Alternate History Science Fiction

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Guns Of The South By Harry Turtle Dove

by Harry Turtledove

"It is absolutely unique--without question the most fascinating Civil War novel I have ever read."
Professor James M. McPherson
Pultizer Prize-winning BATTLE CRY OF FREEDOM
January 1864--General Robert E. Lee faces defeat. The Army of Northern Virginia is ragged and ill-equpped. Gettysburg has broken the back of the Confederacy and decimated its manpower.
Then, Andries Rhoodie, a strange man with an unplaceable accent, approaches Lee with an extraordinary offer. Rhoodie demonstrates an amazing rifle: Its rate of fire is incredible, its lethal efficiency breathtaking--and Rhoodie guarantees unlimited quantitites to the Confederates.
The name of the weapon is the AK-47....
Selected by the Science Fiction Book Club
A Main Selection of the Military Book Club
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Fatherland

by Robert Harris

3.5 avg rating
Fatherland is set in an alternative world where Hitler has won the Second World War. It is April 1964 and one week before Hitler's 75th birthday. Xavier March, a detective of the Kriminalpolizei, is called out to investigate the discovery of a dead body in a lake near Berlin's most prestigious suburb.

As March discovers the identity of the body, he uncovers signs of a conspiracy that could go to the very top of the German Reich. And, with the Gestapo just one step behind, March, together with an American journalist, is caught up in a race to discover and reveal the truth -- a truth that has already killed, a truth that could topple governments, a truth that will change history.


From the Paperback edition.
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1632

by Eric Flint

4 avg rating
"The Ultimate Y2K Glitch....

1632 In the year 1632 in northern Germany a reasonable person might conclude that things couldn't get much worse. There was no food. Disease was rampant. For over a decade religious war had ravaged the land and the people. Catholic and Protestant armies marched and countermarched across the northern plains, laying waste the cities and slaughtering everywhere. In many rural areas population plummeted toward zero. Only the aristocrats remained relatively unscathed; for the peasants, death was a mercy.

2000 Things are going OK in Grantville, West Virginia. The mines are working, the buck are plentiful (it's deer season) and everybody attending the wedding of Mike Stearn's sister (including the entire membership of the local chapter of the United Mine Workers of America, which Mike leads) is having a good time.

THEN, EVERYTHING CHANGED....

When the dust settles, Mike leads a small group of armed miners to find out what's going on. Out past the edge of town Grantville's asphalt road is cut, as with a sword. On the other side, a scene out of Hell; a man nailed to a farmhouse door, his wife and daughter Iying screaming in muck at the center of a ring of attentive men in steel vests. Faced with this, Mike and his friends don't have to ask who to shoot.

At that moment Freedom and Justice, American style, are introduced to the middle of The Thirty Years War.

At the publisher's request, this title is sold without DRM (Digital Rights Management)."
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The Man In The High Castle

by Philip K. Dick

3.88 avg rating
“The single most resonant and carefully imagined book of Dick’s career.” – New York Times

It's America in 1962. Slavery is legal once again. The few Jews who still survive hide under assumed names. In San Francisco, the I Ching is as common as the Yellow Pages. All because some twenty years earlier the United States lost a war—and is now occupied by Nazi Germany and Japan.

This harrowing, Hugo Award-winning novel is the work that established Philip K. Dick as an innovator in science fiction while breaking the barrier between science fiction and the serious novel of ideas. In it Dick offers a haunting vision of history as a nightmare from which it may just be possible to wake.

Winner of the Hugo Award
Hugo

1 Similar Reader Recommendations

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Boneshaker

by Cherie Priest

In the early days of the Civil War, rumors of gold in the frozen Klondike brought hordes of newcomers to the Pacific Northwest. Anxious to compete, Russian prospectors commissioned inventor Leviticus Blue to create a great machine that could mine through Alaska’s ice. Thus was Dr. Blue’s Incredible Bone-Shaking Drill Engine born.

