User Tools

Site Tools


alternate_history:the_sliding_scale_of_alternate_history_plausibility

Differences

This shows you the differences between two versions of the page.

Link to this comparison view

Both sides previous revision Previous revision
Next revision
Previous revision
alternate_history:the_sliding_scale_of_alternate_history_plausibility [2018/07/12 14:32]
petike
alternate_history:the_sliding_scale_of_alternate_history_plausibility [2019/03/29 15:13] (current)
Line 44: Line 44:
   * **//The Iron Dream//** by Norman Spinrad where Adolf Hitler emigrates to the USA and becomes a Science Fiction author rather than enter politics. Intended as an Anvilicious satire of perceived fascist trends in Speculative Fiction at the time, it still manages to be a plausible AH story.   * **//The Iron Dream//** by Norman Spinrad where Adolf Hitler emigrates to the USA and becomes a Science Fiction author rather than enter politics. Intended as an Anvilicious satire of perceived fascist trends in Speculative Fiction at the time, it still manages to be a plausible AH story.
   * Eric Flint'​s **//Trail Of Glory//** series starts off with an arrow that hit Sam Houston being a minor injury instead of the major one it was in Real Life, and follows through from there.   * Eric Flint'​s **//Trail Of Glory//** series starts off with an arrow that hit Sam Houston being a minor injury instead of the major one it was in Real Life, and follows through from there.
-  * [[offtopic:​Jared]]'​s **//​[[timelines:​Decades ​Of Darkness]]//​** hyper-detailed AH, which diverges due to Thomas Jefferson dying of a heart attack in 1808. New England secedes and the US becomes a hyper-expansionist slaveocracy.  +  * [[offtopic:​Jared]]'​s **//​[[timelines:​Decades ​of Darkness]]//​** hyper-detailed AH, which diverges due to Thomas Jefferson dying of a heart attack in 1808. New England secedes and the US becomes a hyper-expansionist slaveocracy.  
-  * [[offtopic:​Thande]]'​s **//​[[timelines:​Look ​To The West]]//**+  * [[offtopic:​Thande]]'​s **//​[[timelines:​Look ​to the West]]//**
  
 ===Type II : Hard/Soft Alternate History=== ===Type II : Hard/Soft Alternate History===
Line 52: Line 52:
   * The **//​Lion'​s Heart//** duology by Steven Barnes. An inversion of historical European dominance and enslavement of Africans, creating a world where African Masters keep European slaves on North American plantations. Pretty much every culture that "​Cryptohistory"​ assumes could have colonized America does. **Note**: In reality most of them couldn'​t or wouldn'​t have even with the novels'​ butterflies,​ but the novel does show some hard allohistorical trends and [[Butterfly Effect|butterflies]].   * The **//​Lion'​s Heart//** duology by Steven Barnes. An inversion of historical European dominance and enslavement of Africans, creating a world where African Masters keep European slaves on North American plantations. Pretty much every culture that "​Cryptohistory"​ assumes could have colonized America does. **Note**: In reality most of them couldn'​t or wouldn'​t have even with the novels'​ butterflies,​ but the novel does show some hard allohistorical trends and [[Butterfly Effect|butterflies]].
   * Geologic [[pods:​pods|PoD]] example: Turtledove'​s **//Down in the Bottomlands//​** where the Mediterranean sea is dry desert. Geologically plausible [[http://​en.wikipedia.org/​wiki/​Messinian_salinity_crisis|since it happened periodically in history]] Major climactic and cultural butterflies,​ including the continued existence of Neanderthal Man. Arguably Type I.   * Geologic [[pods:​pods|PoD]] example: Turtledove'​s **//Down in the Bottomlands//​** where the Mediterranean sea is dry desert. Geologically plausible [[http://​en.wikipedia.org/​wiki/​Messinian_salinity_crisis|since it happened periodically in history]] Major climactic and cultural butterflies,​ including the continued existence of Neanderthal Man. Arguably Type I.
