sexta-feira, 19 de novembro de 2010

Uchronia - The Alternate History List

What is Alternate History?

Simply stated, an alternate history is the description and/or discussion of an historical "what if" with some speculation about the consequences of a different result.

Other names which may apply to the form include alternative history, allohistory, counterfactuals, if-worlds, uchronia and uchronie, parallel worlds, what-if stories, abwegige geschichten, etc. Whatever it is called, alternate history somehow involves one or more past events which "happened otherwise" and includes some amount of description of the subsequent effects on history. Perhaps the most common themes in alternate history are "What if the Nazis won World War II?" and "What if the Confederacy won the Civil War?", but alternate Napoleons, Roman Empires, and Kennedys are also popular subjects.

Alternate history may appear in novels, short stories, scholarly essays, comic books, movies, television shows, plays and elsewhere. This bibliography limits its attention to alternative history in printed form.

The extent to which an alternate history may be developed varies radically and might comprise the entire plotline of a novel (e.g., Robert Sobel's For Want of a Nail... or Peter G. Tsouras's Gettysburg: An Alternate History) or perhaps just provide a single paragraph background to a short story or essay.

The majority of alternate history is written as deliberate fiction. As such, it is most often classified as science fiction, or at least that is where you are most likely to find it at your local bookstore. Nevertheless, you will find examples in other genres, including horror, mystery, historical non-fiction, historical fiction, children's and young-adult fiction, and "mainstream" fiction. When marketed as mainstream fiction or thriller/suspense fiction, alternate histories have been known to crack the bestseller lists (e.g., Len Deighton's SS-GB) and even get made into movies (Robert Harris's Fatherland).

For non-fiction "counterfactuals", the occasional complete volume is published, sometimes as a complete speculation such as the Sobel and Tsouras cited above, but more likely as a collection of essays (e.g. Robert Cowley's What If? or Kenneth Macksey's The Hitler Options). But the most likely non-fiction sources are history and economics scholarly journals. Note, though, that counterfactual economics is sometimes known as "cliometrics". Also, the term "alternative history" may be used in non-fiction to describe a work which provides a different interpretation (or "spin") of actual events than is commonly understood. This is not alternate history as discussed here.

The topic of alternate history is also frequently addressed in wargames and wargaming magazines, although in those media it is usually left to the reader/player to determine what happens after the "point of divergence".