Alternative History - Top Books: Popular List and Ranking

In the genre of alternative history, the best books tell about the amazing journeys of the main characters in the era of the future or the past. After their arrival at their destination, all events change, hence the name of the genre. Such works can captivate for long hours.


We present the rating of the best works in the genre of alternative history:

1. "Yankees from Connecticut at the court of King Arthur."

2. "Terror."

3. “It is hard to be a god.”

4. "451 ° Fahrenheit."

5. "Patrol of time."

6. "Wolf for the wolf."

7. "Cloud Atlas."

8. "West of Eden."

9. "God's warriors."

10. "Inferno."

Consider all 10 masterpieces in more detail.

Classic for everyone

In the direction of alternative history, the best books are not so easy to find. Authors are not so often attached to this type of work. However, Mark Twain decided to test his strength in an unusual literary direction and did it more than successfully. The novel "Yankees from Connecticut at the Court of King Arthur" is addictive during reading and differs from other works in several parameters. This book is filled with a huge amount of humor. Under the upper layer of history, the writer skillfully ridicules the feudal community, the behavior of representatives of higher social strata, chivalrous dogmas and many other aspects.

The plot is typical of the genre - at one point the main character in an unknown way gets from his XIX century in IX. He does not understand what happened, and his clothes attract the attention of all residents. After questioning, I manage to find out that he is in medieval England. The Yankees were not taken aback at a difficult moment and decided to change the whole course of history. He began to show the society of the 9th century all the delights of the future, which greatly intrigued the king. At the same time, the main character is trying to impose new values ​​on people, while human life was not worth a penny.

alternative story best books

Strange expedition

The best alternative history books touch interesting topics. In the current realities, this is difficult to do, given the already existing range of such works in art, but it was not difficult for the talented science fiction dan Dan Simmons.

He took the expedition of 1845 as the basis for the plot of the book Terror. It was commanded by experienced captain John Franklin, and the main purpose of the campaign was to find a passage in the northwest that would connect the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. The fate of this expedition is a mystery to scientists. The crews of the Terror and Erebus ships disappeared, they were searched for a century and a half. Only in 2014 did they find the first ship, and after 2 years, the second ship. Investigations of the remains continue to this day, but Dan Simmons's novel came out earlier.

The author suggested his own alternative story. The work “Terror” got into the list of the best and popular books precisely thanks to the plot. The story begins with how the expedition is surrounded by ice. The passage in the northwest is not accessible for study, but John Franklin's team cannot return. Their ships were densely embedded in the ice. From this moment, the author begins to describe the stage of survival of the team, filled with all sorts of passions. Simmons skillfully shows how the real essence of man comes out under conditions close to death. The situation is complicated by the fact that researchers swam into foreign territory. They feel that something lives in the water. Because of fear, the minds of the team members are clouded, and there is a good reason for this.

best books alternative history

Cult work

In the alternative story genre, the best books can capture the reader with an unusual plot, raise sensitive topics, show interesting characters, and much more. Brothers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky managed to go even further. In their work "It is difficult to be a god" there are all of the above elements. The plot tells about the events on the planet Arkanar. In this remote corner of the Galaxy lives a race that is no different from humans. Only here on Earth at this time, development has gone far ahead.

The Institute of Experimental History sends its staff to Arkanar. This planet is stuck at a stage that can be described in the late Middle Ages. Mass wars, social inequality, lack of human rights - all this characterizes the living conditions in Arkanar. Earth agents are prepared in the best way, they have technological weapons in stock, not a single resident of Arkanar can physically and intellectually compare with them. The authorities gave them clear instructions for observing and eliminating the most fatal errors that were present on Earth. Institute employees are introduced into different social strata of society, which continues its struggle.