-  * Robert Graves'​ historical fiction fit firmly into this category. They are extremely well researched but he willfully changes or distorts events and personalities to tell the story he wishes to tell. Fact and Fiction are often so well blended, especially in regard to events(far less so with characterization) that you pretty much have to be an expert in the subject matter to tell the two apart or to know that events that went a, b, c, d in real life go b, d, a, c in the novel.+  * Robert Graves'​ historical fiction fit firmly into this category. They are extremely well researched but he willfully changes or distorts events and personalities to tell the story he wishes to tell. Fact and Fiction are often so well blended, especially in regard to events (far less so with characterization) that you pretty much have to be an expert in the subject matter to tell the two apart or to know that events that went a, b, c, d in real life go b, d, a, c in the novel.
  
 ===Type III: Soft Alternate History=== ===Type III: Soft Alternate History===
   * The latter books of Harry Turtledove'​s **//​[[Southern Victory|Timeline-191]]//​**,​ where In Spite Of A Nail really sets in, historical characters multiple (Churchill, Patton, etc.) and the historical parallelism strains some reader'​s suspension of disbelief.   * The latter books of Harry Turtledove'​s **//​[[Southern Victory|Timeline-191]]//​**,​ where In Spite Of A Nail really sets in, historical characters multiple (Churchill, Patton, etc.) and the historical parallelism strains some reader'​s suspension of disbelief.
   * **//Journey to Fusang//** by William Sanders: Rule Of Cool and Rule Of Funny AH Picaresque, whose historical liberties are notable. Another "​everyone that Cryptohistory assumes could have colonized America does" setting. Every Historical Domain Character has dodged the Butterfly Of Doom. Arguably a Soft Type II, and when written probably would have been considered one, but the science of history marched on.    * **//Journey to Fusang//** by William Sanders: Rule Of Cool and Rule Of Funny AH Picaresque, whose historical liberties are notable. Another "​everyone that Cryptohistory assumes could have colonized America does" setting. Every Historical Domain Character has dodged the Butterfly Of Doom. Arguably a Soft Type II, and when written probably would have been considered one, but the science of history marched on. 
-  * **//Years Of Rice And Salt//** by Kim Stanley Robinson. The bubonic plague kills 90% of all European life, conveniently not moving into North Africa or the Middle East despite intricate trade networks at the time, and somehow not burning itself out before mass death (as plagues which fail to leave at least some people alive to be carriers tend to do). Also severe ​InSpiteOfANail: the Yongle Emperor of China and Tokegawa ​Shogunate of Japan still rise despite a [[pods:​pods|PoD]] centuries earlier. There'​s also an ASB element in the "​Bardo"​ framing story. Considering how well written it is, many find the MST3KMantra ​applies. Arguably a Type II or IV, depending on your Butterfly Effect interpretations. The first point may or may not be explained by the generally higher hygienic standards in the Islamic world at the time - better hygiene, less rats, less fleas. The second one, however... Actually, North Africa was pretty thoroughly Muslim in that period, as it largely remains. Spain was conquered by way of ''​Morocco''​ before the Middle Ages even properly began, let alone the plague hitting. So it was in fact an important part of the Muslim world. Which got pretty whacked by the Black Death in actual history, as did China under the 'Pax Mongolica.'​ Its social consequences just weren'​t as dire.+  * **//Years Of Rice And Salt//** by Kim Stanley Robinson. The bubonic plague kills 90% of all European life, conveniently not moving into North Africa or the Middle East despite intricate trade networks at the time, and somehow not burning itself out before mass death (as plagues which fail to leave at least some people alive to be carriers tend to do). Also severe ​In Spite Of A Nail: the Yongle Emperor of China and Tokugawa ​Shogunate of Japan still rise despite a [[pods:​pods|PoD]] centuries earlier. There'​s also an ASB element in the "​Bardo"​ framing story. Considering how well written it is, many find the MST 3K Mantra ​applies. Arguably a Type II or IV, depending on your Butterfly Effect interpretations. The first point may or may not be explained by the generally higher hygienic standards in the Islamic world at the time - better hygiene, less rats, less fleas. The second one, however... Actually, North Africa was pretty thoroughly Muslim in that period, as it largely remains. Spain was conquered by way of ''​Morocco''​ before the Middle Ages even properly began, let alone the plague hitting. So it was in fact an important part of the Muslim world. Which got pretty whacked by the Black Death in actual history, as did China under the 'Pax Mongolica.'​ Its social consequences just weren'​t as dire.
