February 19th, 2011, 08:48 AM
Best Alt History?
Just looking for opinions. What do you think is the best alt history book/series?
That would be a book or series set in the real world (or something close to it), but with some fantasy elements, which have usually affected the course of history. Examples,
Naomi Novik's Temeraire series
Orson Scott Card's Alvin Maker series
Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell
This does not include historical fantasies. That would be novels/series set in a fantasy world which is based on the real world/real world events. Guy Gavriel Kay does this, I believe.
As for me, I love the Temeraire series, and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell was an excellent book. I wish Clarke would write another already (but considering how long she spent on the first one, I think we're in for a wait).
February 19th, 2011, 07:55 PM
It has been years but I remember enjoying the book, "Fatherland" by Robert Harris. It was an interesting take on, "What if Hitler remained in power?"
February 20th, 2011, 04:15 AM
Webmaster, Great SF&F
Depends on definitions . . . .
It is possible for an alt-hist tale to have no magic whatever, and be just what the description says: an alternate history.
A few oddities along these lines (in which I have omitted worlds so different--so very magic-heavy--as to not be "alternate history" so much as sheer fantasy):
- Aldiss, Brian W.: Report on Probability A
- Card, Orson Scott: the "Alvin" cycle
- Davidson, Avram: The Enquiries of Doctor Eszterhazy
- Helprin, Mark: Winter's Tale
- Roberts, Keith: Pavanne
- Wright, Austin Tappan: Islandia
As I say, this is just some few oddities that might not make other people's lists.
February 20th, 2011, 11:27 AM
Would Wild Cards be considered Alt History? I recently had the chance to get my hands on the TOR edition and it was really good
February 20th, 2011, 01:51 PM
I always liked Harry Turtledove's stuff as well as S.M. Stirling's Marching through Georgia and the rest of his Draka series
February 20th, 2011, 02:41 PM
Habitation of the Blessed (Valente) is based on a real hoax letter that described a fairy tale land. There were many expeditions in search of such a land for several centuries. Habitation is basically about the hoax being true, but nothing about the land quite matches expectations.
February 20th, 2011, 06:33 PM
A few other alt histories I've read and enjoyed,
The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick
The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack, Mark Hodder
The Cardinal's Blades, Pierre Pevel
Roma Eterna, Robert Silverberg
Bitter Seeds, Ian Tregillis
Leviathan, Scott Westerfeld
Yes, I'd say so. Wild Cards is definitely one of the best ones.
Originally Posted by ben1xy
February 21st, 2011, 06:18 AM
A quick aside: I'm currently reading a very interesting book about possible futures. It's called The Next 100 Years, A Forecast for the 21st Century by George Friedman. Compelling stuff. He uses history and trends to predict future events.
February 21st, 2011, 06:57 AM
Life's a riddle
The Man in the High Castle is certainly a good read. Making History by Stephen Fry turns the question around: what if Hitler had never existed? I think Harry Turtledove has made a career out of writing alt history novels, but wouldn't know if they're any good. I can however highly recommend Frederik Pohl's The Coming of the Quantum Cats - where earth is invaded by alternate Earths from alternate universes. Entertaining and thought provoking.
February 21st, 2011, 03:25 PM
The Proteus Operation by Paul Hogan is interesting.
February 25th, 2011, 10:33 PM
Orson Scott Card's "Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus"
February 26th, 2011, 12:33 AM
Havent read them in a long time but i though they were good back then
Stephen Lawhead writes a lot of crusade type king arthur books
February 27th, 2011, 04:54 PM
Here are some suggestions, both fantasy and SF, books that I loved (i put only lst in series where there is a series):
Sean McMullen- Voyage of the Shadowmoon (really wonderful characters and situations- great tragedies, nobility, intrigue)
sean McMullen- Souls in the Great Machine (Great Winter has destroyed technology, "the call" forces people to walk westward unless tethered at time the call comes, an ingenious woman tries to restart tech)
Jacqueline Carey- Kushiel's Dart (sex and political intrigue, but no supernatural elements)
Kim Newman- Anno Dracula (Dracula marries Queen Victoria)
Steven Brust- any of the Viscount of Andrilanka series or The Phoenix Guards
Liz Williams- The Snake Agent (where you can travel b/t earth, heaven and hell, and the policeman has a demon partner)
Connie Willis- The Doomsday Book (or for lighter book, To Say Nothing of the Dog)- student historians use time travel as educational tool (sometimes with disastrous results)
Scarborough, Elizabeth -Channeling Cleopatra- getting a bit of DNA from Cleo and hosting her spirit
Christopher Moore- Practical Demonkeeping (hilarious)
Tanya Huff- Blood Price (female detective meets vampire- solve mysteries)
February 27th, 2011, 04:56 PM
Forgot, recently read "into the Storm" by Taylor Anderson. Beleagered destroyer in WWII pacific battle with Japanese, escapes by steering into a storm and comes out in another reality with dinosaurs.
February 28th, 2011, 08:33 AM
Early Harry Turtledove is excellent. I would put 'The Guns of the South' as one of the best ever.
But...and this is just my opinion...avoid the entire Great War series (starts out well, goes downhill) and In The Presence of Mine Enemies. I'd be wary of anything he wrote this century.