Reading Through the Ages discussion

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Alternative history

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message 1: by Melanie (last edited Dec 14, 2018 12:18AM) (new)

Melanie | 285 comments Mod
It can be a fun to explore what would have happened if a big historical event had a different outcome. You can interpret that in any form, even fantasy can work here.

If you look for some inspiration check the bookshelf (link: https://www.goodreads.com/group/books...)

Also share what you are planning to read or recommend books below, so we can add them to the bookshelf.


message 2: by Victoria (new)

Victoria (Eve's Alexandria) | 26 comments Mod
I'm not sure if he counts as too speculative but I always think of Guy Gavriel Kay as a writer of alternative 'fantasy' histories. His books are often heavily based on a particular time and place. The Lions of Al-Rassan, for example, is set in a mirrored image of medieval Spain, and his Sarantine Mosaic duology - Sailing to Sarantium and Lord of Emperors - is set in a sort-of Byzantium.


message 3: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 285 comments Mod
Victoria wrote: "I'm not sure if he counts as too speculative but I always think of Guy Gavriel Kay as a writer of alternative 'fantasy' histories. His books are often heavily based on a particular t..."

Maybe this year, it is finally the year for some Kay!!!


message 4: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie Patterson | 1 comments I plan to try ""Fatherland" by Robert Harris. Hitler wins the war. Joseph P. Kennedy is president of the US and Edward VIII is on the throne of England. I think this was a mini-series many years ago so people may be familiar with it


message 5: by Robin (new)

Robin (catdancer76) | 6 comments I am thinking of Underground Airlines by Ben Winters, but don't know if this would count because most of the story takes place in contemporary times in the aftermath of the "alternate history." Not exactly sure what qualifies, or what you are looking for in this category.


message 6: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 285 comments Mod
Stephanie wrote: "I plan to try ""Fatherland" by Robert Harris. Hitler wins the war. Joseph P. Kennedy is president of the US and Edward VIII is on the throne of England. I think this was a mini-series many years ag..."

My father in law LOVES that book.


message 7: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 285 comments Mod
Robin wrote: "I am thinking of Underground Airlines by Ben Winters, but don't know if this would count because most of the story takes place in contemporary times in the aftermath of the "alternate history." Not..."

Anything works if you want to read it. I think that book sounds great.


message 8: by Denise (new)

Denise (deesbooknook) (deesbooknook) | 1 comments I'm thinking of reading The Company of the Dead by David Kowalski. The Titanic never sank, the US never entered WWI and Joseph Kennedy lives in an America that is occupied by the Germans on the East Coast and the Japanese on the West Coast and he is one of six people who can restore history in its rightful order.


message 9: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 285 comments Mod
Denise wrote: "I'm thinking of reading The Company of the Dead by David Kowalski. The Titanic never sank, the US never entered WWI and Joseph Kennedy lives in an America that is o..."

That sounds brilliant.


message 10: by Laura (new)

Laura (ooksaidthelibrarian) | 7 comments Stephanie wrote: "I plan to try ""Fatherland" by Robert Harris. Hitler wins the war. Joseph P. Kennedy is president of the US and Edward VIII is on the throne of England. I think this was a mini-series many years ag..."

I was obsessed with that book when I was a teen. My favourite alternative history book of recent years was 11/22/63 by Stephen King.


message 11: by Anja (new)

Anja | 9 comments I just finished "Farthing" by Jo Walton. I loved "Fatherland" many years ago and this one takes a similar direction, so it was an enjoyable read. I will most certainly read the other books of the trilogy as well.


message 12: by Karen (new)

Karen | 1 comments I will be reading "Resistance" by Owen Sheers as it has been sitting on my shelf for some time now.


message 13: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 285 comments Mod
Karen wrote: "I will be reading "Resistance" by Owen Sheers as it has been sitting on my shelf for some time now."

That sounds excellent


message 14: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 285 comments Mod
I think I will be picking up Dominion by CJ Sansom. I love his Shardlake series, so it is worth a try.


message 15: by Lindsi (new)

Lindsi (lindsiwanderingreader) Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin would be a good one for this category...


message 16: by Britta (last edited Jan 03, 2019 01:06PM) (new)

Britta Böhler One of my all-time favorites: Making History by Stephen Frey. And I can also recommend: The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon.


message 17: by Sue (new)

Sue (mrskipling) I have Look Who's Back by Timur Vermes which seems to be an alternative history plot.

