Like other forms of SpeculativeFiction, AlternateHistory varies in its inherent "hardness" with AH Fandom generally grading it by how "plausible" the AH is based on historical realism and verisimilitude. At the "hard" end of plausibility are well-researched pieces that take into account historical sources and trends, logical changes due to the [[ButterflyOfDoom Butterfly Effect]], and try to produce allohistorical events that flow logically from the Point of Departure/Divergence ([=PoD=]). At the "soft" end are works of pure Fantasy and RuleOfCool, generally a result of AlienSpaceBats.

While the line between "plausible" and not is subjective, the following five levels tend to encompass the general consensus in the online AH Fandom:

* '''Type I - Hard Alternate History:''' These are works that adhere to very strict, even scientific standards in their plausibility. Research is often detailed and intensive, Butterflies are followed logically, and with attention to details, such as the economic or logistical feasibility of an invasion. At their best they set aside the personal "wants" and "if only's" of the author and try to accurately determine the most likely WhatIf result of a [=PoD=]. In some cases they are arguably [[RealityIsUnrealistic more "plausible" than actual history]]! A majority of historical counter-factuals fall into this category. [[AlternateHistoryWank Alternate History Wanks]] very rarely fall into this category. Type I Alternate Histories are often "unsteered", meaning that they have no predetermined outcome and simply follow the logical changes ("what if Lee won at Gettysburg?").

* '''Type II - Hard/Soft Alternate History:''' These are works that incorporate both Hard and Soft elements. Perhaps it is well researched and incorporates historical methodology, but leaves room for adventurous outcomes or Rule of Drama/Cool/Comedy. The author may take some liberties in following butterflies, such as allowing some post-[=PoD=] births or a measure of parallelism. Perhaps they've accelerated a certain technology in a way that's rather "convenient", but doesn't strain the WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief too much. Or perhaps the butterflies and methodology are sound, but obviously "steered" with a predetermined outcome ("I need a setting where an independent Confederate States faces off against the Union in a Great War analog, what [=PoD=] can I choose to get there realistically?"). Some counter-factuals may fall into this Type, such as those by historians with an obvious political bias or pet theory or ones that allow an improbable outcome to look at the ramifications in order to study a tangential area (for example allow for an "improbable" Japanese WWII victory scenario in order to study the cultural implications of such an event). A well-done AlternateHistoryWank can qualify here.

* '''Type III - Soft Alternate History:''' These are works where the plausibility of the setting's alt-history is less important than setting up a world that fits the creator's artistic objectives. Research is often minimal to moderate and used simply to give some verisimilitude to the setting. [[InSpiteOfANail Butterflies may be utterly ignored]], PoliticallyCorrectHistory may make an appearance, and plausibility will take a back seat to Rule of Drama/Cool/Comedy. Perhaps [[MirrorUniverse parallelism has run to extreme levels]] or the author uses Historical Domain characters born way after the [=PoD=] ("I don't care if he was born centuries after the historical Fall of Rome, I want General Patton fighting the Modern Romans in Gaul!"). Perhaps the rate of technology growth is just too high. Perhaps the [[WriterOnBoard author's politics and desires]] so tint the work that it breaks any WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief and turns it into an AH-themed AuthorTract. Many [[AlternateHistoryWank Alternate History Wanks]] fall into this Type. Type III Alternate Histories are almost always "steered" ("okay, so I need a Confederate George Patton running a Blitzkrieg through Stalinist China...").

* '''Type IV - Utterly Implausible AH:''' These are works that are so Soft that they melt. Works that are so implausible as to be effectively impossible and so Soft as to prove impossible to take as serious speculation. Works where research was so poor or ill-considered, [[AuthorFilibuster author politics so prevalent]], Butterflies so ignored, details (logistics, politics, etc.) so overlooked, often purposefully, that there's no way anyone with even a passing familiarity with the history can take it seriously. Infamously implausible scenarios like Operation Sealion [[note]]UsefulNotes/NaziGermany's plan to invade Britain during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, which has been shown by the members of Website/AlternateHistoryDotCom (where it's become a MemeticMutation because of this) to be one of the worst military plans ever conceived -- it would have been a catastrophic defeat for Germany that would have effectively destroyed the Wehrmacht and allowed the Allies to win up to a year earlier.[[/note]] are often placed here, as are utterly implausible technology jumps, such as Aztecs developing breech loading rifles in 1420. Over-the-top ludicrous {{Alternate History Wank}}s are usually put here. One good "rule of thumb" is if a [=PoD=] necessary to make the outcome plausibly happen is so far in the past that Butterflies would negate the very events that created the setting (such as a [=PoD=] to give Hitler the fleet he needed to invade the UK would need to be before WWI, probably negating the rise of Nazism), then it may be a Type IV. ''Note:'' These works are often defined as AlienSpaceBats and in fact the original term "AlienSpaceBats" was coined to refer to these type of implausible works!

* '''Type X - AlienSpaceBats and Fantastical AH:''' In contrast with Type IV, these works are '''deliberately''' designed as pure fantasy, typically following the RuleOfCool. Some sort of AppliedPhlebotinum or SufficientlyAdvancedAliens or NegativeSpaceWedgie or [[FunctionalMagic blatant magic]] causes a [=PoD=] that completely changes everything. WhatIf [[Literature/{{Worldwar}} aliens invade Earth during World War II]]? What if time traveling modern Cherokee give assault rifles to their distant ancestors in 1820? What if town from modern West Virginia was [[MassTeleportation time-ported]] to Germany in the middle of the 30 Years War? A sub-type of this rewrites actual history in fantastic terms: what if George Washington's army used nature magic to fight necromantic redcoats? Ironically, many Type X works can become very "Hard" following an initial fantastical [=PoD=], diligently using historical research and Butterflies to see what would logically happen if the Cherokees really did have Kalashnikov assault rifles in 1820. Type X works can be "steered" or "unsteered". '''Note to Tropers:''' when posting examples please make a note on how "Hard" the work is after the initial [=PoD=] if the [=PoD=] is the ASB element; for example "after the NegativeSpaceWedgie moves Manhattan, the rest of the work follows a more Type II or even Type I level of plausibility".

