K.A. Applegate's Animorphs series had Megamorphs #3: Elfangor's Secret and Megamorphs #4: Back to Before which both play with this.
In #3, they follow Visser Four with the Time Matrix and experience him changing the outcome of battles and other historical events to his benefit: the American Revolution is crushed, the English lose at Trafalgar, the Normandy landings are against a Franco-German force (where Hitler is just a driver), the French win at Agincourt (the last one was because the Visser's host was a former actor, and kept reciting Henry V at his Yeerk). In the end, they hit the Reset Button by ensuring the host's parents don't meet.
In #4, the Drode lets Jake see what it would have been like if they had never been given the morphing powers. He accepts, but it turns out the timeline is so messed up by the Ellimist's previous interference the Yeerks are well on their way to losing the war within a short while.
#41 The Familiar is also an example: Jake goes to a potential future after Tom's Yeerk realizes he's been living with the leader of the "Andalite resistance" all this time.
Predating all these examples is #07 The Stranger (a future where the Yeerks have won, so the team decides to accept the Ellimist's offer of leaving it all behind... except the true purpose of that future was to realize where the Kandrona generator is located in the present). Animorphs was fond of this trope.
Even if the trope itself is Older than You Think, writers apparently weren't expecting readers to understand what it meant as late as 1967, when an alternate reality story in Dangerous Visions spent ten pages explaining what an alternate reality story is to The Watson.
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke is an Alternate History set in Regency England where magic is real and magician Jonathan Strange uses it to aid his country in the Napoleonic Wars.
Winston Churchill (yes, that Winston Churchill) penned a short story in 1932 called "If Lee Had Not Won the Battle of Gettysburg" — narrated by a historian in an alternate history where the South won the American Civil War after the Confederacy won the titular Battle. North America is wracked with tension between the North and South until 1905, when both merge peacefully with the British Empire to form the "English Speaking Association"—a new government which supersedes the former three states. This new superpower uses its diplomatic influence to prevent World War I. It's not the most realistic scenario, but the point of the story was to show how absurd the Great War would seem to someone outside our timeline rather than to be a true extrapolation.
Battle Royale. It's set in an alternate timeline where Imperial Japan won World War II and remained a fascist dictatorship. The first "Battle Royale Program" was held as early as 1947.
Ward Moore's Bring the Jubilee is a novel in which a time-traveler from a 20th Century in which the South won the American civil war accidentally alters the outcome of the Battle of Gettysburg and finds himself trapped in what becomes our world.
Hector Bywater's The Great Pacific War was actually written as fiction (it was published in 1925, the war in the book takes lasts from 1931 - 1933), but the naval conflict in the book had so many similarities to the actual Pacific war that happened soon after that it now seems like an alt-history novel.
Further complicating this is that the novel features its own Alternate History novel, The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, whose plot involved the Axis losing World War II, with the post-war world dominated by a cold war between America and... the British Empire.
For Want of a Nail by Robert Sobel. Burgoyne wins at Saratoga, the American Revolution fizzles out, and the American colonies eventually evolve into a sort of uber-Canada. The rebels who weren't hanged migrate to Jefferson (our Texas) and meld into a Spanglish Mexico, which gives rise to an ur-state global corporation in Kramer Associates.
Interesting also in that Sobel (a professor of business history) wrote it in the form of an undergraduate-level textbook, complete with realistic footnotes and a dismissive review by an academic peer in the final chapter.
The "Timeline-191" (or How Few Remain) series begins with the South winning the American Civil War in 1862, and follows this timeline through World War II and beyond.
In The "Worldwar" series World War II is interrupted by an alien invasion by an empire of reptilians who have never before encountered mammals, and whose technology progresses so slowly that they're shocked to find that humans aren't using the same technology as their probe showed them using 1,000 years ago.
Agent of Byzantium involved a Byzantine Imperial Agent in the 1300s, in a world where Muhammad converted to Christianity instead of founding Islam.
In A World Of Difference, Mars (called Minerva in the book) is a habitable (and inhabited) world. Also, Gorbachev's perestroika and glasnost campaigns fizzled out, he was replaced and the Cold War continues.
The Two Georges (co-written with the actor Richard Dreyfuss) has a US that never left the British Empire. Gun crime is unheard of, Los Angeles is "New Liverpool", airships are the fastest civilian transport, and Sir Martin Luther King is the Governor-General of the North American Union.
The Man with the Iron Heart has Reinhard Heydrich surviving his 1942 assassination attempt and living to form a guerilla resistance movement after Germany's defeat.
In the Presence of Mine Enemies posits a world in which the U.S. remained isolationist throughout WWII, and Germany defeated all the major European powers. World War III ends with the nuclear pacification of the US. Set in the year 2009, the book follows a sect of hidden Jews as they struggle to survive during a time of political upheaval. Scenery includes: a Japanese empire, the radioactive remains of the Liberty Bell in a German Museum, and a Nazi version of "The Producers" that involves a horrible play about Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill. Notable for its realistic presentation of these, alternative-universe, modern Nazis as being good people with a bad upbringing. And the ending bears no resemblance at all to the fall of the Soviet Union. Really, honest. Well, maybe a little.
In yet another version of World War II, Hitler's War posits what would happen if the Treaty of Munich had fallen through and Germany invaded Czechoslovakia in 1938. Long story short, the Germans expend so much energy invading the well-fortified Czechs that they fail to take Paris once they invade France. Meanwhile Stalin jumps the gun and invades Poland, bringing the Poles firmly onto the side of the Germans. Japan takes this opportunity to attack Siberia, while an unfortunate accident involving a passenger liner starts America thinking about joining the Allies. As of The Big Switch, Churchill has died in a traffic accident, the UK and France have concluded a status quo ante bellum armistice with Germany and have actually joined the Reich in its war against the Soviet Union, and Japan has attacked the United States...but in this timeline, the US was actually ready at Pearl Harbor and inflicted severe losses on the attacking Japanese.
An earlier take on America remaining in the Empire is A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah! The point of divergence is actually found much earlier than the American Revolution (or Rebellion, as it's known in this reality), with the Moors winning the battle of Navas de Tolosa in 1212 and, thus, not allowing Spain to be unified in time for Columbus's expedition. John Cabot discovered America in this timeline. Beyond that, it's unclear how this could have contributed to the failure of the Revolution.
The Stars & Stripes series envisions the Trent incident from the American Civil War blowing up into a full-scale war between the United States and the British Empire. A navigational error brings the Confederacy in on the Union side, ending the civil war, and resulting in the British getting their asses handed to them by Generals Lee, Grant, Sherman, and Stonewall Jackson.
In the West of Eden trilogy, the dinosaur-killing asteroid never hits, which allows an intelligent reptilian species to evolve. Mammals are only present in large numbers in the Americas, and mankind evolved in the Canadian tundra rather than the African savannah.
The Hammer and the Cross trilogy has a more organized and benevolent form of the Norse religion coming into conflict both with the more traditional Norse religion and Christianity.
Robert Conroy has written several alternate history novels, none of which, despite the similarity of the Idiosyncratic Titles, occur in the same universe:
1901, about a German invasion of America, which President Theodore Roosevelt successfully repels.
1862, about Britain entering the American Civil War.
1945, about an American invasion of the Japanese home islands.
1942, about the Japanese invasion of Hawaii.
1945: Red Inferno, about a hypothetical war between the Soviet Union and the Western Allies in the spring and summer of 1945, just as World War II was ending in Europe.
Himmler's War, in which Hitler is accidentally killed shortly after the invasion of Normandy, Himmler takes over and Germany's professional military is given a much freer hand.
Rising Sun in which the Japanese submarine picket line, which in our timeline was both late and poorly organized, at the Battle of Midway is both on time and in place resulting in a devastating Japanese victory taking out all but one of the American carriers before the real battle even starts.
1920: America's Great War in which Germany, after defeating the French and British forces at the battle of the Marne in 1914 goes on to dominate the world and in 1920 decides to eliminate it's only potential competition before the Unites States gets too strong, invading through it's puppet state of Mexico.
!882: Custer In Chains: General Custer wins the Battle of the Little Big Horn through sheer luck, goes on to become President, and starts a war with Spain over Cuba.
