Newish and Promising Genre

Gary Blackwood is an author who has not written many novels (has many more nonfiction), but the ones he has written are exceptional and so different. The Shakespeare Stealer and its sequels are the first to catch my attention. These squarely fit into historical fiction. However, he has written 2 other books-Second Sight and The Year of the Hangman-which are alternate history (a fairly new genre in children’s literature). The only others I have read are Ken Oppel’s Airborn and Skybreaker.

Alternate history is a mix of historical fiction and fantasy. It sets the story in history, and then branches off with the idea that something progressed differently, changing other aspects in ways most people wouldn’t imagine.

The theme for Second Sight is the Lincoln assassination. The Year of the Hangman is the American Revolution and the fact that the patriots were traitors to England. Ken Oppel’s books push the development of airships and other early flying attempts instead of airplanes.

These books were so intriguing that I have searched for others. I saw a list on the internet for adult books, however, they mostly seemed to be strongly science fiction instead of historical. Not really of interest to me. I did run across an adult novel speculating on what might have changed had Robert Kennedy lived. It was long and bogged down in the middle, so I never got to the point of what the author thought might have been different. Still, intriguing.

I would like to read more of this genre. I hope that the historical fiction writers out there are aware of this newer approach and will be experimenting with it. Especially, I hope Gary Blackwood will be writing more, since he has a knack for it. I’d like to see some with farther reaching ideas. Possibly something less American in tone as well.

P.S. If you have any to recommend, I’m always open to suggestions.


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