the WorldWar series by Harry Turtledove is good. In the same vein, the Axis of Time series by John Birmingham.
     
  3. finch Well-Known Member

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    Seven American Night by Gene Wolfe. Wolfe is not on the AH list, because he did not write much of it. But this is a great little story and a good intro to Wolfe's other work.
    Pavane by Keith Roberts Roberts was a pioneer of AH, not well known in his own day but should be on every Alternative History fans bookshelf
     
  4. King_Arthur The Once and Present King

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    I was introduced to it by Man in the High Castle (book), although that isn't for everything.
     
  5. Pangur The Cat Donor

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    Very much agree on the latter. I got in to AH reading the Guns of the South
     
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  6. Odinson Talk Nerdy To Me

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    The first book that got me into alternate history was the first book of the Leviathan trilogy.
     
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  7. Nathan Bernacki Well-Known Member

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    The mockumentary CSA: Confederate States of America. That was the first alt-hist thing I watched and it got me hooked into the genre. It explores a alt-hist cliché and it is a good tool to teach newcomers what is plausible and what is not.
     
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  8. Kingfish Hull/Long '33

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    Fatherland by Robert Harris is an enjoyable detective/conspiracy story, and its alternate world not outlandish enough to turn off people looking for plausibility.
     
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  9. rob2001 Well-Known Member

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    That's how I was introduced to alternate history books myself.
     
  10. Uruk Meatshield of KGS

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    Why not a classic?
    Lest Darkness Fall by L. Sprague de Camp
     
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  11. Time Enough Nightmare angel of the Tea Rooms

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    There have been some good suggestions (particularly Fatherland and the Levitathan trilogy, there good ones), I also recommend SS-GB. It's a solid war/spy/detective thriller that's set in a Nazi occupied Britain. It's not the most realistic alternative history but it's a good intro.
     
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  12. Alterwright "You were never even a player."

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    The TL-191 / Southern Victory book series by Harry Turtledove. 11 books covering almost a century of history, exploring the "what if" of the Confederacy winning the Civil War.
     
  13. Pangur The Cat Donor

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    and if you had to pick one of the eleven to start with?
     
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  14. Alterwright "You were never even a player."

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    I'd start with the first trilogy --- The Great War - "American Front", "Walk in Hell", and "Breakthroughs". It covers the WWI era from 1914-1917 and there's quite a lot of perspectives to give you an idea of the scope of the war.

    I'd also highly recommend the standalone book "How Few Remain", which is the very first book in the series and takes up 20 years after the Confederacy has won its independence, with the USA and CSA going to war again in the 1880s. Its not necessary to read this one first, but gives some nice background material that sets things in motion.
     
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  15. Matt Wiser Well-Known Member

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    What got me into AH was a paperback back in the '80s. It was a 1973 copy of Downfall (aka Lighter Than a Feather) by David Westheimer (who wrote Von Ryan's Express). it's a story of Operation OLYMPIC: the invasion of Kyushu in November, 1945 that OTL was prevented by the A-bombs and Japan's surrender. It's told from the American and Japanese viewpoints, some of it reads like history, and it's very accurate: the invasion beaches and landing forces are spot-on, and Japanese units are accurately identified and positioned where they were when the war ended OTL. There's several novels that deal with an invasion of Japan, and this is the best.
     
  16. mudhead Little-Known Member

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    Lighter Than a Feather is really good - but Alfred Coppel's The Burning Mountain, a 1983 take on the same subject, is IMO even better.
     
  17. Matt Wiser Well-Known Member

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    He meant well, but he got the CORONET plan wrong-I mean, landings inside Tokyo Bay? Not in the CORONET plans (and I have those for when I did my MA Thesis on the overall invasion plan).
     
  18. John Spangler A man of wealth and taste

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    I'd like to recommend 'Two hawks from Earth' (also known as 'The gate of time') by Philip J. Farmer, a story where an American pilot from WW2 finds himself in a parallel world where the American continent doesn't exist, and the 'Eden Trilogy' by Harry Harrison, about a world where dinosaurs are still around and rule most of the planet.
     
  19. Zor More of a Zor than you

    Wolfenstein: The New Order and Wolfenstein: The New Colossus.

    It has the core elements of Alternate History, you have a point of divergence, you have a world which is noticeably different from our own which follows from that and it has a solid cast of characters.

    Yeah, "Nazis Win WWII" is about as stock an AH scenario as you can get. That's fine as far as Baby's First AH scenario goes. It also happens for Sci-Fi reasons rather than the usual operation Sea Lion BS.

    Zor
     
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  20. Allochronian Well-Known Member

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    Steven Barnes's Lion's Blood was the first alternate history book I ever read and it definitely was a good example of introducing me to power of imagination when creating different worlds.
     
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