Needless to say, the line between the different Types is highly subjective, often depending on an individual's personal interpretations or what historical theory he/she believes. Where history is vague (such as Prehistory) pure creative writing or blatant [[AssPull Ass Pulls]] might be used. The perception of Type II vs. Type III vs. Type IV in particular can be very much in the eye of the beholder. Furthermore, perceived extreme cases of implausibility in a Type III can lead to cries of ASB ("and what magical fairy gave the Japanese the cargo ships they would have needed to invade Hawaii ?")

Also, technology can be a source of debate: is SteamPunk a Type III or IV or even X? How realistic is [[ZeppelinsFromAnotherWorld Airship passenger travel]] in the year 2001 anyway? Politics enters in as well, with steered AH used to create a [[MarySuetopia Utopia]] based on the creator's personal political/economic views or conversely a [[StrawmanPolitical Dystopia]] based on opposing views.

Note that Geological [=PoDs=] should be rated by the plausibility of the event. The Iceland volcano erupting ten years earlier is very plausible (probably Type I) while the existence of Atlantis (geologically impossible) is ASB (Type X). Weather [=PoDs=] are harder to gauge considering the [[ButterflyOfDoom unpredictability of the weather and its far-reaching effects]], and thus more debatable.

Note also that [[TropesAreTools none of these types are inherently superior or inferior to the others]] and all can be used effectively depending on the purpose to which they are being put and the story being told; a Type I might be more a plausible examination of the history than a Type IV, but a Type IV might, despite its issues with historical credibility, simply be a more entertaining story than a Type I. Of course, no amount of plausibility (or lack thereof) in the premises is going to salvage honestly bad writing.

!!Examples :


[[folder:Type I : Hard Alternate History]]

* The ''What If?'' series of books where professional historians analyze some counter-factual scenarios (though there are some fans who question their conclusions, placing some contributions arguably in Type II).
* In the same vein, ''If The Allies Had Fallen: Sixty Alternate Scenarios of World War Two'' also posits counter-factual scenarios of varying validity. Many are quite hard, with the sections by Colonel David Glantz (!!!) in particular being concise and non-committal re-statements of grand-strategic, strategic, operational, and tactical realities (e.g. Glantz's statements on the fatal flaws of ''Barbarossa'', ''Taifun'', and ''Blau''). Other scenarios, many dealing with social issues, are softer. This largely because the scenarios themselves are less likely (e.g. German conquest of Britain, German conquest of the USSR, German victory), but the social historians sometimes soften it further by not quite getting their heads around the military realities of the questions they address (e.g. ''Barbarossa'' succeeding as explored Deustch and Showalter, which they consider possible because ''R. Stolfi'' of all people contradicts David Glantz[[note]] While Stolfi's lone voice can make it appear to social historians and casual readers that there is a debate over whether or not Barbarossa was practicable, military historians are united in contending that it was not. In 1999 Stolfi used German Army High Command (OKH)'s records of its own strength and estimated enemy strength to support his asertion. However David Glantz, Jonathan House, John Erickson, and Chris Bellamy (the pantheon of English-language knowledge of the Red Army) note that the Red Army's actual strength during ''Barbarossa'' was much greater than the OKH thought. Moreover David Stahel has recently (2008-14) determined that the OKH's records are also inaccurate about ''its own strength'' - they critically underestimated just how much their own combat- and particularly logistical-strength deteriorated as ''Barbarossa'' progressed - by looking through lower-level German Army records (Army Group, Army, Corps, etc). Finally the renowned logistician Martin Van Creveld analysed the German Army's planning for and logistical ability to actually carry out ''Barbarossa'', concluding that it was impossible assuming anything more than token Soviet resistance (as in the planning). Knowledge of the total invalidity of Stolfi's argument has been agonisingly slow to filter down to non-military academics and the reading public. [[/note]]). That said, even the softer scenarios are still are still firmly in the ''Type II'' category.
* ''Literature/HowFewRemain'': The first book in [[Creator/HarryTurtledove Turtledove's]] ''Literature/Timeline191'' series explores a vividly realistic 19th century following a southern victory in the American Civil War.
** His ''The War That Came Early'' series is also a very well done and realistic take on what might have happened if the Munich conference had failed and WWII had started a year early.
* ''Literature/TheYiddishPolicemensUnion'' by Creator/MichaelChabon. On the Soft side of Type I, but still very well put together.
* ''Literature/TheIronDream'' by Norman Spinrad where UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler emigrates to the USA and becomes a ScienceFiction author rather than enter politics. Intended as an {{Anvilicious}} satire of perceived fascist trends in SpeculativeFiction at the time, it still manages to be a plausible AH story.
* Creator/EricFlint's ''Literature/TrailOfGlory'' series starts off with an arrow that hit Sam Houston being a minor injury instead of the [[GroinAttack major one]] it was in RealLife, and follows through from there.
* ''Lighter Than A Feather'' by David Westheimer. The US carries out Operation Olympic and invades Kyushu in 1945. Mostly presented as a series of vignettes evenly divided between US and Japanese, the book also sets out in some detail the general course of the invasion. Further characterization pushes it into Type I territory.
* Thande's ''Literature/LookToTheWest'' (though there is something of a background artistic 'theme' which sometimes leads it to dip into Type II).
* ''Literature/NineteenFortyEtSiLaFranceAvaitContinueLaGuerre'' is a hard-as-diamond timeline in which the earlier death of the French president's mistress in June 1940 results in France continuing the war from North Africa.
* ''Literature/ForWantOfANail'' by Robert Sobel: a very detailed and carefully researched classic '70s AH novel that explores the "history" of a world where the Continental Army lost at Saratoga. While firmly in Type I territory, there are a number of Type II elements, and the development of the corporate nation-state known as "Kramer Associates" has to be seen to be believed.
* ''When Angels Wept'' looks at what would've happened in the Cuban Missile Crisis had spun out of control. The author, Eric Swedin, is a history professor, and the book presents itself as a genuine history book written by an Australian several decades later.

