Analysis Of Alternate History Literature Essay Research

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Analysis Of Alternate History Literature Essay, Research Paper Is there such a thing as fate? Are all of the events that occurred throughout history inevitable in their outcomes? Of course not. That is the reason why history is studied so extensively, so that we may learn from those past events in order to sculpt our own future. Nonetheless, a prevalent question that has arisen from such studies is that which asks “What if…?” With that, one finds themselves inquiring into the genre of alternate history. In such pieces of literature, the world is viewed as if it had undergone a reasonable change at some point in the past, this being referred to as the point of divergence (from our own timeline). As might be expected, those authors that chance to write such works must

contemplate heavily even the smallest details of the events in each story in order to not only make the reader enjoy the work, but believe that such an allohistory is plausible. For in such contemplation lies the quality that marks the literature of this genre, as plausibility must be regarded in even the most fantastic of alternate histories. The plot behind many alternate histories is extensively linked to the overall plausibility of the piece. This is dependent upon several factors, each of which are in most cases either greatly respected or widely ignored by authors. Foremost, an alternate history must be the result of a reasonable point of divergence. Examples of reasonable events vary from different decisions being made by key individuals of the era to the most far-out

influence possible. In no case should point of divergence arise in such a way that it contradicts the sociopolitical and technological progress of the time. In other words, situations involving “super empires” and “rising from the ashes” should be avoided, if it is obviously preposterous. Henceforth, the successful passage of secret orders (that would have otherwise been intercepted) to a Confederate general leading to a Civil War victory for the South (How Few Remain, Turtledove 1998) is equally as plausible as an extraterrestrial invasion of Earth during the Second World War which leads to a suspension of intra-human hostilities to fight a more menacing force (WorldWar series, Turtledove). As aforementioned, the plausibility of an alternate history also tries to stay

within the context of the sociopolitical and technological progress of the era. An excellent example of such would be Harry Turtledove’s Great War series, which chronicles the events of World War I as they transpire on a North American continent where the Confederate States battle the United States for the second time since they won the “War of Secession”. In the first of the three books released, technology remains on course with the utilization of machine guns, propeller-mounted aircraft and the automobile, as well as the introduction of new technology like “barrels”, or the American name for the tank (which did in fact make it’s debut in warfare on the side of the British in WWI). The politics of the this particular timeline are also similar to our own, if not

amplified by the presence of a large Socialist party in the United States working for progressive changes and revolutionary actions on the part of the oppressed Black population of the CSA. Each of these can be seen to reflect similar (although not so pronounced) events in the normal timeline. The plot of an alternate history can be observed as being not the story of a single character, but of many. In order to obtain an understanding of the scope of the difference between that history and our own, one has to follow a number of characters. The circumstances of each of these characters may or may not intertwine, but each character in and of themselves serves to represent a specific view of the story. Therefore, in histories centered around a war, you will find characters on both