Questions tagged [alternate-history]

Fiction set in a world whose history branches off from our own, which may or may not have science-fictional or fantasy elements

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51
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5answers
22k views

Back To The Future Flaw - why don't Marty's parents recognize him in the new future?

I believe I've spotted a flaw, and I'd like to know if other fans have noticed it too. In the first BTTF, Marty McFly travels back to 1955 (his parents' high school era). He meets his mother and she ...
40
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6answers
7k views

What's the most recent specific historical element that is common between Star Trek and the real world?

It is well known that there appears to be some divergence between the events of the Star Trek universe and ours (in particular, the Augments and Khan Singh, etc.) Related: Has Star Trek ever ...
35
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15answers
14k views

What happens to the second Marty at the end of Back to the Future?

In Back to the Future (the original movie), Marty comes back from 1955 10 mins early to prevent Doc from being shot (which he fails at). He then rolls up to the Lone Pine Mall and sees himself hit 88 ...
27
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6answers
10k views

What is the difference between a parallel universe and an alternate timeline?

"Star Trek" fans have labeled the new J.J. Abrams movie as being set in an alternate timeline. Alternate because it is different from the established history of the Star Trek universe. The word ...
22
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2answers
2k views

Trying to Remember a Book that explored evolution of Dinosaurs to intelligence and then encountering humans

Many, many years ago, I read a book where dinosaurs were assumed to have suvived the K-T event (or it never happened), and they evolved to intelligent species that used not only language (which ...
21
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5answers
13k views

Does the Starship Troopers movie take place in an alternate future where the Nazis won?

The parallels seem pretty obvious, especially when you see Neil Patrick Harris' costume near the end of the film: Has there ever been any official word? And is there more that I've missed? I'd just ...
21
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0answers
244 views

Short story where a physics professor goes to a timeline where his son doesn’t exist

The story probably dates from the late 80s to early 90s. I'm almost sure I read it in one of the pulp magazines while researching an article in the early '00s. A physics professor, in a fit of ...
20
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5answers
1k views

What was the first SciFi work that theorized that Homo Sapiens were seeded on Earth by intelligent aliens?

What was the first SciFi work that theorized that Homo Sapiens were seeded on Earth by intelligent aliens (as opposed to all the other Earth species which evolved separately)? The earliest one I can ...
17
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1answer
2k views

Looking for a story about how the USA acquired an inland sea

I came across a story ID request here recently, that reminded me of another similar story I've read. So that earthquake, did you check your math? The story I've read, most likely in '90s or the late ...
17
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2answers
1k views

Why exactly do the Twin Towers still stand in the Kermit-less world?

It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie is about Kermit the Frog exploring a world where he had never been born, It's a Wonderful Life-style. It came out in late 2002. At one point, the Twin Towers ...
15
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6answers
2k views

Did Edith Keeler really have to *die*?

In the Star Trek TOS episode 28, "The City on the Edge of Forever", we find that McCoy's drug-fueled tear through the past caused serious and far-reaching effects on the space-time continuum; to wit, ...
12
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1answer
2k views

Book about government-funded research yielding functional teleportation that causes personality changes

I read about 15 years ago a book about teleportation devices and alternate histories, and I have the greatest difficulties to recall its name or its author. The story goes more or less like this: ...
12
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1answer
2k views

What was the fate of Hitler and the non-HYDRA Nazi party in the MCU?

The MCU Wiki article about HYDRA says that the organization, under the command of Johann Schmidt, broke away from Nazi leadership in 1943. (We see a scene related to this in Captain America: The ...
11
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1answer
596 views

Story Identification: Bubonic Plague-Initiated Alternative History

I remember seeing this book in the summer of 1987, while working at a book wholesaler, and I have been long hunting around to try to figure out what title it was. The book opens with some monks ...
11
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2answers
440 views

How long ago could we have gone to Mars? [closed]

In the online show Pioneer One, part of the premise is that decades ago the USSR sent a secret expedition to Mars. Setting aside the problems of keeping such a feat a secret for decades, this seems ...
11
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1answer
333 views

Can you identify this time-travel/alternate history novel? [duplicate]

I read this sometime in the 2000s, in another state, so I can't go back and check the shelves. A scientist discovers time-travel, or something like it -- it's a time-sea. Swimming in it causes ...
10
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1answer
249 views

“Flint age”, alternate history scifi with racist native americans

Around 2005 or 2006 I read a novel that had a number of interesting concepts, and I would like to find it again. What I remember: The title was something like "the flint age". The priest were the ...
10
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1answer
145 views

Does anyone know the book “The Eagle Flies Over England”?