Germanica: Goebbels builds a redoubt in the Alps and uses it as a base to lead The Remnant of Nazi Germany after Berlin's downfall.
1784: Liberty: Britain defeats the American Revolution, Washington is executed, most of the Founding fathers are shipped off to a prison camp in Barbados and an army is sent to destroy the last rebel redoubt, called Liberty.
Lion's Blood and Zulu Heart by Steven Barnes are two alternate history novels in which Alexander the Great builds his empire not in Eurasia but in Africa. Thousands of years later, Africa is the seat of the world's most powerful nations and has colonized North America, using captives from the tribes of Darkest Europe as slave labor.
Orson Scott Card's Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus reveals that our timeline is an Alternate History created by time travel. In the previous history, Christopher Columbus started a new crusade against Constantinople instead of sailing for the new world. This give the Native American Tlaxcalan empire enough time to develop iron-working, take over North America, then successfully invade Europe after gaining the secrets of firearms from captured Portuguese sailors. They eventually sent back a recording to convince Christopher Columbus to discover the new world, so that the Tlaxcalan empire would be stopped, creating our timeline. In our future, this is discovered and several agents are sent back, creating a third timeline where the Native Americans unite and visit Europe in peace (trading instead of invading) with no colonialism.
The starting point for the hero in Roger Zelazny's Roadmarks is that he's trying to create alternate histories by changing significant events, such as by running guns to the Greeks at the battle of Marathon.
His Oath of Empire series is set in the early 7th century, where magic works, Rome never fell, and Christianity never appeared.
His other series, In the Time of the Sixth Sun has the Mongols successfully invading Japan. The Japanese flee, to America. They trade horses and steel for food and land on the West Coast. The Mexica then proceed to conquer the planet - and beyond.
Notably features the supercarrier USS Hillary Clinton, whose "murdered namesake" was the "most stalwart wartime President in American history".
Much of the entertainment value of the books, particularly the first one, is in reading of the culture clashes - occasionally violent - between the people of 1942 and the visitors from the 21st century.
In his Without Warning an energy field of unknown type and origin descends on North America wiping out all life in most of the continental US (Seattle is the only major city to survive), about half of Canada (the more populated eastern half), 90% of Mexico and about three-quarters of Cuba including Havana just before the Iraq War is due to kick off in 2003. This leads to, among other things, a rather different Iraq War since Saddam proclaims this a sign from Allah and goes on the offensive and is later joined by Iran leading to Israel nuking most of the Middle East.
The Wild Cards setting deviates from history around 1946, when the titular alien virus falls on New York City, killing many and giving some humans superpowers. Juan and Eva Peron are deposed by an American fighting force which also saves Gandhi from being assassinated, a superpowered Islamic militant unites the Arabic countries under a caliphate,, Fidel Castro pursues baseball as a career rather than revolution, and Buddy Holly never takes the fateful flight with the Big Bopper and ends up a washed-up has-been who manages to literally tear himself to pieces and then re-build himself on-stage during one story, becoming a modern-day shamanic figure. Perhaps the strangest alternate life is Frank Zappa becoming a general in the US Army.
One of the most extreme examples is the illustrated fictional-science book The New Dinosaurs by Dougal Dixon, which presents an alternate timeline in which the Cretaceous extinction event never happens, dinosaurs remain the Earth's dominant lifeforms, mammals remain tiny insectivores, and no sapient species ever comes into existence (it's best to read it with a pinch of salt as it contains a lot of biological impossibilities, Science Marches On, and Zeerust).
This page presents a few more alternate evolution ideas, mainly focusing on different ways sapient species could have come about.
Len Deighton's SS-GB is set in a Nazi-occupied Britain. America remained isolationist, but sends a crew to destroy an experimental nuclear reactor. For deniability, they've been transferred to the Canadian Army.
Shelley Jackson's 2006 novel Half Life takes place in an America that tested nuclear weapons on native soil much longer and more extensively. The result has been a sharp spike in mutation. Specifically, conjoined twins have become a large and proud minority somewhat analogous to LGBT people in our timeline.
Michael Dobson and Douglas Niles's novels, Fox on the Rhine and Fox on the Front, explore what would have happened if the plot to assassinate Hitler had succeeded. Himmler maneuvers himself into the leadership spot in the Third Reich, and appoints Rommel to command the Ardennes offensive. Rommel ends up being defeated, surrenders, and defects to the Allies along with the bulk of his army group.
Naomi Novik plays with the speculative fiction version of this trope in her Temeraire series, which asks such questions as "What if dragons existed and were used as early aircraft — early as in becoming necessary weapons of the great powers by the time of the Napoleonic Wars?"
One consequence of her scenario is that Napoleon is actually able to pull off his planned invasion of England in the series' fifth book, though his forces ultimately are driven out by the British commanded by Wellington.
Also European imperialism does not fare as well as in our universe due to various native peoples having their own dragons.
Diana Wynne Jones's Witch Week takes place in a world where Guy Fawkes succeeded in blowing up the Houses of Parliament. It doesn't achieve his aims (he got the timing wrong), but nonetheless, it has quite a knock-on effect...
Kim Stanley Robinson's The Years of Rice and Salt takes its starting point with the Black Death killing virtually the entire European population. The story is of China and Islam's domination of the world spread across the next thousand years as seen through the same group of characters who are endlessly reincarnated.
In Galileo's Dream a group of Knight Templar time travelers try to arrange for Galileo Galilei to be burnt at the stake believing this would lead to the complete discrediting of religion and the triumph of science.
"The Lucky Strike," a short story by Robinson, takes place in a WW2 wherein the Enola Gay and its crew were lost before the bombing of Hiroshima. The War still ends as OTL but the decision to drop the Bomb away from Hiroshima ultimately leads to a premature end of the nuclear arms race in the 1950s. MAD is never conceived.
But from that point in the 1950s, the timeline splits into three possible futures that Robinson discusses in A Sensitive Dependence on Initial Conditions. One among them is a crash nuclear arms race after the Suez Crisis blows up into a major war, a nuclear Third World War, and rampant nuclear proliferation in the aftermath.
In Jo Walton's Small Change novels, Farthing, Ha'Penny, and Half a Crown, Britain made peace with Hitler in 1941. The first two books are set in 1949. The Reich still exists and controls all of continental Europe, though they're still fighting the Russians. A political cadre called the Farthing Set takes over the British government and starts heading down the slippery slope to totalitarianism, justifying the restriction of civil liberties by claiming the country is in danger from Jewish and communist terrorists. The US isn't a major player at all, having never recovered from The Great Depression, but there are occasional mentions of "President Lindbergh".
Her novel My Real Children features not one but two alternates, both splitting off from OTL in 1956. In one Britain is one of the founding members of the EEC which leads to a more unified Europe that pursues it's own course during the Cold War separate from either the Soviet Union or the United States, also while JFK isn't assassinated he doesn't pursue a second term after the Cuban Missile Crisis goes south and Miami and Kiev are nuked in a tit-for-tat exchange resulting in a President Rockefeller. Russia beats the US to the Moon and builds a base there. So does Europe. In the other the Hungarian revolutionaries adopt Gandhian tactics and international pressure pushes the Soviet Union to back off and grant a measure of democratic reform not only to Hungary but other Warsaw Pact nations as well. JFK is assassinated in Dallass,probably by Cuban terrorists (The Bay of Pigs invasion worked and Castro was overthrown) but by a bomb which also kills Jackie and Governor Connelly. Rumors about his collusion prevent Johnson from running in '64 so Bobby Kennedy does and wins. The US wins the race to the Moon and builds a base there.
In Conquistador, shortly after WWII a group of veterans discover and exploit a portal into a world where Europe never discovered the New World. The ending results in the portal between the worlds shifting yet again and instead of our world one is opened to a world where it looks like the First Nations never came over either.
In the 1632 series, the modern day US town of Grantville is transported back to the year 1632, right in the middle of the Thirty Years' War in Germany. See the tropes page on this series for details on all the changes; suffice it to say that the course of the war takes some very dramatic turns, including the establishment of a more-or-less unified German nation some two hundred and fifty years ahead of our own timeline, the possible early start of the English Civil War, the takeover of England's North American colonies by France as part of a diplomatic deal, the union of Sweden and Denmark, the establishment of a "United Kingdom of the Netherlands" under the former Spanish archduke Don Fernando comprising the territory of Belgium and Holland, and a major schism in the Catholic Church involving the attempted overthrow of the Pope by a Borgia cardinal with close political ties to Spain.
