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GURPS Infinite Worlds – Cover

You can find an index of all the GURPS bibliographies we have online here. If you spot any broken links or other problems with this page, please report them to

Bibliography for GURPS Infinite Worlds

This bibliography can only skim the surface of the thousands of works on time travel, alternate histories, and so forth even on this one world. Absolute musts, the best of the best or pioneering works in the genre, are adorned with a star (*).


Categories are fluid at best; some of the early classics, especially, slop over into more than one. For example, H. Beam Piper's Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen combines an in-depth AH setting (an Indo-Aryan America trapped in medievalism) with cross-dimensional politics (the Paratime Police and its concerns) with the classic time-travel trope of the resourceful castaway who brings modern technology (in this case, gunpowder) to a primitive milieu.

Alternate Histories

These stories, anthologies, and novels primarily concentrate on the nitty-gritty of the alternate history (AH) setting in question, some of them to the exclusion of plot or character. With a good enough setting, one can overlook such flaws.

Aiken, Joan. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (Doubleday, 1963). First of a children's series of adventure novels set in an alternate Stuart England.

Amis, Kingsley. The Alteration (Jonathan Cape, 1976). Castrati politics in a world without a Reformation.

* Anderson, Poul. A Midsummer Tempest (Doubleday, 1974). A brilliant Shakespearean myth parallel.

Baxter, Stephen. Anti-Ice (HarperCollins, 1993). Victorian England gets antimatter in this serious update of the Verne adventure genre. The Time Ships (HarperCollins, 1995) is a sequel to Wells' The Time Machine.

* Benford, Gregory and Greenberg, Martin H. (editors). Hitler Victorious (Garland, 1986). Axis-victory AH stories, including David Brin's classic "Thor Meets Captain America." The four volumes of their What Might Have Been? series (Bantam, 1989-1992) contain a high proportion of good, interesting stories.

Bensen, D.R. And Having Writ . . . (Bobbs-Merrill, 1978). Aliens survive the Tunguska crash and redirect history trying to fix their ship.

Card, Orson Scott. Seventh Son (Tor, 1987). First of the "Alvin Maker" series, set in an alternate 19th-century America where folk magic works.

* De Camp, L. Sprague. "The Wheels of If" (1940). One of the very first "trapped in an altered history" stories; still holds up.

* Dick, Philip K. The Man in the High Castle (Putnam's, 1962). Axis victory in the absolute best AH novel ever.

Dozois, Gardner and Schmidt, Stanley (editors). Roads Not Taken (Del Rey, 1998).

Dvorkin, David. Budspy (Franklin Watts, 1987). Unsettling novel of politics as usual in a world with a victorious Nazi Germany.

Ford, John M. The Dragon Waiting (Timescape, 1983). Intricate AH fantasy in a world with a pagan Byzantium, vampires, and Richard III.

Fry, Stephen. Making History (Hutchinson, 1996). Removing Hitler makes things worse.

Garfinkle, Richard. Celestial Matters (Tor, 1996). A very alternate history in which Classical Greek theories of astronomy, physics, and politics are all literally true.

Garrett, Randall. Lord Darcy (Baen, 2004). A collection of the "Lord Darcy" stories, classic AH mysteries set in the 20th-century Anglo-French Empire.

* Gentle, Mary. Ash: A Secret History (Gollancz, 2000). The seminal reality quake novel about an alternate Visigothic Carthage and the evil computers who must destroy Burgundy and its history to thrive.

Gibson, William and Sterling, Bruce. The Difference Engine (Gollancz, 1990). Steam-powered cyberpunk AH diverges with Babbage's computers.

Harlan, Thomas. Shadow of Ararat (Tor, 1999) and the rest of the Oath of Empire series are high fantasy in an alternate Rome.

Harris, Robert. Fatherland (Harper, 1992). A solidly written AH about the biggest murder investigation of all time.

Hogan, James P. The Proteus Operation (Bantam/Spectra, 1985). Time-travel WWII novel with two separate AHs.

Keyes, J. Gregory. Age of Unreason (Ballantine, 1998-2001). AH tetralogy of Newtonian magic, meteor strikes, and angelic math.

Laidlaw, Marc. "His Powder'd Wig, His Crown of Thornes" (1989). Possibly the best "British defeat the Revolution" AH story, and a powerful indictment of colonialism.

Leiber, Fritz. "Catch That Zeppelin!" (1975). Smarter than usual "no WWII" AH.

Linaweaver, Brad. Moon of Ice (Tor, 1993). A slightly more bizarre AH, expanded from the short story in Hitler Victorious and an excellent source for crazy Raven Division schemes.

