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

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.
 
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.
 

chankljp

Donor
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.
 
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.
 
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.>
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
 
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
Gene Wolfe's "There Are Doors" is my favourite BOOK
 
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.
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
 
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...
 
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.
Agreed :D

Also, if people enjoy a long book: The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson.
 
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.
 
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.
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.
 
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?"
 
I'd like to mention that there are a few stories on Alternate History wiki that have interesting premises.
https://althistory.fandom.com/wiki/Main_Page

Or, if you don't like reading, then there are some other kinds of media to look for in video games
Examples:
  • 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
 
I'd like to mention that there are a few stories on Alternate History wiki that have interesting premises.
https://althistory.fandom.com/wiki/Main_Page

Or, if you don't like reading, then there are some other kinds of media to look for in video games
Examples:
  • 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
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.
 
the Stars and Stripes trilogy. Especially if they're Brits who are interested. And you don't really like them.
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.
 
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