Welcome my dear readers, and prepare for a real treat! On the tail of Mitro's splendid coverage of the AH Wiki's Stirling Awards, I will be covering it's Alternatehistory.com cousins, the 2012 Turtledove Awards!
Every year in January, the members of AH.com choose what they feel are the cream of the crop of the past years Timelines, stories and images posted on the site, and from there, vote on what they feel happens to be the very best of the very best. It goes without saying that for AH fans, receiving a Turtledove is one of the highest honors online AH can receive, and are always among the best to be found on the Internet. Needless to say, for the AH community as a whole, this is a big event.
Some of the nominees may be familiar to a number of you. Some, we've even profiled for this very site. All of them are superb, fascinating, and above all else, the very best AH.com has to offer from the last year. Without further adieu, let us introduce our winners:
Our first award goes to the best new Prehistory timeline, which covers all new works that involve a POD prior to 3500 BC. This year, the winner is...
Neanderthals in the America's by Domoviye
I personally have not read it, but given the interesting concept, and that it has now won a Turtledove, I will look to change that.
Next up ladies and gentlemen we have our continuing Prehistory Timeline, which goes to the best work that is older than a year with the POD prior to 3500 BC. This year, our winner is...
Lands of Red and Gold by Jared
The TL, which involves a breed of yam ending up as a staple crop in Australia, allowing for a number of strange and wonderful Aboriginal civilizations to pop up in parts of the continent. Very well researched and detailed, it has earned its Turtledove - certainly since the TL is now going into first contact with the European explorers.
Next up, we have our new Ancient TL category, which covers the period of classical antiquity. Our winner?
The Realm of Millions of Years: The World of an Atenist Egypt by NikoZnate
The TL covers a successful transition to the Atenist beliefs of the Pharaoh Akhenaten is adopted by Egyption society, and how Egyption society and the world at large is shaped by it as a result. A facinating TL, especially given the shocking shortage of Egyptian TLs, I recommend it highly.
Next up for our continuing Ancient TL, we have:
The Weighted Scales: The World of an Aborted Rome by Errnge
A world without Rome is one utterly alien to us, so the realism and detail of this TL is a treat. Check it out if you haven't already.
Next up are our two Medieval Era categories. Our winner for new is a shocker given that compared to it's competitors, it is a very young TL - but then you read it, and you know why it won. For Best New Medieval TL:
Lands of Ice and Mice: An Alternate History of the Thule by both DirtyCommie and DValdron
While I will admit I voted for An Age of Miracles, this superb TL on how a few changes in lifestyle turn the Inuit into a powerful sedentary civilization, in spite of carving a home for themselves in one of the planets most inhospitable climates is a great TL as well, and one you must check out.
For Best Continuing Medival TL:
Issac's Empire 2.0 by Basileus Giorgios
The original is an AH legend online, so that's it's equally superb continuing relaunch wins the Turtledove is no surprise. Read this at once, and then go read the original.
Moving on to the Renaissance and Reformation era, for our Best New Renaissance and Reformation TL we have:
The Bloody Man by EdT
Written by the man behind both Fight and be Right and A Greater Britain, his latest TL takes us make to the English Civil War, with Oliver Cromwell off in the new world leading the settlement of colonies in New England, and the rise of the Commonwealth without him. A Fascinating read, and one of my favorites.
As for continuing TLs, we have another great one. Our winner for Best Continuing Renaissance & Reformation is:
Anahuatlacanco: The Land Between the Waters, Land of the Nahuatlaca by Cuāuhtemōc
This TL is one of the rare alternate Aztec TLs, and one with a VERY interesting concept: Rather than conquer the Aztecs for Spain, Cortez instead forms an independent kingdom out of the ashes of the Aztec - one ruled by himself naturally. Having gone through a couple of reboots, this is a superb TL, please give it a read.
Now into the awards for 18th Century, we open with the award for Best New 18th Century TL:
The Hero of Saratoga: The Presidency of Benedict Arnold by IchBinDieKaiser
Following an American Revolution where Benedict Arnold rallies American troops after the death of General Gates at the battle of Saratoga, not only resulting in Arnold never betraying the Americans and remaining a hero of the colonists on par with Washington, a very diffent world takes shape, one where the USA is a Centralized Republic with a strong military tradition and no slaves, and Europe was just been torn apart by another war on the scale of the Napoleonic War, which ended in a truce in this world.
As for Best Continuing 18th Century, we have a favorite of mine - and not just for the prominent cameo I have:
Dominion of Southern America by Glen
I did my first showcase for this site on this masterful TL, and a great deal of changes happened in this world since then. For starters, a proto-fascist ideology has taken hold in great swaths of the world, and a war over it has consumed this once peaceful planet. Right now, the sides are evenly matched, so please, give this a read if you haven't already.
