This post is the result of suddenly deciding to take the photo below.
Its cover of of the only book by Philip K Dick I own which sums up the genre of alternative history fiction. Its a genre whose subject matter fascinates me and whose writing frequently disappoints. The disappointment stems from work that leave no room for the reader’s imagination. These tends to read like history books, with a gloating “spot that historical trivia” sign flashing over in the writing.
The best stuff, the rare stuff, like Robert Harris’s Fatherland gives morsels of rich details for your imagination to do the heavy lifting. Like any good writing it lets you visualise a universe with YOUR mind’s eye. It becomes a creation inside your own head. In alternative history fiction, more than in any other genre, this one factor separates the good from the rest.
Given the ease at which alternative history books can slide into embarrassing reads I don’t own any accept the book in the photo. I have to admit its not the best work of this kind and I lost the interest to finish it. But it’s an old book. A 1962 paperback that I don’t have the heart to throw or give away. So it hangs out with my Bukowskis. Now its given me a reason to write this.
Which begs the question(s) : have you had any forays into this genre? Seen any stories set in a Sri Lankan settings?
As some long time readers of this blog might have notice I have made my own stab and writing alternative history nonsense in a Sri Lankan setting. I won’t even suggest that such drivel is up to any snuff but its fun to write and of course The Voices are at their most insistent.