In 1969, visiting my aunt in the Netherlands, I saw and read a book in her library which I seem to recall was titled The Eagle Flies over England. It supposes that the Buonoparte family fled Corsica ...
10
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1answer
206 views

Novel about Soviets winning the Cold War

I don’t remember the plot beyond a few salient points: It was an alternate history in which the Soviets won the Cold War. There was a description towards the beginning of new apartment buildings ...
9
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1answer
1k views

Lizard Men from Space Invade Earth

Sometime around 2005 to 2007 I read a book that told the story of an alternate history Earth that took place around World War 2. This book was part of a series but not the first or last book (I only ...
8
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1answer
423 views

What was the first SciFi/Fantasy work to include intelligent beings evolved from Earth dinosaurs?

The theme that dinosaurs (or some other pre-60-million-years-ago reptilian species of Earth) may have evolved into intelligent beings who then had an encounter with men is pretty widely used ("West of ...
8
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1answer
471 views

Is the Flashpoint universe part of the 52 Earths?

The Summer 2011 DC Comics event is called Flashpoint, and in it The Flash ends up stranded on a parallel Earth. Is this alternate Earth one of the 52 parallel Earths, as revealed back in the series ...
8
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1answer
245 views

Book involving time travel, hordes of Genghis Khan riding Harleys, and Legionaries with anti-tank weapons?

I'm trying to recall the title of a book involving time travel. It included warriors from different time periods being given modern technology. The Hordes of Genghis Khan were like a biker gang riding ...
8
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2answers
281 views

What major real-earth historical events had a different outcome because of Marvel Supers?

I am interested to know if any past event (let’s only consider Earth's timeline up to World War II, for the sake of brevity — the events from WWII to the present are well-covered in the comics). We ...
7
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1answer
131 views

Book series about a junior officer in the Polish Air Force

I'm looking for a series of novels set in Poland that depict an alternate past and future. In the first book, a junior officer in the Polish Air Force (I think) is on a walking tour. He bought some ...
7
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1answer
234 views

All the Small Wars at Once

Looking for a SF Short Story I read many years ago. Name (although not exactly sure): "All the Small Wars at Once". I believe it was written by Larry Niven (but not sure). Brief synopsis (as I ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

Title of a sci-fi book with time-travel and sentient dinosaurs

I'm trying to remember the title of a book I read approximately 15 years ago. My memory of the plot is a bit hazy, but it centered around time-travel. If I recall correctly, in the story people ...
7
votes
1answer
569 views

What does Mr. Tagomi's assistant say when he opens the door?

In Amazon's The Man in the High Castle, whenever Kotomichi comes into Mr. Tagomi's office, he says something just before he opens the door. It sounds sort of like "Christmas" to me, but presumably it'...
7
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1answer
342 views

In “The Difference Engine,” why did the completion of the Difference Engine lead to a balkanized USA?

In The Difference Engine, by Bruce Sterling and William Gibson, the point of departure is that Charles Babbage got the funding to make his proposed Victorian calculator, the Difference Engine. Now, in ...
7
votes
1answer
272 views

Explorers trying to cross an impassable Pacific ocean, which has caused a different WWII outcome

I'm looking for the name of a short story (probably from the 2000s) set in a world where the Pacific ocean appears to be impossible to cross (all who attempt to do so disappear). History seems to be ...
7
votes
1answer
187 views

What was the series of alternate history stories about a nonhuman apes found in the Americas?

This was some decades ago, maybe as far back as the 80’s. One of the major SF magazines (Analog or Asimov’s) published a number of stories set in a universe where the Americas were found to be ...
7
votes
1answer
848 views

How did the Days of Future Past timeline Jean Grey survive?

So, Jean Grey, in the alternate timeline survives long enough to give birth to Rachel Summer/Grey. Is this explored somewhere? Did the Dark Phoenix events just never happen? I suppose, more ...
7
votes
1answer
126 views

Alternative History - Alchemy, crystal faxes, and Jesus Shoes

I recall reading a book that was newly or recently released in the mid-to-late 90s which featured an alternative history where alchemy, not science, was discovered. Many of the prominant characters ...
6
votes
1answer
360 views

Did the 9/11 (World Trade Centre) attack happen in the Star Trek universe?