[[AC:Web Original]]
* The online ''1983: Doomsday'' takes its POD from a real-world event - a false nuclear launch alert in Russia that could have turned into a full-blown nuclear exchange. In this timeline, it does. The timeline's authors allow for some play, making it a soft Type I, but work hard to keep things relatively authentic (any "real world" people presented as surviving Doomsday must have been verified as being in an unaffected area. For instance, Barack Obama was a student at Columbia in September 1983, and was almost assuredly killed when NYC was obliterated, but George W. Bush was in rural Texas and survived.)
** In one particularly interesting case, authors thought they had discovered that John F. Kennedy, Jr. was actually in India on the projected POD, and would have survived, becoming an important figure in the new timeline. However, further research has made that finding obsolete.
%%* Jared's ''Literature/DecadesOfDarkness'' hyper-detailed AH, which diverges due to Thomas Jefferson dying of a heart attack in 1808. New England secedes and the US becomes an expansionist slaveocracy. Most of the world adopts the "[=PoD=], events follow" approach, although there is a steered approach to the U.S. in this timeline("Draka, done right"). Arguably some Type II elements such as the appearance of historical figures like Edmund Schulthess being born as they were IOTL, some decades after the 1809 [=PoD=].
* [[ This blog post]] about the best case scenario for Elvis's career after the POD of surviving his heart attack in 1977 makes a point of avoiding the usual clichés of music writers fantasising about this (where he ends up collaborating with Music/RickRubin or covering Music/JoyDivision).


[[folder:Type II : Hard/Soft Alternate History]]

* ''The Great War'' trilogy from Turtledove's ''Literature/Timeline191'' series (the sequel to ''How Few Remain''). We see some Hard aspects (political Butterflies, Expys of post-[=PoD=] famous people rather than straight appearances) and some Soft elements (European politics and history totally unaffected by the huge divergence in North American events).
* ''The Moscow Option'' by David Downing started with Downing wanting to find a way to have the Axis come as close to winning [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII the war]] as possible, but still lose. To have them outperform their counterparts he usually engages in very realistic Type I style events, all propogating from two changes, one relating to Germany (Hitler is incapacitated for a time and stops interfering with his generals) and one to Japan (they realize the US has broken their code and create a new plan for Midway that exploits this fact). However, the success of Germany in particular stretches their logistical capacity and reserves to unlikely amounts and devalues those of their opponents to levels well-below those actually available. For all that it's still enough to been possible even though it's an extremely unlikely outcome.
* Everything by Robert Conroy.
* The ''Lion's Blood'' duology by Steven Barnes. An [[TakeThat inversion of historical European dominance and enslavement of Africans]] creating a world where African Masters keep European slaves on North American plantations. Every culture that "Cryptohistory" assumes could have colonized America does (note: in reality most of them couldn't or wouldn't have even with the novels' Butterflies), but does show some Hard allohistorical trends and Butterflies. Also both Christianity and Islam exist even though the POD is well before the birth of Jesus.
* Geologic [=PoD=] example: Turtledove's (again) ''Down in the Bottomlands'' where the Mediterranean sea is dry desert. Geologically plausible [[ since it happened periodically in history]] Major climactic and cultural butterflies, including the continued existence of Neanderthal Man. Arguably Type I.
* Robert Graves' historical fiction fit firmly into this category. They are extremely well researched but he willfully changes or distorts events and personalities to tell the story he wishes to tell. Fact and Fiction are often so well blended that you have to be an expert in the subject matter to tell the two apart or to know that events that went a, b, c, d in real life go b, d, a, c in the novel.
* ''Iskriget'' by Anders Blixt. This espionage adventure mixes hard sociology (by creating a credible alternative 20th century in which Britain had failed to reach ascendancy in the 18th century) by a RuleOfCool approach to technology (Creator/StudioGhibli-style cloudships and ice juggernauts) and geography (Antarctica and Australia are replaced by two more pulpish continents). However, the author's 1940s approach to racism and sexism is strictly Type I, TheProtagonist being a well-educated Euro-Indian man who encounters a lot of prejudice.
* World E4 in Ian [=McDonald=]'s ''Planesrunner'' in which 9/11 didn't happen, Al Gore ran in 2004 and won. The only thing that keeps it from being Type 1 is a race of aliens that landed on and colonized the moon 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.
* The Literature/ChaosTimeline. The butterfly effect is handwaved ("after a certain point, the same individuals won't occur as in our history, but we may coincidentally get similar people anyway"), and while the writer does his research and homework, he often makes assumptions that get him where he wants to go. For example, he wants a world war to occur, but the Great Powers are headquartered in different parts of the world and any conflict between land powers would be laughably one-sided; thus, the naval development of the world is far in advance of our own UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, allowing for the naval movement of millions of men all around the globe.
** In defense of the author of said TL, however, it can be quite plausibly argued that allowing the existence of people similar to OTL is not necessarily, by itself, handwaving the butterfly effect, and in some cases, may actually be *more* plausible than total butterflies, depending on the scenario.
* The book ''Literature/{{Fatherland}}''. Heydrich survives his assassination (possible - maybe the assassins were less lucky or Heydrich decides to protect himself adequately), Operation Blau succeeds (unlikely, especially if the Germans follow the historical plan), the Soviet winter counter-offensive of 1942-3 fails (unlikely, and ''Blau'' succeeding would worsen German over-extension and therefore the likelihood of the Soviet operation succeeding), the German summer offensive of 1943-4 succeeds (unlikely, Soviet forces around Moscow and Leningrad were well-entrenched and by that time would have been passably well-armed, trained, and led), the Soviet winter counter-offensive of 1943-4 fails (possible? assuming success of the previous German summer offensive), the German summer offensive of 1944 succeeded (possible???), the Germans discover that their Enigma code has been broken (possible), D-Day doesn't take place or fails (possible, assuming a timely German victory in the Soviet-German War), the U-Boat campaign succeeds in starving Britain (possible, assuming a timely German victory over the USSR), and Nazi Germany develops atomic bombs (''highly'' unlikely - the German atomic project was massively underfunded, split up, had to deal with foreign sabotage, and had to reject "Jewish physics" in its theories) and intercontinental V-3 missiles by 1946 (very unlikely - the first [=ICBMs=] weren't developed until 1957). However, unlike many "Germany wins the war" alternate timelines, the Nazis' plans for after the war are based upon the ones they actually made (they don't take over the whole world, merely settling for exterminating European Russia and colonising it with Germans), making it more realistic. The film version is somewhat softer.
* ''Resurrection Day'' by Brendan [=DuBois=] takes place a decade after the Cuban Missile Crisis ended in a nuclear war. Unsurprisingly the United States has turned into a dystoian society under strict military control and greatly in debt to Great Britain. [[note]]The fact that Western Europe managed to sit out the war unharmed is the most implausible element of the timeline.[[/note]] The antagonist is a CaptainErsatz for [[GeneralRipper Curtis LeMay]] who's managed to cover up his role in escalating the war and shifted the blame to the dead JFK.
* ''Literature/NineteenEightyFour'' by George Orwell details the global takeover of all the world by three uber-socialist superpowers using propaganda, perpetual monitoring of all citizens and control of media to a degree that makes Stalin seem a friend to free press. The novel explores the consequences of monoculture through economic and mental oppression by an authoritarian government run wild.
* ''Literature/TheAngloAmericanNaziWar'' has Hitler, it a rare moment of clarity, divert 250,000 troops away from what would be a doomed campaign in North Africa toward the Battle of Stalingrad. The Nazis ultimately win and the Soviet Union is defeated by 1943. The author willingly admits this victory is a bit of a stretch, even given Stalin's enraged purge of his generals for their loss. Still, the rest of the timeline manages to be a fairly solid (and ''[[CrapsackWorld horrifying]]'') Type I.
* ''Literature/ForAllTime'' starts off with reasonable plausibility. FDR dies of a stroke just a few weeks after Pearl Harbor, leaving Henry Wallace in charge of the country. Far less competent than his predecessor, not to mention Anglophobic, Wallace ends up prolonging World War II with his poor decisions. The American forces have to make do without General Patton, the D-day landing starts a year earlier...and fails miserably, Japan is invaded and [[BalkanizeMe split in two]], the Nazis launch a suicide attack on New York city, and the war ends with ''six'' nuclear bombings in both Germany and Japan. After that, things go [[CrapsackWorld completely insane.]]
* ''Literature/DecisiveDarkness'' is solidly this, bordering on type III at times. After the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a coup is launched within the Japanese government. As a result, war minister [[EvilChancellor Korechika Anami]] seizes control and refuses to surrender, forcing the United States and Soviet Union to both launch land invasions of Japan. What follows is [[WarIsHell an absolute horror show]] involving [[NukeEm atomic bombings]], ChildSoldiers, [[spoiler: DeadlyGas, the Americans accidentally [[GodIsDead killing Hirohito]], and the ultimate division of Japan into five separate nations.]]