In another Flint Series, Trail of Glory, the PoD is much more subtle than dropping a city in the past with handwavium. In 1812, during the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, Sam Houston leads an attack against the Indian stronghold. Instead of taking an arrow between the goalposts, as he did in the original history, he slips when stepping over a rise, and gets nicked on his outer thigh by the arrow instead. The changes from this event ultimately result in blacks and American Indians establishing an independent nation in the area occupied, in our history, by the states of Arkansas and Oklahoma. More subtly, the course of the Battle of New Orleans is somewhat different; General Pakenham isn't killed in action at New Orleans, but goes on to fall in the Hundred Days campaign several months later when Napoleon attempts to reestablish his empire. American political history is becoming dramatically different in the second book; after a five-candidate election gets thrown into the House of Representatives in 1824, Henry Clay is elected President, and Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams, bitter opponents in our history, become allies against Clay and end up becoming friends as well.
In the same Ring of Fire universe as 1632 is Time Spike which sends a modern maximum security prison along with 19th century American settlers, Spanish conquistadors and various groups of Indians into the Age of Dinosaurs.
In the Belisarius Series, which he co-wrote with David Drake, 6th century AD history is turned on its head by the arrival of two time travelers from the far future. One of the arrivals is a sentient crystal sent to aid the titular Roman general against a future traveler engaging in a genocidal campaign on the Indian subcontinent bent on world domination, seeking to generate a "pure" race, instead of the energy beings that mankind had evolved into in the crystal's time.
The Attolia series of books occur in a world in which Ancient Greek civilization has persisted into what would be the Renaissance in our world. People still worship a version of the Greek pantheon, and there are several rival city-states/kingdoms. However, they have developed many technologies that the Greeks didn't have, like rifles and pocket watches.
Randall Garrett's Lord Darcy series takes place in a modern day Europe with a balance of power between an Anglo-French Empire and the Kingdom of Poland, as well as the widespread use of magic. The divergence from our own world? Instead of dying at the siege of Chaluz, Richard I (the Lionhearted) survived and returned to England to rule. The general technological level in this alternate Europe is pretty much equivalent to the late nineteenth century of our own timeline, owing to the fact that scientific resources have been applied to the study and development of magical technology.
One of the originals is L. Sprague DeCamp's Lest Darkness Fall, about a modern man going back to 6th century Rome and attempting to reestablish civilization, as well as combating Goth and Byzantine armies.
Also DeCamp's "The Wheels of If" novelette in which a man from our world is sent into the body of the person he would have been in a world where Pelagius' vision of Christianity beat out Augustine's and compounded by Charles Martel losing the Battle of Tours.
Fyodor Berezin wrote the Red Stars duology, dealing with strange contacts between our world and a parallel one, where history took a radically different turn because Adolf Hitler delayed "Operation Barbarossa" by a month, giving Stalin enough time to launch his own (much more successful) offensive. The first book details a lengthy battle between a US carrier battle group from our world and a Soviet carrier battle group from the other world, with both fleets using technology and tactics unheard of by the other (for example, the other world's Soviets do not have stealth or satellite technology, while the US Navy was really surprised to see battleships and ekranoplans in the Soviet arsenal).
Berezin's The Lunar Option novel describes a secret space war between the US and the USSR in the midst of the Cold War over the possession of a mysterious artifact found on the moon by the Lunokhod 1 in 1973. Many of the key figures in the war were famous astronauts and cosmonauts, including those who were officially listed as deceased.
Resurrection Day by Brendan DuBois supposes that the Cuban Missile Crisis sparked off a nuclear war. The United States is a virtual third-world country under military dictatorship, dependent on aid from Great Britain and treated by the rest of the world as a rogue state. An alternate history novel is mentioned by the protagonists in which WW 3 was averted, though needless to say it doesn't have the Kennedys being assassinated either.
An example of "honorary alternate history" is the 1980s series The Zone by James Rouch about World War III in Europe.
Two books edited by Robert Cowley speculate on certain military events taking a different turn: What If?: The World's Foremost Military Historians Imagine What Might Have Been 1 and 2.
These books were collected, along with other non-military essays, in The Collected What If?. The book has essays by such great historians as Caleb Carr, John Lukacs, John Keegan, James Bradley and Stephen Ambrose.
The Neanderthal Parallax, a trilogy of novels by Robert J. Sawyer (Hominids, Humans, and Hybrids), concerns an alternate Earth in which Homo sapiens died out, leaving Homo neanderthalensis as the world's dominant species. (Of course, since Homo Sapiens Are The Real Monsters, their world is close to a utopia.) The story begins with a neanderthal scientist being pulled into our world and dealing with the considerable culture shock.
The novel Synco takes place in a universe where the Chilean coup d'etat of 1973 was unsuccessful and Chile has become a successful communist state and the project synco has provided instant communication amongst the citizens. Synco was actually a real project in the '70s, abandoned after the coup. The novel includes many fictional versions of real-world characters.
Baen Books publishes a series of anthologies titled "Alternate Generals", which are collections of short stories with various departures from the reader's timeline, from ancient Roman times to modern history.
The parallel world in Mary Hoffman's Stravaganza books diverged from our world when Remus defeated Romulus, instead of vice versa.
A second, minor divergence. The connection is between modern Britain and 1500s Talia (Italy). So when one of the main characters from our world learns that Britain is still Catholic, he asks why. Apparently all three of Henry VIII's children were born to Katherine of Aragon, so he didn't need to start the Anglican Church in order to remarry.
Alan Goldsher's "Paul Is Undead" is what if John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison were zombies and Ringo Starr was a ninja.
Michael Chabon's "The Yiddish Policemen's Union," which is set in an alternate history where the Israeli war of independence was lost and the Jewish people were settled in the Alaskan panhandle rather than in Palestine after World War Two.
Pasquale's Angel by Paul J. McAuley is set in a 16th century Florence where, thanks to Leonardo da Vinci concentrating on technology instead of dividing his attention between science and art, the Industrial Revolution came early and is centered in Italy rather than Great Britain.
David Gerrold's The Man Who Folded Himself has the protagonist, a young man with a time machine, very briefly exploring alternate histories including one where Christianity is never founded.
Orson Scott Card's The Tales of Alvin Maker series takes place in an alternate North America where magic works (in different ways among the races - Whites have inherent powers called "knacks", Native Americans have a mystic connection with the land and Africans work their magic through artifacts), Great Britain is run by the Protectorship founded by Oliver Cromwell, New England is a semi-independent colony of same, the Stuart descendants of Charles I run the southern coastal states from Charleston (called Camelot), and Napoleon rules most of Continental Europe due to never having invaded Russia and declaring a unilateral peace with Britain.
In Larry Niven's "The Return of William Proxmire", a time traveler attempts to redirect American history by giving medical assistance to a young naval officer in the 1930s, saving him from having to give up his naval career and become a writer. (The young man is Robert A. Heinlein, whose works the time traveler considers to have been a bad influence.) On his return to his own time, the time traveler learns that he has successfully created an alternate timeline, but one with consequences he didn't anticipate or desire.
Taylor Anderson's Destroyermen series involves two WWII destroyer crews (although their ships are really old, dating back to the WWI era) slipping through to a world where dinosaurs never went extinct and humans never evolved. Instead they encounter the Grik, who evolved from raptors, and the "cat-monkey" Lemurians. In later books, it's revealed that other alternate worlds exist, which also occasionally feature the Negative Space Wedgie that sends people to the world of the Grik and the Lemurians. For example, the crew of the SMS Amerika comes from a world where the US never got involved in World War I. Additionally, none of the Real Life ships described in the novels actually fought in World War II, which means that the destroyermen's original world is not ours to begin with (an intentional departure by the author, an ex-sailor).
Later books have introduced the League of Tripoli, an alliance of fascist states from a WWII where the sides are different. One side is the aforementioned fascist alliance of France, Spain and Italy with Germany and Japan in very junior roles and the other is Britain, the United States, the Russian Empire (either the Russian Revolution failed or never happened but there was a civil war in Germany between the Nazis and the Communists which is what set off their WWII) and China
Frederik Pohl's The Coming of the Quantum Cats features a whole plethora of alternates. The one we see the most of has a United States that is culturally dominated by the Arabs and in which Ronald Reagan is a liberal activist (more likely than you might think).