McAuley, Paul J. Pasquale's Angel (Gollancz, 1994). Novel of steampunk Renaissance Italy, featuring Machiavelli as a hard-drinking reporter.

Mitchell, Kirk. Procurator (Ace, 1984), New Barbarians (Ace, 1986), Cry Republic (Ace, 1989). Better than average "Rome survives" AH series.

Modesitt, L.E., Jr. Of Tangible Ghosts (Tor, 1994) and sequels. Ghosts exist in a Dutch America caught between the superpowers.

Moorcock, Michael. The Warlord of the Air (New English Library, 1971), The Land Leviathan (Quartet, 1974), The Steel Tsar (Granada, 1981). AH war stories featuring Oswald Bastable and the shadowy League of Temporal Adventurers.

* Moore, Ward. Bring the Jubilee (Farrar, Straus, 1953). The classic "Confederate victory" AH.

Newman, Kim. Anno Dracula (Simon & Schuster, 1992). AH diverges with Chapter 8 of Bram Stoker's novel; sequels continue the story of a vampirized modern era.

Resnick, Mike (editor). Alternate Presidents (Tor, 1992). First of a series of AH themed anthologies; each book usually contains one or two gems and several interesting ideas.

Roberts, John Maddox. King of the Wood (Doubleday, 1983). Slam-bang alternate America with Aztecs, Arabs, Mongols, and two (count 'em!) kinds of Vikings.

Roberts, Keith. Pavane (Doubleday, 1968). The Armada wins and history slows to a chug.

Robinson, Kim Stanley. Years of Rice and Salt (Bantam, 2002). Generational novel of a world without European civilization after a deadlier Black Death. His "A Sensitive Dependence on Initial Conditions" (1991) is a thoughtful essay on chaos theory and alternate history, focusing on Hiroshima.

Silverberg, Robert. The Gate of Worlds (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1967) and Roma Eterna (HarperCollins, 2003). Aztec and Roman survival AHs, respectively.

Smith, L. Neil. The Probability Broach (Del Rey, 1980) and sequels. This series begins as well-realized AH adventure and increasingly becomes strident libertarian lecture.

Stirling, S.M. Marching Through Georgia (Baen, 1988). First of the dystopian "Draka" series; the novels include impressively detailed AH appendices. The Peshawar Lancers (Roc, 2002) is a more light-hearted AH set in the Anglo-Indian Empire a century after a comet obliterated Europe in 1878.

Sucharitkul, Somtow. The Aquiliad (Timescape, 1983). Rome colonizes the New World and meets the Indians; two sequels continue beating the joke to death.

Turtledove, Harry. Agent of Byzantium (Baen, 1994), A Different Flesh (Baen, 1994), Kaleidoscope (Ballantine, 1990), Departures (Ballantine, 1993), Ruled Britannia (Roc, 2002). His Worldwar (Ballantine, 1994-1996) series made alien invasion a major part of the AH genre; How Few Remain (Ballantine, 1997) and its sequels are rewriting the 20th century with a victorious Confederacy.

* Waldrop, Howard. Them Bones (Ace, 1984) is a small time travel (and AH) gem, but his short stories are true masterpieces of obsessive AH weirdness; collections include Howard Who? (Doubleday, 1986), Strange Monsters of the Recent Past (Ace, 1991), and Going Home Again (St. Martin's, 1998).

* Waugh, Charles G. and Greenberg, Martin H. (editors). Alternative Histories (Garland, 1986). Includes a number of classics and a starter bibliography, with an essay on AH construction.

Wilson, Robert Charles. Darwinia (Tor, 1998). One fine day in 1912, Europe vanishes, replaced by a different ecology.

Womack, Jack. Terraplane (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1988) and Elvissey (Tor, 1993). Agents from a violent future visit the World's Fair and kidnap Elvis in parallel Earths.

Dimensional Travel

These stories and novels usually focus on the mechanics – often including, or especially, the social and political mechanics – of travel to other dimensions, rather than the AH (if any) in them. We have given short shrift to stories in which the "other dimensions" might as well be fairyland, or Australia, or other planets.

Anthony, Piers. Ox (SFBC, 1976). Highly trained agents from thousands of close parallel worlds battle for control.

Asimov, Isaac. The End of Eternity (Doubleday, 1955) and The Gods Themselves (Doubleday, 1972).

Barnes, John. Patton's Spaceship (Harper, 1997), Washington's Dirigible (Harper, 1997), Caesar's Bicycle (Harper, 1997). Fast-paced dimension war series with better than average AH settings. Finity (Tor, 1999), expatriate Americans from diverse parallels meet and investigate.

Bayley, J. Barrington. The Fall of Chronopolis (DAW, 1974).