   * [[S. M. Stirling]]'​s **//​[[Draka]]//​** series, where a Social Darwinist [[Afrikaners|South African]] slave-based superpower emerges and eventually conquers the earth. Many in the AH community find the history implausible,​ though it remains one of the modern classics of AH. Arguably a Type IV.   * [[S. M. Stirling]]'​s **//​[[Draka]]//​** series, where a Social Darwinist [[Afrikaners|South African]] slave-based superpower emerges and eventually conquers the earth. Many in the AH community find the history implausible,​ though it remains one of the modern classics of AH. Arguably a Type IV.
   * Harry Harrison'​s **//Stars and Stripes//** trilogy, in which Britain allies with the Confederacy during the American Civil War. Begins as Type II but jumps into Type III territory when an accidental attack on a Confederate stronghold leads to Britain going to war with the Confederates and both North and South siding together against the common enemy: Britain.   * Harry Harrison'​s **//Stars and Stripes//** trilogy, in which Britain allies with the Confederacy during the American Civil War. Begins as Type II but jumps into Type III territory when an accidental attack on a Confederate stronghold leads to Britain going to war with the Confederates and both North and South siding together against the common enemy: Britain.
   * **//Covert Front//** takes place in an alternate 1904 where WorldWarOne is already taking place. That's pretty much all we're given, and it's all we really need for Mateusz Skutnik to tell a good spy story.   * **//Covert Front//** takes place in an alternate 1904 where WorldWarOne is already taking place. That's pretty much all we're given, and it's all we really need for Mateusz Skutnik to tell a good spy story.
-  * While Fyodor Berezin'​s **//Red Stars//** duology involves travel between parallel worlds, a huge part of it is devoted to the divergence of the other world from ours, so those sections can rightly be called ​AlternateHistory. The author uses the common belief that Stalin had always planned to betray Hitler, but that Hitler simply beat him to the punch (i.e. both sides were ready to attack but were unprepared to defend). Thanks to British interference during Nazi Germany'​s invasion of Southern Europe, he delays Operation Barbarossa (the invasion of the Soviet Union) by a month, giving Stalin plenty of time to enact his own invasion plan. The USSR invades Germany in 1941. Despite being unprepared, Germany still holds out for almost two years, but is ultimately beaten. The Red Army proceeds to take Italy and "​liberate"​ France, stopping just short of crossing the English Channel. Realizing their new rival is the US, the Soviets make sure (through sabotage and covert aid to Japan) that America is tied up with the Pacific War. The Domino Theory then ensures that all of Europe, Asia, Africa, and, eventually, Australia go communist, leading to a Not So Cold War between the USSR and US, with the former being the dominant power. Oh, and democracy doesn'​t exist anymore, as the constant red threat forces the US to institute martial law. While this may seem like a MarySuetopia, the author makes it abundantly clear that the other is a Crapsack World, where the two superpowers no longer hold back on nuclear weapons and constantly engage in massive battles in the oceans. The ending, however, is highly controversial:​ The American and Russian presidents in our world launch 500 ICBMs at each other, then use the dimensional device to send the missiles to the other side to start a nuclear war.+  * While Fyodor Berezin'​s **//Red Stars//** duology involves travel between parallel worlds, a huge part of it is devoted to the divergence of the other world from ours, so those sections can rightly be called ​Alternate History. The author uses the common belief that Stalin had always planned to betray Hitler, but that Hitler simply beat him to the punch (i.e. both sides were ready to attack but were unprepared to defend). Thanks to British interference during Nazi Germany'​s invasion of Southern Europe, he delays Operation Barbarossa (the invasion of the Soviet Union) by a month, giving Stalin plenty of time to enact his own invasion plan. The USSR invades Germany in 1941. Despite being unprepared, Germany still holds out for almost two years, but is ultimately beaten. The Red Army proceeds to take Italy and "​liberate"​ France, stopping just short of crossing the English Channel. Realizing their new rival is the US, the Soviets make sure (through sabotage and covert aid to Japan) that America is tied up with the Pacific War. The Domino Theory then ensures that all of Europe, Asia, Africa, and, eventually, Australia go communist, leading to a Not So Cold War between the USSR and US, with the former being the dominant power. Oh, and democracy doesn'​t exist anymore, as the constant red threat forces the US to institute martial law. While this may seem like a Mary Sue-topia, the author makes it abundantly clear that the other is a Crapsack World, where the two superpowers no longer hold back on nuclear weapons and constantly engage in massive battles in the oceans. The ending, however, is highly controversial:​ The American and Russian presidents in our world launch 500 ICBMs at each other, then use the dimensional device to send the missiles to the other side to start a nuclear war.
