Recommended reading on alternate history

Discussions on alternate history, including events up to 20 years before today.
ETBURyan
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Post by ETBURyan » 22 Aug 2007 04:56

There is always

Red Storm Rising-Tom Clancy (1986 Third World War)
Harry Turtledove Novels
World War series
South wins the Civil war series beginning with "How Few Remain"

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trymee
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Catalyst- the book

Post by trymee » 25 Nov 2007 05:28

http://forum2.totalsims.com/viewtopic.php?t=7981
http://forum2.totalsims.com/viewtopic.php?t=7982
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/097969 ... 0979692938
Image
This book Is written by a friend of mine over at warbirds aka http://www.totalsims.com , its all ficticious, alternate ww2 history, Excellent reading!!!! <S> trymee

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Robert Rojas
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RE: Catalyst - The Book.

Post by Robert Rojas » 25 Nov 2007 10:13

Greetings to both brother Trymee and the community as a whole. Well sir, in light of your introductory posting of Sunday - November 25, 2007 - 5:28am, old Uncle Bob was wondering if this recommended alternate history of yours might be better served within the WHAT IF section of the forum as opposed to the REFERENCE MATERIAL section of the forum. When the time avails itself, old yours truly would to recommend the following STICKY thread for your perusal. The STICKY thread in question is entitled as RECOMMENDED READING ON ALTERNATE HISTORY and it is located within the WHAT IF section of the forum. The thread's author goes by the nom de plume of Panzer Leader and its creation date is Sunday - March 03, 2007 - 2:07am. Undoubtedly, the CATALYST will make a wonderful fictitious reading addition to brother Panzer Leader's RECOMMENDED READING ON ALTERNATE HISTORY thread. This little blurb was for your edification. ENJOY! Well, that's my initial two cents worth on the literary topic of interest - for now anyway. In anycase, I would like to bid you an especially copacetic day over in the Old Line State of Maryland.

Best Regards,
Uncle Bob :idea: :) :wink: 8-)

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trymee
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Re: RE: Catalyst - The Book.

Post by trymee » 25 Nov 2007 22:01

Thank You Sir <S> trymee
Robert Rojas wrote:Greetings to both brother Trymee and the community as a whole. Well sir, in light of your introductory posting of Sunday - November 25, 2007 - 5:28am, old Uncle Bob was wondering if this recommended alternate history of yours might be better served within the WHAT IF section of the forum as opposed to the REFERENCE MATERIAL section of the forum. When the time avails itself, old yours truly would to recommend the following STICKY thread for your perusal. The STICKY thread in question is entitled as RECOMMENDED READING ON ALTERNATE HISTORY and it is located within the WHAT IF section of the forum. The thread's author goes by the nom de plume of Panzer Leader and its creation date is Sunday - March 03, 2007 - 2:07am. Undoubtedly, the CATALYST will make a wonderful fictitious reading addition to brother Panzer Leader's RECOMMENDED READING ON ALTERNATE HISTORY thread. This little blurb was for your edification. ENJOY! Well, that's my initial two cents worth on the literary topic of interest - for now anyway. In anycase, I would like to bid you an especially copacetic day over in the Old Line State of Maryland.

Best Regards,
Uncle Bob :idea: :) :wink: 8-)

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panzertruppe2001
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Post by panzertruppe2001 » 30 Dec 2007 17:16

Spandau Phoenix by Greg Iles, Signet Book ISBN 0-451-17980-3. Hess did not died in Spandau in 1987. He was a doppelganger and the real Hess is doing some interesting bussiness.

Panzertruppe2001



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Sewer King
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Re: Recommended reading on alternate history

Post by Sewer King » 02 Jan 2009 19:52

I am surprised no one has mentioned the following title, since it is not an alternate history but a broad study of alternate history as a genre. As such I recommend it:


From its flysheet:

What if the Nazis had triumphed in World War II? What if Adolf Hitler had escaped Berlin for the jungles of Larin American in 1945? What if Hitler had become a successful artist instead of a politician? Gavriel Rosenfeld's pioneering study explains why such counter-factual questions on the subject of Nazism have proliferated in recent years within Western popular culture. Examining a wide range of novels, short stories, films, television programs, plays, comic books, and scholarly essays that have appeared in Great Britain, the United States, and Germany since 1945. Rosenfeld shows how the portrayal of historical events that never happened reflects the evolving memory of the Third Reich's real historical legacy. He concludes that the shifting representation of Nazism in works of alternate history, as well as the popular reaction to them, highlights their subversive role in promoting the normalization of the Nazi past in Western memory.