Next up, we have the award for Best New 19th Century TL, which goes to...
The Stars at Night: A Texas Timeline by Sicarius
A shockingly plausible look at an independent Texas that thanks to it's humor never takes itself too seriously, the mixture results in one of the best new TLs on the site. Go read it at once!
For Best Continuing 19th Century, we have another returning favorite for our winner:
Union and Liberty: An American TL by Wilcoxchar
In this TL, a more amiable relationship between President Andrew Jackson and then-Senator John Calhoun, which keeps the two from splitting like in OTL - which leads to a horde of butterflies getting unleashed when Calhoun accends to the presidency when Jackson is assasinated. A splendid vision of an alternate America and an alternate world, check it out with all haste.
Noe entering the modern era, we have our award for the best New Early 20th Century TL, which goes to:
What If - Finland had been prepared for the Winter War? by CanKiwi
Following a POD of the newly independent Finland paying special attention to ensuring it's new found nationhood is aptly defended, details of how to make Finland both a viable military and economic powerhouse, one that will not fear facing down the Soviets or the Nazis.
As for the award for Continuing Early 20th Century, it goes to one of the rare WWI TLs:
A Shift in Priorities by rast
This is one of the most discussed TLs on AH.com, and the POD focuses on a change of German battle tactics in WWI, and all the changes to the Great War that it brings, for better and worse.
Now we get to see our winners for World War II, begining with the Best New World War II TL:
Happy and Glorious by Devolved
This TL starts with a very small POD, certainly compared to the size and scope of World War II: The HMS Glorious survives it's encounter with Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, and sinks the former, robbing Nazi Germany of one of it's big naval victories, and butterflies taking wing over the European front.
As for our Best Continuing World War II TL, we have a rather facinating role reversal:
The Anglo/American - Nazi War by CalBear
Following events in a world where Nazi Germany successfully overcame Soviet Russia, in part by Germany preparing it's troops with winter gear, in part due to Stalin purging what remains of the Soviet High Command after the fall of Stalingrad, and afterwards gets locked into a Cold War with an Anglo-American alliance that, though unable to make landfall in Europe, stands stalwart for what remains of the free world. Not surprisingly, this doesn’t remain a Cold War for long, and the detailed writing on the liberation of Nazi Europe inch by bloody inch is gripping and well worth a read.
Moving on to the awards for the Cold War AH, we have a pair of interconnected Tls, starting with the award for Best New Cold War TL:
Land of Flatwater: Protect and Survive Middle America by Chipperback
A spin-off on the massively successful Protect and Survive TL (more on them later), this one follows survivors of a mid-eighties Nuclear War centered on Nebraska. Having just delved into the aftermath of the conflict, this TL is going to tread some interesting territory in the upcoming months.
Given the winner of the new, the winner for Best Continuing Cold War TL shouldn’t be too surprising:
Protect and Survive: A Timeline by Macragge1
This TL follows the aftermath of a mid 1980s nuclear war, less like 1983:Doomsday and more akin to The Day After. Having inspired a number of spin-offs, the original is still a gripping read, and a must for fans of post-apocalyptic TLs.
Now we have reached our final category for the awards for Timelines, Modern and Future history. Our award for the Best New Modern/Future TL goes to a personal favorite of mine:
A Giant Sucking Sound: a President Perot TL by MaskedPickle
Following Texan Billionaire Ross Perot winning the Presidency in 1992, all sorts of events wonderful and tragic unfold. Perot spearheads many reforms for the nation and the government, including a national Internet network, a balanced budget amendment and the creation of a viable centrist party. He also presides over the rise of violent terrorism at the hand of extremists that make the OTL militia movements look like hippies, and one cult in Japan that set off a nuclear weapon. Even pop culture is drastically different, with Brandon Lee surviving, Titanic flopping and Jon Stewart elected as a Congressman. Very detailed and filled with fun and frightening tidbits, I urge you to see this TL for yourself.
Finally, we have the award for Best Continuing Modern/Future TL, which goes to:
A Revised History of the Future (2001 - 2150) by Pkmatrix
A massively detailed TL that starts in the recent past and shoots forward step by step more than a century, all of it within the realm of possibility. One of the rare good Future Timlines, this is a treat you have to read.