The protagonist Anton, who on the planet took the name of Don Rumata Estorsky, is trying to save talented people. They could lead society along the right development vector. Meanwhile, the first minister, Don Reba, managed to climb the corpses to his post. He has power and a “gray” army in his hands, obeying him in everything. Soon he begins to take more active actions.

alternative history

Dystopia with deep meaning

The best and most popular books on alternative history sometimes fall into the category of best sellers. This happened with the work "451 ° Fahrenheit" by writer Ray Bradbury. World fame suddenly fell on him, because in his work he raised relevant topics about the life of society. The plot shows a model of the development of the world that could exist. The title of the work conceals its meaning. The indicated temperature is sufficient to light a sheet of paper.

The post-industrial era has begun in the world, in which works of art have become prohibited items. Books are actively destroyed by a special detachment of firefighters. For their storage provides for severe punishment. Society should be entertained by interactive television. All programs in it contribute to lowering the level of intelligence, but this should not bother anyone. If revolutionaries appear on the horizon, then electric dogs descend on their hunt.

Against the background of all this, the story of the protagonist is told. He works in a fire brigade and has seen a huge amount of books burned in his life. Each time he asks questions about why to do this, because these works are beautiful. A series of events and random encounters changes his mind, he will no longer be the same. The 451 ° Fahrenheit list of best alternative history books includes deep philosophical overtones and original thoughts.

alternative history list of popular books

Temporary operations

An alternative story and the people in the best books of the genre are connected, because the course of events often changes under the influence of a person. The famous science fiction writer, iconic writer in his direction, Paul Anderson, in 1955, began a whole series of work, which are combined under the name “Patrol of Time”. He was able to complete it only in 1995, after as many as 40 years.

The narration is conducted on behalf of the main character Mans Everard, who received a tempting offer. In 1954, people from the Patrol of Time organization contacted him. They told a story about how in the distant future, people will enter a new stage of evolution. The descendants of the present race will be called Danellians. Their intelligence and capabilities are thousands of times greater than human ones. The only danger is that history can change. Then the Danellian society will never form. To protect themselves, they created the aforementioned organization.

Paul Anderson formed his own dogmas about the passage of time. He presents it as more plastic, in it small events can be mutually replaced without losses in the future. In the future, time travel has become commonplace, and each branch of the Time Patrol should eliminate the dangers associated with it. For example, deliver stray travelers to their destination or capture smugglers from another era.

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Unpleasant outcome

Photos of the best books of alternative history will not convey the entire depth of the plot, which the authors tried to convey. This also applies to the work of Ryan Grodin, “Wolf for the Wolf”, in which events develop at the time of 1956. The Second World War was over, but Germany and the Allies won. The Third Reich, on one side of the world, and the emperor in Japan, on the second, rule all people on Earth. Their power is undeniable, unshakable, and power is regularly increasing.

In honor of their victory, the two power camps came up with a way to celebrate annually. From Berlin to Tokyo, a motorcycle race is taking place. The winner is honored to attend the ball, where Adolf Hitler will be present as guest of honor. This is a clear opportunity to kill the chancellor and weaken the dictatorship that Yael decides to take advantage of. A girl with Jewish roots spent a long time in a concentration camp, where various experiments were conducted on her. After them, the representative of the Resistance had the opportunity to take the form of any woman. She took advantage of this for the upcoming race. Yael became Adele Wolf - the winner of last year's race. The main character had a clear plan, but only at the start it turned out that twin brother Felix Wolf was also on the track, like Luka Leve. It is he - the main competitor in the race, and the man makes it clear that something important happened between him and Adele.

top ten alternative history books

Clash of archetypes

When it comes to the top ten books on alternative history, it is simply impossible to bypass Cloud Atlas. This work must be read in complete silence with maximum immersion to understand what is happening in history. The author David Mitchell is a recognized genius, his work has repeatedly been included in the short list of the Booker Prize, and Cloud Atlas is no exception. In it, the author harmoniously interweaves six stories that at first glance are independent of each other. Mitchell draws subtle parallels during the development of mankind, focusing on archetypes.

