Alternate History Sources
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Basic Information

This bibliography page lists sources that might be useful in running an Alternate History or Alternate Universe game. The two terms are largely interchangeable, but "Alternate History" refers to a world in which historical events took a different turn, (e.g. the South won the Civil War), while "Alternate Universe" refers to a world in which some underlying quality of the universe is different, (e.g. magic exists and was developed the same way our world developed technology)



  • Anderson, Poul:
    • A Midsummer Tempest (1974) — In an alternate world where Shakespeare's plays really happened, a Cavalier soldier seeks the help of Oberon and Prospero to defeat the forces of Cromwell in the English Civil War. This novel features the Old Phoenix Inn, a trans-dimensional tavern, and cameos of a couple characters from Anderson's other novels.
    • Operation Chaos (1971) Three short stories and a novella set in a world in which magic and technology developed side by side and 20th Century society is shaped by the existence of consumer magic. The heroes are a witch (who works for an arcane advertising agency) and her husband, a werewolf (who used to do stunt work in Hollywood before he got his tail shot off during the War). A later sequel, Operation Luna (1999), has the characters involved in their world's space program; (the spacecraft's booster rockets are enormous brooms…)
  • Heinlein, Robert:
    • "Magic, Inc." (novella) (1940) — The inspiration for Operation Chaos; set in a world where 20th Century cut-throat business uses magic.
    • The Number of the Beast (1980) — Theoretically, the book is about two men and two women fleeing from evil aliens in a dimension-hopping vehicle, but the plot doesn't really matter; it's just an excuse for the D-hopping and for Heinlein's characters to argue about sex and authority. The final chapter is a trans-dimensional SF convention.
    • Job: A Comedy of Justice (1984) — A satire on on religion featuring a religious man who becomes unstuck in reality, wandering Candide-like through several universes, including Heaven and Hell.
  • Kantor, MacKinley:
    • If the South had Won the Civil War (1961) ; Yeah, it's a cliche now, but this was one of the first serious attempts to create an alternate history.
  • Moorcock, Michael: The Oswald Bastable series recounts the adventures of a Victorian time traveler through various alternate timelines.
    • The Warlord of the Air (1971);
    • The Land Leviathan (1974);
    • The Steel Tsar (1981)
  • Roth, Philip
    • The Plot Against America (2004) In 1940, Franklin Roosevelt loses the presidential election to Charles Lindbergh, leading to an isolationist, and increasingly antisemitic and fascist America.
  • Smith, L. Neil:
    • The Probablility Broach (1980) Set in a utopian libertarian universe.
  • Turtledove, Harry: Turtledove has made Alternate History novels a specialty; here are just a couple of them:
    • Agent of Byzantium (1987) A a series of short stories about a secret agent working for the Byzantine Empire in a world in which Islam was never founded and Constantinople never fell.
    • The Guns of the South (1992) Time travelers go back and give Robert E. Lee a supply of AK-47s to help the South win the Civil War. The South wins, but things don't go quite as expected…
    • "Crosstime Traffic" series (2003-2008) — a series of young adult novels based on a premise similar to GURPS Infinite Worlds; agents visit alternate timelines disguised as merchants, often bringing their families to aid in the pose.
    • Ruled Britannia (2002) — In a world in which the Spanish Armada successfully conquered England, William Shakespeare is forced to write a play celebrating King Philip II at the same time as creating a propaganda play to help incite rebellion against the Spanish overlords.
    • The Two Georges (1995) (with Richard Dreyfuss) — In a world in which America never revolted against England, a police detective investigates the theft of a famous painting depicting the peace treaty signed by George Washington and King George III, and uncovers a terrorist plot against the visiting King Charles III.


TV Series

  • Sliders (1995-2000) A brilliant inventor creates a method of traveling to alternate timelines, but when he and his companions become accidentally sucked into one, they must randomly jump from world to world trying to find their way home.
  • Voyagers! (1982-83) A time-traveling adventurer and his kid sidekick ("Smart kids give me a pain!") try to fix history where it goes wrong.


Comic Books

  • The Adventures of Luther Awkwright — British comic about a dimension-hopping agent fighting to preserve the stability of the multiverse
  • Exiles (Marvel) — Dimension-hopping alternates of Marvel superheroes try to fix "broken" timelines.
  • Gotham by Gaslight (DC) — The inspiration for DC's "Elseworlds" series, this graphic novel places Batman in the Victorian Era, fighting Jack the Ripper.
  • Watchmen (DC) — set in a world where Nixon is still president, America won the Vietnam War, and super-heroes have brought the world to the brink of nuclear Armageddon.
  • What If? (Marvel) — Postulates what might have happened had key events in the Marvel Universe had gone differently.
  • Zot! (Eclipse) — A cheerful, idealistic hero from a more utopian timeline becomes friends with a girl from our world.


  • GURPS Infinite Worlds — a supplement for the GURPS 4th edition describing a setting where technology exists for visiting alternate universes. The book also discusses use of Time Travel and other Time Travel/Dimension-Hopping settings.
  • GURPS Technomancer — a supplement for the GURPS 3rd edition detailing a world similar to that of Operation Chaos and "Magic, Inc." where magic exists in a modern-day setting.

Game and Story Use

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