   * Kathleen Anne Goonan'​s **//In War Times//** and its sequel in which time travelers arrange for FDR to live long enough for a fifth term during which he apparently acquires a certain other wheelchairbound man's mental powers, because he persuades Stalin to give back the Eastern European nations back their freedom and not divide Germany into East and West. Then Truman manages to get a Civil Rights Act passed in 1950 which would have required the cooperation of Congress (unlike his desegregation of the armed forces). And then they prevent the assassination of JFK, after which nothing bad ever happens again.   * Kathleen Anne Goonan'​s **//In War Times//** and its sequel in which time travelers arrange for FDR to live long enough for a fifth term during which he apparently acquires a certain other wheelchairbound man's mental powers, because he persuades Stalin to give back the Eastern European nations back their freedom and not divide Germany into East and West. Then Truman manages to get a Civil Rights Act passed in 1950 which would have required the cooperation of Congress (unlike his desegregation of the armed forces). And then they prevent the assassination of JFK, after which nothing bad ever happens again.
-  * **//​Children ​Of The Revolution//​**,​ an Australian film about the hypothetical son of Josef Stalin and his rise to political power very nearly resulting in a communist revolution in Australia. Rule Of Funny is strictly in charge for most of the film.+  * **//​Children ​of the Revolution//​**,​ an Australian film about the hypothetical son of Josef Stalin and his rise to political power very nearly resulting in a communist revolution in Australia. Rule Of Funny is strictly in charge for most of the film.
  
 ===Type IV : Utterly Implausible Alternate History=== ===Type IV : Utterly Implausible Alternate History===
Line 74: Line 74:
   * **//The [[Guns Of The South]]//** by [[Harry Turtledove]]:​ Time-traveling [[Afrikaners|South African Neo-Nazis]] bring Robert E. Lee's army AK-47 assault rifles. Only a stand-alone book (so it's hard to predict long-term trends), but seems to go Type I after the [[pods:​pods|PoD]].   * **//The [[Guns Of The South]]//** by [[Harry Turtledove]]:​ Time-traveling [[Afrikaners|South African Neo-Nazis]] bring Robert E. Lee's army AK-47 assault rifles. Only a stand-alone book (so it's hard to predict long-term trends), but seems to go Type I after the [[pods:​pods|PoD]].
   * [[S. M. Stirling]]'​s **//​[[Island in the Sea of Time]]//** series, wherein the contemporary island of Nantucket is [[ISOT|time-ported]] back to the Bronze Age. Somewhat Soft after the [[pods:​pods|PoD]] (Type II), since like most of Stirling'​s work, it follows Rule Of Cool.   * [[S. M. Stirling]]'​s **//​[[Island in the Sea of Time]]//** series, wherein the contemporary island of Nantucket is [[ISOT|time-ported]] back to the Bronze Age. Somewhat Soft after the [[pods:​pods|PoD]] (Type II), since like most of Stirling'​s work, it follows Rule Of Cool.