* The What If series on The Boxing Tribune aims for Type I ("What if Rocky Marciano Fought On", "What If Salvador Sanchez Had Lived") but tends a little too often to have a patsy who has to take the fall in order to make the story work ("What If Muhammad Ali Never Got Drafted" is particularly harsh to Joe Frazier, and there's a bit of the author's fan loyalties showing in "What If Mike Tyson Got Acquitted"), at which point it veers into Type II.

[[AC:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/KaiserreichLegacyOfTheWeltkrieg'' is probably one of the most plausible alternate histories of World War I ever done. The way that Germany wins the war is not only plausible but quite possibly what would have happened if America had never entered the war, as this game postulates, and the overall handling of Europe is very well done. That being said, there are aspects of the alternate history that stretch the willing suspension of disbelief. America's Second Civil War has no basis in historical fact and is even a stretch for the timeline presented. The German intervention in China is also something that almost certainly would not have happened in this or any other plausible alternate history. That being said, the game's story is really well researched and even the more shaky aspects of the history work well within the story as a whole.
** ''Creator/ParadoxInteractive'' games in general usually qualify as Type II, since the studio tends to forsake balance in favor of hard, extensive research. This historical accuracy lasts up until the point that each game starts, then it's at the mercy of the player.

%%* Web Original: Jared's ''Literature/DecadesOfDarkness'' hyper-detailed AH, which diverges due to Thomas Jefferson dying of a heart attack in 1808. New England secedes and the US becomes a hyper-expansionist slaveocracy. There is a somewhat loose overall direction to the timeline outside of the Americas, but this is decidedly secondary to the heavily steered approach that he took with the U.S. in this timeline ("Draka, done right"). A Type II overall due to some far-fetched elements, such as the (possible) successful continued occupation of Peru, Bolivia, and Chile as of 1950, by WordOfGod. Figures like Edmund Schulthess and the Chevrolet brothers being born as they were IOTL, some decades after the 1809 [=PoD=], may be considered two examples of Type III elements, as is the occupation of the three above-mentioned South American countries as of 1950, but the survival of slavery in the *1950's* is definitely at least this, and may possibly even count as a Type IV.


[[folder:Type III: Soft Alternate History]]

* ''Children of the Revolution'', an Australian film about the hypothetical son of UsefulNotes/JosefStalin and his rise to political power very nearly resulting in a [[DirtyCommies communist revolution]] in Australia. RuleOfFunny is strictly in charge for most of the film.
* ''Film/EscapeFromNewYork'': In 1988, after the crime rate in the United States shot up by 400%, New York City was sealed behind a 50-foot containment wall and transformed into the one maximum security prison for the entire country. Sometime between then and 1997, WorldWarIII broke out, though apparently wasn't (or not completely) nuclear in nature; Snake is a veteran of both the Battles of Leningrad and Siberia.

