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Speculative Fiction

Jeanne
Scribbler

Speculative Fiction

Postby Jeanne » Thu August 4th, 2011, 9:09 pm

Good afternoon ~

Are there any other readers or writers of speculative fiction here?

Speculative fiction, or "what if...?" books, or alternate history, is a relative of historical fiction in that it is based on history up to a critical point. A given book's underlying thesis might be "What if Lincoln survived the assassination attempt in 1865?" and then whatever plot overlay there is is built on that foundation, at any point forward in that divergent future.

I'm a big fan of well-done specfic, and I'm working on one with my husband; I find it challenging to write, because done well, a plot considers a number of the changes that would have been effected in global realms - economic, political, social. But it is all the more intriguing for that reason. I also have found, for my own purposes, that it's easier for me to write closer in time to the actual crucial event in question.

Anyone else a fan?

Jeanne

Ash
Bibliomaniac
Location: Arizona, USA

Postby Ash » Thu August 4th, 2011, 10:43 pm

Does historical fantasy count here? I love Guy Gabriel Kay. His series on Byzanntium, and his book on an imagined Spain were brillant. I have his new one, Under Heaven, just haven't gotten to it yet.

Jeanne
Scribbler

Postby Jeanne » Fri August 5th, 2011, 12:58 am

"Ash" wrote:Does historical fantasy count here? I love Guy Gabriel Kay. His series on Byzanntium, and his book on an imagined Spain were brillant. I have his new one, Under Heaven, just haven't gotten to it yet.


For my purposes, I'm distinguishing historical fantasy (supernatural elements, total alternate universes) from speculative fiction/alternate history. I do enjoy Guy Gavriel Kay's work, and have fun matching the parallel elements here. So he counts as a great writer, but that's not really what I have in mind.

I'll have to ask my husband for a couple of titles he's read recently - it's been a long time since I've read anything new in this category, so I can't recall titles.

Scott (husband) says _Peshawar Lancers_ comes close, although the theory is that Victorian mental powers are actually developed, like mesmerism.

Jeanne

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Alisha Marie Klapheke
Avid Reader
Location: Franklin, TN
Contact:

Postby Alisha Marie Klapheke » Fri August 5th, 2011, 3:33 am

I just finished reading Ruled Brittania by Turtledove. He imagines Britain conquered by Philip with Eliz in the Tower. Fantastic read.

My WIP is more hist fant than spec fic BUT the fiction does bring an important clash and ultimately the true parliament into being sooner. It is fun to mess with history. It makes you appreciate the ripple effect of our actions. It is very tough to write but I love it. For instance, if I kill off someone who created something very key to England today, I have a hard time...I feel the need to replace the institution/cathedral/child or whathaveyou.

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ejays17
Reader
Location: Australia
Contact:

Postby ejays17 » Fri August 5th, 2011, 8:10 am

A couple of titles / authors that I can think of - I haven't read all of them, but SLOC has - so can't give an opinion on them.

Stephen Barnes - Lion's Blood & its sequel Zulu Heart. Africa is the dominiant world power, not Europe / America, Wiki link to info

Kim Stanley Robinson - The Years of Rice and Salt. 99% of the European polulation was wiped out by the black plague, leaving Asia the dominant force in the world. Wiki link to info

Sophia McDougall - Romanitas. The Roman Empire survives to modern times
Wiki Link to info (I read about half of this one, but found that the characters / settings didn't really "speak" to me, and there are far too many other books out there to try! :) )
"Logic, my dear Zoe, merely enables one to be wrong with authority." The Doctor, Wheel in Space

SLOC: Solid Lump of Comfort (from the Chalet School books by Elinor M Brent-Dyer)

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fljustice
Bibliophile
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Contact:

Postby fljustice » Fri August 5th, 2011, 5:35 pm

I liked Turtledove's books on the alternative American Civil War and its aftermath. Haven't read much of this kind of thing lately.
Faith L. Justice, Author Website
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annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Fri August 5th, 2011, 6:49 pm

I raed a lot of SF and alt. historical fiction back in the day, but not so much recently. Harry Harrison's [url]http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/h/harry-harrison/hammer-and-cross.htm]Hammer and the Cross[/url] series, a Dark Age trilogy where the Vikings conquer England, was one of my favourites.

L Sprague de Camp's Lest Darkness Fall and John M Ford'sDragon Waiting are other oldies I recall fondly. Dragon Waiting has some fantasy elements- actually given that it contains vampires I'm surprised it hasn't been resurrected :)

I recently reeled my way through The Fallen Blade, Jon Courtenay Grimwood’s paranormal adventure set in an alternate 15th century Venice ruled by the descendants of Marco Polo. This story is oddly compelling, mostly because of the vivid portrayal of Venice itself, but also exhausting. The plot is chaotically frenetic; murderous Machiavellian aristocrats scheme, and assassins and the currently obligatory vampires and werewolves battle it out all over the city, slithering their way through guts and gore galore. Just too OTT for me, though it has its moments.

Jeanne
Scribbler

Postby Jeanne » Sat August 6th, 2011, 6:58 am

"Alisha Marie Klapheke" wrote:I just finished reading Ruled Brittania by Turtledove. He imagines Britain conquered by Philip with Eliz in the Tower. Fantastic read.

My WIP is more hist fant than spec fic BUT the fiction does bring an important clash and ultimately the true parliament into being sooner. It is fun to mess with history. It makes you appreciate the ripple effect of our actions. It is very tough to write but I love it. For instance, if I kill off someone who created something very key to England today, I have a hard time...I feel the need to replace the institution/cathedral/child or whathaveyou.


I'll have to read it! For all the Turtledove on shelves, I've never read this one.

Jeanne

User avatar
Helen_Davis
Compulsive Reader

Postby Helen_Davis » Wed February 13th, 2013, 4:45 pm

"Jeanne" wrote:Good afternoon ~

Are there any other readers or writers of speculative fiction here?

Speculative fiction, or "what if...?" books, or alternate history, is a relative of historical fiction in that it is based on history up to a critical point. A given book's underlying thesis might be "What if Lincoln survived the assassination attempt in 1865?" and then whatever plot overlay there is is built on that foundation, at any point forward in that divergent future.

I'm a big fan of well-done specfic, and I'm working on one with my husband; I find it challenging to write, because done well, a plot considers a number of the changes that would have been effected in global realms - economic, political, social. But it is all the more intriguing for that reason. I also have found, for my own purposes, that it's easier for me to write closer in time to the actual crucial event in question.

Anyone else a fan?

Jeanne


I certainly am! I have a series planned based on Cleopatra winning the Battle of Actium.
http://evaperonnovel.wordpress.com


"The first time a book has gotten us close to Evita, in all her misery and all her splendor."
Excerpt from the Spanish summary of my novel

Cuchulain
Scribbler

Postby Cuchulain » Tue April 30th, 2013, 5:38 pm

"Helen_Davis" wrote:I certainly am! I have a series planned based on Cleopatra winning the Battle of Actium.


This one has been done before!
Byzantium's Crown & sequels by Susan Schwartz

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Byzantiums-Crown-Susan-Shwartz/dp/0330297899/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1367343430&sr=1-2&keywords=byzantium%27s+crown


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