Bear, Greg. Eon (Bluejay, 1985), Eternity (Warner, 1988), and Legacy (Tor, 1995). Paradimensional weirdness trilogy.

Brunner, John. The Infinitive of Go (Ballantine, 1980). An experiment in teleportation turns out to be an experiment in parachronics.

Chalker, Jack. And the Devil Will Drag You Under (Del Rey, 1979). Aliens draft humans to steal parallel-world artifacts.

* De Camp, L. Sprague and Pratt, Fletcher. The Complete Compleat Enchanter (Baen, 1989). Classic 1940s-1950s short stories of mental travel between dimensions to various myth parallels.

De Chancie, John. Castle Perilous (Ace, 1988) and sequels. Castle serves as dimensional nexus for 144,000 different realities.

Dickson, Gordon. Time Storm (St. Martin's, 1977). A riff on Murray Leinster's classic "Sidewise in Time" (1934), both about Earths with different times intermingled; Dickson's is much darker.

Farmer, Philip José. Riverworld (Putnam, 1971-1980). The series is not precisely dimension travel, but well worth reading as an example of historical characters from many milieus interacting. His World of Tiers series presents bored immortals creating gate-linked universes as playthings.

Heinlein, Robert A. The Cat Who Walks Through Walls (Putnam, 1985) and The Number of the Beast (Fawcett, 1980) present travel between alternate realities and lengthy discussion thereof.

Hodgson, William Hope. The Ghost Pirates (Stanley Paul, 1909). Dimension travel as supernatural horror.

* Kessel, John. Corrupting Dr. Nice (Tor, 1997). Screwball comedy of trans-temporal looting; a sequel to "Mozart in Mirrorshades."

Kilian, Crawford. The Empire of Time (Del Rey, 1978), The Fall of the Republic (Del Rey, 1987), Rogue Emperor (Del Rey, 1988). Kilian's Intertemporal Agency has a lot in common with Centrum's Interworld Service.

Kube-McDowell, Michael P. Alternities (Ace, 1988). Gritty novel of covert AH exploration by a parallel Earth.

Kurland, Michael. Perchance Chronicles (NAL Signet, 1989), The Whenabouts of Burr (DAW, 1975). Light crossworld adventures; Kurland has also written two adequate Lord Darcy novels.

Laumer, Keith, The Time Bender (Berkley, 1966) and sequels; Worlds of the Imperium (Tor, 1986) and sequels. Adventurous cross-dimensional action in two series.

Meredith, Richard C. At the Narrow Passage (Putnam's, 1973), No Brother, No Friend (Doubleday, 1976), Vestiges of Time (Doubleday, 1978). The "Timeliner Trilogy" features a satisfyingly cosmic dimensional war and some gritty 1970s action.

* Moorcock, Michael. The Cornelius Quartet (Avon, 1977). This omnibus gathers Moorcock's increasingly strange stories of multi-dimensional mayhem from their original publications between 1968 and 1974.

Niven, Larry. "All the Myriad Ways" (1968). The ultimate crossworld story.

* Piper, H. Beam. Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen (Ace, 1965) and Paratime (Ace, 1986). After Piper's death, Roland Green and John F. Carr wrote a sequel to Kalvan's adventure, Great King's War (Ace, 1985).

Pullman, Philip. The Golden Compass (Scholastic, 1995), The Subtle Knife (Scholastic, 1997), The Amber Spyglass (Scholastic, 2000). Rich children's fantasy trilogy involves parallel Earths, the nature of God, and talking bears.

Rohan, Michael Scott. Chase the Morning (Avon, 1990), The Gates of Noon (Gollancz, 1992), Cloud Castles (Gollancz, 1993). Cross-dimensional piracy, magic, and myth.

* Sterling, Bruce. "Mozart in Mirrorshades" (1985). A classic of callous crosstime exploitation, complete with freedom-fighting Masons.

Stirling, S.M. Conquistador (Roc, 2003). Unscrupulous moderns settle an unspoiled "America next door."

Zelazny, Roger. Nine Princes in Amber (Doubleday, 1970) and many, many sequels present dimensional travel as a squabbled-over family heirloom. Roadmarks (Ballantine, 1979) is a strange time-travel fable.

Time Travel

These stories and novels offer ideas for interesting situations, or give distinct views of paradox, causality, and time tampering. If they introduce AHs, they generally depend strongly on the time traveler.

Adams, Robert. Castaways in Time (Starblaze, 1980) and its sequels. A band of people slip back to medieval England.

Aldiss, Brian. Frankenstein Unbound (Jonathan Cape, 1973). Time traveler meets Mary Shelley and the Monster.