* The latter books of Harry Turtledove's ''Literature/Timeline191'', where InSpiteOfANail sets in, historical characters multiply (Churchill, Patton, etc.) and the historical parallelism may strain some readers' suspension of disbelief.
* ''Journey to Fusang'' by William Sanders: RuleOfCool and RuleOfFunny AH {{Picaresque}} whose historical liberties are notable. Another "everyone that Cryptohistory assumes could have colonized America does" setting. Every HistoricalDomainCharacter has dodged the ButterflyOfDoom. A Soft Type II, and when written probably would have been considered one, but [[ScienceMarchesOn the science of history marched on]].
* ''Literature/TheYearsOfRiceAndSalt'' by Kim Stanley Robinson. The bubonic plague kills 90% of all European life, conveniently not moving into North Africa or the Middle East despite intricate trade networks at the time, and somehow not burning itself out before mass death (as plagues which fail to leave at least some people alive to be carriers tend to do). Also severe InSpiteOfANail: the Yongle Emperor of China and Tokegawa Shogunate of Japan still rise despite a [=PoD=] centuries earlier.
* S.M. Stirling's ''[[Literature/TheDraka Draka]]'' series, where a SocialDarwinist South African slave-based superpower emerges and eventually [[spoiler:conquers the earth]]. Many in the AH community find the history implausible, though it remains one of the modern classics of AH.
* Creator/HarryHarrison's ''Stars and Stripes'' trilogy in which Britain allies with the Confederacy during the American Civil War. Begins as Type II but jumps into Type III territory when an accidental attack on a Confederate stronghold leads to Britain going to war with the Confederates and both North and South siding together against the common enemy: Britain. While the [=PoD=] is plausible enough (the Trent Affair could have ''possibly'' resulted in a war with Britain, although Harrison makes it seem like war was inevitable), the author then proceeds to indulge in pro-American fantasies. By the end of the trilogy, the re-unified nation has a UsefulNotes/WorldWarI-level navy and ''tanks'' (powered by an engine that is impossible even by levels of technology long after the book was published).
* While Fyodor Berezin's ''Red Stars'' duology involves travel between parallel worlds, a huge part of it is devoted to the divergence of the other world from ours, so those sections can rightly be called AlternateHistory. The author uses the common belief that Stalin had always planned to betray Hitler, but that Hitler simply beat him to the punch (i.e. both sides were ready to attack but were unprepared to defend). Thanks to British interference during Nazi Germany's invasion of Southern Europe, he delays Operation Barbarossa (the invasion of the Soviet Union) by a month, giving Stalin plenty of time to enact his own invasion plan. The USSR invades Germany in 1941. Germany holds out for almost two years but is ultimately beaten. The Red Army proceeds to take Italy and "liberate" France, stopping just short of crossing the English Channel. Realizing their new rival is the US, the Soviets make sure (through sabotage and covert aid to Japan) that America is tied up with the Pacific War. The Domino Theory then ensures that all of Europe, Asia, Africa, and, eventually, Australia go communist, leading to a Not So Cold War between USSR and US, with the former being the dominant power. Democracy doesn't exist anymore, as the constant red threat forces the US to institute martial law. While this may seem like a MarySuetopia, the author makes it abundantly clear that the other is a CrapsackWorld where the two superpowers no longer hold back on nuclear weapons and constantly engage in massive battles in the oceans. The ending, however, is highly controversial: [[spoiler:the American and Russian presidents in our world launch 500 [=ICBMs=] each at each other, then use the dimensional device to send the missiles to the other side to start a nuclear war]]. The follow-up short story reveals that [[spoiler:the plan has backfired. The other world is not a smoking nuclear wasteland and is now aware of our world]].
* Kathleen Anne Goonan's ''In War Times'' and its sequel in which time travelers arrange for FDR to live long enough for a fifth term during which he persuads Stalin to give the Eastern European nations back their freedom and not divide Germany into East and West. Then Truman manages to get a Civil Rights Act passed in 1950, which would have required the cooperation of Congress (unlike his desegregation of the armed forces). Then they prevent the assassination of JFK [[MarySuetopia after which nothing bad ever happens again]].
* World E3 in Ian [=McDonald=]'s ''Planesrunner'' in which everything is coal powered because there's no oil and the steam engine was never invented because the electric motor was invented first.
* British author Andy Johnson's novel ''Seelowe Nord'' (yes, it's an Operation Sealion novel!) just scrapes into this category. Rather than the usual South coast option, this time the Germans invade the north of England, attacking down towards the Midlands in an attempt to knock out England's industrial heartland. It's also conceived as more of a raid than a conquest, with OKW hoping that the loss of so much industry will knock the Tommies out the war. The majority of the novel's detailed, an it's clear that a fair amount of thought has gone into it, regardless of the more implausible elements.

[[AC:Live Action Television]]
* The ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' episode "The City on the Edge of Forever," where Kirk and Spock going back in time and keeping one particular pacifist activist from dying somehow causes the Nazis to win WWII, because her activism keeps the U.S. out of the war until it's too late. That was ''really'' happening in real history; strong, organized pacifist and isolationist movements were very influential over the American public and many American politicians in the early years of WWII, which is why it took an Axis attack on American soil to get the U.S. to enter the war. While no amount of pacifist speeches in the world weren't going to make any difference after Pearl Harbor, sufficiently early POD would butterfly Pearl Harbor attack altogether. Japanese attacked due to American embargo starving Japan of Oil and other raw materials. Its possible that with USA pacifist movement sufficiently strong, there would be no embargo, or Japan would be confident that attacking Dutch Indonesia for alternate oil supply would not trigger American declaring war (USA wasn't going to war over Indonesia IOTL, but Japanese didn't knew that), and would see no need to "strike first".
* Turned into the game "Counterfactuals" in an episode of ''Series/TheBigBangTheory''. A single thing in history is changed, and the players are expected to answer a question about the future/history based on that. They must be prepared to defend their answer. Of course invented by Sheldon and Amy.
--> '''Amy''': In a world where rhinoceroses are domesticated pets, who wins the Second World War
--> '''Sheldon''': Uganda.
--> '''Amy''': Defend.
--> '''Sheldon''': Kenya rises to power on the export of rhinoceroses. A Central African power bloc is formed, colonizing North Africa and Europe. When war breaks out, no one can afford the luxury of a rhino. Kenya Withers, Uganda triumphs.
--> '''Amy''': Correct. My turn.

