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Bestist Non-SLP AH

lerk

Active member
#44
Half Past Noon is a short and sweet TL. Deals with a unique POD with American politics, along with talking about the outside world. The world is less optimistic about the future, yet it does not go into dystopia territory.
 

d32123

Well-known member
Location
Seattle
#45
Let’s go with Jonathan Edelstein’s Malê Rising, though I would note that the idealism and storylines of the last fifty years really started to get repetitive.
I used to be a huge fan of Male Rising but like you say the whole idealism is really offputting if you're a person who disagrees with his world view. I think he also gets away with some serious whitewashing, both of non-Western and Western civilizations. And like a lot of large scale timelines it becomes less and less impressive the more you know about the history of a particular place or region that's being written about. The writing itself, while decent by AH.com TL standards, is not really my cup of tea either. Too many Mary Sues, self-inserts, and characters with attitudes and world views way out of place with their society and time. I'll take it over an edgy Americentric dystopia TL (or really any edgy dystopia TL) but I'd have a hard time classifying it as among the best non-SLP AH.
 

d32123

Well-known member
Location
Seattle
#46
Since I don't think it's SLP (correct me if I'm wrong) I'd say Lands of Red and Gold is probably my favorite right now. Some of the most solid and creative worldbuilding I've seen in alternate history, and basically does exactly what the alternate history genre does best. There's nothing like a quasi-fantastical setting grounded just enough in the realities of our own world to be both understandable and interesting. And Jared's work is a perfect example of that.
 

Charles EP M.

Well-known member
#48
Two short stories by Kim Newman that both use John Major: "Slow News Day", a banally grim story where the war was lost and it's so long ago nobody in the story cares except to bemoan how the celebrations are going tits up (and has the sitcom Dad's Nazis), and "The Germans Won" where Major became a bus conductor in a world where England lost the World Cup. (They're very much not into the 'hard' plausibility) The latter has the nasty below-the-belt moment where a man just has to win:

A deadly, viperish calm fell on Jeffrey's face. Measuring his words with venom, he said 'maybe that's why you've been a bus conductor all your life, John.'

The staff fell silent. Only the telly - Whistle Test, with John Peel - made a sound. Everyone looked at Jeffrey, feeling the contempt of his words, trying to wipe out the sleight of what he had said from their minds.
When it comes to playing around with history, I also big up the throwaway detail in Newman's Dark Future of the uber-conservative grey England with The John Lydon Band and its stirring version of God Save The Queen.
 

Jared

Voldemort Junior
Location
Over the rainbow
#49
Since I don't think it's SLP (correct me if I'm wrong) I'd say Lands of Red and Gold is probably my favorite right now.
Thanks for the take on Lands of Red and Gold.

As to whether it counts as being on SLP, I've started to republish the timeline within the Writing forum here. It's mostly just a clean-up from the AH.com version, although as is my habit I've tinkered with various small elements. There's also a few "director's commentary" meta-posts which I'm adding to this version, and I will also end up deleting a couple of small AH.com-specific sections (such as the series of cameos of AH.com posters).

However, it's not published through the SLP publishing arm. Come to that, I've never tried to publish any AH stuff via the actual SLP publishing arm; I just make a few contributions in the forum itself.
 
#50
Ralph Peters' Red Army is effectively an anti- technothriller; it's impressionistic to the point that there are hardly any numbers in it. Not one single calibre, weight, very few designations, damned few distances. It's mainly about the people, highest to lowest.

My recommendation is Small Ship, Big War- the Voyages of the Hibiki, a story that began as an after action report on the Matrixgames forums, following one Japanese destroyer through the war(game) in the Pacific, and grew into something that I would say stands comparison with The Caine Mutiny. Takes a while for the author to get the feel of the characters, but gets there.
 

zaffre

front-runner for Pantone Colour of the Year 2019
Location
Massachusetts
#51
Turtledove’s quality goes up dramatically the shorter his works get - imo his best AH piece and his best overall thing are Lee at the Alamo and Vilcabamba, which are both pretty short stories.

I also have to give a shout-out to For Want Of A Nail, which has its flaws but is also fairly unique in being a “dry history-book ATL” that is actually, er, a book-length published book. More well-paced than most of that type, and not reliant on lazy parallelism - the wider world gets sort of random over time, but I think FWOAN is one of the best of its “type” of AH.
 

The Red

Well-known member
Published by SLP
#53
Ruins of an American Party System is very good.
It is, at least from what I’ve read of it, I lost touch with it after the 1932 election but you’ve reminded to get caught up again. A very well constructed scenario that nonetheless flows very naturally for the most part, even the unlikely events seem more like the “reality is unrealistic” moments that you might find in OTL.
 

moth

Mothleton
Location
Portsmoth
#54
Ruins of an American Party System is very good.
It does what I feel a lot of TLs struggle doing, which is self-justify itself with the events being plausible outcomes of the events within the TL, rather than the Rumsfeldia thing of stacking too high in one direction only to pull the rug out, or the more generic thing of converging with OTL too much because the author doesn't know where to go with their own project.

I agree, it's very good.
 

Von Callay

The Leader - Just a Man
#55
I can't remember the title but there was a short story by Turtledove that @Thande showed me if I remember correctly.

The premise was that Britain had fallen to the Nazis but a Fighting Britain had battled on beyond the seas. To no avail. The Teutonic war machine had crushed the Soviet Union and finally come marching over the Khyber Pass and captured the jewel of the old Empire's crown. And it was basically how does the Indian independence movement, revolving around Gandhi and the principle of nonviolent civil disobedience, deal with the British colonial government being replaced by a Nazi Reichskommissariat.
"The Last Article"?
 

Coiler

Connoisseur of the Miscellaneous
Location
Nu Yawk
#57
It's not my absolute favorite and it's not perfect, but I found Zhirinovksy's Russian Empire to be remarkably good at avoiding a lot of the pitfalls it could have stumbled into. It manages to avoid being too "boom boom goes the tank" and it uses the "vignette newspaper clipping" style in a way that actually flows pretty well.
 

napoleon IV

The Spectre of Communism Is A Planet-Sized Ghost
#58
It's not my absolute favorite and it's not perfect, but I found Zhirinovksy's Russian Empire to be remarkably good at avoiding a lot of the pitfalls it could have stumbled into. It manages to avoid being too "boom boom goes the tank" and it uses the "vignette newspaper clipping" style in a way that actually flows pretty well.
One of the things that I like about Zhirinovsky's Russian Empire is that the author acknowledges that the premise is implausible, and puts serious effort into justifying how it could have happened. The sequence of events still doesn't hold up great from a plausibility standpoint, but it's a lot better than the typical AH strategy of handwaving away implausibility.