So, alternate history?

What if the Nazis had won the Second World War (Fatherland – Robert Harris, The Man in the High Castle – Philip K Dick) or England had remained Catholic (Pavane – Keith Roberts, The Alteration – Kingsley Amis)? Or perhaps if Roosevelt had lost the 1940 election and right-wing Charles Lindbergh had become US president (The Plot Against America – Philip Roth)? 

And the big one for 1066... Suppose William's ships had foundered, or Harold hadn't been forced to go north against Harald Hardrada, or a third party had intervened or William or Harold had died before the invasion? 

A new time line, diverging from the one we now live in, will have a opened up with new possibilities and consequences. Who knows what will happen next?

Called alternate, or alternative, history this type of fiction lets us explore these "what if" scenarios through our stories. Alison Morton writes exclusively in the alternative history framework and introduces us to the conventions of this genre. Read on...

6 comments:

  1. This a what if that has been taxing my brain for a while - well 'what if Harold Hardrada had conquered Britain' and established more of a foothold than his forebears'. Maybe I will learn more.......

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    1. Thank you for commenting, Roland.
      I'm going to leave it to the experts on the period to answer this one, but a very interesting question...

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    2. Thanks Alison. Your own Roman series has inspired my thinking on the Vikings and their legacy, and what it could have become. (Strange where TWells leads...)

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  2. Indeed this theme is one of our 'what if' stories. England would have been a very different place had Hardrada won in the north.... but even if he had, would Duke William have beaten him?

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  3. That would be my story, Roland. I honestly think that Hardrada was considered the bigger threat than William at the time as he was a hugely renowned warrior with a wealth of experience and also just with wealth! It was all down to English Harold's heroism that he was defeated but in reality he probably would have been a far more accepted king of England than William. Or would he...?

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    1. I look forward to reading your story. Fascinated by the whole 'Viking question' as plotting a Viking legacy alternative history (set in Canada).

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