-  * Eric Flint'​s **//​[[163x|Ring ​Of Fire]]//** series where a West Virginia coal town is [[ISOT|time-and-space-ported]] to Germany in the middle of the 30 Years War. Very meticulously Hard after the [[pods:​pods|PoD]] (Type I). +  * Eric Flint'​s **//​[[163x|Ring ​of Fire]]//** series where a West Virginia coal town is [[ISOT|time-and-space-ported]] to Germany in the middle of the 30 Years War. Very meticulously Hard after the [[pods:​pods|PoD]] (Type I). 
-  * **//​Heirs ​Of Alexandria//​** by Mercedes Lackey, Eric Flint, and Dave Freer, but due to the large scale of the change, introducing magic, and how long ago it happened, probably a type II (Hard/Soft Alternate History) when the series start, mainly due to good research. +  * **//​Heirs ​of Alexandria//​** by Mercedes Lackey, Eric Flint, and Dave Freer, but due to the large scale of the change, introducing magic, and how long ago it happened, probably a type II (Hard/Soft Alternate History) when the series start, mainly due to good research. 
-  * **//The Tales Of Alvin Maker//** by Orson Scott Card : A retelling of the story of Mormonism founder Joseph Smith in a North America Mirror Universe where magic is real.+  * **//The Tales of Alvin Maker//** by Orson Scott Card: A retelling of the story of Mormonism founder Joseph Smith in a North America Mirror Universe where magic is real.
   * **[[timelines:​The Strangerverse]]** on Alternate History Dot Com is a loosely-tied saga, whose common tie being a time traveler returning to some point (and figure) in the past. To stop his crapsack-apocalyptic future from happening, the Stranger leaves behind tools to aid his "​chosen"​. This generally results in epic nation-wanks. The stories themselves become Type II or III after the "​event,"​ depending on the author. Notables include **//​[[timelines:​The Britwank Empire]]//​** and **//The [[timelines:​United States of Ameriwank]]//​**.   * **[[timelines:​The Strangerverse]]** on Alternate History Dot Com is a loosely-tied saga, whose common tie being a time traveler returning to some point (and figure) in the past. To stop his crapsack-apocalyptic future from happening, the Stranger leaves behind tools to aid his "​chosen"​. This generally results in epic nation-wanks. The stories themselves become Type II or III after the "​event,"​ depending on the author. Notables include **//​[[timelines:​The Britwank Empire]]//​** and **//The [[timelines:​United States of Ameriwank]]//​**.
-  * **//​Temeraire//​** is the Napoleonic Wars... with dragons ! Otherwise a Type II: The society is still reminiscent of the equivalent time period and technologies are much the same, though there are some significant political deviations. (The Incas were never conquered because they ''​also''​ had dragons, for instance).+  * **//​Temeraire//​** is the Napoleonic Wars... with dragons! Otherwise a Type II: The society is still reminiscent of the equivalent time period and technologies are much the same, though there are some significant political deviations. (The Incas were never conquered because they ''​also''​ had dragons, for instance).
   * The **//Ciem Webcomic Series//** postulates that Boonville, Indiana, is overtaken by aliens who are obsessed with engineering monsters for political gain. It is attacked by the National Guard and the town of Gerosha is built in its place - so-named after a seashell with a letter "​G"​ carved into it that was found on a beach in Florida. After that, the  growing feud between Gerosha'​s founding Flippo family and the Hebbleskin Crime Family results in more monsters, more explosions, and even a radioactive MacGuffin or two. Since it aims to become a comicbook film, it's very steered and doesn'​t seem to care about how hard or soft the AH is.   * The **//Ciem Webcomic Series//** postulates that Boonville, Indiana, is overtaken by aliens who are obsessed with engineering monsters for political gain. It is attacked by the National Guard and the town of Gerosha is built in its place - so-named after a seashell with a letter "​G"​ carved into it that was found on a beach in Florida. After that, the  growing feud between Gerosha'​s founding Flippo family and the Hebbleskin Crime Family results in more monsters, more explosions, and even a radioactive MacGuffin or two. Since it aims to become a comicbook film, it's very steered and doesn'​t seem to care about how hard or soft the AH is.