The first character is a notary, who returns to his homeland in the United States from Australia, experiencing shock from the current situation. The second hero is a composer, trying to find application for his talent in the difficult period between wars. To survive, he has to sell his skills and even his body for a penny. This company includes a journalist who in the 70s of the XIX century managed to uncover an incredible scam. The fourth character was a small publisher. He managed to present to the world an autobiography of the criminal authority “Knuckle Blow”, for which he received decent dividends. Now he has to hide from the authorities. The fifth hero was an ordinary goat shepherd in Hawaii, who realizes the proximity of humanity to an end. Closes the six cloned version of a servant from Korea, working in a fast-food restaurant in the country, which became an example of cyberpunk. Not all the best books in the genre of alternative history are capable of representing so many bright personalities.

Another version of the world

There was a place in this rating for Harry Harrison with his Eden cycle. In it, he continues the extensive life story of his own universe, but the acquaintance is better to start with "West of Eden." The best books about alternative history and fellow villains should have their own chip, and here it is. The plot occurs at the moment when the Earth went a different vector of development.

Millions of years ago, a global catastrophe did not happen, and dinosaurs continued to exist on the planet. Over time, they went through evolution and gained intelligence. Thanks to such processes, reptiles have created their own civilization, which is fundamentally different from the human arrangement of life. They use gene operations to improve the body of offspring, matriarchy has been rooted here since the beginning of society, and all lizards are united by a collective mind. Their main opponents were people - other creatures unlike them. In them, dinosaurs see their main enemies. Relations between races are heating up.

Against this background, the reader learns the story of a boy who was captured by the Iilans. That's what people call the reptile race. His eyes show a powerful conflict in which you engage with your head. That is why "West of Eden" is on the list of best books about alternative history.

best alternative history books

Constant struggle

Andrzej Sapkowski and his collection “God's Warriors” also went to the ranking of the best books on alternative history. The famous Polish writer became famous not only for the saga of Geralt of Rivia, but also for a series of works with the main character named Reinevan. This character has magical powers, which becomes known in the plot.

In the courtyard of 1425, the Czech Republic was torn by the Hussite Wars. The protagonist flees from Celesia to settle in the capital. He completed a medical course, and in wartime, such skills were worth their weight in gold. Plus, Reinavan has already been recruited by representatives of the Hus movement. He receives an interesting assignment, from which begins an incredible adventure.

Andrzej Sapkowski is a master of his craft, he skillfully interweaves historical reality with fiction. The history of wars goes in an alternative direction, and the reader plunges into the story with his head. In addition to Reinavan, other main characters participate in the plot - the janitor at the Samson monastery and Charlee, a participant in the unrest. Each of them has their own goals, but in the course of the plot, the fates of the central characters are intertwined. The author perfectly describes the battles and introduces a fictional, fantastic part into the narrative: witches, spells, secret rituals and more.

Ingenious plot

Books of the alternative history of the best authors are well remembered, because such works leave a deep mark in the soul. Among the masters, undoubtedly, Dan Brown. The recognized genius of the adventure novel splendidly raises the theme of world confrontation, in the center of which Robert Langdon is invariably located. Books from the cycle about the Harvard professor all in one way or another relate to the genre of alternative history, but in terms of the scale of action, “Inferno” should be highlighted.

Events begin with the main character waking up in a clinic and not remembering the events of the past days. Representatives of some organization are actively hunting him. A wonderful partner is taken to help everyone remember, and it is she who brings him up to date. Above the world hangs the mortal danger that Bertrand Zobrist created. This wealthy billionaire took responsibility to solve the problem of overpopulation. His virus is ready to break free, and only Robert Langdon is able to prevent this. The professors are waiting for another series of puzzles and riddles related to history, culture and religion. Most of them are hidden on the pages of the "Divine Comedy" of the legendary Dante Alighieri. Adventures capture from the first pages, after which it becomes impossible to break away.

The list did not include the best books on the alternative history of the Great Patriotic War, as this is a separate narrow category.


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