uses Harry Turtledove
's Guns of the South
as an example of alternate history.
While there is no doubt that providing the Confederacy
s has a
pretty dramatic impact on the war, the fact that AK-47s aren't 19th century weapons and the fact that the introduction of the
AK-47s requires the use of a time machine
would seem to me to make the
book more of a pseudo-historical
story or possibly a science fiction
story rather than an alternate history story.
Strictly speaking, an alternate history story explores the consequences
which follow from
one or more (typically) quite minor changes to historical events.
For example, Harry Turtledove's How Few Remain novel
hinges around the consequences of an event involving
Confederate General Lee's
Special Order 191.
Prepared by Lee in September of 1864, Special Order 191 describes Lee's plan to
invade Maryland as part of an advance northwards.
In real life, a copy of this order was found by the North's
General McClellan which
allowed him to inflict a series of key defeats on General Lee and his army.
In the book, the first four pages describe how a soldier picks up and returns
an envelope which a Confederate courier has dropped.
The envelope, of course, contains a copy of Special Order 191.
The rest of the book is an exploration of the consequences of this
relatively minor incident (i.e. something doesn't get lost).
Without giving too much of the story away, some of the consequences are:
All in all, it's an interesting story and, unlike Guns of the South
, the story doesn't
rely on 20th century firearms or time travel or any other external
interference with history.
I'm sorry but I don't like handing out spoilers so you're going to have
to read the book if you want to know what else happens (this is also not intended to be a review of the book).
How Few Remain; by Harry Turtledove; copyright © 1977 by
Harry Turtledove; a Del Rey book published by The Ballantine
ISBN 0-345-40614-1 (paperback edition)
If you're interested in alternate history, you might also want to read
the books that follow How Few Remain:
The Great War: American Front
The Great War: Walk in Hell
The Great War: Breakthrough
American Empire: Blood and Iron
American Empire: The Center Cannot Hold
P.S. I quite enjoyed Guns of the South
I just don't think that it's an example of alternate history.