Alternative fiction: description, history, features, books and reviews

Alternative fiction - genre, confidentlygaining popularity these days. The founder of it is the ancient Roman scientist Titus Livius, who was born in 59 BC. In his works, the historian dared to make an assumption about what would have happened to the world if Alexander the Great had not died in 323 BC. Thanks to his works, a genre was born, to which writers have been turning for more than two millennia.

Alternative fiction: a description of the genre

First of all it is necessary to understand thatIt represents this literary trend. Authors working in this genre are asking themselves what would have happened if this or that historical event had not happened. For example, what would the modern world be like if the empire of Napoleon did not cease to exist in 1815?

alternative fiction

Alternative fiction is a genre that does nothas nothing to do with alternative historical theories. This direction does not call into question the reliability of the picture of the past, does not consider erroneous information about this or that event, which is accessible to modern people. Books only invite readers to call to the aid of their imagination and think about what would happen, go the story in another way.

A bit of history

Alternative fiction is a fascinating genre,which originated before our era. This happened thanks to the learned Titus Libya and his famous "History of Rome". The historian in his writings discusses what would happen to our planet, make Alexander the Great realize his intention to attack Rome.

fiction alternative

The personality of Macedonians attracted interest andother writers who worked in this genre. For example, Sir Arnold Toynbee, who lived at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, created several works in which he "extended" the life of Alexander and described the events that took place in this connection. Also, the author considered a variant of the world in which the great commander was never born.

In the middle of the 19th century,patriotic utopias, the creators of which tried to "influence" history, focusing on the interests of their native states. For example, the French writer Louis Geoffrey spoke about a world in which the empire of Napoleon did not collapse. The English author Nathaniel Hawthorne "did not allow" Byron and Keats to perish.

Features of the genre

Alternative fiction - works inwhich deal with the events that resulted from a change in the course of history in the distant or recent past. The incident that affected the development of the world can be absolutely anything, depending on the will of the author. Some writers prefer to interfere in the fate of historical characters, others offer alternative development of historical events (wars, revolutions), and others even resort to the intervention of external forces (for example, alien invasion). As a result, the world becomes different in books.

fiction alternative history

Action in works can not developonly in the present, but also in the past or the future. Some authors tell about the events that followed the change of history, others - about what the world has become many centuries later. Also popular is the plot, implying the hero's attempts to make a move in time and intervene in the events of the past for the sake of changing the picture of the present.


Complete freedom of action is an advantage thatthere are authors working in such a genre as fantasy. Alternative history is a direction, for more than two thousand years of existence, broken down into many subgenres.

  • Crypto-history. The author calls on the help of supernatural forces (vampires, werewolves, witches and magicians), organizes an alien invasion. The actions of these forces influence the historical processes that begin to develop in an alternative way. Suppose aliens conquer the Earth, the population is enslaved, destroyed. As an example, the novel "The Eye of Power" on the intervention of aliens in the life of the inhabitants of our planet, written by Andrei Valentinov.
  • Alternative biochemistry. By the writer's will, the natural conditions on the planet are changing. Say, changes affect the atmosphere, temperature. Under the pressure of change, the development of human society turns out to be different, civilizational and cultural differences appear.
  • Post-apocalyptic. Without this subgenre, it's hard to imagine a phenomenon like fantasy. Alternative reality is the result of various global cataclysms. For example, a writer can invent an ecological catastrophe, a nuclear war, an epidemic. In this case, events occur only after the population of the planet has experienced this crisis.
  • Alternative geography. The author makes some changes in the geography of the planet, as a result of which the history of the world also becomes different. For example, you can recall the work "Island of Crimea", written by Aksenov. The writer assumes that Crimea is an island that helped Baron Wrangel to found an independent state.
  • Steampunk. The focus is on society, whose technology is stuck at the level of 19-20 centuries.

"Key Points"

Which topics most often affectalternative fiction? Fighting fiction, in the focus of which are the largest battles, enjoys constant popularity among readers. The unconditional leader is the Second World War, and the authors like to consider the option in which the victory remains for the Nazis.

alternative fiction books

A vivid example of such a work is the novel "Manin a high castle ", written by Philip K. Dick, who was awarded the" Hugo "prize. Events unfold in the territory of the former United States, the action begins in 1962. The author tells about a world in which the victory in the Second World War remained for the Hitlerite coalition. Germany became a colonial empire, practicing the elimination of "inferior peoples".

Of course, not only the World War II interestspeople whose efforts create an alternative history. Fighting fiction often affects the civil war that took place in the United States. Also, the demand for events occurring on the territory of Russia in the early 20th century is high.

Harry Harrison's Books

What to read to those who like the alternativefantastic? Harry Garrison's books will please many connoisseurs of this fascinating genre. For example, the trilogy "Eden" deserves attention, which came from the pen of the author. Harrison wonders what the world could have become if the dinosaurs had not died out more than 60 million years ago. As a result, mankind remained at the level of the Stone Age development, it is compelled to fight with intelligent lizards, flooding the planet.

alternative fiction fighting fantasy

Interest is also in the product"Transatlantic tunnel", created by the same writer. In it, the author suggests that the British defeated the Americans in the War of Independence of the United States, which happened in the late 18th century.

What else to read?

What other books deserve the attention of those to whomsoul fantasy? Alternative history is offered in the work "Let no darkness fall", created by de Camp. The protagonist is an archaeologist who has moved to the distant past. The goal of the character is to prevent the Dark Ages that hit Italy.

alternative story fighting science fiction

The book "11/22/63" is a work in which StephenKing allows John Kennedy to survive. "Time Patrol" is a cycle of Paul Anderson, in which the author creates a secret organization that does not allow aliens from the future to interfere rudely in the development of history.


At the moment, the most popularreaders enjoy the following works related to the genre: "Man in a High Castle", "Time Patrol", "11/22/63". Of course, along with positive reviews about these works, there are also negative characteristics. The authors of the latter argue that writers are poorly oriented in historical events.

books fiction alternative history

Reviews also show that for severaldecades of constant popularity is enjoyed by post-apocalyptic, which many perceive as a separate genre. An example of a popular product is "Picnic on the Roadside."

A large number of fans have all the books described in this article - a fantasy, an alternative story.

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