[[AC:Video Game]]
* ''VideoGame/CovertFront'' takes place in an alternate 1904 where UsefulNotes/WorldWarI is already taking place. That's all we're given, and it's all we need for Mateusz Skutnik to tell a good spy story.
* ''VideoGame/IronStorm'' set in a world where UsefulNotes/WorldWarI has dragged on for fifty years. Baron Ugenberg managed to unite UsefulNotes/TsaristRussia and the Siberian tribes together to create the Russo-Mongolian Empire, which has since annexed Eastern Europe. On the other side is the United States of Western Europe, the last few democracies left on the continent, who've fought the war to a stalemate after [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything Germany was split in two]]. WarIsHell doesn't even begin to describe it, especially since the conflict is ''nowhere near'' as black and white as it seems...

[[AC: Visual Novels]]
* ''VisualNovel/RoseGunsDays'' is set in a world where Japan lost World War II due to a serious natural disaster that hit the country in 1944. America and China got involved with reconstruction, bringing in massive waves of immigrants with them. The Japanese became a minority in their own nation, their traditions cast aside, everyone in Tokyo adopting a second western name, and anyone who can't speak English or Chinese is unable to find work outside of prostitution or the mafia. While all of this is fairly unlikely, the most implausible aspect of the timeline is how ''fast'' it happens. Rather than this being a gradual transition over decades, all of this change occurs less than three years after the Disaster. Still, the author does try to portray more-or-less realistically how such a Japan would be ruled and how the Japanese and immigrants would live in it, as well as the impact it would have on US-China relationships. Perhaps the most realistic outcome of this timeline is that, by 2012, the American and Chinese cultural assimilation has nearly rendered the Japanese language extinct.

[[AC:Web Original]]
* Drew's ''Rumsfeldia'' timeline on ''Website/AlternateHistoryDotCom'' is definitely at least an upper-end Type III overall.
* [=Napoleon53's=] ''What Madness Is This'', while certainly well-written, it, like Jared's Decades of Darkness, also plays fast and loose with plausibility, albeit in a rather different manner. The timeline actually starts in the early 1700s, but doesn't really diverge much until the Revolutionary Era. The real action starts when John Adams and Alexander Hamilton end up stealing not one, but *two* elections! The southern states secede after the 1800 elections, and the rump North starts to turn into something like a banana republic. As one might expect, things eventually do go pear-shaped at the end of the 19th century, when the "Manifest Destiny Party" takes over, and they retain total control of the country until the 1960s, at least, during which time they conquer almost all of the Americas. Apart from this and a stunning amount of convergences, this timeline may be best known for two endings: one in which the NUSA essentially tries to conquer the world, and another of which ends with a nuclear war on June 6, 2006.


[[folder:Type IV : Utterly Implausible Alternate History]]

* The film version of ''Film/{{Fatherland}}'' is a Type IV, on account of the point of divergence. Germany defeats the Allies in the battle of Normandy in 1944. Then it (based on the map that is shown) directly takes over all of Europe (including the UK) except for the Soviet Union in its prewar borders. The best Germany could hope for at that point in the war is to keep onto Austria and the Sudetenland in exchange for abandoning its other conquests and a regime change. The book is somewhat harder.
* The 2006 mockumentary ''Film/CSATheConfederateStatesOfAmerica'', where the South not only wins but takes over the whole of the Union! Few take the history seriously, including the creator himself, since it was designed as a {{satire}} of race relations in the US rather than an accurate counter-factual representation of a southern victory world.

* Another Turtledove Geologic example: The ''Atlantis'' series, where the North American east coast is a large island. While geologically somewhat plausible the [=PoD=] could Butterfly the existence of Humans. Plus the [[MirrorWorld implausible parallelism]] of the history itself.
* Turtledove's ''Days of Infamy''; Japan invading Hawaii (considered logistically impossible) pushes this story to Type IV in many minds.
* World E2 in Ian [=McDonald=]'s ''Planesrunner'' in which Great Britain is a Muslim nation, having been colonized and converted during Islam's great wave of expansion. Plausible enough by itself but what puts it in Type IV territory is the reason: Great Britain, instead of being located north of continental Europe is located a hundred miles west of the Straits of Gibraltar and Ireland didn't go with it.

[[AC:Live Action Television]]
* Creator/SpikeTV's "Alternate History" special. With a point of divergence that starts with a successful repelling of the Normandy invasion due to an unexplained influx of jet aircraft on the German side, Nazi Germany manages to completely turn the tide of the war, and conquer both the United Kingdom and the United States. The Soviet Union also doesn't seem to exist in this timeline.

[[AC:Video Games]]
* Two of the bad endings in ''VideoGame/TitanicAdventureOutOfTime'', namely the "Nuclear Germany" and the "Communist Germany" one can be seen as Type IV. In the Nuclear Germany ending, WWI never happens but Hitler still takes power in Germany after launching a successful coup against the Kaiser, and developing nuclear weapons. This is extremely implausible because without WWI Hitler would not have gone into politics and even if he did develop his worldviews, the conservative factions and the army would stop him dead in his tracks if the Nazis tried to coup the German Monarchy in a world where WWI never happens and the Kaiser remained in power. The Communist Germany ending envisions a scenario where the Spartacists took power in Germany in a world where neither Nazism or USSR came into existence after World War I. However, it is highly unlikely that the Spartacists had a chance at taking power, and without the aftershocks of the Russian Revolution, they might have even less chance of success.


[[folder:Type X : AlienSpaceBats and Fantasy Alternate History]]

[[AC:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'' takes place in an alternate early 20th century with working {{Magitek}} in the form of alchemy. However, it explicitly takes place in an alternate world separate from our own.

[[AC:Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'' becomes a type X because of the existence of [[PhysicalGod Dr. Manhattan]], but is a Type III otherwise (the non-super powered superheroes have some smaller impacts on the history of fashion and pop-culture of the 20. century). The primary goal is a {{deconstruction}} of the superhero genre, not exploring alternate histories.
* The [[ Big Head Press]] comic [[ Roswell, Texas]] had Santa Anna killed at the first battle of the Alamo and Texas remaining independent and becoming a libertarian paradise that expanded westward to at least New Mexico (as the title suggests). Discounting the aliens other offenses include the Nazis conquering all of Europe, the IRA working with Jewish physicists to nuke Berlin leading to a minor member of the British royal family becoming king of the Reich, Mexico is ruled by an emperor who secretly practices Aztec human sacrifices while hosting the French government in exile, and Walt Disney is President for life of California.
** BHP also published a graphic novel based on the first novel of the North American Confederacy series, [[ The Probability Broach]].
* In ''ComicBook/{{Uber}}'', the Third Reich develop the ability to create superhumans shortly before the Fall of Berlin. In a deconstruction of the StupidJetpackHitler trope, the consequences are then developed in a very big-picture, RealityEnsues and depressing way.

