Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Alternate Realties & Me

I am a huge fan of Alternate Reality/ History fiction.  This is a type of Science Fiction that looks to the idea of what of History took a turn in a different direction than it did.  My first introduction to this was through various episodes of Star Trek, including Mirror Mirror, Omega Glory and. Bread and Circuses.  All of these episode deal with what might have been scenarios.  It was the Incarnations of Immortality series by Piers Anthony where we had a modern world with magic that I saw what this kind of stories could be. 

In my twenties I had a roommate who had a degree in History.  He was fascinated with Alternate Reality/ History fiction and introduced me to several Authors, including Philip K. Dick, Harry Turtledove, and Fred Saberhagen.  Some of these authors merged various known fictional worlds while other stuck to altering known history.  My first foray into Harry Turtledove work was his joint authored novel Two Georges with Richard Dreyfuss, the Hollywood Actor.  This book was about a world in which the thirteen North American colonies and the British Crown were able to come up with a workable compromise.  It was a murder mystery set in such a world and was fascinating to me.  I then followed two series that were short story collections, What Might Have Been edited by Gregory Benford and The Alternate Anthology series edited by Mike Resnick.  These two series gave me a multitude of Alternate worlds to see. 

Since then I have read How Few Remain and The Great War: The American Front both by Harry Turtledove about a world were the Confederate States of America were able to keep their independence.  I did not keep up with the various other books in The Great War series of its succeeding series.  I also read King of the Wood by John Maddox Roberts.  This book was about various groups of Vikings who were exiled to Vinland (North America).  It was Vikings versus Native Americans and Aztecs.  Some of these were not just alternate histories but had elements of magic in them. 

Next were a few series that combined alternate realities with magic.  The Alvin Maker series by Orson Scott Card, about a world with magical talents called knacks.  This world diverged in that Oliver Cromwell’s folks kept control of Britain.  The English crown moved to the Southern Colonies.  This led to a un-unified North America.  The series is set in the 1800’s.  Then I read Randall Garrett’s Lord Darcy omnibus.  This was a magical world where Britain and France are a unified nation.  They stories were in the form of whodunits.  Next were J. Gregory Keyes’ The Age of Unreason books.  I have only read the first two.  These are set in the 1700’s were magic and alchemy exist.  A young Ben Franklin teams up with a much older Sir Isaac Newton to foil diabolical plots. Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate and Finishing School series are set in a Steampunk 1800’s with supernatural creatures.  Carriger’s work is kinda a cross between Jane Austen, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Jules Verne and Charles Dickens.  They are solidly writer books.  These are the alternate reality works that I can remember reading to Date.   That Is My Not So Humble Opinion.

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