* Anderson, Poul. There Will Be Time (SFBC, 1972) is the best time-jumper novel ever. Time Patrol (Tor, 1994) is a near-perfect collection. "My Object All Sublime" (1961) is a "time travel as prison" story well worth seeking out, while "The Man Who Came Early" (1956) brilliantly explores temporal inertia.

Anthony, Piers. Bearing an Hourglass (Del Rey, 1984). Interesting notions of causation; don't bother with the rest of the series.

Baker, Kage. The Garden of Iden (Hodder & Stoughton, 1997). First of the historically detailed "The Company" series; cyborgs from the future are secretly hidden in the past to observe and exploit it.

Benford, Gregory. Timescape (Simon & Schuster, 1980). Communications from the future breed paradox.

* Bester, Alfred. "Hobson's Choice" (1952) and "The Men Who Murdered Mohammed" (1958) are must-reads of the genre.

* Bradbury, Ray. "A Sound of Thunder" (1952). Dinosaur hunting meets chaos theory, decades early.

Chalker, Jack. Downtiming the Night Side (Tor, 1985). Good time patrol book.

Cook, Glen. A Matter of Time (Ace, 1985). Multiple futures co-exist; the past can be changed without destroying the future.

* Crowley, John. Great Work of Time (Bantam Spectra, 1991). British conspiracy manipulates the time stream with the very best intentions.

* De Camp, L. Sprague. Lest Darkness Fall (Tor, 1996 repr. from 1939). Paradigmatic SF classic: a modern scholar prevents the Dark Ages.

Dick, Philip K. Martian Time-Slip (Ballantine, 1964); Now Wait For Last Year (Doubleday, 1966). Time travel through schizophrenia and drugs, respectively.

Drake, David. Time Safari (Tor, 1982). Ultimate dinosaur hunting novel.

Finney, Jack. Time and Again (Simon & Schuster, 1970). Time travel romance.

* Flint, Eric. 1632 (Baen, 2000). Modern West Virginia coal-mining town appears in the middle of Thirty Years' War Germany; adventure and (dozens of) sequels ensue.

Frankowski, Leo. The Cross-Time Engineer (Del Rey, 1986) and sequels. Much detail on advancing technology in medieval Poland, but marred by excessive outtime help and an adolescent-male sex-fantasy tale.

Gerrold, David. The Man Who Folded Himself (Random House, 1973). Classic "message to yourself" novel.

Grimwood, Ken. Replay (Arbor House, 1987). The hero has many chances to relive his own life.

Haldeman, Joe. The Forever War (St. Martin's, 1974), The Hemingway Hoax (Morrow, 1990).

Harrison, Harry. The Technicolor Time Machine (Doubleday, 1967). What do you use a time machine for? Cheap location shoots for Hollywood B-pictures, of course . . .

Hawke, Simon. The Ivanhoe Gambit (Ace, 1984) and 11 sequels form the Time Wars series, notable for the attempt to historicize famous adventure novels, and for the increasingly convoluted temporal physics.

* Heinlein, Robert A. "All You Zombies" (1959) and "By His Bootstraps" (1941) are the classic short stories of temporal paradox. Less essentially, The Door Into Summer (Doubleday, 1957) and Time Enough For Love (Putnam, 1973) further explore physical and social challenges of time travel.

Hogan, James. Thrice Upon A Time (Del Rey, 1980). Messages to the past allow the routine changing of the future.

Jeschke, Wolfgang. The Last Day of Creation (St. Martin's, 1984). Strange time travel novel with many unforgettable bits.

Jeter, K.W. Morlock Night (DAW, 1979). Excellent steampunk sequel to the Wells classic.

Koontz, Dean. Lightning (Putnam, 1988). Workmanlike thriller.

* Leiber, Fritz. The Big Time (Ace, 1961) and associated stories form the "Change War" series. Atmospheric, intelligent handling of the "two groups struggle to change history through time travel" trope, which Leiber invented in this book along with the "rescue" method of recruitment.

* L'Engle, Madeline. A Wrinkle in Time (Farrar, Straus, 1962). Juvenile fiction classic; the sequels deal less with time travel.

Long, Frank Belknap. "The Hounds of Tindalos" (1929).

* Lovecraft, H.P. The Shadow Out of Time (1936). The seminal time travel horror novella.

May, Julian. The Many-Colored Land (Houghton Mifflin, 1981) and sequels. One-way exiles establish a colony in the Pliocene Era.

Miller, P. Schuyler. "As Never Was" (1944). Time travel and archaeology don't mix.

Moorcock, Michael. Behold the Man (Allison & Busby, 1969). Unstable time traveler and the life of Jesus entangle.

