- "Corrective" Histories: This is where a person or event from our world doesn't happen in the alternate history, except that they reappear in some new guise. So, for example, Hitler is never born or is killed or something, thereby Nazism never arises in Germany -- except that it does, usually under a different name and led by someone else, perhaps even in an ironically different place. Sure, things have technically changed but the course of history is largely the same.
- Forgetting To Undo Changes: This is where the writer is either just sloppy or ignorant and forgets that, if he eliminates some person or event from the real world, it might undo a lot of very basic facts that people simply accept without thinking about them. Imagine, for example, a world where there's no French Revolution. Maybe then there's eventually a constitutional monarchy in France even in the 21st century. But guess what? That alternate France is unlikely to use the revolutionary tricolor for its flag, since there was no Revolution. It's little details like this that frankly bug me more than the big ones.
Friday, May 27, 2011
I love alternate histories as much as the next guy, but there are two things I see too often in a lot of them that I could really do without: