Exploring What If?

The UN talks about sanctions on Syria — and the dissent of Russia and China — started me thinking about what would have happened if Europe had become involved in our own civil war. The Confederate States certainly tried hard to get England on their side, but with no success. Would it have made a difference if they had?

Many authors have explored what is known in the library biz as Alternative History or Speculative Fiction. The most prolific author is probably Harry Turtledove whose most recent book, The Big Switch, supposes that Neville Chamberlain had stood up to Hitler before the war began. He has also posited the South winning the Civil War, Byzantium surviving, Germany winning World War Two.Other recent authors have President Taft running for president 100 years later, Christian Fundamentalists attacking a peaceful Bagdad and a Mesolithic-Era young girl fighting the flood by building a stone wall around her town.

Other authors do time travel to change history. Mark Twain had his Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Diane Gabaldon has her Outlander series and Eric Flint has a whole town go back in time in his Assiti Shards series.

If you would like to try some alternatives to the history we have now, or just ask yourself the question, what would happen if… then search for the subject “Alternative Histories Fiction” in the eCatalog.