Niffenegger, Audrey. The Time-Traveler's Wife (Macadam/Cage, 2003). Mainstream novel of true love and time travel.

Niven, Larry. The Flight of the Horse (Ballantine, 1973). Bizarre hunting expeditions into the past lead to wacky hijinks.

Norton, Andre. Time Traders (World, 1958) and sequels.

* Powers, Tim. The Anubis Gates (Ace, 1983). Magical time travel to 1810 London, tangled personal timelines, evil clowns, and werewolf killers are only part of the fun.

Reynolds, Mack and Ing, Dean. The Other Time (Baen, 1984). Time-traveling archaeologist beats Cortés to Aztec Mexico by a couple of days.

Rogers, Mark E. Samurai Cat in the Real World (Tor, 1989). Lavishly illustrated adventures of a samurai cat fighting Capone, Hitler, Stalin, and Nazi dinosaurs; the earlier books in the series send the cat to parody versions of famous fantasy and SF worlds.

Shiner, Lewis. Glimpses (Avon, 1993). Rock and roll fan tries to save great artists – and albums – from oblivion and inertia.

Silverberg, Robert. Hawksbill Station (Doubleday, 1968). Political criminals are marooned in the prehistoric past; Up the Line (Ballantine, 1969) is a slam-bang novel of time tour guides in Byzantium.

Simak, Clifford. Mastodonia (Del Rey, 1978).

Simmons, Dan. Hyperion (Doubleday, 1989) and sequels. A complex story involving "time tombs" whose contents move backward in time.

Smith, Clark Ashton. "The City of the Singing Flame" (1931), "The Holiness of Azedarac" (1933), "The Plutonian Drug" (1934), and "Ubbo-Sathla" (1933) are only a few of his atmospheric, weird short stories. Many of his story cycles occur in the extreme past or future, and make excellent game settings.

Stirling, S.M., Island in the Sea of Time (Roc, 1998). First book in a trilogy which sends modern Nantucket Island back to the Bronze Age.

* Turtledove, Harry. Guns of the South (Ballantine, 1992). Robert E. Lee with AK-47s. 'Nuff said.

* Twain, Mark. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (Webster, 1889). Cruel fun from the master cynic.

Varley, John. "Air Raid" (1977). This short story about rescues in the past became the novel Millennium (Berkley, 1983), which in turn became a film (Michael Anderson, 1989).

Vinge, Vernor. Marooned in Realtime (Bluejay, 1986). One-way travel into an unexpected future.

Vonnegut, Kurt. Slaughterhouse-Five (Laurel, 1968). Determinism as oppression, and vice versa.

* Wells, H.G. The Time Machine (Heinemann, 1895). Fascinating as an insight into Victorian historical modeling, as well as spawning the key imagery of the genre.

Williamson, Jack. The Legion of Time (Fantasy Press, 1952).

Willis, Connie. To Say Nothing of the Dog (Bantam Spectra, 1998). Hilarious yet moving novel of the Observer Effect and the air raid on Coventry. Doomsday Book (Bantam Spectra, 1992) is a grim tale of time travel and the plague years.


Alternate History

In recent years, the AH genre has spread into mainstream non-fiction, if not quite into mainstream academic history.

Comins, Neil F. What if the Moon Didn't Exist? (HarperCollins, 1993). Astronomical alternate Earths.

Cowley, Robert (editor). What If? (Putnam, 1999), What If? 2 (Putnam, 2001), and What Ifs? of American History (Putnam, 2003). Collections of adequate to excellent essays by leading (mostly military) historians.

* Deutsch, Harold C. and Showalter, Dennis E. (editors). What If?: Strategic Alternatives of WWII (The Emperor's Press, 1997). Useful primarily as a corrective to romantic silliness, but interesting in its own right.

Ferguson, Niall (editor). Virtual History (Picador, 1997). Overwritten and underthought AHs in general, but the essays often give interesting insight into historical processes; Ferguson's introduction should be mandatory reading for those trying to understand the philosophy of history.

Macksey, Kenneth (editor). The Hitler Options (Greenhill/Stackpole, 1998).

North, Jonathan (editor). The Napoleon Options (Greenhill/Stackpole, 2000). Primarily details the tactical alternatives; only a few essays look at larger strategic options.

Roberts, Andrew (editor). What Might Have Been (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2004). Collection of essays; a mixed bag.

Sobel, Robert. For Want of a Nail (Macmillan, 1973). Straight-faced history, complete with fictional footnotes, of a happier North America after the failed Revolution.

* Squire, J.C. (editor). If It Had Happened Otherwise: Lapses Into Imaginary History (Longmans, Green 1931). Includes essays by Hilaire Belloc, Winston Churchill, and G.K. Chesterton! The classic AH collection.

