Alternate history is a genre of fiction that, although connected to science fiction, has its own rich history and lineage. With its roots in the writings of ancient Rome, alternate history matured into something close to its current form in the essays and novels of the nineteenth century. In more recent years a number of highly acclaimed novels have been published as alternate histories, by authors ranging from bestselling science fiction writers to Pulitzer prize-winning literary icons. The popularity of the genre is reflected in its success on television, where original concepts have been developed alongside adaptations of classic texts such as Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle.
This collection of essays, by both leading scholars in the field and rising stars, seeks to redress an imbalance between the importance and quality of alternate history texts and the available critical scholarship on the genre. The essays acknowledge the long and distinctive history of alternate history whilst also revelling in its vitality, adaptability, and contemporary relevance.
‘Fascinating… the authors all help us understand how the Alternate History genre itself stimulates and encourages us to think about our own history, and our place in it.’
Martin Empson, Resolute Reader
‘A fine collection which is extremely well-edited… Sideways in Time is a significant addition to science fiction scholarship in general and alternate history in particular. It also raises fundamental and pressing questions about agency that we need to consider in the context of a twenty-first century which is turning out to be very different from its predecessor.’
Nick Hubble, Vector
'Sideways in Time makes a rich, valuable, and timely intervention in the nascent field studying alternate history... The cumulative effect of reading Sideways in Time in its entirety is one of generic saturation and full immersion in both the richness of the field and the possibilities newly open for analysis. Particularly impressive is the collegiality evident in the volume, with virtually every chapter referencing at least one other chapter from the collection. This is a difficult feat to accomplish and depends both on editorial tenacity and on the generosity and willingness of the authors to see their contributions as part of a larger conversation. Indeed, Morgan and Palmer-Patel’s great achievement lies not only in their own incisive and instructive framing chapters, but, evidently, in their editorial leadership. Although very different from one another in scope, perspective, material, and claim, each chapter is just as valuable for stand-alone scholarship pertaining to the primary material as it is for contributing insights into the larger generic concerns of the volume. As such, Sideways in Time is a book that takes alternate history scholarship to the next level.'
Keren Omry, Los Angeles Review of Books
‘Readers of Sideways in Time whose predilection is for narratives that focus on the thoughts and emotions of individuals or that play with the weird and fantastic will have a different set of favorites. To paraphrase the editors, they will be drawn to the narratives that expand, stretch, subvert, and redefine the genre. For all of us, however, the collection is worth reading and consulting.’
Carl Abbott, SFRA Review