Poul Anderson's A Midsummer Tempest happens in a world where Shakespeare's plays are history, not invention. As a result things like mechanical clocks and cannon existed much earlier and England's Civil War occurs at the same time as its Industrial Revolution. Also Faeries and magic exist (thus the title).
Charles Stross in his The Merchant Princes Series has a world where Christianity never existed, and is thus at a medieval level of development with the east coast of America ruled by Germanic kingdoms descended from a second viking settlement of the Americas. As of book 2 there is also a second world where France successfully invaded England in the 16th century but the heir to the British throne was in the colonies at the time so all of the Americas is New Britain, a constitutional monarchy. Socially it's in the 19th century; non-universal suffrage and the King still has actual power. Technologically, it's between the early 20th century, cars are new and run on steam, and the mid 20th century, France just detonated a "corpuscular petard." As of book 4 they discover a 4th world. Not much is known except it is completely uninhabited except for dead bodies and technology that suggests this world was very advanced, including the fact that the dead bodies have totally perfect teeth, all 32 no crowns.
It's also gradually revealed that the "main" universe, where we start, is not quite our own. In that universe, "Chemical" Ali overthrew Saddam Hussein in a (fruitless) attempt to avert the U.S. invasion.
The Thursday Next series. Winston Churchill was never born, Wales is an independent socialist state, the Crimean War lasted 135 years, cheese is a controllled substance and reading is the national pastime, occupying the cultural space of television, sport and religion in our world.
While they have heard of William Shakespeare, literature is such Serious Business that the real-life conspiracy theories about Shakespeare's authorship are taken much more seriously - your preference for Ben Jonson, Kit Marlowe or whoever else is like their equivalent of your favourite football team.
In-universe, Thursday creates an Alternate Book when she changes the ending of Jane Eyre to the one we currently know
One of Terry Pratchett's earlier works, Strata, has a few divergences, Remus wins instead of Romulus, hence the Reman empire, the Vikings stayed in America, calling it Valhalla and conquering Europe in the 1300s and controversially the Earth was created old, with fossils and everything. Also Venus has a moon which is clearly visible to the naked eye, so the Geocentric model never takes off. The plot involves finding a flat copy of Earth which has Rome not Reme, no America (hence no Valhallan empire) and a moonless Venus. Since the Flat Earth is breaking down the protagonists end up moving the population to a regular copy of Earth.
In ''TheScience of Discworld 2 and 3 the wizards of Unseen University have to fix history gone wrong. In Book 2 it's the non-existence of Shakespeare's works. In Book 3 it's the matter od Darwin having written Natural Theology instead of The Origin of Species.
The short story "Living Space" by Isaac Asimov plays with this trope: Our Earth (Earth Prime) has an official population of roughly one trillion, but most of those people live in a house on an alternate Earth where life never came into existence — a different alternate Earth for every single family. The story picks up where one homeowner complains that there is someone or something else living on their alt-Earth. Turns out Nazis from another alt-Earth where Hitler won WWII had the same idea, only instead of giving each family its own Earth, they decided to build entire cities. Oddly enough, the protagonist gets the Nazis to leave pretty easily — they agree that since his Earth built on this alt-Earth first, it properly belongs to his Earth. However, the story ends with a report of aliens appearing on another alt-Earth, and it's implied that this may be bad news for Earth Prime.
Cyril M Kornbluth's novel Not This August was written as being 20 Minutes into the Future, but could be read as an alternate history in which China and the Soviet Union take over the United States.
Robert Silverberg wrote a number of stories in a universe in which Rome never fell, taking place over the course of several thousand years, and collected in a book called Roma Eterna.
Moon of Ice by Brad Linaweaver is another one where Hitler wins the Second World War. Joseph Goebbels' daughter has escaped to a libertarian United States to publish her late father's diaries, which expose the truth about the regime, as well as an SS plot to seize power and commit genocide with bioweapons of all non-Aryan races.
In Elizabeth Bear's New Amsterdam Books, New Amsterdam is the name of New York City in an alternate world where the thirteen colonies don't rebel against Great Britain until the early 20th century, are bounded by a Canada still controlled by the French, and the Iroquois Nation on the West and magic, were-creatures and vampires all exist. In the novellette "Seven For A Secret" she revisits the world in 1938 (the original story was set in 1903) set in a Britain occupied by the Prussian Empire.
Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen have written several alternate history novels together. 1945 (Not to be confused with the Robert Conroy book above) has Hitler not declaring war on the US after Pearl harbor which results in a much quicker Pacific War with Japan but also results in the United States staying out of the European war and Germany winning with a Cold War on the verge of heating up between the United States and Germany in the title year. They have also written a trilogy about a Battle of Gettysburg that ends differently and thus rings several changes in the Civil War.
James Herbert's 48 is set in a London which is almost uninhabited due to a plague released by the Germans in the last stages of WWII which proved more effective than they anticipated and killed most humans except for those with AB type blood.
Lance Parkin's Warlords of Utopia features a universe where Rome never fell creating alliances with other similar universes (including one that was Amazonian and another where the Dinosaurs never became extinct) going to war against multiple universes where the Nazis won and created an interuniversal Axis empire. The Romans won because the Nazis forgot the importance of training their soldiers to fight someone with a sword and a (kevlar lined) shield. Throw in some steampunk and you've a very fun story.
Robert A. Heinlein's Job: A Comedy of Justice takes its protagonist through several alternate worlds but starts in one where William Jennings Bryan became president, leading to a fundamentalist Christian dominated United States.
In the world of The Big One and its sequels by Stuart Slade a legal, bloodless coup by Lord Halifax against Churchill leads to Britain opting out of WWII in 1940 leading to, among other things, its lasting until 1947 and ending with the United States nuking Germany.
He also authored The Salvation War, where on 11 January 2008 God reveals his existence and that of Hell to say "the Pearly Gates are closed, you're all off to Hell when you die to be tortured by Satan's minions"... which to say the least is not taken well.
Sergey Lukyanenko's Seekers of the Sky duology takes place in a world where Jesus Christ was killed as a baby during the Massacre of the Innocents. Despite Jesus pleading God to allow him to return to Earth, God instead leaves another baby on Mary's doorstep. This child becomes God's Stepson, known to the people as the Redeemer, and God also grants him the Word, a divine power to put any number of objects into another dimention known as the Cold. Using this power, the Redeemer becomes the next Roman Emperor but eventually grows disillusioned with humanity upon the realization that humans will never give up on war. He then orders his disciples to tie him to a pole (as opposed to a cross), which he takes into the Cold along with himself and most of the world's iron (in attempt to prevent future wars). The novels take place 2000 years later in a world where iron is treated as gold, firearms are a rarity afforded to the nobility, only a select few know the Word, and the World Wars never happened.
The author even attempts to make the novels seem contemporary (despite taking place in an Alternate Universe) by adding several characters who could be considered duplicates of real-life people, including Arnold Schwarzenegger (a trigger-happy, square-jawed officer of the Guard), Antoine de Saint Exupery (a nobleman, a retired pilot, and an amateur poet), and Gérard Depardieu (thief-turned-bishop, miracle worker).
Most of the duology takes place in the State, a successor nation to the Roman Empire, which had never fallen in this world, remains in control over most of Europe, and has colonies in Africa and the Americas (frequently feuding with the still-existing Aztec Empire). Most cities retain their Roman names (e.g. Lutetia instead of Paris, Aquincum instead of Budapest). The State's main rival is the Russian Khanate, which represents a mix of Russian and Mongolian cultures (Russia having never thrown off the Mongol yoke here). The technologically-advanced Chinese Empire is mentioned occasionally but doesn't figure in the novels due to being so far away. The weak Ottoman Empire still rules most of the same lands, but it does so at the sufferance of the State and the Khanate.
