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Historical and Alternate history novels: your favourite?

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  • Historical and Alternate history novels: your favourite?

    I love good historical novels, like Mike's Pyat's quartet and The warlord of the Air, expecially when they tweak history in bizarre ways. here's some of my favourites, what's yours?
    17
    The Persian boy, by Mary Renault
    0.00%
    0
    Salambbo by Flaubert
    0.00%
    0
    Creation by Gore Vidal
    5.88%
    1
    I Claudius by Robert Graves
    17.65%
    3
    Julian by Gore Vidal
    0.00%
    0
    The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
    23.53%
    4
    Ash, the secret history, by Mary Gentle (alternate history)
    5.88%
    1
    Memory of a gnostic dwarf, by David Madsen
    0.00%
    0
    Fortunes of War, by Mel keegan
    0.00%
    0
    The Baroque cycle by Neal stephenson
    5.88%
    1
    Troy trilogy, by David Gemmell
    0.00%
    0
    THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE, BY DICK
    35.29%
    6
    The gate of worlds by Silverberg
    0.00%
    0
    Agent of Byzantium by Turtledove
    5.88%
    1
    Don't believe everything you hear, but not disbelieve anything, either
    Calanthe Har Aralis har Varr har Uigenna

    This is not the Tanelorn I was searching for
    Dorian Hawkmoon

  • #2
    I simply loved Ash by Mary Gentle. It's the story of a female mercenary warrior in an alternate medieval age, with a Carthage who's been conquered by Visigoths and suffers a sort of of vengeance- the eternal darkness- for having cursed Rome. Very strange, and beautiful
    Don't believe everything you hear, but not disbelieve anything, either
    Calanthe Har Aralis har Varr har Uigenna

    This is not the Tanelorn I was searching for
    Dorian Hawkmoon

    Comment


    • #3
      The Name of the Rose is the only one there I've read although I've seen the I, Claudius tv series (and have the DVD of the same). Should one day read the copy of Pavane by the late Keith Roberts I bought, since it's very highly regarded as an alternative history novel. Ditto TMitHC by PKD.

      You could also add SS-GB by Len Deighton or '48 by James Herbert for other post-WW2 alt. histories.
      _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
      _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
      _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
      _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

      Comment


      • #4
        I quite like Talbot Mundy's Tros of Samothrace series. Tros is a one-man navy out to thwart Caesar's intended conquest of Britain. Another great historical cycle from the pulp era is Harold Lamb's Khlit the Cossack stories. U of Nebraska recenly republished them thanks to the efforts of Howard Andrew Jones. Robert E. Hoawrd's Crusader tales have also been published by UNeb, edited by Rusty Burke.

        I like Westerns, though far too many are not written very well. My favorites (written as novels looking back to the past, and not contemporary depictions of the frontier) are True Grit by Charles Portis, Little Big Man by Thomas Berger, and The Wolf and the Buffalo by Elmer Kelton.
        Dave Hardy
        http://fireandsword.blogspot.com/

        My books: Crazy Greta, Tales of Phalerus the Achaean, and Palmetto Empire.

        sigpic

        Comment


        • #5
          None of these! Harry Turtledove's Guns of the South is the best alternative history I've ever read.
          Last edited by silverhand; 09-26-2008, 01:26 PM. Reason: My poor memory
          Arioch, aid me! Blood and souls for Arioch!

          Comment


          • #6
            In War Times by Kathleen Ann Goonan is a great new one (WWII to early '60s alternate history). I also really enjoyed Ruled Britannia by Harry Turtledove (what England in Shakespeare's time would have been like if the Spanish Armada had won).
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            • #7
              I loved the two Claudius books by Robert Graves.
              My more recent fave would be The Company of Liars (about onset of plague in 14th century) by Karen Maitland.
              "I hate to advocate drugs,alcohol,violence or insanity to anyone,but they've always worked for me"

              Hunter S Thompson

              Comment


              • #8
                The only ones on the list which I've read are PKD and 'I, Clavdivs' (as I always saw it ). I could probably do with reading those again. I also enjoyed Mary Renaults book (books?) about Theseus, though I forget the title. 'The Bull from the Sea', perhaps?

                I absolutely loved 'Little Big Man', too, Dave. The novels by Julian Rathbone featuring Joseph Bosham are similar in theme and style.

                The 'West of Eden' series by Harry Harrison is a very good alternative history which goes a bit further than most.
                You see, it's... it's no good, Montag. We've all got to be alike. The only way to be happy is for everyone to be made equal.

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                "I am an observer of life, a non-participant who takes no sides. I am in the regimented society, but not of it." Moondog, 1964

                Comment


                • #9
                  This was bloody tough. "Name of the Rose" was great, but stodgy, and "I Claudius" is as close as you can get to Suetonius/Tacitus, but a little dry. I'm still waiting for the sequel
                  .

                  But Vidal's Creation is just a huge, rollicking, fun read. We have a winner!

                  Des
                  Spacerockmanifesto on Facebook

                  Hawkwind tabs

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Im Looking for a good alt history to start, looked at Flint and Turtledove.
                    But Yall hurry and figure out whos best so I know here to start.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I haven't read Vidal's 'Creation' but I liked 'Burr'.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I've also read, the Claudius novels, as well as 'Count Belisarius', by Graves. Also, 'The Name of the Rose' and 'Man in the High Castle', all excellent books. But, 'Pavane', by Keith Roberts, would have been my first choice and 'A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah!', by Harry Harrison, should definitely be on the list.

                        Thinking about it, I can also heartily recommend 'King Hereafter', by Dorothy Dunnett. An unusual take on the story of Macbeth.

                        Otherwise, 'Warlord of the Air,' of course.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          From the list I'd pick The Man In The High Castle, a great read that.
                          Others come to mind:
                          Spinrad's The Iron Dream
                          Harris' Fatherland
                          Saunders' The Wild Blue and The Gray (Cherokee Nation WWI pilot attached
                          to the CSA forces fighting in France)

                          Are we counting any of Mike's work?
                          "A man is no man who cannot have a fried mackerel when he has set his mind on it; and more especially when he has money in his pocket to pay for it." - E.A. Poe's NICHOLAS DUNKS; OR, FRIED MACKEREL FOR DINNER

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I'd forgotten about Spinrad's, 'The Iron Dream' (AKA Hitler's 'Lord of the Swastika'). Very funny, in a rueful, lesson worth learning, sort of way.

                            I was never able to look at 'hard' SF, or S&S, or 'History' (for that matter), in quite the same way, again.

                            An excellent choice.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I suggest: I don´t read the books in the voting, except: „I, Claudius“ and „The name of the rose“.
                              Both of them are really good reads.

                              Currently I´m trying the „The Lord of the Silver Bow“ (Troy-series of David Gemmel). But I´m afraid Gemmel disentchanted the myth. Superhero Aeneas and his companions boring me to death. The antagonists are conscienceless scoundrels in each way. The result: Gemmels world is to easily divided into good and evil. Probably he did not write it for an audience like me.

                              My favourite one is the historical novel „Conscience of the King“ by Alfred Duggan. It´s a fictional autobiography of Cerdic, the semi-legendary founder of the anglo-saxon kingdom Wessex. Duggan´s Cerdic is a paranoid, sociopathic and machiavellian antihero, a murder, liar, coward and deserter but he narrates his dubious actions in a so enjoyable manner, that I´ve read this book in only one long night.

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