 

But on its first test run the Boneshaker went terribly awry, destroying several blocks of downtown Seattle and unearthing a subterranean vein of blight gas that turned anyone who breathed it into the living dead.

 

Now it is sixteen years later, and a wall has been built to enclose the devastated and toxic city. Just beyond it lives Blue’s widow, Briar Wilkes. Life is hard with a ruined reputation and a teenaged boy to support, but she and Ezekiel are managing. Until Ezekiel undertakes a secret crusade to rewrite history.

 

His quest will take him under the wall and into a city teeming with ravenous undead, air pirates, criminal overlords, and heavily armed refugees. And only Briar can bring him out alive.

Locus Science Fiction
Nebula
Hugo
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Leviathan

by Scott Westerfeld

1 avg rating
It is the cusp of World War I. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition. The British Darwinists employ genetically fabricated animals as their weaponry. Their Leviathan is a whale airship, and the most masterful beast in the British fleet.

Aleksandar Ferdinand, a Clanker, and Deryn Sharp, a Darwinist, are on opposite sides of the war. But their paths cross in the most unexpected way, taking them both aboard the Leviathan on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure….One that will change both their lives forever.

Locus Young Adult
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11/22/63

by Stephen King

4 avg rating
WINNER OF THE 2012 LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE

Dallas, 11/22/63: Three shots ring out.

President John F. Kennedy is dead.

Life can turn on a dime—or stumble into the extraordinary, as it does for Jake Epping, a high school English teacher in a Maine town. While grading essays by his GED students, Jake reads a gruesome, enthralling piece penned by janitor Harry Dunning: fifty years ago, Harry somehow survived his father’s sledgehammer slaughter of his entire family. Jake is blown away . . . but an even more bizarre secret comes to light when Jake’s friend Al, owner of the local diner, enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination. How? By stepping through a portal in the diner’s storeroom, and into the era of Ike and Elvis, of big American cars, sock hops, and cigarette smoke. . . . Finding himself in warmhearted Jodie, Texas, Jake begins a new life. But all turns in the road lead to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald. The course of history is about to be rewritten . . . and become heart-stoppingly suspenseful.

In Stephen King’s “most ambitious and accomplished” (NPR) novel, time travel has never been so believable. Or so terrifying.

Locus Science Fiction
British Fantasy Society
World Fantasy
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The Difference Engine

by William Gibson

5 avg rating
BSFA
Nebula
John W. Campbell
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The Plot Against America

by Philip Roth

2 avg rating
In an astonishing feat of empathy and narrative invention, our most ambitious novelist imagines an alternate version of American history.
In 1940 Charles A. Lindbergh, heroic aviator and rabid isolationist, is elected President. Shortly thereafter, he negotiates a cordial “understanding” with Adolf Hitler, while the new government embarks on a program of folksy anti-Semitism.

For one boy growing up in Newark, Lindbergh’s election is the first in a series of ruptures that threaten to destroy his small, safe corner of America–and with it, his mother, his father, and his older brother.
John W. Campbell
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Under Heaven

by Guy Gavriel Kay

View our feature on Guy Gavriel Kay’s Under Heaven.

In his latest innovative novel, the award-winning author evokes the dazzling Tang Dynasty of 8th-century China in a story of honor and power.

Inspired by the glory and power of Tang dynasty China, Guy Gavriel Kay has created a masterpiece.

It begins simply. Shen Tai, son of an illustrious general serving the Emperor of Kitai, has spent two years honoring the memory of his late father by burying the bones of the dead from both armies at the site of one of his father's last great battles. In recognition of his labors and his filial piety, an unlikely source has sent him a dangerous gift: 250 Sardian horses.

You give a man one of the famed Sardian horses to reward him greatly. You give him four or five to exalt him above his fellows, propel him towards rank, and earn him jealousy, possibly mortal jealousy. Two hundred and fifty is an unthinkable gift, a gift to overwhelm an emperor.

