by Brian Mullen
I absolutely LOVE alternative histories. I have a pile of them I'm waiting to read and a few audiobooks I've managed to listen to in my vehicular travelling.
If you're not familiar with the genre, here's the premise in a nutshell. Select a fundamental event in history (say the American Colonies winning the Revolutionary War) and imagine what would have happened had the event occurred in some other way (i.e. we lost). How would the world be different? Write a story set in that reality.
One of the greats of alternative histories has got to be Harry Turtledove. I have, though have not yet read, "The Guns of the South" in which time travellers, hoping to alter history to their benefit, travel back to the American Civil War and supply the Confederates with automatic weapons. It's first on my "To Read" list.
The next one I have is titled "Pavane" by Keith Roberts and is based in a world where the Spanish Armada defeated the British Navy.
But the one that had initially captured my imagination is called "For Want of a Nail" by Robert Sobel and is the example I began the blog with. The British win the Revolutionary War and those unwilling to continue to live under British rule move...and create the United States of Mexico. The book itself is not really a novel but rather a fictitious history text book detailing the tumultuous history of these two countries including charts and appendices, quotes and speech excerpts, even footnote/references from where the information had supposedly been gathered.
It's fun to wonder "What If?" and imagine that the course of history could be significantly different over a single detail. I have long, long, long term plans to write such a story though I must admit my alternate histories will rely much more on imagination than on any real understanding of history. But, then again, that's what makes it fun in my opinion.