Wait, Did That Really Happen?

by Ellen Peterson | Apr 24, 2020

Underground Airlines
by Ben Winters

A young black man calling himself Victor has struck a bargain with federal law enforcement, working as a bounty hunter for the US Marshall Service in exchange for his freedom. He's got plenty of work. In this version of America, slavery continues in four states called "the Hard Four." On the trail of a runaway known as Jackdaw, Victor arrives in Indianapolis knowing that something isn't right — with the case file, with his work, and with the country itself.

The Man in the High Castle
by Philip K. Dick

It's America in 1962. Slavery is legal once again. The few Jews who still survive hide under assumed names. In San Francisco, the I Ching is as common as the Yellow Pages. All because some twenty years earlier the United States lost a war—and is now occupied by Nazi Germany and Japan.

 

Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter
by Seth Graham-Smith

While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for hundreds of years. That is, until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln, and became the first living person to lay eyes on it in more than 140 years.

 

Life After Life
by Kate Atkinson

On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war.

1635: The Dreeson Incident
by Eric Flint

The Thirty Years War continues to ravage 17th century Europe, but a new force is gathering power and influence: the Confederated Principalities of Europe, an alliance between Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden, and the West Virginians from the 20th century led by Mike Stearns who were hurled centuries into the past by a mysterious cosmic accident.

 

11/22/63
by Stephen King

In this brilliantly conceived tour de force, Stephen King—who has absorbed the social, political, and popular culture of his generation more imaginatively and thoroughly than any other writer—takes readers on an incredible journey into the past and the possibility of altering it.

 

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
by Susanna Clarke

In the midst of the Napoleonic Wars in 1806, most people believe magic to have long since disappeared from England - until the reclusive Mr. Norrell reveals his powers and becomes an overnight celebrity.

 

World War Z: an Oral History of the Zombie War
by Max Brooks

We survived the zombie apocalypse, but how many of us are still haunted by that terrible time? We have (temporarily?) defeated the living dead, but at what cost? Told in the haunting and riveting voices of the men and women who witnessed the horror firsthand, World War Z is the only record of the apocalyptic years.

 

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
by Mark Twain

In Mark Twain's 1889 novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Hank Morgan awakes from a blow to the head only to find that he has been mysteriously transported back in time. It is early medieval England, the time of King Arthur and Hank is taken to the Camelot castle by a Knight of the King's. Ridiculed for his funny manner and dress sense, and sentenced to burn at the stake, Hank recovers through an incredible stroke of luck, and in doing so convinces the superstitious King and his subjects that he possesses great powers.

The Plot Against America
by Philip Roth

In an extraordinary feat of narrative invention, Philip Roth imagines an alternate history where Franklin D. Roosevelt loses the 1940 presidential election to heroic aviator and rabid isolationist Charles A. Lindbergh. Shortly thereafter, Lindbergh negotiates a cordial "understanding" with Adolf Hitler, while the new government embarks on a program of folksy anti-Semitism.

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