It's yet another book I've had for years and never got round to. This challenge is going to help me clear a few of these!


nettebuecherkiste (idril) | 5 comments I find Alternative fiction particularly intriguing! I have The Man in the High Castle on my TBR, but there are more books I'm really keen on, such as Making History or Fatherland
Will read The Man in the High Castle first, though :-)


message 19: by Heidi (new)

Heidi Leighton | 3 comments I like the Naomi Novik series about an alternative Napoleonic War time period with Dragons used as the air force. The next one I have to read is Crucible of Gold.


message 20: by Karen Michele (new)

Karen Michele Burns (klibrary) | 18 comments Heidi wrote: "I like the Naomi Novik series about an alternative Napoleonic War time period with Dragons used as the air force. The next one I have to read is Crucible of Gold."

I enjoy these books, too, and if I don't come across something I own, I'll pick up number 3. I'm glad you reminded me of this series!


message 21: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 285 comments Mod
nettebuecherkiste wrote: "I find Alternative fiction particularly intriguing! I have The Man in the High Castle on my TBR, but there are more books I'm really keen on, such as Making History or..."

Good choice :)


message 22: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 285 comments Mod
Heidi wrote: "I like the Naomi Novik series about an alternative Napoleonic War time period with Dragons used as the air force. The next one I have to read is Crucible of Gold."

Oh I never even heard of that one.


Lizzy Siddal (Lizzy’s Literary Life) | 21 comments Been digging through my bookpiles and found this - a novel in German (not yet translated unfortunately). Might be of interest, Melanie? Das Erlkönig-Manöver - Robert Lohr

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Das-Erlkönig...


message 24: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 285 comments Mod
Oh thank you!!


message 25: by Britta (new)

Britta Böhler Melanie wrote: "Oh thank you!!"

I read it in December, and its quite 'komisch'. Goethe is just hilarious.


message 26: by Lizzy Siddal (Lizzy’s Literary Life) (last edited Jan 08, 2019 01:15PM) (new)

Lizzy Siddal (Lizzy’s Literary Life) | 21 comments Britta wrote: "Melanie wrote: "Oh thank you!!"

I read it in December, and its quite 'komisch'. Goethe is just hilarious."


Ok, to the top of February’s TBR it goes!


message 27: by Noël (new)

Noël (the_book_rook) | 5 comments There’s always 11/22/63 by Stephen King.


message 28: by Anja (new)

Anja | 9 comments Lizzy Siddal (Lizzy’s Literary Life) wrote: "Britta wrote: "Melanie wrote: "Oh thank you!!"

I read it in December, and its quite 'komisch'. Goethe is just hilarious."

Ok, to the top of February’s TBR it goes!"


The Erlkönig-Manöver is so wonderful and funny (the audio book as well). I loved it. Also the sequel: Das Hamlet-Komplott. Definitely recommend both of them, if you read German.


message 29: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 285 comments Mod
Oh excellent just bought it!!!


message 30: by Nic (new)

Nic (bibliolicious_reads) | 24 comments Karen wrote: "I will be reading "Resistance" by Owen Sheers as it has been sitting on my shelf for some time now."

Ditto!

If anyone is stuck for inspiration in this category: I cannot recommend Ian R MacLeod's The Summer Isles highly enough.


message 31: by Lizzy Siddal (Lizzy’s Literary Life) (last edited Jan 12, 2019 02:29AM) (new)

Lizzy Siddal (Lizzy’s Literary Life) | 21 comments For fans of Das Erlkönig-Manöver - have you seen this due out end of February? Christian Tielmann - Unsterblichkeit ist auch keine Lösung featuring Goethe and Schiller on a 21st century book tour ...

https://www.amazon.de/Unsterblichkeit...

More an alternative present than past. Nevertheless a must-read for me.


message 32: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 285 comments Mod
Oh great I shall try the Erlkoenig and then if I like it I will continue


message 33: by Regina (last edited Jan 13, 2019 07:54PM) (new)

Regina Lemoine I read a novella that fits this prompt and is perfect for readers who like steampunk/fantasy/sci-fi. I’m still going to read a full-length novel, but I thought I’d mention this anyway. It’s set in an alternate 1880s New Orleans and features a young WOC as its protagonist.

I am not generally a fantasy fan, but I quite liked this.

The Black God's Drums by P. Djèlí Clark


message 34: by Sue (new)

Sue (mrskipling) Does anyone know of a novel in which Alan Turing doesn’t die and goes on to work further on computers. Someone had told me about it but can’t remember the title or author. Thanks!


message 35: by Karen Michele (new)

Karen Michele Burns (klibrary) | 18 comments Regina wrote: "I read a novella that fits this prompt and is perfect for readers who like steampunk/fantasy/sci-fi. I’m still going to read a full-length novel, but I thought I’d mention this anyway. It’s set in ..."