GAVRIEL D. ROSENFELD is Associate Professor of History in Fairfield University (Connecticut). He is a specialist in the history and memory of the Third Reich and the Holocaust. His previous publications include Munich and Memory: Architecture, Monuments, and the Legacy of the Third Reich (2000).


I have only read a part of the book so far -- how many others among us are reading several different books at a time? Academic writing tends to be dense and indirect, and sometimes Rosenfeld "is not dissimilar." to put it in those very same dense and indirect academic writing terms. But he covers a great many of the alternate histories already listed here, he is readable in stretches, and looks at the genre from many angles.

Rosenfeld should be of interest to aspiring or dabbling writers. Some occasionally look here in this forum for assistance. Once I answered one such thread associated with Robert Harris' novel Fatherland, but the question there was more about storytelling craft for alternate history. Rosenfeld looks much more at the motivation instead, and interestingly he said that his intro to the subject was also Fatherland.

For my part I wished the author Included more alternate histories other-than-Third Reich, such as possible ones about Imperial Japan. From the quote above you can see that he tends to believe the horrors of Nazism are in danger of fading from wider popular memory, and that it comes out in alternate history -- although that is not to say the genre is responsible for that. I expect that alternate history is popular enough in Japan, but even if the language and cultural barriers could be crossed it would not get the same level of attention as Nazism and the Holocaust.

-- Alan

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Simon K
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Re: Recommended reading on alternate history

Post by Simon K » 02 Jan 2009 20:45

Resurrection Day -Brendon DuBois 1999

The United states ten years after the Cuban War which destroyed the USSR and crippled America, now an international pariah, and under the discreet military dicatatorship of an VERY thinly disguised Gen Curtis Lemay..

A great read, wont give the plot away but it is a very inventive WI.

AND of course the classic SSGB by Mr. Deighton. Although the nuclear angle and the American raid is slightly wobbly.

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Simon K
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Re: Recommended reading on alternate history

Post by Simon K » 02 Jan 2009 20:52

Thats a fascinating concept Alan.

That a strand of alternative history has become bound up with "real" history, reinforced by popular culture, the net, poor and neglectful teaching of history, etc etc ?

Have to put a health warning on WI threads :)

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Sewer King
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Re: Recommended reading on alternate history

Post by Sewer King » 03 Jan 2009 06:38

By definition, I think any genre of historical fiction will be bound up with the popular culture that presents it, regardless of the fiction's medium.

The further away in time we get from a great crisis event the more it may pass into a wider myth. The term "myth" itself is often used as derogatory, often casually so, but I mean it in a strict sense which is neither.

    By one supposition, we all have heard somewhat of ancient warfare on Asia Minor only because some poet named Homer set his Iliad there. The actual wars themselves fell away long ago as beside the storytelling point, which was a larger myth of heroes and tragedy.

    A Mongol invasion of Japan was genuinely and famously defeated by a storm, but no one anywhere would even think to unseat its mythic Japanese telling as the Divine Wind.

    More modern historical fiction, whether classic as Tolstoy's War and Peace, or popular as Mitchell's Gone With the Wind, place characters their audiences can feel for, against settings they will have learned about but not felt for in themselves.

Alternative history will do the same and use the same tools.

Getting back to Rosenfeld's book, he is not alone in believing that the Holocaust should keep an exceptional place in popular memory, different from other and more numerous genocides which may fatigue the world's attention by happening as often as have. The Holocaust was at the center of "the world that Hitler never made." Enough people might understand how its scale, mechanization, bureaucracy, and intents differed from other mass murder. But Rosenfeld may think that some alternative history may show that the evils of the Holocaust are in danger of becoming "normalized," effectively no different in the popular memory from those others. Wi as symptom, not cause.

It could be said that Spielberg's filming of Schindler's List (1994) looked to help prevent that. So might Philip Roth's recent WI novel The Plot Against America (2004). And if so, Rosenfeld's non-fiction book The World Hitler Never Made might have been meant to do the same in looking at WI nazism in popular culture.

My wife and in-laws are American Jews, but the latter are neither Holocaust survivors nor relatives of survivors (or known dead). Even so, my wife put it to me that this shadow of fear will turn up for some, no matter how far removed in time, place, or experience.

============================

By the way, have you noticed how three of the WI books that we mentioned supposed a United States under unsavory leaders?