Tally, Steve. Almost America (HarperCollins, 2000).

Tsouras, Peter (editor). Rising Sun Victorious (Greenhill/Stackpole, 2001). Articles exploring victorious Japanese AH scenarios; his Third Reich Victorious (Greenhill/Stackpole, 2002) compiles similar pieces on German decision points, and Cold War Hot (Greenhill/Stackpole, 2003) and Dixie Victorious (Greenhill/Stackpole, 2004) repeat the procedure for the Cold War and Civil War, respectively. He has also written a solo AH scenario, Disaster at D-Day (Greenhill/Stackpole, 1994).

Real History

To build a convincing alternate history, real history is a necessary foundation. The following sources highlight important aspects of real history or are just plain excellent.

Caviedes, César N. El Niño in History (Univ. Press of Florida, 2001).

Crosby, Alfred. Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe 900-1900 (Cambridge Univ. Press, 1986). The consequences of the spread of European ecosystems into the New World and Australia.

Diamond, Jared. Guns, Germs, and Steel (W.W. Norton, 1998). A well-written environmental grand history of humanity that suffers only from the flaw of fighting a war won decades ago.

Fagan, Brian. Floods, Famines and Emperors (Basic Books, 1999), The Little Ice Age (Basic Books, 2000), The Long Summer (Basic Books, 2004). Popular presentation of climate history.

Fischer, David Hackett. The Great Wave (Oxford Univ. Press, 1996). The history of the Price Revolutions.

Lamb, H.H. Climate, History and the Modern World (Methuen, 1982).

Landes, Daniel, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations (Norton 1998). An acerbic, opinionated economic history of the last half-millennium or so, focusing on impolitic questions and giving equally abrasive answers.

* McEvedy, Colin. The New Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient History (Penguin, 2002). This volume and its successors in the same format combine accessibility with accuracy and tons of clear, useful maps.

* McNeill, William H. Plagues and Peoples (Doubleday, 1976). Ground-breaking historical study of disease and its consequences. McNeill's Rise of the West (Univ. of Chicago, rev. ed. 1991) is still the best one-volume world history.

Smil, Vaclav. Energy in World History (Westview Press, 1994). To the author, "energy" covers agricultural efficiency as well as industry, making this a good reference work for the history of basic technology.

* Stearns, Peter N. (editor). Encyclopedia of World History (Houghton Mifflin, 2001). The sixth edition of Walter L. Langer's absolutely indispensable reference. One volume, no waiting, all the pestiferous details you could look for in 50 other places right here at your fingertips. If you own no other historical reference book, own this one.

Temple, Robert, The Genius of China (Touchstone, 1989). A bare summary of Joseph Needham's magisterial Science and Civilization in China, which is also heartily recommended to anyone with a decade or so to kill.

Historical Modeling

These sources discuss ways to look at history as a process or as a system with its own internal logic; they may some day be the ur-texts of cliodynamics.

Barnes, John. "How to Build A Future" (1990).

Denemark, Robert A., et al. (editors). World System History (Routledge, 2000).

* Flynn, Michael. In the Country of the Blind (Tor, 2001). This reprint of Flynn's 1990 novel includes his essay "An Introduction to Cliology." The novel is a gripping tale of secret societies using historical modeling to gain power.

Frank, Andre Gunder and Gills, Barry K. (editors). The World System: Five Hundred Years or Five Thousand? (Routledge, 1993).

Modelski, George. Long Cycles in World Politics (Univ. of Washington Press, 1987).

Spengler, Oswald. The Decline of the West (Alfred A. Knopf, 1922). A biological look at culture, and a pessimistic look at political philosophy.

Toynbee, Arnold. A Study of History (Oxford Univ. Press, 1934). An increasingly religious response to Spengler; skim it for its scope, but check out the three AHs in the appendices to Volume II.

Trevor-Roper, Sir Hugh. History and Imagination (Clarendon, 1980). A great historian on the necessity for historical imagination.

Strauss, William and Howe, Neil. Generations (William Morrow & Co., 1991).

Time Travel

Blumenthal, Howard J., et al. The Complete Time Traveler (Ten Speed Press, 1988). A tourist's guidebook.

Hawking, Stephen. A Brief History of Time (Bantam, 1988). A good attempt at explaining space-time to the non-physicist.

Macvey, John W. Time Travel – A Guide to Journeys in the Fourth Dimension (Scarborough House, 1990). Informed speculation about time travel using black holes, tachyons, time dilation, and hyperspace in this and other universes.

Moon, Peter and Nichols, Preston. The Montauk Project (Sky Books, 1992). First of four volumes (so far) on this fine time travel conspiracy theory.

