Points of departure that fall under this category are those which adopt a change that is not the result of a simple variation but rather the integration of a completely alien element to history from OTL. This element could be something which, according to modern mainstream science, is impossible or it could be the introduction of a fictional character(s) that have wide-ranging results.
Althistories in this category should not be confused with secret histories which although they might share some superficial similarities in term of background, are usually assumed to be taking place in OTL with the differences being hidden from us.
A sub-genre of this category would be "academic" counterfactualities, published works that use a non-historical point of departure to demonstrate an opinion, hypothesis or a statistical model.
A few examples follow:
- a form of magic is discovered during the Renaissance and takes the place of science.
- all of a sudden, every human being turns purple.
- An explorer discovers a gateway to another planet during the Victorian era leading to a race for colonization by the great powers of that time.
- Writing was never invented.
- Gunpowder was never invented
- The scientific method never developed (or is developed much sooner than OTL).
- Technology developed which allows people to view and/or travel into other timelines.
- Aliens land on Earth, although for the scope of this wiki, this option is rarely accepted.
- Alternate trends
- Hinge moments
- 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.