With the Timelines awarded, it is now for the Media awards:
For the Best Map, we have Eigenwelt's United States and the Nations of North America
For Best Flag, we have Cazaril's Communist Scotland
For Best Photo, we have Color-Copycat's Alternate Manhattan
Finally, for Best Artwork, we have Pischinovski's Empire of Bryton Family Tree
Moving on to the awards given to the work of the Writer's Forum and the ASM Forum, I've discounted many of the awards given for work not AH-related (ie, fanfiction, work based of published media, etc), even then we have a fantastic lot, and we open with one of the best, our winner of the Best New Fantasy/Sci-Fi Story:
For All the Marbles by William Dellinger
Now this is among the finest works of fiction I've read all year, and by that, I mean ANY fiction. The premise is brilliant in it's simplicity: A god-like entity (or ASB, if you prefer) has gathered over a hundred of human histories best and brightest leaders, generals, scientists and cultural figures to fight in an interstellar game of war. The very idea of having Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Thomas Jefferson, Genghis Khan, Whinston Churchill and a hundred more of humanities best on the same side is fascinating enough, and coupled with the narrative style, this story will have you from the first paragraph. Currently undergoing it's second draft, I cannot urge you to read and support this classic in the making enough - and not just because I, your humble narrator, have a cameo as an apprentice to Shakespeare!
Next, we have our Best Continuing Fantasy/Sci-Fi Fiction award:
Great Interstellar War mini-comic by BlackWave
With perhaps the only comic series on AH.com, this is unique enough before you dive in and discover a fantastically entertaining tale of a cosmic conflict between Wester civilization and the dreaded hordes of the Red Russian-Chinese in a delightfully over-the-top space opera.
Nest up we have the award for Best New Historical Fiction Story:
The American Invasion of Libya by MacCaulay
Penned by AH.com's own military fiction master, the story follows the formation of a Volunteer Brigade recruited, trained and deployed in a fashion somewhat between a Mercenary company and a Yankee version of the French Foreign Legion, as they deploy to Libya in an attempt to aid the Rebellion against Qaddafi. For fans of military fiction, this is a must read.
As for the award for Best Continuing Historical Fiction Story:
The Revolution Will Be Live - A Prose TL by The Vulture
The POD starts with a far more severe Red Scare in the 1920s that leads to the USA taking a far more militant stand against Communism and Communist influences, both real and percieved, resulting in both a highly polarized nation come TTLs 1950s, and a strong backlash and revolution in which this stories protaganist first plays witness, and then plays a part participating in. Very grim and dark, and very well written.
For the Best Continuing Geographic/Evolutionary Story, we have a returning feature of the AHWU:
Green Antarctica by DValdron
Given the vivid profile I did of this story back in October, what else is there to say? That this world of a Green Antarctica that plays host to a horde of monsters, human and otherwise, that will make your skill crawl and give you nightmares on a scale that makes HP Lovecraft look like Dr. Seuss? That sums it up, and given that, the story fully award it won... I just hope the Tsalal don't rape it.
For the award for Best Continuing Alien Contact Story, we have another AH.com classic:
Swarm on the Somme by BlackWave
This sci-fi feature follows the landing of an alien prob in the middle of World War One, one that spits out assimilationist alien life forms that push humanity to the brink all over the world. It is gripping, creative and a must read for fans of science fiction - plus, you get to see Teddy Roosevelt fight alien robots!
For the award for Best New ISOT/Other ASB Story, we have another returning TL:
Ad Astra Per Aspera: A Modern History by rvbomally
As Mitro wrote in his profile of this TL, this takes place in a future dominated by three pan-galactic dictatorships locked in a war that the destruction of entire planets is child's play, and the modern ideals of freedom and liberty are all but dead in the face of cosmic war. A must read.
For our final award before the best in show, we have Best Continuing ISOT/Other ASB Story:
United American Flight 817 2.0 by Jim Smitty
Following a group of 747 passengers who get taken back into the 1930s USA, and use thier knowledge and expiriences to shape the world in many ways big and small. Detailed and charachter driven, this is a great ISOT story.
Now, for the moment we've all been waiting for, the awards for the Best of the Best Turtledoves... drumroll please:
Best Timeline: Lands of Red and Gold by Jared
Best Media: United States and the Nations of North America by Eigenwelt
Best Alien Space Bat Story: Swarm on the Somme by BlackWave
Best Story: For All the Marbles by Willaim Dellinger
That concludes my coverage and tribute to the many winners and nominees of the 2012 AH.com Turtledove Awards, to whom I all congratulate and ask to keep the good stuff coming. To all of our readers, I cannot urge you enough to take a look at these magnificent works! Until nest year, lets give a saulte to the best of what AH.com has to offer!
Good night everyone!
Soldier, scholar, writer and web-voyeur, Sean CW Korsgaard has been active in the alternate history community since 2006, and was recently elected to succeed Mitro as President of the Alternate History Online Facebook group. In addition to his contributions at the Alternate History Weekly Update, he writes for several websites, including his own, which can be found here.