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  1. #1
    hhtt21 is offline Key Member
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    alternative history v. fiction

    "Perhaps many people did not know, as Donald Trump says about obvious things that he just learned about, that the miracle of the Dunkirk evacuation continues to prompt one of the great historical “what-ifs” of all time.Alternative history is all the rage now. One television series imagines a United States under German and Japanese rule (“The Man in the High Castle”)."

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/28/o...n.html?mcubz=3

    What is alternative history used above? I think it is fiction more than an alternative history.

    Thank you.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 22-Aug-2017 at 19:50. Reason: Standardised font size across the post

  2. #2
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    Re: alternative history v. fiction

    It's referring to a genre of fiction, where historical events are re-written with different outcomes than what really happened.

    Harry Turtledove is one such author who writes in this genre. For example his book Guns of the South is set in an alternate history where the South won the American Civil war. Often, the genre involves elements of science fiction. For example, in Turtledove's books, the South wins the war due to time traveling white supremacists from the 21st century, who supply the South with modern day AK-47's.

    Edit: I can't recall the author or title, but I remember reading another book set in a space-faring future where the Mayan empire rose to rule all of Earth.
    Last edited by Skrej; 22-Aug-2017 at 19:21.
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  3. #3
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    Lynxear is offline Senior Member
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    Re: alternative history v. fiction

    Well, yes, the books are fiction since the events did not happen as described in the book. They are "alternate histories" since the authors postulate what would have happened if a historical event ended differently.

    I would not put a lot of credence in Donald Trump's thoughts of what effect the evacuation of Dunkirk in WWII had on alternate history. I think that he probably thinks this was a fictional event. But while the movie was not 100% accurate as they don't pay much attention to the French who were not alerted to the evacuation and the 100 or so French that were evacuated were immediately returned to France. The evacuation did happened and grossly reduced a huge bungle by the British military and turned into a propaganda success.

    There are many writers of alternate history novels. Harry Turtledove has written many of them. CJ Sansom wrote "Dominion" which is an alternate history examining what would happen if England had made peace with Germany during WWII. This link documents 1000 books that are deemed "alternate history"

    http://www.librarything.com/tag/alternate+history

    Since many such books involve time travel, you will usually find this category of books in the Science Fiction section of a library or bookstore.
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  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: alternative history v. fiction

    Quote Originally Posted by hhtt21 View Post
    I think it is fiction more than an alternative history.
    It is a form of fiction, but one rooted in history, and based on looking at what would have happened if the results had been different. Pure fiction does not require the historical base to start.

  5. #5
    hhtt21 is offline Key Member
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    Re: alternative history v. fiction

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    It is a form of fiction, but one rooted in history, and based on looking at what would have happened if the results had been different. Pure fiction does not require the historical base to start.
    Does the verb to root mean to be based on/to be depend on or is it something else? If it is something else, what is it in the link?

    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/root

    Thank you.

  6. #6
    andrewg927 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: alternative history v. fiction

    It means "based on".

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