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The Alternate History stories on Archive of Our Own

Coiler

Connoisseur of the Miscellaneous
Published by SLP
Location
Nu Yawk
Pronouns
He/Him
Excellent article, and I think "historical fanfiction" is an excellent and appropriate term for alternate history, especially internet alternate history. I could repeat yet again how a lot of stuff (and not just the subject of this article) that could easily be considered AH just isn't labeled as such because there's no real incentive to do so.

I think that the term "alternate history" itself can be at fault here, because it can be too vague and too specific. On the too vague end, there's how you can consider any type of fiction that isn't a specific, trying-its-best-to-be-accurate reenactment to be "alternate history". On the too-specific end, there's the dominant Turtledove/High Castle-esque story with huge, blunt obvious divergences (ie, Axis/Confederate victory) that's prominent enough that people see that when they think of alternate history and not anything even slightly more subtle.

And there's a further "issue" (although that might not be the right word because it sounds more negative than it is) that a lot of people with tastes for one type of alternate history won't care for another type just because it's in the past with a divergence. I'm highly skeptical that there's a lot of overlap between the conniseuers of 18th-century divergence historical romances and those of say, Harvey Black's "Effect" series of World War IIIs. And if there was, it'd be probably just due to enjoying different types of stories on their terms rather than some "a-ha, they're both alternate history" feeling.

(Sorry if this sounds like I'm rambling, it's just I've gotten a fascination for looking at these niche fandoms since I realized how small and disconnected from historical/cheap thriller fiction in general the "conventional WW3" subgenre was).
 

Charles EP M.

Well-known member
Published by SLP
The point that what fans want from fanfiction they don't want from canon is a good one, especially if you've ever seen fandom arguments that 'I don't like how this has gone, if only the canon had been like [popular fanfic]'. Which is a big lie and just another way of being disgruntled about a character development.

EDIT: The other thing this article leaves me with is the thought "there's a market there! I should try and learn to write this stuff"
 
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IanBertram

Active member
Location
UK
One of the characters in my Stories from a Changed World TL is a writer, and I've literally just started writing a story, supposedly by him, which is looking at what might have happened if the impact of the POD setting up his world had been even more damaging. It is therefore AH from both his perspective and ours.
 
It's a decent article, but the notion that most fandoms are sophisticated enough to contextualise a fix-it is one I'd very strongly disagree with. Coincidentally I was reading an article earlier on Annie Proulx, where she was decrying the fact that she gets bombarded by fan fic writer, let's-fetishise-gay-men types who have no interest at all in the inherent tragedy and social realism of Brokeback, and just want to raise Jack from the dead or give Ennis a new boyfriend or god knows what else.
 
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ChrisNuttall

Well-known member
The point that what fans want from fanfiction they don't want from canon is a good one, especially if you've ever seen fandom arguments that 'I don't like how this has gone, if only the canon had been like [popular fanfic]'. Which is a big lie and just another way of being disgruntled about a character development.

EDIT: The other thing this article leaves me with is the thought "there's a market there! I should try and learn to write this stuff"
It can be very hard to get paid for writing fan fiction. <grin>

Chris
 
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