-  * **//​Command ​And Conquer : Red Alert//** seems to be Type X-IV. It **starts** with Einstein building a TimeMachine and going back to kill Hitler. Dirty Communists led by Stalin invade Europe with Tesla coils and superheavy tanks. America Wins The War - but some thirty years later, we have a second Soviet invasion of USA... **with giant battlesquids,​ weather control machines, tanks masquerading as trees, prismatic beams, cloning blues, teleporters and transporters,​ bomber blimps, mind-controlling soldiers and psychic possession via telephone**,​ all served with a side order of ham and cheese. And then, when it seemed it was over, Red Alert 3 comes-a-knockin'​... +  * **//​Command ​Conquer: Red Alert//** seems to be Type X-IV. It **starts** with Einstein building a TimeMachine and going back to kill Hitler. Dirty Communists led by Stalin invade Europe with Tesla coils and superheavy tanks. America Wins The War - but some thirty years later, we have a second Soviet invasion of USA... **with giant battlesquids,​ weather control machines, tanks masquerading as trees, prismatic beams, cloning blues, teleporters and transporters,​ bomber blimps, mind-controlling soldiers and psychic possession via telephone**,​ all served with a side order of ham and cheese. And then, when it seemed it was over, Red Alert 3 comes-a-knockin'​... 
-  * The **//​West ​Of Eden//** trilogy is probably an X-III, with the fantastic element being that the dinosaurs were never wiped out. Realistically speaking, the extinction of the dinosaurs is probably what allowed mammals to gain dominance and thus humans to come to be, but of course in that case the humans versus lizard-women plot couldn'​t happen. +  * The **//​West ​of Eden//** trilogy is probably an X-III, with the fantastic element being that the dinosaurs were never wiped out. Realistically speaking, the extinction of the dinosaurs is probably what allowed mammals to gain dominance and thus humans to come to be, but of course in that case the humans versus lizard-women plot couldn'​t happen. 
-  * In John Birmingham'​s novel **//Without Warning//​**,​ a Colony Drop of a mysterious energy field called the Wave wipes out all human life in most of the continental United States and much of Canada, Mexico and Cuba in 2003 just before the invasion of Iraq but after that it's pretty much a Type I including ​Sadaam ​Hussein'​s reaction to "the Great Satan" gettiing it's legs chopped out from under it and what springs from that.+  * In John Birmingham'​s novel **//Without Warning//​**,​ a Colony Drop of a mysterious energy field called the Wave wipes out all human life in most of the continental United States and much of Canada, Mexico and Cuba in 2003 just before the invasion of Iraq but after that it's pretty much a Type I including ​Saddam ​Hussein'​s reaction to "the Great Satan" gettiing it's legs chopped out from under it and what springs from that.
   * **//​Leviathan//​**,​ by Scott Westerfeld. Darwin discovers DNA and genetic engineering,​ all before the discovery of x-ray crystallography,​ PCR, plasmids, or anything else that could possibly allow such a thing. On top of that, apparently DNA from any animal can be combined with DNA from any other animal without any viability issues.   * **//​Leviathan//​**,​ by Scott Westerfeld. Darwin discovers DNA and genetic engineering,​ all before the discovery of x-ray crystallography,​ PCR, plasmids, or anything else that could possibly allow such a thing. On top of that, apparently DNA from any animal can be combined with DNA from any other animal without any viability issues.
   * **//​Watchmen//​** becomes a type X because of the existence of Dr. Manhattan, but is a Type III otherwise (the non-supernatural superheroes have some smaller impacts on the history of fashion and pop-culture of the 20. century). And the primary goal is a total deconstruction of the superhero genre, not exploring alternate histories.   * **//​Watchmen//​** becomes a type X because of the existence of Dr. Manhattan, but is a Type III otherwise (the non-supernatural superheroes have some smaller impacts on the history of fashion and pop-culture of the 20. century). And the primary goal is a total deconstruction of the superhero genre, not exploring alternate histories.
alternate_history/the_sliding_scale_of_alternate_history_plausibility.txt · Last modified: 2019/03/29 15:13 (external edit)