It should come as no surprise that writers are ferocious readers. They devour books and the ideas they contain. It’s the books they read that jumpstart their imaginations, unlocking their creativity to be spilt upon the blank page.
And Tolkien, arguably one of the most inspiring authors, taught us all that histories are important.
Perhaps that is why Alternate History is such a fascinating subgenre. We not only look at the history of our world and those that live in it, but we also spend time wondering to ourselves, What if? Speculation … pure and simple.
What would happen if the US didn’t join the fight in WW2 when they had? What would the world look like today? What if there never had been an America to begin with?
These are the kind of ideas that sparked those late night conversations I used to have in my early 20’s … the talks I couldn’t justify staying up late for today. This is where we let the deductive reasoning kick in, the theorized thought process that Sherlock Holmes is known for.
Some of the best writers have dabbled with this subgenre, including Stephen King, Ayn Rand, and even George R.R. Martin. Most of the books center around politics and war, making these books perfect for those that love to talk about conspiracy theories.
But then again, it’s not a conspiracy if it’s true, right?
11/22/63: A Novel – by Stephen King
Atlas Shrugged – by Ayn Rand
Anything written by Harry Turtledove