I happened upon this book as well and I am close to finishing. It was a buddy read in one of my other groups. I am also planning on finding another novel for this prompt, but it's definitely a good one.


message 36: by Eve (new)

Eve (goodreadscomeellison) | 4 comments The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon- Israel collapsed in 1948 and a Jewish safe haven formed in Alaska...also a whodunnit with a wonderfully complicated protagonist and many twists.


message 37: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 285 comments Mod
Regina wrote: "I read a novella that fits this prompt and is perfect for readers who like steampunk/fantasy/sci-fi. I’m still going to read a full-length novel, but I thought I’d mention this anyway. It’s set in ..."

That sounds great, also brilliant for people who don't normally read that kind of stuff and don't want to commit to a full length book


message 38: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 285 comments Mod
Sue wrote: "Does anyone know of a novel in which Alan Turing doesn’t die and goes on to work further on computers. Someone had told me about it but can’t remember the title or author. Thanks!"

Do yo mean Cryptonomicon?


message 39: by Clarissa (new)

Clarissa | 3 comments For this category I read Soulless and the rest of the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger. The world is set in an alternative Victorian age where the existence of vampires, werewolves and ghosts is generally accepted. These books are firstly a comedy of manners, so I would advise them to anyone who enjoys Oscar Wilde, and who is I the mood for something funny. Gail Carriger studied archaeology and anthropology, and you can see elements of this in her writing. The books are also steeped in steampunk elements, which makes them a very cosy read for Winter.


message 40: by Anja (new)

Anja | 9 comments Clarissa wrote: "For this category I read Soulless and the rest of the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger. ..."
I just found the second book of the series on my shelf (no idea how it got there). Do I need to read the first one in order to understand the second?


message 41: by Clarissa (new)

Clarissa | 3 comments Gobelina wrote: "Clarissa wrote: "For this category I read Soulless and the rest of the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger. ..."
I just found the second book of the series ..."

I am not sure... I think the books were not written with that intent. I think the idea is for you to read all of them. However, the books are quite light reading, so I don't think you will have any problems catching up.


message 42: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 285 comments Mod
Clarissa wrote: "For this category I read Soulless and the rest of the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger. The world is set in an alternative Victorian age where the existe..."

Inspired choice, not even thought of that series. Never read them, but I know they are super popular.


message 43: by Sue (new)

Sue (mrskipling) Melanie wrote: "Sue wrote: "Does anyone know of a novel in which Alan Turing doesn’t die and goes on to work further on computers. Someone had told me about it but can’t remember the title or author. Thanks!"

Do ..."


Thanks Mel, I’ll check with them and see if it’s the one they meant.


message 44: by peg (new)

peg Just finished THE TRIAL AND EXECUTION OF THE TRAITOR GEORGE WASHINGTON by Charles Rosenberg for this category. It had enough actual history and characters that made it interesting and supposedly there was a real plot discovered before the English could capture GW. The pacing was great and had me racing through the book to find out the ending!


Lizzy Siddal (Lizzy’s Literary Life) | 21 comments Virve Sammalkorpi’s Children of The Cave could be used for the Russian Pre-Revolution category as it’s set in 1819. But it won Best Finnish Fantasy Novel in 2017, so the history in it must be alternative, even though you do wonder as you read.

Review at:

https://lizzysiddal.wordpress.com/201...


message 46: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 285 comments Mod
peg wrote: "Just finished THE TRIAL AND EXECUTION OF THE TRAITOR GEORGE WASHINGTON by Charles Rosenberg for this category. It had enough actual history and characters that made it interesting and supposedly th..."

Oh that sounds good


message 47: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 285 comments Mod
Lizzy Siddal (Lizzy’s Literary Life) wrote: "Virve Sammalkorpi’s Children of The Cave could be used for the Russian Pre-Revolution category as it’s set in 1819. But it won Best Finnish Fantasy Novel in 2017, so the history in it must be alter..."

Excellent suggestion


message 48: by Nic (new)

Nic (bibliolicious_reads) | 24 comments Just finished Owen Sheers' Resistance for this category; short review here.


message 49: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 285 comments Mod
Nic wrote: "Just finished Owen Sheers' Resistance for this category; short review here."

Sounds like quite the good read :)


message 50: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Lavelle | 13 comments Well I've just read The last days of New Paris by China Miéville for this challenge. Don't ask me for a recommendation or a review cos I haven't got a clue what I've just read! I thought I'd try something out of my comfort zone, and I'm glad I did- but I'm so not the target audience for this truly weird bit of writing. I would have DNF'd if it had been any longer xx


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