Daily Thoughts #54

What would happen if…?

This question has interested me for quite some time. Being the history lover that I am, I cannot help but wonder if one thing changed in history, how different would the world be today. Other writers have thought along the same lines, creating a genre known as alternative history. That is, history of what would have happened if something had changed in history.

For example, the book (and later TV series) The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick, examines how the world would have been in the 1960s had the Axis powers (Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany) won World War II. Louis Geoffroy’s Histoire de la Monarchie universelle: Napoléon et la conquête du monde (1812–1832) imagines what would happen had Napoleon won the wars against Russia in 1811 and England in 1814, unifying Europe under his power.

Usually these types of genres focus on bigger things in history (like wars). However, alternative history can be something small, like one person dying early in life than in history and changing something. Or the discovery of certain medicines earlier. Or change of the main power in the world. For example, China through most of its ancient history was foremost in knowledge (they invented gunpowder), and yet it was Europe which surpassed them (they didn’t just use gunpowder for fireworks, but for war). What would have happened if China had continued to be the most powerful leader in development?

Check out this genre. It is interesting and you can do anything you want this it. Change the facts in history–just make sure everyone knows it’s fictional!

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