Category Archives: alternate history

“Aristotle and the Gun,” L. Sprague de Camp, 1958

“Aristotle and the Gun,” L. Sprague de Camp, 1958 – A scientist travels back in time to try to teach Aristotle the scientific method and, thus, change his present.  He pretends to be a traveler from India–replete with marvelous, new … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, alternate history, knowledge/truth/epistemology, the scientist, time/history/causality | Leave a comment

“Two Dooms,” Cyril M. Kornbluth, 1958

“Two Dooms,” Cyril M. Kornbluth, 1958 – Los Alamos, May 1945: Edward Royland is a theoretical physicist pondering the ethics of creating the atom bomb.  He’s transported by a Native American fable/ritual (and peyote) to a world where the Nazis … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, alternate history, american culture, atomic bomb/Hiroshima, communication, drugs/pharma, eugenics/heredity, fantasy/fable/fairy tale, favorites, gender, genocide/Holocaust, intelligence, knowledge/truth/epistemology, nationalism, Native Americans, satire, scientific ethics, the body, the Other, the scientist, time/history/causality, totalitarianism/fascism, violence, war/soldiers | Leave a comment

“Quit Zoomin’ Those Hands Through the Air,” Jack Finney, 1951

“Quit Zoomin’ Those Hands Through the Air,” Jack Finney, 1951 – The real first pilot tells his grandson how, during the Civil War, he traveled through time to the Smithsonian of the future and highjacked the Wright Brothers plane to … Continue reading

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“A Wild Surmise,” Kuttner and Moore, 1953

“A Wild Surmise,” Kuttner and Moore, 1953 – Two psychiatrists in alternate realities battle for the mind of an solipsistic patient. Comments: Humorous short.  Read in Star Science Fiction Stories. Author: Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore

Posted in 1946-1959, alternate history, animals/insects, favorites, humor, psych/mind/madness, reality/VR/surreal | 1 Comment

“Worlds of the Imperium,” Keith Laumer, 1961

“Worlds of the Imperium,” Keith Laumer, 1961 — (excerpt) A man stands in a field as his body morphs and rides the time tide. Comments: Excerpt read read in A Century of Science Fiction, ed. Damon Knight. First published in … Continue reading

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“Sail on! Sail on!,” Philip José Farmer, 1952

“Sail on! Sail on!,” Philip José Farmer, 1952 – Monks following a religion based on science sail off the edge of a flat world. Wikipedia: ” In an alternative 1492, the Earth is flat, though scientists and philosophers have doubts … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, alternate history, favorites, knowledge/truth/epistemology, logic/reason, religion/soul/spirituality, time/history/causality | Leave a comment

“The Lost Years,” Oscar Lewis, 1951

“The Lost Years,” Oscar Lewis, 1951 – An alternate history in which the assassination of Abraham Lincoln is prevented, as a surgeon saves his life after the attempt. Comments: Told through diary excerpts, recollections, memoirs, and newspaper excerpts. Some will … Continue reading

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“The Death of Archimedes,” Karl Capek, 1949

“The Death of Archimedes,” Karl Capek, 1949 — (short) A reimagining of Archimedes’s last moments.  After conquering Syracuse, Romans burst in upon Archimedes, who is busy with “his circles.”  Archimedes contrasts the importance of his method of calculating the area … Continue reading

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“Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius,” Jorges Luis Borges, 1940

“Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius,” Jorges Luis Borges, 1940; English ver. 1961  – A story that begins with a mirror and a fictitious encyclopedia article and sprawls out from there.  “In the story, an encyclopedia article about a mysterious country called … Continue reading

Posted in 1940-1945, alternate history, favorites, international, knowledge/truth/epistemology, language/libraries, reality/VR/surreal, time/history/causality | Leave a comment

“The Exile,” Edmond Hamilton, 1943

“The Exile,” Edmond Hamilton, 1943 – A man is stranded in an alternate universe, where stories of his real experience are regarded as fantastic and consumed as entertainment. The twist: He’s in this universe, posing as a science fiction writer. … Continue reading

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“Sidewise in Time,” Murray Leinster, 1934

“Sidewise in Time,” Murray Leinster, 1934 – Everett Bleiler in The Gernsback Years describes it as: “The Earth suddenly becomes a shifting patchwork of different time segments in the same geographical area as various alternative worlds exchange portions with our … Continue reading

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A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Mark Twain, 1889

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Mark Twain, 1889 — An engineer named Hank Morgan is transported to the time of King Arthur, where he is able to pass as a magician due to his knowledge of technology. Comments: … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, alternate history, capitalism/Marxism, dreams/hypnosis, humor, identity/authenticity, satire, time/history/causality | Leave a comment

“The Dream of a Ridiculous Man,” Fyodor Dostoevsky, 1877

“The Dream of a Ridiculous Man,” Fyodor Dostoevsky, 1877 — A man decides that “nothing matters” and he contemplates suicide. A chance encounter with a girl on the street disturbs him; she stammers repeatedly that something has happened to her … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, alternate history, dreams/hypnosis, emotions/intimacy/empathy, favorites, international, primitive/civilized, religion/soul/spirituality, suicide | Leave a comment