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Review - Fugitives of Fate by T.L. Morganfield

Yokai Man

Well-known member
So we have three different definitions of alternate history:

What we on this site write about

Romances that aren't historically accurate, and

Conspiracy theories ("alternative history").
Does that make The Jew of Linz alternative history,since it falls squarely in the latter category you described?

Seriously fuck that book,it’s stupid

It blames Wittgenstein for making Hitler anti Semitic and secretly being behind the Cambridge Five

It’s just pages and pages of the author slandering Wittgenstein and accusing him of being responsible for horrible events in history
 

Skinny87

Reflecting upon my Woke Sky
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@Youngmarshall well, you were absolutely right, I never would have even considered looking for a title like this!

A well-written and thoughtful review of the book, and I liked how you analysed each element of it in turn. I also have to admit that "the gods cause an alternate history" is a PoD I haven't seen before; and while it's obviously done merely to bring together the two lovers, it is an intriguing concept and I wonder how else it could be used in history to alter timelines.

If you're interested in romantic AH (and proper AH at that) I do have at least one recommendation I can maķe
 

Skinny87

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So we have three different definitions of alternate history:

What we on this site write about

Romances that aren't historically accurate, and

Conspiracy theories ("alternative history").
Well, putting aside conspiracy theories and the like, this review does rather feed into my theory that AH is less a genre than an ur-genre at best, or a setting at worst.

Is the Alternate History element of a story crucial to the story itself? Or is it merely the basis for creating the altered setting to tell the story? If the former, then it has to be plausible and followed through logically, lest the reader become confused and walk away. But if the latter, as with Fugitives of Fate, then the author can often hand-wave things away ("the gods wanted him to be cool and make changes so he can bone this chick") and the reader will accept them because that's just what needs to happen.

See also: most 'counterfactual' steampunk books that have some vague allusion to a historical event occurring differently to allow for dirigibles and cog-hats and robots or whatever, without ever examining it in detail.
 

Charles EP M.

Well-known member
Published by SLP
So here's one alternate history romance, and Skinny's got one, and SLP itself has published at least three I've read where romantic entanglements drive the plot (Darling Buds Express, Bring Me My Bow, Who Will Speak For England) - I wonder how many there are?

Clarification: outside of steampunk.
 

Jared

fatal softener
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Well, putting aside conspiracy theories and the like, this review does rather feed into my theory that AH is less a genre than an ur-genre at best, or a setting at worst.
I think that one of the things which makes alternate history difficult to categorise is that it can be both a setting and a genre.

On the one hand, there are published genre stories where the AH is an integral part of the setting, but the stories themselves are very much genre stories. To take a couple of published examples, Fatherland is a mystery story, while The Man in the High Castle is science fiction (and Philip K Dick being himself too, of course).

On the other hand, there are published alternate history stories where the alternate history itself is the story. The ur-example is For Want of a Nail, although much of Turtledove's stuff would also qualify.

Plus, of course, there are works which manage to be both, such as particularly Book 3 of the original Draka trilogy.
 

Jared

fatal softener
Published by SLP
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Over the rainbow
So here's one alternate history romance, and Skinny's got one, and SLP itself has published at least three I've read where romantic entanglements drive the plot (Darling Buds Express, Bring Me My Bow, Who Will Speak For England) - I wonder how many there are?

Clarification: outside of steampunk.
I think you mean steamypunk.
 

Skinny87

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I absolutely am. Please share.
Hester and Crow by Katy Moran - I found it a while back, and the good news is that it's on Kindle Unlimited as well (which is offering a free month up until 31st April btw)

It's set in 1817 in an occupied Britain. Napoleon crushed the Allies at Waterloo, left Wellington and his men behind as POWs, and then used their shipping to launch an impromptu invasion of the British Isles

Yeah

It's very hand-wavey but I read the first few chapters and it seems quite good, if not my thing; and it has at least one sequel
 

Coiler

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I'm also among those who think that there is (obviously with exceptions and tricky cases) a pretty clear distinction between "Alternate history as a setting" and "alternate history as a genre".

The former is a lot more flexible. As I've said before, you could theoretically argue that any fiction that isn't aiming to be an accurate reenactment of actual history is "AH as a setting". The latter has the issue in that the alternate history itself has to be engaging (I'm not using the term "plausible" cause that has issues) because it's the centerpiece of the story, while in "AH as a setting", it's simply the backdrop.
 

Thande

UP THE WORKERS & Ukrainians
Published by SLP
I'm also among those who think that there is (obviously with exceptions and tricky cases) a pretty clear distinction between "Alternate history as a setting" and "alternate history as a genre".

The former is a lot more flexible. As I've said before, you could theoretically argue that any fiction that isn't aiming to be an accurate reenactment of actual history is "AH as a setting". The latter has the issue in that the alternate history itself has to be engaging (I'm not using the term "plausible" cause that has issues) because it's the centerpiece of the story, while in "AH as a setting", it's simply the backdrop.
AH as a setting also speaks to a wider audience - without wishing to stereotype (after all, @Youngmarshall was able to cover this one because he reads romance) this kind of AH might do something for our gender balance as an institution.
 

Gary Oswald

It was Vampire Unions that got us Vampire Weekend
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Also, I'm going to be a pedant here and point out that clean, well-groomed Vikings are not ahistorical. The Vikings were actually the pretty boys of Europe, and one chronicler even complained that the Viking's bathing and grooming habits made them irresistible to English women.
I specifically mentioned the Rus vikings who our main source is an arab chronicle which makes a huge deal about how smelly and unhygienic they were.

The contradiction is something I have thought about. Either there's unreliable sources or the rus were generally less clean than north sea vikings or what was considered clean for the Anglo saxons would also be considered filthy for the arabs.
 
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