Alternate Timeline (also: "Alternate Timeline") in the Alternative History genre refers to the historical events occurring after a point of divergence (POD), which, from that point onward, differ in some way from events as they unfolded as we knew them to occur in Our Timeline (OTL).
While most Alternate Timelines start at some point in the past and end in the present, some start in the past and continue on to some point in the future.
Alternate Timelines are most often constructed to briefly convey historical events from the POD in the format of a chronological list, with the date (the time, day, month, and/or year, or combination of them) listed first, with pertinent events occurring following the date in sequence, in this manner:
- April 15, 1865 - A gunshot narrowly misses President Lincoln. He and his party are rushed back to the White House under heavy guard.
Alternate Timelines may be used as appendicies to an author's work of Alternative History to briefly illustrate, or explain the context of, major events in the rest of the book that unfolded differently than they did in OTL.
Some authors may also use them as experimental templates for future projects that have not yet been fully developed into books or stories. The timelines themselves should not be seen as complete literary works, but are often "works in progress," although some more complete and detailed Alternate Timelines may stand on their own as works of literature, and be seen as such by their authors.
- Alternative History
- Our Timeline (OTL)
- point of divergence (POD)
- Today in Alternate History, a daily-updated blog, featuring "Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today" in several recurring timelines. Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility.
- This Day in Alternate History, dedicated to showing significant events in years past on this day that shaped history... just, not our history.