Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Upcoming Retro-SF That Will Be Confused as AH

Alternate history is a lot of things, but it is not a dumping ground for out-of-date science fiction.

Let me explain: science fiction authors like to write about the future. Stories can be set in the  near future or thousands to millions of years from the date of publication. The problem is that through the natural progression of time, the present day catches up with these stories and leaves behind covered in dust. Suddenly this "retro-SF" is a lot less prophetic. Best examples of this phenomenon are 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949). Good books, bad predictions.

The problem is people have the tendency to lump retro-SF into alternate history. On its face its seems logical. These universes have an "alternate" history to OTL, but that does not place them in the category of alternate history. General rule of thumb: it is the author's intent that determines if the work is an alternate history. If the author intended to change the past, it is an alternate history. With alternate history the date of publication is important when determining if the story belongs in the genre.

More importantly, science fiction does not need a catch-all genre for obsolete futures. Science fiction already has a genre for retro-SF. Its called science fiction.

With that being said, here are a selection of short stories, novelstelevision and films soon to be called alternate history (for sake of length I only went up to 2099):

2013
Escape From LA

2015
Back To The Future Part II (This just applies to the scenes in the future. The alternate 1985 old Biff creates still counts as alternate history).

2017
"Trinity"

2019
The Running Man
The Seeds of Time
The Sparrow

2020
Air
Red Mars

2021
The Children of Men (novel)
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

2022
Seaquest DSV
Soylent Green

2023
Sewer, Gas and Electric: The Public Works Trilogy

2024
"A Boy and His Dog"

2025
334
Rainbows End
Star Trek
Titan

2026
Metropolis
"There Will Come Soft Rain"

2027
Blade Runner
Children Of Men (film)
"Six Months, Three Days"

2029
Terminator

2030
Neuromancer

2031
Frankenstein Unbound

2035
Doomsday
I Robot
The Speed of Dark

2037
"Trojan Horse"

2038
"Epoch"
"Restoration"
White Queen

2047
On Wings of Song
River of Gods

2050
Childhood's End
Eight Worlds series

2054
Doomsday Book

2057
To Say Nothing of the Dog

2059
He, She and It

2063
Star Trek: First Contact

2070
Doctor Who, "The Moonbase"

2075
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

2077
Rendezvous with Rama

2082
Otherland tetralogy

2086
Blindsight

2087
Cyborg 2087

2092
The Last Man

2094
The Outward Urge

This is not a complete list, so feel free to share examples in the comment section.

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Matt Mitrovich is the founder and editor of Alternate History Weekly Update, a volunteer editor for Alt Hist and a contributor to Just Below the Law. His fiction can be found at Echelon PressJake's Monthly and his own writing blog. When not writing he works as an attorney and enjoys life with his beautiful wife Alana.

2 comments:

  1. Some of those films I'm really glad won't ever be a reality...

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    Replies
    1. There does seem to be a lot of dystopias/post-apocs coming up in the 21st century. Hmm...

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