Alternative History
Advertisement

Alternative History is a genre of fiction, often incorporating elements of Scientific Fiction, which builds and elaborates on historical 'what if?' scenarios. These can be small changes such as altering the victor of a war to major world changing scenario such as a inhabitable Antarctica. Sensibilities from some country's censorship boards over changes to have led many writers to use pseudonyms and the practice is now standard in solidarity.

The most fully fleshed out Alternative History is known as 'the Original Variant Timeline' or 'OVT' and stems from the thought experiments of several European and Leifian universities' Philosophy and History departments. Amongst the main notable differences between our world and this are:

  • the world is more technologically advanced than our own; featuring near instantaneous communication, hand-held computing devices and men have even walked on the moon.
  • Europe and Asia have mostly coalesced into nation states e.g. Francia was united by its dynamic kings in the 1200s, Germania and Italia were formed in the 1800s.
  • much of the rest of the world was carved up between the European states in colonial empires, though independence movements gathered pace after the 'World War' of the mid 20th century.
  • the Norse colony in Vinland was abandoned and forgotten, instead North and South Amerika were rediscovered by an Italian explorer working for the 'Spanish' crown in the late 1400s.

Whilst many shorter scenarios are distributed in various periodicals there have been many highly praised novel length works set in the OVT such as:

  • Aethelred by 'False Dimitri' is a love story between a Saxon noble and a Danish lady during the Danish invasions of England in the early 11th c. In this narrative Cnut I secures the entire country, not just Anglia.
  • 1519 by 'Yan Hoek' . Following the 'discovery' of Amerika the nation of Spain leads the world in exploration, and exploitation of the 'new' continent. This novel tells the tale of the complete destruction and subjugation of Mexica by a small Spanish force.
  • The Citizen King and The Corsican by 'KingSweden' describes a Europe thrown into war and completely redrawn by a revolutionary France.
  • A Continent in Darkness by 'JorgeGG' is a epistolary novel set in the 1910s, concerning the rush to, and conduct of, a horrifically destructive general war in Europe.
  • Doomsday written by a collective of Alternative History writers, describes the tense period of distrust between 'Federal Republic of Amerika' and 'Communist Russia' both armed with arsenals of bombs so powerful they could wipe out all life on earth. (This work has inspired some writers to take this further and describe a world devastated by an accidental firing of the weapons).
Advertisement