Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Brief Essays on Genre, Part 22: On Alternate History



On Alternate History


Once, it was the playground of historians. What if the Spartans had come late to Thermopylae? What if Zheng He’s treasure fleet had reached Africa? What if Tecumseh had turned back the European expansion into North America?


Then, with “Ike at the Mike,” Howard Waldrop asked: What if Dwight David Eisenhower had become a jazz musician? And alternate histories no longer needed to make sense.


The number of alternate history stories grew exponentially soon thereafter.


--Michael Swanwick


1 comment:

Kevin said...

But, being by Howard Waldrop, it was still an absolute delight to read, whether it made sense or not!