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Discussion in 'Original Fiction Discussion' started by Riley, Jun 12, 2015.

  1. Riley

    Riley Alchemist DLP Supporter

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    Recommendations are needed. However, I'm interested in fiction of a specific concept so I'm not sure if I'll find it.

    I'm looking for any kind of good piece of Altered History/Alternate History fiction (Think Harry Turtledove) in which the European settlers came later than in origianl history. Or that the Americas were settled by a completely different group of people.

    I'll also take any Alternate History/Altered History stories, but I'm primarily looking for the one in particular.
     
  2. Narf

    Narf Administrator Admin DLP Supporter

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    I've heard good things about The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson. It's a book that spans centuries, and based off the premise that the Black Plague killed off 99% of Europe's population and all the changes worldwide that follow because of it. I've been meaning to read it myself, just haven't gotten around to it.

    Another one I've read is Island in the Sea of Time by S.M. Stirling. It's the first in a trilogy of novels, where Nantucket (an island off the coast of MA) and a Coast Guard ship in nearby waters are transported millenia into the past. It's definitely an interesting trilogy. It delves into how they have to somehow come together and form a new government, how they build up military strength, how they make allies and enemies out of both Europeans and Native Americans, and how they slowly start to learn how to rebuild some modern era technology.
     
  3. Perspicacity

    Perspicacity High Score: 3,994 Prestige DLP Supporter

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    The closest I've read is Philip Jose Farmer's Gate of Time (which you should read if only because it apparently inspired Hendrix's song, Purple Haze). It's a bit hard to locate now and, like a lot of 70s-era work by science fiction genre writers, is probably a bit hackneyed (I wasn't the most discriminating reader back in my teens), but I remember it matching many of your desiderata.

    More broadly, one of the classics of the alternative history genre is Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle. Bog standard setup (the Axis won WWII), it has great writing and is one of my favorites of Dick's novels.

    Another classic is Gibson and Sterling's The Difference Engine. Babbage succeeds with his mechanical computer and the information age begins in the 19th century.

    Though I won't read the author, I seem to recall Orson Scott Card as having done a novel about time travel and making Christopher Columbus into somewhat less of a genocidal douchebag (not a terribly high bar). This may match some of the themes you're after as well.
     
  4. LittleChicago

    LittleChicago Death Eater DLP Supporter

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    Conquistador, also by S.M. Stirling might fit your bill. Norh America goes undiscovered because Alexander the Great was far more awesome and no one ever progressed beyond medieval technology... then someone from our world stumbles across theirs.
     
  5. Puzzled

    Puzzled High Inquisitor

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    I just recomended this in a different thread but it is excellent. The Horse and the Jaguar is about the Mongol force sent to invade Java making it to Central America, it leads to feuding Khanates across the great plains and Chinese dominated Inca. It's still slowly going but its well worth reading.
     
  6. Andrela

    Andrela Plot Bunny DLP Supporter

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    Well you already mentioned Turtledove, but what works of his have you read?

    I recommend the Worldwar series (reptilian aliens invade during World War II) as well as the book A World of Difference (mars is habitable and inhabited by stone-age aliens).

    Turtledove's Guns of the South features time travelers giving AK-47s to Confederates during the ACW.

    ---

    The Axis of Time by John Birmingham is also something to look at.

    Wikipedia says: "The novels deal with the radical alteration of the history of World War II and the socio-historical changes that result when a technologically advanced naval task force from the year 2021 is accidentally transported back through time to 1942."

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    Last Day of Creation by Jeschke Wolfgang features Americans and Soviets (and other factions) travelling millions of years to the past to fight for oil deposits.

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    Lest Darkness Fall by L Sprague De Camp has an American archaeologist Martin Padway transported from 1938 to 6th century Rome (535).

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    The Peshawar Lancers by S. M. Stirling shows a point of divergence occurring in 1878 when the Earth is struck by a devastating meteor shower. The novel's plot takes place in the year 2025, at a time when the British Empire has become the powerful Angrezi Raj and is gradually recolonizing the world alongside other nations and empires that were able to survive.
     
  7. Riley

    Riley Alchemist DLP Supporter

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    I am slowly accumulating all of these in a list for personal use. I'm happily accepting more still.
     
  8. Download

    Download Chief Warlock DLP Supporter

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    Though not really an AH story, I would recommend the Salvation War series. The author has written AH stories in the past.
     
  9. Peace

    Peace High Inquisitor

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    I'd recommend pretty much anything by S. M. Stirling. I really enjoyed Domination of Draka series, top shelf AH/military sci-fi.

    I don't mind Turtledove but, IMHO, his books tend to get repetitive e.g. using the same descriptions for characters, having them repeat the same actions etc.
     
  10. LittleChicago

    LittleChicago Death Eater DLP Supporter

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    I just can't read Turtledove. He has great ideas, but his characters tend to be talky and he jumps POV more often than GRRM. I just can't get invested...

    I really liked Dies the Fire, but it's the only Stirling novel I did like, despite my rec. Again, good ideas, but the guy has a habit of making characters that perfectly fit their strange and unusual circumstances, rather than growing into them. He's not as bad as K. J. Anderson, but it requires... not a suspension of disbelief, but an acceptance that the characters and situations could be more realistically depicted. Like, maybe he needs a second draft. I honestly wonder if he comes up with characters first, then crafts worlds around them.

    He also has oddly militaristic and spiritual bents in almost everything he produces. I get that's his style, it's just repetitive. There's always an ex-military guy in his stories, and don't mean in the way Stephen King always has a fucking writer in his; I mean, the man cannot write a book without one.
     
  11. Aekiel

    Aekiel Angle of Mispeling Prestige DLP Supporter

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    While it's not a novel, the anime Zipang deals with a modern day Japanese Defence Force destroyer being sent back to the Battle of Midway and the moral quandaries that the crew are put under as they try to limit their interactions with both their homeland and the Allies, yet failing at both.
     
  12. Erandil

    Erandil Headmaster

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    I have read The Years of Rice and Salt and found it and incredible slow and boring read though the idea behind is certainly interesting and its seems technical sound.

    The Draka series is another series I really don`t feel comfortable recommending because the philosophies, ideas and characters in it are in most cases horrible or just outright stupid...

    The The Peshawar Lancers by S. M. Stirling are probably on of my favourite AH books though it has some mystical/magical elements that can contract from the experience.

    For suggestions:I sadly have nothing to offer on the America front though I seem to remember reading a Viking story set there and will see if I can find it.

    I have two suggestions:

    Kushiel`s Dart is a massive AH with many fantasy elements and in in my eyes a very interesting idea and setting.

    Shadowstorm
    is a very action heavy AH where WW2 ended in a stalemate between Germany, the US and Russia and where a cold war between Germany, the US, Russia and China has led to increased developments regarding bionics and cyborgs which forms the backdrop for a techno-spy story.
     
  13. Philemon

    Philemon Second Year

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    Ever heard of 1491 by Charles Mann? It's nonfiction, but entertaining and accesibly written. Less alternate history and more revisionist history of course, a lot like Zinn's A People's History of the United States. It is written by a journalist, but I would hesitate to call it outsider archaeology (a la Fingerprints of the Gods etc.); it's more on the level of a re-examination of the scale of American Indian societies. Little crack-pot stuff involved, don't worry, although it's a bit on the armchair/pseudo-intellectual side.
     
  14. Peace

    Peace High Inquisitor

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    The philosophies, ideas and characters are horrible but I admire the execution, particularly in the first novel, and Stirling's ability to make me like, or at least empathise, with characters who I find otherwise abhorrent.