* ''Film/SkyCaptainAndTheWorldOfTomorrow'', a combination of {{Diesel Punk}} and {{Steam Punk}} in an alternate 1930's setting. Involves giant robots and intelligent flying machines.

* Another obligatory Creator/HarryTurtledove example: the ''Literature/{{Worldwar}}'' series. Lizards from Outer Space invade during World War 2 and the Axis and Allies must set aside their differences to save Earth from alien conquest! Interestingly quite Hard AH after that, at least in the first books (Type I or II), but like many Turtledove works starts to Soften as the series advances to the point of being Type III to IV by the last books.
* ''Literature/TheGunsOfTheSouth'' by [[Creator/HarryTurtledove Guess Who]]: Time-traveling South African white supremacists bring Robert E. Lee's army AK-47 assault rifles. Only a stand-alone book (so it's hard to predict long-term trends), but seems to go Type I after the [=PoD=].
* S.M. Stirling's ''Literature/IslandInTheSeaOfTime'' series, wherein the contemporary island of Nantucket is [[MassTeleportation time-ported]] back to the Bronze Age. Somewhat Soft after the [=PoD=] (Type II) as like most of Stirling's work it follows RuleOfCool.
* Eric Flint's ''[[Literature/SixteenThirtyTwo Ring Of Fire]]'' series is touched off by AlienSpaceBats [[MassTeleportation time-and-space-porting]] a West Virginia mining town from the year 2000 to Germany in the middle of the 30 Years War. Once the [=PoD=] happens, the series turns into a rock-hard Type I, with a very realistic analysis of the effects of future technology and culture on this era, backed up with obsessive research into both the historical background of the time, and the resources such a town would be likely to have.

* ''Literature/TheHeirsOfAlexandria'' by Creator/MercedesLackey, Creator/EricFlint, and Creator/DaveFreer, but due to the large scale of the change, introducing magic, and how long ago it happened, probably a type II (Hard/Soft Alternate History) when the series starts, mainly due to good research.
* ''Literature/TheTalesOfAlvinMaker'' by Creator/OrsonScottCard: A retelling of the story of Mormonism founder Joseph Smith in a North America MirrorUniverse where magic is real.
* ''Literature/{{Temeraire}}'' is the Napoleonic Wars... [[AC:with dragons]]! Otherwise a Type II: The society is still reminiscent of the equivalent time period and technologies are much the same, though there are some significant political deviations. (The Incas were never conquered because they ''also'' had dragons, for instance).
* The ''Literature/WestOfEden'' trilogy is probably an X-III, with the fantastic element being that the dinosaurs were never wiped out, and later evolved into an intelligent saurian people. Realistically speaking, the extinction of the dinosaurs is probably what allowed mammals to gain dominance and thus humans to come to be. According to the author, there were never any dinosaurs on the American continents, thus allowing humans to evolve. For those who aren't aware, the ''T.rex'' was an American dinosaur.
* In John Birmingham's novel ''Without Warning'', a ColonyDrop of a mysterious energy field called the Wave wipes out all human life in most of the continental United States and much of Canada, Mexico and Cuba in 2003 just before the invasion of Iraq but after that it's a Type I including Sadaam Hussein's reaction to "the Great Satan" getting its legs chopped out from under it and what follows.
* ''Leviathan'', by Creator/ScottWesterfeld. Darwin discovers DNA and genetic engineering, all before the discovery of x-ray crystallography, PCR, plasmids, or anything else that could possibly allow such a thing. On top of that, DNA from any animal can be combined with DNA from any other animal without any viability issues.
* The setting of Creator/SergeyLukyanenko's ''Literature/SeekersOfTheSky'' duology diverges from ours when UsefulNotes/{{Jesus}} is killed during the Massacre of the Innocents, resulting in a different Messiah with different powers and goals. Unlike Jesus, the Redeemer passes his one miracle to his disciples, and it spreads from them throughout the world. This miracle is the Word, allowing the user to place any inanimate object into another dimension known as the Cold to be retrieved later. Not only has the Word changed how many things are done in the world (those who possess it keep all their valuables in the Cold), but the Redeemer attempted to end war on Earth by removing all the iron he knew about when he left. Another key difference is Redeemer's version of "You shall not kill." -- "You can kill a dozen and still be forgiven." Thus, this setting is largely shaped by a major deficit of this very useful metal (e.g. iron replaces gold as currency and status symbol) and almost habitual violence. The duology mostly serves for the author to explore the dominant religion of this world, which is similar to Christianity in some respects but very different in others.
* Creator/MattRuff's ''The Mirage'' takes place in a United Arab States which suffered an attack on 11/9 by fanatical Christian terrorists which in turn led to the invasion of America. This would put it in Type III or IV territory except [[spoiler: that it was created as a result of a wish made to a djinn.]]
* L. Neil Smith's The North American Confederacy series. While the concept of so much change happening because of the difference of one word in the Declaration of Independence is kinda cool, it is quite a job counting the ways at which it fails in plausibility. For example, [[FridgeLogic despite the emphasis on the property rights of individual citizens, slavery is abolished entirely in 1820 C.E.]]. Back then, people of African descent weren't widely considered to be full citizens or people and slaves were considered to be the property of their masters, so if the utopia that L. Neil Smith has imagined had a special emphasis on the individual property rights of citizens all along, slavery would most likely have been abolished ''later'' than in our timeline, if at all. To readers knowledgeable in the area of history, this can come off as PoliticallyCorrectHistory. The inconsistency between there being a special emphasis on individual property rights all along and slavery being abolished earlier than in our timeline with no apparent backlash ''alone'' is enough to push this into type IV.
** Also, this universe apparently never had a French revolution (it's never mentioned, at least), even though its [=PoD=] would basically happen at exactly the same time as that rather important event.
* Literature/AroseFromOutTheAzureMain has a literal [[AlienSpaceBats alien space bat]] transport [[UsefulNotes/MargaretThatcher Thatcher's]] Britain to 1730. After the dislocation, it shifts into Type 1, except for the occasional look at scientists trying to work out what caused the dislocation.

