1. Lewdog
    Offline

    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2012
    Messages:
    7,530
    Likes Received:
    2,826
    Location:
    Williamsburg, KY

    Style Alternate History Book

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Lewdog, Dec 7, 2013.

    I was lying in bed last night (settle down ladies...) trying to think of a creative new way to present a novel. One of the ideas I cam up with is very polarizing in my mind, so I thought I would ask the members here what they thought. What do you guys think of a novel that is written like a history book, so basically there is not any creative talk or very much dialogue, but it is based on alternate history.

    What if England had won the Revolutionary War? What if Amelia Earhart never crashed? What if Napoleon hadn't tried to march into Russia in the middle of winter? I think you get the idea. Do you think anyone would be interested in a book like this?
     
  2. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Do YOU enjoy reading history texts? Even if your answer is yes, it is probably for the knowledge you would gain, so that would not apply to a fictional history text.

    Readers relate to personalities, not to populations and events.
     
  3. Lewdog
    Offline

    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2012
    Messages:
    7,530
    Likes Received:
    2,826
    Location:
    Williamsburg, KY
    The other idea I had was a book full of alternate history news article put together. They would look just like news articles that were photocopied or taped into the book.
     
  4. minstrel
    Offline

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,725
    Likes Received:
    4,821
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    I'm reminded of a quote from the preface Anthony Burgess wrote to his book 99 Novels:

    "It would be possible to publish a novel in the format of The Times. Indeed, I once had the notion of writing a fiction of a dying man who sees the unfolded Times on his bed and deliriously traces all his past life as though it were the content of that newspaper - news items, editorials, crossword puzzle, everything. If I did not write that book it is because the novel is a commercial form that is not intended to lose money."

    Be careful. It's fascinating, and fun, to write fiction in different forms, but remember that, at some point, the reader must be served. Don't exasperate him any more than necessary. :)
     
  5. Lewdog
    Offline

    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2012
    Messages:
    7,530
    Likes Received:
    2,826
    Location:
    Williamsburg, KY

    That's very true, and I see what you are saying there. I just have an attention problem that keeps me from writing long pieces. So I'm trying to find something alternate that isn't just an anthology of short stories. The ideal project would keep not only the attention of the reader, but my attention as I write it. Plus I tend to be one of those that not only likes to go outside the box, I've set up a camp fire, my sleeping bag, and dug a crapper hole there.
     
  6. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,903
    Likes Received:
    10,090
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    I own a book that is somewhat similar to the first notion you presented herein called The Third Millennium: A History of the World AD 2000-3000. It's different in that instead of alternate history, it's future history as seen from an even more future reader, but it's presented very much as you describe, as a history book of sorts, not as a narrative. It's interesting, but the structure lends to the reader not reading from page 1 to page last, but rather flipping about here and there for things that catch the eye.
     
    Lewdog likes this.
  7. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,684
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    There are alternative historical novels, which is to say historical novels based on a theory of an alternative history. But they are not written as history books. They are written as any other historical novel is written - with a focus on the characters and their stories, so that the reader has a reason to care.

    One example is Philip Roth's The Plot Against America, which was based on his theories of what might have happened had Charles Lindbergh run for the Republican nomination for president in 1940 as the consensus isolationist candidate, beaten out Wendell Willkie, and then had beaten FDR in the election with the intention of keeping the US out of World War II.
     
  8. Lewdog
    Offline

    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2012
    Messages:
    7,530
    Likes Received:
    2,826
    Location:
    Williamsburg, KY

    Yes, that is one problem I quickly came to, that one change would change all future history which could be quite problematic.

    Another idea would be a book of fake news articles similar to "The Onion" where a comedic spin is placed on true historical events.
     
  9. Burlbird
    Offline

    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2011
    Messages:
    978
    Likes Received:
    295
    Location:
    Somewhere Else
    Kind of like Stapledon's "Last and First Men"? Or Wells "The Shape of Things to Come"? Although, they are all "future histories"... It could be an interesting project - maybe a collaborative project with someone who could write sociological or economical or art chapters of an alternative world? ..."Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius"-style? Hmmm....

    I don't know, but most sci-fi novels I can think of have very little to do with characters, and most if not everything to do with concepts and ideas. One of my youth favorites was Clarke's "Rendezvous with Rama" - followed by a sequel trilogy that I still can't read, mainly because the focus shifted to a character-driven plot which was terribly dull. And the last classic SF I've read, the first three "Culture" novels: I can't remember the names of protagonists. But the scope of the universe: that I remember. :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2013

Share This Page