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

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

  1. IncongruousGoat Armchair Rocket Scientist

    May 27, 2018
    For good ISOTs, S. M. Stirling's Island in the Sea of Time (Nantucket and surrounding waters 1998 CE -> 1250 BCE) and Eric Flint's 1632 (West Virginia coal town 2000 CE -> Thuringia, 1632 CE). 1632 is by far the more historical & well-developed of the two, but both are solid reads.
    Lusitania likes this.
  2. Worffan101 Ain't done nothing if I ain't been called a Red

    Jun 23, 2015
    Qo'noS, homeworld of the Klingon species
    If they play video games, Kaiserreich: Legacy of the Weltkrieg is by far the best mod for Hearts of Iron, the best content available (paid or otherwise) for that game, and a fantasically detailed AH, improving in terms of plausibility with every update (while keeping most of the fun).

    Eric Flint's 1632 and its many sequels are a great place to start for ISOTs. They start to decrease slightly in quality around 1635 and are slowly recovering, though. That's my opinion anyway.

    ISOT proper, I like the concept but have problems with Stirling's, um, attitudes that come out in the writing. It's also more pulpy than most traditional AH and ISOT works, in a way that can be irritating to some readers.

    Don't start with the Draka. Just don't.

    The Two Georges and TL-191 are both decent but flawed options, but skip the post-Great War books from TL-191. That's when it straight-up jumps the shark.

    Good timelines from AH.com are also IMO good ideas. What Madness Is This? (currently in its second iteration), Look To The West, AANW, and the ongoing "1945 US ISOT to the Two Georges" thread down in ASB that @MikeTurcotte is going, those are all great options IMO.
  3. chankljp The sensitive soul of a heartbroken idealist Donor

    Mar 15, 2015
    Hong Kong
    Well, I think perhaps the best way to start will be to ask him if there is any particular era of real life history that he is particularly interested in (Rome, Medieval Europe, ancient China, WW2, Cold War.... etc, etc) to begin with, and work from there to see if there exist any note worthy AH works within that era.
  4. Marky Bunny Well-Known Member

    Mar 13, 2007
    "Fatherland" or "SS-GB" novels. They both still stand the test of time, although "Dominion" is pretty decent as well.
  5. Electric Monk Does Your Believing For You

    Jun 16, 2005
    Capital Regional District
    Gibson/Sterling’s The Difference Engine is what got me into AH as a wee one when it came out (well, mostly that map since I didn’t have a solid knowledge of Victorians lol). Good way to introduce someone to if they like the Victorian era.
    Time Enough likes this.
  6. Somebody-Someone Well-Known Member

    May 4, 2018
    Either this or Malê Rising
  7. Dave Howery laughs at your pain

    Jun 21, 2004
    Cheyenne WY
    the Stars and Stripes trilogy. Especially if they're Brits who are interested. And you don't really like them.
    Zheng He, SpanishSpy and Pangur like this.
  8. Grey Wolf Writer, Poet, Publisher, Cat-sitter Gone Fishin'

    Jan 1, 2004
    Deepest Wales
    If they love scifi, then some alt-history that includes scifi elements might make them understand the genre:-

    Elleander Morning by Jerry Yulsman
    Lincoln's Dreams by Connie Willis
    The Foresight War by Tony Williams

    Best Regards
    Grey Wolf
  9. Grey Wolf Writer, Poet, Publisher, Cat-sitter Gone Fishin'

    Jan 1, 2004
    Deepest Wales
    Gene Wolfe's "There Are Doors" is my favourite BOOK
  10. Grey Wolf Writer, Poet, Publisher, Cat-sitter Gone Fishin'

    Jan 1, 2004
    Deepest Wales
    Yes, SS-GB is very good, and for post-Sealion World War Two also look up 'And All The King's Men' by Gordon Stevens, VERY powerful book
    Time Enough likes this.
  11. Mr_ Bondoc Member

    Jan 17, 2004
    I would go with The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon, which has the feel of Fargo , has a unique POD, and is mainstream enough to be accessible for most readers...

    Famous People Who Never Lived by K. Chess which has no specified POD, but alludes to the travails of immigrants from another TL, and the experience of readjusting to OTL, in an experience that many can relate to,...

    Wild Cards by George R.R. Martin, anthology series continues to produce quality stories in the genre, and rivals the Watchmen in terms of social commentary. It has already been optioned by HBO-TV as the third series after Game of Thrones and Nightflyers to be adapted to the small screen. Read this series before it becomes the show you have to marathon watch...
    Worffan101 and King_Arthur like this.
  12. theg*ddam*hoi2fan Beware of the Leopard

    Jul 1, 2014
    Under a bridge, handing out business cards
    Agreed :D

    Also, if people enjoy a long book: The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson.
    Somebody-Someone likes this.
  13. Odinson The Thunderer

    Nov 27, 2018
    The Constitutional Monarchy of Virginia
    If they're interested in the American revolution, I would also recommend The Year of the Hangman by Blackwood. It takes place in an alternate 1777 after the United States lost the war, and takes place mostly in New Orleans. Major characters include a Brit ish boy named Creighton, Ben Franklin, and Benedict Arnold.
    RiverDelta likes this.
  14. Zheng He Well-Known Member

    Aug 3, 2013
    I'd start with Guns of the South - easy read and a stand alone book so you are not getting sucked into a large series.
    Odinson and Pangur like this.
  15. Pauh the federalist Well-Known Member

    Feb 12, 2018
    I second your kiserreich suggestion and with the steam fall sale (around Halloween or thanksgiving usually) and winter sale (around Christmas or new year's usually) coming up, the original poster could point his coworkers in the direction of hearts of iron 4 with the kiserreich mod when its fairly cheap.
  16. HeX Self-Proclaimed Disney Expert

    Sep 21, 2018
    Disneyland, U.S.A.
    Might I suggest showing them some of the videos by the YouTube channel AlternateHistoryHub? I was introduced to the genre through that. Some of his finer videos, IMO, are "What if the Sahara was Green?", "What if the Black Death wiped out Europe?", and "What if Napoleon never rose to power?"
    Nathan Bernacki likes this.
  17. Allochronian Well-Known Member

    May 28, 2018
    I'd like to mention that there are a few stories on Alternate History wiki that have interesting premises.

    Or, if you don't like reading, then there are some other kinds of media to look for in video games
    • Command & Conquer: Red Alert series
    • World in Conflict
    • Resistance: Fall of Man
    • Wolfenstein (start at the 2009 version first)
    • Iron Storm (Good luck finding this one)
    • NecroVisioN
    Alterwright likes this.
  18. Alterwright "You were never even a player."

    Aug 28, 2018
    California, USA
    Ah, I miss World in Conflict. Soviets invade Washington State as their war in Europe bogs down in Germany, France, and elsewhere in the world. Cold War goes hot without a total strategic nuclear exchange.
  19. Coiler Well-Known Member

    Jan 10, 2009
    Northern Fury: H Hour if they like Cold War Hot stuff.
  20. edgeworthy Well-Known Member

    Oct 1, 2013
    Honestly I'm not sure I would inflict that abomination on my worst enemy. As a teaching tool on exactly how NOT to write an alternate History it has limited utility, although its probably better used as a source of firelighters.

    As a quick starter you can download a PDF of "A Hard Day for Mother", a short story by William Forstchen. One of the better what ifs about the Civil War.
    For something more technical try "Disaster at D-Day" by Peter Tsouras, one of the best AH's ever written.