Moore, William L. and Berlitz, Charles. The Philadelphia Experiment: Project Invisibility (Fawcett Crest, 1979). All about the USS Eldridge and its mysterious fate from a believer's perspective.

* Niven, Larry. "The Theory and Practice of Time Travel" (1971). Short, witty, comprehensive discussion of physics, paradox, and why none of this can possibly work; included in All The Myriad Ways (Ballantine, 1971).

Randles, Jenny. Time Storms (Piatkus, 2001). Excited UFOlogist discusses time vortices, time slips, and other wonderful nonsense.


Aramaki, Yoshio. Deep Blue Fleet (Gentosha, 2000). Manga of a modern Japanese Navy officer timeslipped back to the Pacific War; later adapted into the anime Azure Fleet (Takeyuki Kanda, 2003).

Ellis, Warren. The Ministry of Space (Image Comics, 2000, 2004). Dark history of the triumphant British AH space programme.

Kawaguchi, Kaiji. Zipang (Kodansha, 2001-present). Manga series in which a modern Japanese naval task force is timeslipped back to 1942; the result is a meditation on the Japanese role in the world.

Miller, Jack. Rip Hunter, Time Master (DC Comics, 1961-1965). Classic "gee whiz" time travel series; a more serious Rip has shown up in DC's increasingly convoluted temporal continuity, even fighting the Illuminati in Bob Wayne's Time Masters (1990).

Moench, Doug. Aztec Ace (Eclipse Comics, 1984). Excellent pulp adventure featuring a time-traveling Aztec flying ace.

Morrison, Grant. Animal Man (DC/Vertigo, 1988-1990) and The Invisibles (DC/Vertigo, 1994-1996) both involve time travel as key plot elements.

Nomura, Ted. Luftwaffe: 1946 (Antarctic Press, 1996-present). Alternate air adventure in quasi-anime technophiliac style.

Ostrander, John. Grimjack (First Comics, 1984-1991). Takes place in Cynosure, a nexus point for all the dimensions.

Shetterly, Will. Captain Confederacy (Steeldragon, 1986-1987; Marvel/Epic, 1991-1992). AH series set in a fragmented North America.

* Talbot, Bryan. Adventures of Luther Arkwright (Prout, 1982; Valkyrie, 1987; Prout, 1989). Fabulous, intricate cross-dimensional adventures; they continue in Heart of Empire (Dark Horse, 1999).

Wolfman, Marv. Crisis on Infinite Earths (DC Comics, 1985-1986). Epic ending to the multidimensional DC cosmos that had begun with "Flash of Two Worlds" in 1961.

Film And TV


Army of Darkness (Sam Raimi, 1993). Postmodern "Connecticut Yankee" story, with zombies and chainsaws.

* Back to the Future (Robert Zemeckis, 1985). Modern classic of the genre; the 1989 sequel is the best AH movie so far.

Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (Stephen Herek, 1989). Totally awesome romp caroms off causality and history.

The Butterfly Effect (Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber, 2004). Ashton Kutcher keeps trying to change his past; things keep getting worse.

Donnie Darko (Richard Kelly, 2001). Ironic "indie film" take on free will and causality, with a giant evil rabbit for extra fun.

Fatherland (Christopher Menaul, 1994). HBO movie based on the better novel of the same name; Rutger Hauer does make a convincing SS officer, though.

The Final Countdown (Don Taylor, 1980). The USS Nimitz goes back in time to December 6, 1941.

Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (Kazuki Omori, 1991). Convoluted time travel story is a masterpiece of retroactive continuity. Plus, Ghidorah!

* It Happened Here (Kevin Brownlow, 1966). Riveting, morally complex AH film set in Nazi-occupied Britain.

Jin-Rô (Hiroyuki Okiura, 1998). Grim anime love story in a German-occupied AH postwar Tokyo.

* The Navigator (Vincent Ward, 1988). Medieval peasants flee the Black Death through a time tunnel to modern New Zealand.

The One (James Wong, 2001). Evil Jet Li must kill all the other Jet Lis in all alternate timelines to gain their kung fu power. Good Jet Li must stop him. Discuss.

The Philadelphia Experiment (Stewart Raffill, 1984). Not a bad Michael Paré time travel thriller. Philadelphia Experiment II (Stephen Cornwell, 1993) is the straight-to-video "Nazis win" AH sequel.

Sliding Doors (Peter Howitt, 1998). Gwyneth Paltrow's life diverges with a chance decision; the movie shows both timelines.

Somewhere in Time (Jeannot Szwarc, 1980). Much-beloved romance of true love overcoming time; from the Richard Matheson novel.