There is evidence that the timeline of Star Trek had already diverged from our own by the middle of the 20th century. Are there any materials, at any level of canon, that describe the fate of the Twin ...
6
votes
2answers
623 views

From whence comes Tolkien's history of the Mûmak (Oliphaunt) and its demise?

It is rather clear from the prologue to The Fellowship of the Ring, specifically the "Note on the Shire Records," that the Lord of the Rings account of the third age comes from information primarily ...
6
votes
1answer
136 views

Story identification: Time travel to disrupt Columbus

I'm trying to recall the name of a novel that was set in a dystopian future with time travel. A group sets out to disrupt Columbus and change Aztec culture to be more resistant to European invasion ...
6
votes
2answers
340 views

Assiti Shards universe - Are there any examples of crossovers between different “sub-series”?

Note for those unfamiliar: "Assiti Shards" is a universe created by Eric Flint which is designed to serve as a basis for several distinct series of alternate history/fiction books. The most famous/...
6
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1answer
95 views

Title/author of fantasy novel — the Puritans visit Ottoman Empire ? Alt. Hist

I'm looking for a female fantasy author who wrote a novel about an alternate reality in which the Puritans always ruled America, and visited the Ottoman Empire, seeking a trade deal. It's a commentary ...
6
votes
1answer
222 views

What alternate history has Americans salting their tea?

I keep thinking this may be The Two Georges, but I can’t find my copy anywhere. I’m fairly sure this was from an alternate history where the US was still part of the British empire. I think this ...
6
votes
1answer
225 views

Short story about an alternate World War One lasting 20 years

This was a story I read a long time ago, I believe from Asimov's magazine in the early 1980s (1982?), about a pilot or soldier in an alternate World War I that lasted much longer than it did in our ...
6
votes
0answers
200 views

Short story with travel between alternative realities through the London Underground

I think it's a story from the 60s or 70s, set in its present. A British SS from an alternative reality in which Nazi Germany has won the war arrives inadvertently to our reality's London. I remember ...
6
votes
0answers
151 views

Short story involving preventing disaster by keeping one key man from doing/not doing something

Read this story 20-30 years ago but it was probably old then. A team of operatives (from the future?) tries to influence the actions of one key man to prevent devastation of earth. In one world this ...
5
votes
3answers
455 views

Pre-1978 sci-fi novel involving life under an Asian occupation of US

Just in case: it's not the "Man in the High Castle"! ;) -- which was published much earlier. This science fiction story (may have been a novella), from what little I recall, involved the aftermath ...
5
votes
1answer
358 views

Identify this alternative history short story about a pilot refusing to drop a bomb

I'm trying to remember the name of an alternative-history short story, can anyone help me? It is about a man who refuses to drop a bomb because he feels that he would be responsible for the deaths ...
5
votes
1answer
125 views

What year is the series “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” supposedly set in?

Almost everything in Greendale seems to be vintage 1960's (cars, movies, dress). I assume it is to reflect the original comic book, but I swear I saw Ambrose using a laptop computer in the first ...
5
votes
2answers
960 views

What are the human cultures depicted in the Valerian opening montage?

Relating to this video: and this question: Why this year in Valerian?, @Valorum provided this answer which explains the context and thinking In particular, In ...
5
votes
1answer
310 views

How did the Nazis come to invade Britain?

In the BBC drama SS-GB the Nazis have invaded the UK and instigated their rule across the country. The timeline of the first episode appears to happen in 1941. What event was different from our ...
5
votes
1answer
99 views

Help! Book with Double Headed Character Called Neds

This is my first time posting here so please point out any etiquette mistakes I make :) I am looking for help finding a trilogy I read some time ago. I can't seem to remember enough search terms to ...
5
votes
1answer
258 views

Need help identifying - Alternate history - Spanish Armada wins over English

Can somebody help me identify this story which I read in the 1980s(?). What I remember is that in 1588 the Spanish Armada was not destroyed on its way to battle the English fleet and the English ...
5
votes
1answer
154 views

Mid 20th century post-apocalyptic novel which utilized the term “the Mysteries”?

"The Mysteries" were descriptions of past cultural traditions such as religion or ethnicity which became mangled when half-remembered by survivors of an apocalyptic war or pestilence. I especially ...