[[AC:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{GURPS}} Infinite Worlds'' offers the United States Of Lizardia - A world, very much like our own circa 1994, but populated by an evolved species of dinosaur rather than humanity. Beyond Type X, it's also very much Type IV which is heavily lampshade hung - The best guess for how it could possibly exist by the people who in the Infinite Worlds setting study alternate worlds is basically a God with a cruel sense of humor pranking people who study alternate worlds.
* In Pinnacle Entertainment's award winning campaign setting, "Deadlands", an alternate history reality in which pretty much all aspects of the horror genre exist in some form in the Old West is created. While Butterflies are followed in some cases, they are abandoned at the drop of a hat for RuleOfCool. So you get a split US with a Union and Confederacy battling over the West, a Chinese-ruled California, a Mormon-ruled Utah ("Deseret"), several independent Native American states, all form of crazy monsters, witches and card-shark magicians, blessed crusaders of God, shape-shifting Shamans, and just to wrap it all together, SteamPunk mad scientists!
%%* TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}} seems to be this. Its [=PoD=] is in 2011 (if I remember correctly), where something called [[TheMagicComesBack 'the Awakening']] happens. As humanity is dealing with this, new species emerge: elves and dwarves start being born, followed by orks and trolls. After that, cybernetics are developed, Mega Corps start ruling sections of the planet as new superpowers, and full-inmersion VR is developed. After the space bats, however, the game takes a somewhat realistic turn. This entry NeedsWikiMagicLove, badly.

[[AC:Video Games]]
* ''[[VideoGame/CommandAndConquerRedAlertSeries Command & Conquer: Red Alert]]'' seems to be Type X-IV. It ''starts'' with [[UsefulNotes/AlbertEinstein Einstein]] building a TimeMachine [[HitlersTimeTravelExemptionAct and going back to kill Hitler]]. DirtyCommunists led by [[UsefulNotes/JosefStalin Stalin]] invade Europe with [[ShockAndAwe Tesla coils]] and [[TankGoodness superheavy tanks]]. The Europeans win the war - but some thirty years later, we have a Soviet invasion of the United States this time... ''with [[EverythingsSquishierWithCephalopods giant battlesquids]], {{Weather Control Machine}}s, tanks masquerading as trees, [[FrickinLaserBeams Frickin Prismatic Beams]], CloningBlues, TeleportersAndTransporters, ''' [[CoolAirship bomber blimps]], [[MindControl Mind-Controlling]] soldiers and psychic possession via telephone''''', all served with a side order of [[LargeHam Ham]] and [[{{Camp}} Cheese]]. And then, when it seemed it was over, [[SerialEscalation Red Alert 3 comes-a-knockin'...]]
* In Videogame/BioshockInfinite, the Boxer Rebellion was put down by intervention of the floating, mobile city of Columbia, which had been constructed in part through funding provided by the United States Congress. Later, the city publicly secedes from the union and disappears, only remembered in archive news stories. [[spoiler: Then, at the end of 1983, it returns and bombs New York]]. In this case, not only is the game set in an AlternateUniverse, but the concept of alternate universes is explored directly, with the implication that an infinite number of universes with Columbia -- differing in some details but constant in others -- exist and also that an infinite number of universes [[spoiler: ''without'' Columbia]] also exist, and that [[spoiler: Columbia itself]] is the result of a single alternate decision between the realities with and without it; the protagonist and the primary supporting character [[spoiler: are eventually revealed to be from one of the realities where Columbia never existed, transplanted to Columbia for the specific purpose of eventually erasing all Columbia universes from existence.]]
* VideoGame/{{Resistance}} falls squarely in this category with the existence of [[AlienInvasion the Chimera.]] Even before then, it was either a type III or IV, with history moving implausibly close to our own despite huge changes (no Spanish-American war, Russia never goes communist, America stays out of World War I, Hitler never rises to power, etc.) For example, despite their being no incentive to, with America remaining isolationist throughout the early twentieth century, the country still creates and tests the world's first nuclear weapon. ''In June of 1944.'' Although it's done in central Alaska rather than Nevada.
* Due to its TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture ageing into this while the series was still ongoing, combined with a few genuinely historical entries, ''VideoGame/MetalGear'' lands here. The ''Metal Gear'' universe involves HumongousMecha in the 1970s, mass nuclear disarmament (hinted to verge on ''world peace'') in 1999, the US government being controlled by an AI in the early 2000s, and by 2014 the entire world is consumed by a bizarre, psychedelic "War Economy" of biomechanical weapons and {{Nanomachines}}.

[[AC:Web Comics]]
* The Webcomic/CiemWebcomicSeries postulates that Boonville, Indiana is overtaken by aliens who are obsessed with [[GeneticEngineeringIsTheNewNuke engineering]] [[HybridMonster monsters]] [[BioPunk for political gain]]. It is attacked by the National Guard and the town of Gerosha is built in its place -- so-named after [[RealitySubtext a seashell with a letter "G" carved into it that was found on a beach in Florida]]. After that, the [[FeudingFamilies growing feud]] between Gerosha's founding Flippo family and the Hebbleskin Crime Family results in more monsters, more explosions, and even a radioactive MacGuffin or two. Since it aims to become a comic book film, it's very steered and doesn't seem to care about how hard or soft the AH is.

[[AC:Web Original]]
* The ''Strangerverse'' on Website/AlternateHistoryDotCom is a loosely-tied saga, whose common tie being a time traveler returning to some point (and figure) in the past. To stop his crapsack-apocalyptic future from happening, the Stranger leaves behind tools to aid his "chosen." This generally results in epic nation-wanks. The stories themselves become Type II or III after the "event," depending on the author. Notables include ''Literature/TheBritwankEmpire'' and ''[[Literature/UnitedStatesOfAmeriwank The United States of Ameriwank]]''.