Wisely, the gift comes with the stipulation that Tai must claim the horses in person. Otherwise he would probably be dead already...

BSFA
World Fantasy
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Elsewhen

by Robert A. Heinlein

Touchstone, the magical theater troupe, continues to build audiences. But Cayden is increasingly troubled by his “elsewhens,” the uncontrolled moments when he is plunged into visions of the possible futures. He fears that his Fae gift will forever taint his friendships; his friends fear that his increasing distance will destroy him.    

But worldly success follows them—an apparent loss in the Trials leads to Touchstone being selected to travel to the Continent with a Royal Embassy to collect Prince Ashgar’s new bride. They are the first theater artists to appear outside Albeyn for at least seventy years—for magic is suspect and forbidden elsewhere, and the Kingdom’s easy race mixing and magic use horrifies the people they are to travel among.

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Ada Or Ardor: A Family Chronicle

by Vladimir Nabokov

Published two weeks after his seventieth birthday, Ada, or Ardor is one of Nabokov's greatest masterpieces, the glorious culmination of his career as a novelist.  It tells a love story troubled by incest.  But more: it is also at once a fairy tale, epic, philosophical treatise on the nature of time, parody of the history of the novel, and erotic catalogue.   Ada, or Ardor is no less than the supreme work of an imagination at white heat.

This is the first American edition to include the extensive and ingeniously  sardonic appendix by the author, written under the anagrammatic pseudonym Vivian Darkbloom.
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Videssos

by Harry Turtledove

Experience one of the most beloved series in fantasy—as could only be imagined by “the standard-bearer for alternate history” (USA Today).
 
Harry Turtledove’s many New York Times bestsellers provide an intriguing take on history’s most crucial moments, but he honed his speculative talents in a different genre: fantasy. The Videssos Cycle is the perfect fusion of the two. Collected here are the first two novels of Turtledove’s one-of-a-kind saga, in which a Roman legion is transported to a strange realm where magic rules.
 
THE MISPLACED LEGION
 
In a duel for survival, the Roman military tribune Marcus Aemilius Scaurus raises his sword, blessed by a Druid priest, against a Celtic chieftain, who brandishes a blade of his own. At the moment the weapons touch, Marcus and his legion find themselves under a strange night sky, full of unfamiliar stars, where Rome and Gaul are unknown. They are in an outpost of the embattled Empire of Videssos—a world that will test their skill and courage as no soldiers have ever been tested before.
 
AN EMPEROR FOR THE LEGION
 
In the capital of Videssos, a coward and betrayer has seized the throne. There, behind great walls that have always made the city impregnable to storm or siege, he rules with the aid of dark sorcery. Overthrowing him seems impossible and the imperial army has already fled in panic from the savage victors. But there is no panic in the legion. Now Marcus Scaurus leads his men through the chaos and enemy hordes in search of winter quarters, to regroup and do the unthinkable: take the untakeable city.
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For Want Of A Nail If Burgoyne Had Won At Saratoga

by Robert Sobel

For Want of a Nail is an alternate history classic. The outcome of one battle in the American Revolution diverges from reality, and sparks an unstoppable chain of events which affects the history of the whole North American continent. In reality, the British general John Burgoyne, heavily outnumbered by American troops, surrendered his army to General Horatio Gates at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777, a major turning-point of the Revolution. Robert Sobel takes a step sideways and presents the alternative version: reinforcements arrive at Saratoga, Gates' men flee, and Burgoyne is victorious. Rather than openly allying itself with the American rebels, France withdraws its support, as does Spain, and the colonies surrender. Those former rebels who refuse to live in the Confederation of North America established by the British leave their homes and settle in what becomes the United States of Mexico. From then on the two continental nations find themselves constant rivals, locked in military, political and economic conflict. Sobel provides a detailed, intricately documented insight into two warring powers that develop in such dramatically different ways from their shared origins.
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