The novel Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld shows what might have happened if Darwin had discovered Genetic engineering and tanks had been invented in the Industrial Revolution using mechanical legs instead of treads, showing the start of World War I between Organic Technology using 'Darwinists' (the Entente Powers) and Steam Punk 'Clankers' (The Central Powers). There are other differences too: the 1906 revolution in the Ottoman Empire that turned the Empire into a democracy with the Sultan as a puppet figure failed, so the monarchy is still in place by 1914, leading to a second (successful) revolution being launched. With the Empire in turmoil, they never enter the war. Also, Nikola Tesla invented a superweapon that manipulates Earth's magnetic field (the Tunguska Event was actually a test firing), which he plans to use to end the war. The device doesn't actually work, but the Germans think it does, so they launch a secret attack on Tesla's lab in New Jersey. The Americans find out and enter the war 3 years early, ending the war within a year.
The Burton & Swinburne Series uses this to explain the Steampunk setting it features; in this world a time-traveler, attempting to prevent his ancestor from attempting to kill Queen Victoria, instead causes the death of Victoria just three years into her rule. That and some leaked knowledge of future technology changes the world into a world with genetically modified animals, geothermic power, helicopters and more, all in 1861.
In the first The Edge novel, the Weird's history is significantly different from the Broken's. For one thing, their version of North America has multiple kingdoms the size of a few states, like the Republic of Texas.
In Keith Laumer's Worlds of the Imperium series, the protagonist goes from our Earth to one where WWI and the Russian Revolution never happened, one where Neanderthals ruled, one where Napoleon beat the British, and finally one where rats became the dominant sentient species.
Mary Gentle's Ash: A Secret History presents an alternate late-medieval Europe where things are rather different in countless ways; unlike most alternate history, there is no obvious past point of divergence, although one, more a point of convergence, occurs at the end of the book.
Her "Black Opera" takes place in a 19th century where Music Magic works and where Napoleon eyes out a Pyrrhic victory at Waterloo leading to an armistice where he still rules France.
Affinity Bridge by George Mann takes place in Victorian London. Nothing notable except for the Steam Punk...and zombies... and airships.
In Leo Frankowski's The Cross Time Engineer series, a 20th Century engineer is sent back to 13th Century Poland where, using his technical knowhow and with covert help from the future that sent him there he prevents the Mongol invasion, jump starts the Industrial Revolution and turns Poland into the major European power.
Jules Verne's Paris in the Twentieth Century is of the honorary variety — written in the 1860s, and set in the 1960s. Its description of the future is surprisingly accurate, all things considered, though it does imagine a world that runs largely on compressed air.
Sophia McDougall's book Romanitas is set in the modern day in a world where the Roman Empire never fell. It now spans most of the globe, with many countries having different names and borders based on Latin names. There are still slaves, crucifixion and worship of the old gods, but they also have televisions and telephones (called longscreens and longdictors, respectively).
An early example is Murray Leinster's 1934 novella Sidewise in Time, in which an unknown phenomenon switches random chunks of the Earth's surface with pieces from alternate histories, leading to Vikings and Roman legions appearing in different American cities, Native Americans who have never seen a European, and a region where the South won the American Civil War.
In Kit Whitfield's In Great Waters Venice makes an alliance with merfolk which leads to a brief empire that spans Eurasia in the 9th Century. After it falls apart the main difference is that just about all the royalty of Europe are part merfolk.
Dale Brown books have touches of this. For example, the mess with Libya in Wings of Fire started when apparent Big Bad Zuwayy carried out a coup against the Real Life ruler Muammar Gaddafi in the backstory, written well before Gaddafi was deposed IRL.
L. Neil Smith's The Probability Broach features a "North American Confederacy" which diverged from our timeline when Albert Gallatin, rather than brokering a peace to end the Pennsylvania Whiskey Rebellion leads an army against Washington and overthrows the U.S. government. The result is a government requiring the "unanimous consent" of the governed, relegating the state to only a few sparse actions taken in defense of the NAC throughout its history. Essentially the point of divergence it the declaration of Independence, where the unanimous consent is stipulated, which Gallatin also applies to the whiskey taxation.
In Tim Doyle's Go, Mutants!, a parody that melds Teen Wangst 50s movies and 50s sci-fi movies, aliens and humans went to war in the 50s resulting in four US states and France being wiped out. Among other things Richard Nixon won in 1960 and was a three-termer and Ronald Reagan is Vice-President in '72 (when the story occurs).
George Mann's Ghosts of Manhattan takes place in a 1926 where the United States and the British Empire (which is substantially bigger) had a falling out after WWI and are currently engaged in a cold war.
Philip Roth's The Plot Against America features an alternate history in which an isolationist and anti-Semitic Charles Lindbergh defeats Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1940 presidential election.
Patricia C. Wrede's Frontier Magic series takes place in an 1800s United States frontier times where western expansion is held back by dragons and other magical creatures. While mostly our world with magic, the alternate politics and nations are sometimes touched upon.
The Celestial Empire books by Chris Roberson take place in an alternate history where the Chinese rose to dominance during the Middle Ages. They, alongside their enemies the Aztec, are the dominant cultures in the world in present day. And there are space ships.
Time and Again by Jack Finney plays with this. There is evidence, in his universe, of alternate histories: a newspaper from 1916 with no evidence that the world is in the midst of war; a man who has a campaign button for JFK's second term; an old man who swears he saw the Titanic pull into New York harbor when he was 12 years old. There are a select few people who, with special training, can travel back in time. They attempt first to avert the war, and then to stop the Titanic from sinking, and fail in both attempts. In fact, their slight alteration of the Titanic's course is what caused the ship to hit the iceberg. Oops.
In the Vampire Empire series, vampires rise up in 1870 and drive humans out of much of the northern hemisphere.
Otto Basil's The Twilight Men is set in a rather bleak version of the Europe in 1960's. The Third Reich won the World War II and rules a large part of the Continental Europe, facing war with its former ally, Imperial Japan. National Socialism mutated into National Materialism (described as nihilistic dictatorship) while sprouting an underground, mystical cult worshiping Hitler as an Odin-like figure. The Führer himself dies of natural causes at the onset of the plot.
While it's non-fiction, the book Why the West Rules, For Now by Ian Morris includes a couple of vignettes, one positing a world where China discovered the New World and went on to dominate the globe and another, possibly in the same universe, where Prince Albert is sent to Peking as a hostage after the British fleet is destroyed by the Chinese.
Red Plenty by Francis Spufford postulates that the Soviet Union decided to outdo their capitalist rivals by creating an efficient planned economy with the help of computers and linear programming. Subverted however in that we never see the bountiful communist society of The '80s; after Premier Khrushchev is forced into retirement his successors are more interested in maintaining the status quo than carrying out risky economic reforms, and therefore history proceeds similar to our own.
The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, shows a world in which Charles Babbage succeeded in developing his Difference Engine, and later developed an Analytical Engine(i.e. a functioning computer) during the late 1800s. As a result, the Computer Revolution took place at the same time as the Industrial Revolution, and Great Britain is now one of the most powerful nations on Earth. One of the first books ever to be called Steampunk.
Sterling's novella Pirate Utopia's divergences are mentioned almost offhand. Mussolini is incapacitated and Hitler killed, both in 1920 so fascism, at least as we know it, never develops.
In the Age of Unreason series by Gregory Keyes, Sir Isaac Newton discovered the fundamental laws of alchemy instead of physics, resulting in a world where transmutation weapons tilt the balance of the Revolutionary War.
Stephen Baxter's Time's Tapestry series is essentially one of different alternate histories, all tied to one character.
The Anno Dracula novels are a sort of Alternate Fiction; What if Dracula was real ... and more competent than Bram Stoker's version? It gets meta when he establishes that in the AD universe, Stoker invented alternate history with his wish-fulfillment novel of Dracula getting distracted by Mina Harker and killed by van Helsing and his Ragtag Band of Misfits.
"Alternate Majors" is a literary diptych describing two alternate versions of John Major (a Dystopia where Major is the leader of Nazi Britain, and a Utopia where he cheerfully remains a bus conductor).
Newman's Dark Future novels as Jack Yeovil are set in an alternate timeline where Kennedy's extra-marital affairs led to him losing the election to Nixon; the Cuban Missile Crisis never happened, Reagan carried on acting, the Bay of Pigs Invasion worked for America and The Vietnam War superpowers were the USSR and China. Russia never completed its manned space programme and the world is wracked by environmental collapse. Oh, and The King is still alive.
In Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ichiguro, the question asked is "What if human cloning was invented sooner? What if cancer was curable, but only with the use of these clones?"
Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillis tells of an alternate WWII where the Nazis have psychic child soldiers and the British have sorcery.
In Mike Resnick's The Buntline Special the western border of the United States in 1881 is the Mississippi due to Indian magic.
Killing Ground, by Bruce Powe, is about what could have happened had the volatile situation with Québec separatists in the 1960's exploded into full-blown civil war.
In a real life-ish example, one of the essays in James Bond in the 21st Century has sci-fi author Mark W. Tiedemann imagining a world where Sean Connery wasn't Bond in Dr. No.
The Kingsley Amis novella The Alteration is set in a world where two events change the course of history: Martin Luther never sparked the Protestant Reformation and instead was reconciled with the Catholic Church (and is even elected Pope), and in England Prince Arthur Tudor lives long enough to produce an heir with Catherine of Aragon. The result is that most of western Europe is still under the influence of the Catholic Church and the Papacy, with the Republic of New England one of the few parts of the world where Protestantism has taken root.
The lurid and explicit dystopias peddled by the New English Library as hideous warnings of where Britain might end up are usually set 20 Minutes into the Future and so count as a sort of alternate history. A typically ludicrous example is Striker, where under the pressure of soccer riots, civil order has broken down to the extent where football hooligans run their own patchwork of anarchic states in what was formerly Great Britain...
In Kathleen Anne Goonan's In War Times a group of time travelers extend FDR's life long enough for him to have a fifth term and prevent JFK's assassination in order to create a Mary Suetopia.
Another "honorary alternate history" is Whitley Strieber and James Kunetka's Warday (published in 1984) which depicts a "limited" nuclear war in 1988. In a case of Write Who You Know the authors recount their (fictional) experiences in the war and travel across a devastated and depopulated America to show the consequences of the war. The eastern half of the country has been destroyed by bombings on San Antonio, New York, and Washington, D.C. and the breakdown of order while California is pretty much untouched and has become an undeclared separate country with closed borders.
The Map Of Time takes place in a Britain where Jack the Ripper was caught. This is later revealed to be the result of time travel shenanigans. Also a time traveler attempts to create another timeline in which he is known as the author of The Invisible Man, The Turn of the Screw and Dracula by killing the authors (H. G. Wells, Henry James and Bram Stoker respectively) after they're written but before they're published.
In Eon from The Way Series, the book ends with Patricia escaping from The Way to an alt-earth where the Ptolemy dynasty never fell, and is now a member of an Mediterranean federation. The asteroid ship Thistledown also hails from an alternate universe, one where the Industrial Revolution took place in East Asia rather than Europe. The trilogyy itself qualifies as honorary alternate history. It was written in 1975 and did not anticipate the collapse of the Warsaw Pact and the U.S.S.R.. In this reality 2005 has come and gone without a nuclear war.
In the 1986 novel Replay, the main character is stuck in a 25-year "Groundhog Day" Loop from 1963 to 1988. The timeline is changed only slightly on most replays, except for one where he and another replayer went public, which ended up drastically changed.
Stephen King's 11/22/63 follows a man who finds a way to time-travel back to 1958 and plans to live in the past up to the titular date and stop JFK's assassination. He succeeds in preventing the assassination, but when he travels back to 2011 he finds that the world's become a nuclear winter-scarred, bleak landscape, which is explained as due to a combination of nuclear war, domestic terrorism, constant earthquakes, and general lawlessness.
In The Long Walk, the setting appears to be America in the 1980s, except for a few blink-and-you'll-miss-it details dropped in the narrative, namely the occurrence of the "German air-blitz of the American East Coast during the last days of World War II", and the existence of April 31st and a 51st state.
The Alaska Royals series by MaryJanice Davidson takes place in a world where the Seward Purchase of Alaska never took place and it became an independent kingdom ruled by the Baranov family. Subverted in that except for Alaska being an independent monarchy everything else seems to be exactly the same.
In the Betsy the Vampire Queen series the title character creates a timeline where Christian Louboutain was never born. A tiny difference to most people but to the shoe obsessed Betsy it's worse than if the Nazis had won.
Joanna Russ's The Female Man takes place over several alternate worlds, one in which Hitler was assassinated in 1936, World War II never happened and the Depression never ended, one in which there is a literal "war of the sexes" going on in which men and women live in different nations and one in which all men were killed in a plague and women reproduce parthenogenetically. The last one is presented as a Mary Suetopia. Or perhaps a Crapsaccharine World as it's hinted that the disease was not natural but a deliberate murder of the men.
Count and Countess by Rose Christo presents an alternate history wherein Elizabeth Bathory served as Princess Regnant of Hungary. Most of the alternate history in the novel is a result of its plot device, though, wherein a very young Vlad Dracula and Elizabeth Bathory begin writing letters to one another despite the 100+ years standing between them.
James P. Hogan's The Proteus Operation begins in a 1975 where the Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan dominate the globe with only North America, Australia and New Zealand remaining free. The title project is an attempt to go back in time and prevent an Axis victory in WWII. It turns out that the rise of Hitler was engineered by another group of time travelers from an incipient Mary Suetopia in 2025 where a milder, shorter Great Depression left the Weimar Republic standing and Hitler and the Nazi Party were relegated to an obscure historical footnote. The interference of the 1970s time travelers results in our world coming to be.)
Larry Niven's Known Space series is an example of the "honorary alternate history" variant mentioned above. Many of its more fanciful aspects that happened in the late 20th century (legal rights and translators for dolphins, mining and colonies on Mercury and Venus) have changed from prediction into alternate history as the decades since the series started have passed. On the bright side, organ harvesting isn't nearly as bad as it predicted either.
The shared universe book Exile: Clan of the Claw, edited and created by Bill Fawcett (with S.M. Stirling, Harry Turtledove, John Ringo and Jody Lynn Nye among the contributors) takes place in a world where the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs never happened (apparently there are very few asteroids in that solar system according to the introduction) resulting not only in sentient dinosaurs with Psychic Powers but in an intelligent mammalian species descended not from apes but from felines.
The short story "The Prophet of Flores" by Ted Kosmatka takes place in a world where intelligent design beat out evolution as the prevailing biological theory. It has been expanded into a novel, Prophet of Bones.
In Ian McDonald's Planesrunner, first of a trilogy, there are ten known alternate worlds, including ours. In Planesrunner only three are explained in any detail. E2 has an Islamic Britain due to the island being located a hundred miles west of the Straits of Gibraltar instead of north of continental Europe. Oddly enough Ireland is still where it belongs. E3 has elements of both Steam Punk and Raygun Gothic. There's no oil in that world so everything is powered by coal but there are also no steam engines due to the electric motor being invented first (the very earliest was hand cranked). E4 is the most similar, 9/11 never happened, Al Gore ran again in 2004 and won. Also something odd and as yet unexplained happened to its moon. Aliens landed on and colonized it in 1963. Their presence was known by Earth's governments but not revealed for 20 years. The Moon landing in '69 was actually a diplomatic mission No one talks about E1 and it's quarantined as the result of a nanotech experiment gone horribly wrong.. In the third book they encounter a world where dinosaurs never died off and are the dominant species.
In Poul Anderson's Time Patrol series, the creation of an alternate history where Carthage won the Punic Wars throws the Patrol into frantic efforts to revert time. In another story a rogue agent attempts to stop the protagonist from preventing the Mongol Empire from discovering America.
Sergey Anisimov explores two alternate histories in his The "Bis" Variant series. The first book shows what might have happened had the Nazis joined the Allies in World War II against the USSR in 1944 (thanks to the Soviets being far better prepared for war than in Real Life and nearly crushing Germany). The second novel, titled The Year of the Dead Snake describes an alternate Korean War, possibly resulting from the first novel.
The Island of Crimea by Vasily Aksyonov postulates What If? the Crimean peninsular was an island in the Black Sea. This results in the Russian Civil War taking a different turn in 1917, when the last forces of the Whites (i.e. the Tsarists) retreat across the icy Black Sea to the island, preparing for a last stand against the rapidly approaching Reds (Communists). However, a British ship present in the area ends up opening fire on the Reds, cracking the ice and forcing their retreat. By the time the Reds are prepared to attack again, the Whites have built up considerable defenses, turning the island into a fortress. This, effectively, creates an independent Russian nation separate from Soviet Russia. Additionally, the author hypothesizes that this new nation would remain neutral during World War II and become more pro-Western during the Cold War period, having the best resorts in Europe, with the culture of Crimea being a strange blend of Russian, Soviet, and Western cultures, adding the local Tatars into the mix. It should be noted that the author's aim was to write a political satire, not a science fiction novel. Which is why the novel was never published in the USSR.