    Resurrection Day, with General Curtis LeMay
    Fatherland, with President Joseph Kennedy, Sr.
    The Plot Against America, with President Charles Lindbergh

I too enjoyed Deighton's SS-GB, but the shaky background parts you pointed out are a pitfall in any WI. They are comparatively glossed over in favor of the characters and their troubles -- see that advice thread I linked above. Robert Harris' Fatherland, which drew some comparison to the earlier SS-GB, did somewhat the same thing with its origins of a Germany/US Cold War instead of the actual Russia/US one. But I think those are matters of storycraft which might only really be addressed in a separate story, in the same "alternate universe" if you will.

-- Alan

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Simon K
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Re: Recommended reading on alternate history

Post by Simon K » 03 Jan 2009 07:34

This may have relevance to the thread "Polish concentration camps" which is active at the moment. In the sense of a gross error of history being propagated by a historically illiterate media.

A small proportion of the phenomena can be laid at the door of poor journalism, usually the fault of young journalists, who have a weak historical "feel" for subjects.

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Sewer King
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Re: Recommended reading on alternate history

Post by Sewer King » 03 Jan 2009 16:56

You put it in terms of illiteracy but I think of it more as subliteracy. That's the ability to read and write without the will to make more and better use of it, seeing no need to do so, and denigrating it in others who do see it. Illiteracy can be overcome, but subliteracy can only be fought.

Writing (or filming} alternative history is a deliberate thing done at length, to make points about the history that actually did happen. Its authors sign their names to it for everyone to see, and without the ability to take it back. .

Historically subliterate comments about "Polish concentration camps" may be accidental (but still negligent). Nevertheless, those who make such comments are harder to chase down and confront, unlike an alternative history author who will be responsible for what he writes -- although whether we agree with his alternative is another matter. There seem to be so many of these small remarks that act like pinpricks. Each can be survived (or denied as deliberately made) one by one, but hundreds of pinpricks together over time make badly infected wounds.

I think there may be less harm in alternative history than Rosenfeld supposes in his The World Hitler Never Made. But that is partly because WI is not read and debated by the subliterate as I consider them here. Unfortunately as you were getting at, there could be some journalists who don't realize that they are supposed to be better than that.

-- Alan

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phylo_roadking
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Re: Recommended reading on alternate history

Post by phylo_roadking » 04 Jan 2009 16:38

Writing (or filming} alternative history is a deliberate thing done at length, to make points about the history that actually did happen


Exactly. They are allegories. I can't think of a single one - having read many set in many different eras - that isn't when you drill far enough down. It's almost impossible to do otherwise - for we the readers NEED the frame of reference of OTL to evaluate the "alternative" element...

How many of them will actually be readable when completely out of context in a hundred years time??? :wink:

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waldorf
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Re: Recommended reading on alternate history

Post by waldorf » 11 Jan 2009 04:46

Russian Amerika by Stoney Compton

This novel takes place in 1987 in a world where the North did not successfully win the civil war leaving a divided America where Alaska remained apart of the Russian Empire.

Territory by Emma Bull

Although this alternate history / fantasy novel is not related to military history, I would still recommend it to any members who enjoy reading about the American West. The novel is set in Tombstone Arizona in 1881 and gives a spin on the gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

Lord Darcy by Randall Garrett

These primarily short stories and novellas take place in a universe where the Plantagenet Dynasty never fell. Great read for anyone who enjoys fantasy and mysteries.

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Michael Emrys
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Re: Recommended reading on alternate history

Post by Michael Emrys » 13 Jan 2009 14:59

waldorf wrote:Lord Darcy by Randall Garrett

These primarily short stories and novellas take place in a universe where the Plantagenet Dynasty never fell. Great read for anyone who enjoys fantasy and mysteries.


Oh lordy, I was reading those back in the '60s when they sometimes ran in Analog. You're right, they are good. Not only are the Plantagenets still a going concern, but certain forms of magic are being used to solve crimes. You might have to suspend a lot of disbelief, but the stories rewarded the effort.

Michael
Incoming fire has the right of way.

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waldorf
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Re: Recommended reading on alternate history

Post by waldorf » 16 Jan 2009 19:46

Oh lordy, I was reading those back in the '60s when they sometimes ran in Analog. You're right, they are good. Not only are the Plantagenets still a going concern, but certain forms of magic are being used to solve crimes. You might have to suspend a lot of disbelief, but the stories rewarded the effort.


In 2002, Baen put out a book compiling all of Lord Darcy's adventures. While reading these stories I always enjoyed picking out Randall Garrett's nods to other fictional characters such as Nero Wolfe, Inspector Clouseau, etc.

Chris

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