* Terminator (James Cameron, 1984) and Terminator 2: Judgment Day (James Cameron, 1991). Ultimate time travel menace movies, complete with the occasional looping paradox.

Time After Time (Nicholas Meyer, 1979). Literate romp as H.G. Wells takes his time machine to 1979 to hunt an escaped Jack the Ripper. Based on the novel, which now has a sequel.

* Time Bandits (Terry Gilliam, 1981). The "map of time" is an excuse for silliness and adventure in the Gilliam mode; wonderful imagery and overacting.

Timecop (Peter Hyams, 1994). Silly, but good-looking, Van Damme action movie goes well with popcorn.

The Time Machine (George Pal, 1960). The best film adaptation of Wells' novel.

* Twelve Monkeys (Terry Gilliam, 1995). The paradoxes of temporal communication, and questions of sanity and free will, hedge this intellectual thriller.

Wings of Honneamise (Hiroyuki Yamaga, 1987). Meditative and existentialist anime of the first manned space launch from an alternate 1955; the AH is never very clear, but the look of the alternate civilization is unique.


Doctor Who (1963-present in various incarnations). Classic BBC series about a wry Time Lord and his adventures across space and time. Canceled in 1989, made into a Fox TV movie in 1996, and revived in 2005.

Kishin Corps (1993). AH WWII anime series featuring a three-sided struggle between alien invaders and two human factions.

Quantum Leap (1989-1993). Uncontrolled time traveler helps resolve personal crises, usually on a human (rather than a historic) scale.

Sliders (1995-1999). This miserable Fox TV series was the first all-AH, all-the-time TV show; later, it struggled along on the Sci-Fi Channel fighting cavemen or something.

Star Trek (1966-present in various incarnations). Standout time travel or AH episodes include "City on the Edge of Forever" (TOS), "Mirror, Mirror" (TOS), Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (Leonard Nimoy, 1986), "Yesterday's Enterprise" (TNG), "Time's Arrow" (TNG), "All Good Things . . ." (TNG), "Trials and Tribble-ations" (DS9), and "Year of Hell" (VOY). [Most of these are in the Star Trek Fan Collective – Time Travel box set.] The most recent series, Enterprise, used a "temporal cold war" as a story frame.

Stargate SG-1 (1997-2007). "Stargates" lead to alien worlds, many with resonances to Earth history. An excellent framing device for an RPG, such as the one by Patrick Kapera, et al. (AEG, 2003).

Time Tunnel (1966-1967). Irwin Allen classic of time-lost scientists.

Twilight Zone (1959-1965). Standout time travel episodes include "The Last Flight," "Back There," "Walking Distance," and "The Odyssey of Flight 33."

Voyagers (1982-1983). Like Rip Hunter, but without the bitter cynicism.


Adams, Chris, et al. Continuum (Aetherco, 1999). Probably the most detailed and seamless set of time travel RPG rules yet published, with an intriguing setting as well.

Cordell, Bruce. Tangents (Wizards of the Coast, 1999). An excellent sourcebook, covering parallel dimension travel for the Alternity RPG.

Garcia, Jose, et al. Nexus: The Infinite City (Daedalus Games, 1994). Sadly defunct RPG of colliding realities and the dubious characters who seek to exploit them. See also the only supplement, Robin Laws' Nexus Life (Daedalus Games, 1994), which includes several nifty new realities, discussion of inter-reality trade, and more.

Gorden, Greg. TORG (West End Games, 1990). Clashing realities duel for Earth! Intriguing and original.

Kenson, Steve, et al. All Our Yesterdays (Last Unicorn Games, 2000). The time travel supplement for LUG's Star Trek RPG line; fairly complete survey of space-operatic time travel in a series or campaign setting.

Moldvay, Tom. Lords of Creation (Avalon Hill, 1984). High-powered RPG of warring demigods in parallel dimensions. Recalled fondly by some.

Porter, Greg. TimeLords (BTRC, 2003). Revision of Porter's workmanlike 1987 RPG, this time as a supplement to his EABA system.

Tucholka, Richard. Fringeworthy (Tri-Tac Games, 1981). Now in its third edition (1990); this is the RPG of the "fringeworthy" and their adventures in parallel Earths.

Voss, H.N. and Worzel, William P. Time and Time Again (Timeline, Ltd., 1984). Nearly unplayable game system, with an interesting setting; time cannot be changed and the "voltigeurs" must protect researchers and resolve historical mysteries.

The Internet

Normally, the Web is too mutable a thing for a print bibliography to cite, but we make an exception for the soc.history.what-if discussion group on Usenet (a rare haven of productive sanity and interest in that blasted heath) and for Robert Schmunk's magisterial AH bibliography site at For other links, see this book's Web page.

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