Bayonet and Faith: The Russian Revolution has unintended consequences and results in conflicts and desires for freedom throughout the world. It doesn't help that people suddenly start developing strange (possibly magical) abilities which only serves to fuel the fire.
Commodore: A group of passengers board an ocean cruise liner not expecting to end up in the days of Peter the Great. Several of them decide to use their knowledge and cunning to elevate Imperial Russia above its neighbors.
The Russian Frontier: What If? Spain sold Mexico to the Russian Empire following Napoleon's defeat?
Mikhail Pervukhin was one of the first Russian authors to write in this genre. His story Napoleon's Second Life (1917) involves Napoleon escaping St. Helena to Africa and creating a new empire. The novel Pugachev the Victor (1924) involves the Cossack leader Yemelyan Pugachev, who attempted to take the Russian throne in the 18th century, succeeding in his task and becoming the next Russian Emperor.
John Barnes' Finity, set in 2062, has lots of them arranged in "braids" gathered around a major difference but with minor differences between them. The two main braids dealt with are "The Reichs" where Nazi Germany won World War II and by the mid 21st century is a commonwealth of twelve semi-independent Reichs (The Dutch, French, English, American etc) that dominate the world with Japan and Italy controlling East Asia and Africa respectively and a handful of minor democracies and "Diego Garcia" where the last remnant of the US in a Soviet dominated world is a trio of small islands in the Indian Ocean. A offshoot of the Diego Garcia braid is the "Puritan Party" one where the United States remains independent but at the cost of becoming a fundamentalist Protestant theocratic republic.
His Kaleidoscope Century is the narrative of an alternate future where the pivotal event was Yeltsin getting his brains splattered over the tank he was standing on and the coup against Gorbachev succeeding resulting in renewed and accelerated hostilities between NATO and the Soviet Union, ending in the Eurowar and eventually leading to the Meme Wars.
The Aztec Century is a British novel from 1993 and has the Aztecs go on world-conquering.
Matt Ruff's Mirage takes place in a United Arab States that occupies most of the Middle East, having successfully split from the Ottoman Empire in the late 19th century, that has to deal with attacks from extremist Christian terrorists. There is an Israel but it's in northern Germany with southern Germany having been occupied since the 1967 Six Days War.
Terry Pratchett's and Stephen Baxter's The Long Earth takes place in a world where, in 2015, humanity is introduced to a simple, cheap way of entering other Earths, on which alternate history scenarios play out on a geological and evolutionary time scale.
In The Boy by Robert Reed, Jesus was a woman, which caused Christianity to become a matriarchal religion rather than patriarchal. When Islam popped up in the 7th century - with a male prophet - the current Pope immediately launched The Crusades, effectively eliminating Islam as a major force. By the time the story takes place (sometime in the 20th or 21st century), men are still essentially considered second-class citizens in the western world. Asia has no major powers, and is instead broken up into hundreds of feuding city-states and small nations.
An Older Than Feudalism example: Livy pondered what might have happened had Alexander gone West and conquered Europe rather than Asia. As a patriotic Roman, he (rather implausibly) suggested that the Romans would have fought him off.
In The Nanking War by Ryan McCall, an incident during the Nanking Massacre and a slightly different Panay Incident provokes a war between Japan and the USA, Britain and Germany.
John Wyndham's short story "Random Quest" concerns a man being accidentally and temporarily shifted into the body of his alternate self in a timeline where Hitler never rose to power and thus World War II never happened; he's unable to pin down the exact moment of divergence beyond "sometime in the late 1920's" before snapping back home.
Samantha Shannon's The Bone Season is a rare example of an alternate history set in the future, in this case 2059. The PoD is 1859 when mysterious lights over Oxford England are followed by it being destroyed in a massive fire then quarantined off. Later in 1905 Edward VII is discovered to have been Jack the Ripper and to have conducted Black Magic rites that opened a portal to dark forces and the Monarchy is done away and replaced by the British Republic. This is all government propaganda. The lights over Oxford were caused by a race of extradimensional vampires from the Netherworld called the Rephaim who colluded with elements of the British government to set up a dictatorship under the guise of a Republic. Whether Edward was actually Jack the Ripper or not is uncertain. While the government claims that Voyants, people with psychic powers only sprang into existence after Edward's supposed magic rites a Rephaim reveals that it was an upsurge in the number of Voyants that attracted their attention in the first place.
War of the Worlds: Global Dispatches contains multiple examples of how the Martian invasion from War of the Worlds affected history. For example: both China and India manage to shake of colonial tutlelage and become independent 50 years earlier than in real life. China also remains a monarchy. Russia becomes a stable Constitutional Monarchy and Joseph Stalin, who never rises to power in this reality, remains an obscure revolutionary. Pulitzer is killed by Martians before having had a chance to endow the Pulitzer Prize. And in this universe, it is Henry James who wrote “The War of the Worlds”.
Atlantic Monthly magazine had a feature in one of its issues in which it asked various people on how things would have been different if 9/11 hadn't happened including a lengthy feature by Andrew Sullivan which featured changes such as Al Gore running for President and winning in 2004 and, after escalating tensions with the Taliban and nuclear terrorist attacks on four major cities (New York, Moscow, London and Los Angeles) first Afghanistan and then Pakistan get invaded.
The Execution Channel by Ken McLeod takes place 20 Minutes into the Future in a world where Al Gore was elected in 2000, 9/11 happened anyway (but in Boston and Philadelphia, not New York and Washington DC) and America wound up invading not only Iraq, but Iran as well.
In Larry Correia's TheGrimnoirChronicles Mutants Actives, people with magic powers start appearing in the mid-19th century. There are also more mundanes departures like Teddy Roosevelt choosing a military rather than political career, becoming a general and dying in The Great War, Hitler being arrested and executed in 1929, Berlin being destroyed by Tesla's "Peace Ray" which ended the war in 1918, the Great Dust Bowl being started early in 1927 by an American weather control experiment Gone Horribly Wrong (in OTL the first serious droughts and windstorms hit in 1933) and the Titanic being saved by an Active from the iceberg.
In Daniel Gonzalez's short-story Sofia Gnosticism and not Christianity becames the world's main religion. Christians are a small Jewish sect much like our world's Samaritans and Iranian Mandeans, Science is much more advance and eco-friendly, and people with psychic powers are like saints. Problem? Human sacrifices are still going on.
The 2059 of Ack Ack Macaque by Gareth L. Powell is one in which France and Britain are preparing to celebrate the centenary of their union, which occurred three years after their successful war with Egypt over control of the Suez Canal. Said union later grew to include Ireland and Norway and led to a more powerful and centralized Commonwealth which also includes former French colonies as well as British. And there are talking monkeys
A story by Philip José Farmer takes place in a world where Roger Bacon sparked an early scientific revolution under the control of the Catholic Church. The story is told from the perspective of the Santa Maria's crystal radio operator who is also a monk. Unfortunately the expedition's steam engines are unable to resist the flow of the ocean's waters over the edge of the world, dooming it.
Alan Steele's Jericho Iteration, written in 1994 and set in 2013 is an case of honorary alternate. St. Louis has not been destroyed by a massive earthquake and Cascadia, a nation consisting of Washington and Oregon, has not seceded from the Union.
The Third Millenium, while nominally a history of the future, overlaps with this to the extent that in 1985 when the book was written, the Soviet Union was not expected to fall. The USSR remains a major player on the global stage until at least 2800.
Prošlost u ogledalu (The past in a mirror) is a novel by Serbian writer Danijel Milutinović. Soviet Union won the Cold War, and The Yugoslav Wars never happened. Instead of Yugoslavia, it's the United Kingdom that faces a violent break-up. Much like a mirror of events in Yugoslavia, England engages in a series of bloody conflicts to stop the secession of Northern Ireland and Scotland, which in turn provokes the Warsaw Pact to intervene militarily.
Making History presents a world in which Adolf Hitler was never conceived. This does not turn out to help humanity. The protagonist arrives to discover a world in which the Nazis dominate Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and which America is less socially progressive without the influence of civil rights movements in Europe during the 1950s and 60s.
Red Moon Rising takes place in a world where wulves and vamps are genetic offshoots of humanity that have coexisted with us for centuries, leading to several different societal shifts to accommodate the needs of the other species and Vamps eventually becoming the majority leaders in politics.
In Wolfgang Jeschke's The Cusanus Game most attempts to alter history fail (for instance the United States persistent attempts to prevent 9/11) except for minor tweaking. One that apparently succeeds, accidentally, is one where Nicholas Cusanus founds an institution of learning that jumpstarts the Industrial Revolution.
E2 in Alastair Reynolds Century Rain is an artificial world identical to Earth in 1959 except that the Germans offensive through the Ardennes bogged down, the invasion of France failed, the Nazi party fell apart through infighting and were overthrown in a coup by von Stauffenburg and Rommel. Hitler is still alive but crippled and broken due to an assassination attempt and living in exile, ironically, in Paris. Also due to WWII being aborted the world is socially and technologically behind where our world was at the time. No computers, nuclear weapons or rockets, Television is about where it was in the late forties and there is no rock and roll although bebop is replacing swing jazz as the most popular form of music..
C. J. Sansom's novel Dominion is set in Britain an alternate 1952 after a German victory in World War II. The Po D here is that Germany triumphed at Dunkirk and Britain and France sued for peace. Although independent, Britain is very much under the Reich's influence (and it is made clear that all of Europe not directly annexed by Germany is much the same, or even worse). Oswald Mosley is Home Secretary, and there is no Opposition in Parliament. Germany remains in an unwinnable war with the Soviet Union after eleven years, and Hitler is dying. In the end, without Hitler to hold the Nazi state together, it disintegrates within a year. Unusually for a lot of "Nazis win World War II" settings, Germany has yet to develop a nuclear weapon.
Guy Saville's The Afrika Reich and The Madagaskar Plan are the first two entries in a planned trilogy that take place predominantly in a Nazi-dominated Africa in the early-1950s. Here the PoD is the annihilation of the British Expeditionary Force at Dunkirk. The war ended in Germany's favour and vast areas of Africa were transferred to German control. There is no Holocaust in this alternate reality, all the Jews of Europe having been sent to die of disease, hunger and overwork on Madagascar. By 1952 German military power is strained and a new war with Britain threatens.
One Nation Under Jupiter, in which the premature death of Constantine in 312 leads to Christianity fading into obscurity while the Roman gods are still worshipped in the present.
In Jonathon Green's Ulysses Quicksilver series the main character is a Steam PunkExpy of James Bond serving a British Empire that is still going strong in the 1990s and has colonized the Moon and Mars. Also the Russian Revolution failed due to British intervention with the Russian Empire being a client state of Britain, the survivors of the failed revolution having fled to the United States which was dealing with an early version of the Great Depression enabling them to overthrow Woodrow Wilson and found the United Soviet States of America. Also, while Germany lost both world wars the Nazis survive as that universe's equivalent of Al Qaeda
The how-to-draw book Dracopedia, along with teaching folks how to make Awesome Art, creates a fascinating alternate history that basically boils down to "what if dragons were not only real, but a common and vital part of the world's ecosystem?" The answer is quite interesting, as the dragons are treated not as mythical monsters that are feared by a now much decreased human population, but instead as (somewhat) normal animals that coexist relatively peacefully with humans (and when not, it's just as often the dragons who are harmed as it is the humans). In particular, we have:
American deserts with street signs that warn of hidden Basilisks.
Coatyls being hunted to near extinction for their vibrantly-colored feathers.
Garden clubs and boy scout troops learning to build little birdhouses for tiny insectoid dragons.
Flightless gargoyle-like dragons being used as attack dogs.
Giant sea dragons living in the Bermuda Triangle, presumably responsible for the disappearances there.
In The Dragon Waiting, Christianity died out in the third century, with Europe returning to a variety of pagan religions. The novel is set in the 15th century, when a still-thriving Byzantine Empire threatens to conquer western Europe. Also, many of the most powerful rulers on the continent are vampires (the cause-and-effect relationship there is not made clear).
In Christian Nation McCain beats Obama in '08 and dies shortly thereafter leaving Palin as President which leads to the US becoming a fundamentalist Christian dystopia.
Faultline 49 by David Danson. The World Trade Center in Edmonton, Canada, is destroyed on September 11, 2001, propagating a criminal war across the country. The US attempted a military intervention and occupied most of Western Canada, leading to a full-blown war between American occupiers and Canadian insurgents. Civilians are gunned down, towns are turned into detention centers, and guerrilla warfare is common across the Rockies.
Third Reich Victorious by Peter G. Tsouras. A collection of ten self-contained scenarios depicting alternate decisions that affect the outcome of World War II, such as Hitler joining the navy in World War I or the Soviet Union attacking first.
The illustrated novel Baltimore by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden shows World War I being interrupted by a vampire epidemic that is spreading all over the world. As a result, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union never came to be and by 1925, a new superpower emerged known as "the Red Kingdom" composed of vampires, warlocks and hideous monsters and lead by a Vampire Monarch that aims to conquer the whole world and is at war with the Allies, who are hopeless outmatched against this supernatural threat.
Downplayed in Fallocaust. The Second World War stretched into the fifties, and Silas, Sky, and Perish caused the Fallocaust to end a world war in the early 21st century.
Blades of Winter has Germany successfully invade Britain in 1941, blockading American support from reaching Europe. Hitler's plan for Operation Barbarossa is turned down and he is assassinated in 1942, leaving a power vacuum over control of the Third Reich. The empire is taken over by less radical politicians, who instead lead a German invasion of the Middle East to claim their oil supplies. Rather than exterminating the Jewish population of Europe, they convert them into a Slave Race. Meanwhile, America invades Japan and World War II ends by 1943. This leaves America, the Third Reich, Russia, and China- known as the "Big Four"- as the main powers of the world. The Korean War still happens, but it's during this war that the first nuclear weapon is dropped on a military base near Pyongyang. This drives the Big Four to begin pursuing warfare and espionage via methods of cybernetic augmentation.
Done very subtly in Newshound. The main character's narration occasionally references background events, like the accession of Yugoslavia to the EU, that make it clear that history unfolded very differently in her world.
In The Whenabouts of Burr by Michael Kurland, somebody steals the Declaration of Independence and replaces it with its counterpart from an Alternate History; the protagonists go in search of that alternate history in order to find answers and get their own Declaration back. The title comes from the fact that the alternate Declaration was signed by Aaron Burr instead of Alexander Hamilton — which incidentally makes the protagonists' world an alternate history as well, because in our history Hamilton didn't sign it either.
If Israel Lost The War explores a scenario were Israel loses the Six-day war. In a mirror image from our world, the Arab nations are the ones to launch a surprise attack on Israeli military bases. Since the United States is busy fighting the Vietnam war and nobody else (save for a small battalion from the Netherlands) takes action, the nation is crushed and the land divided by the victors. The Israeli people are subject to horrific treatment, including mass rape and former Nazis serving asSecret Police. Meanwhile the Palestinians aren't in any better shape, still without a state of their own and exiled from their pre-1948 homes. As a consequence, Sirhan Sirhan returns home to Jordan, thus Robert F Kennedy is never assassinated and is elected president in 1968.
The novella River of Teeth explores what might have been had the United States government gone through with the idea to introduce hippopotamuses to the Louisiana marshlands to alleviate meat shortages, exploring what could potentially go wrong, but also right.
The Mordimer Madderdin series by Jacek Piekara shows an alternate timeline where Jesus Christ was a warlord instead of a carpenter who proceeded to conquer the Roman Empire and slaughter almost every Jew in Judea with the survivors fleeing to either Persia or China. Following this event, Jesus became known as "The Butcher of Nazareth", departed from this world and left Saint Peter in charge of his empire. Islam also doesn't exist in this world due to Muhammad being killed by a Christian knight patrol when he tried to spread his faith in the Levant, which in turn left the Middle-East highly fragmented under its several tribes and religions.