Season two of The Man In The High Castle comes to Amazon, continuing a past that sees the USA colonised by Nazi Germany and Japan after the Axis Powers win World War II. But other works of fiction ask what would have happened if major world events had ended differently (spoilers ahead) …
War Is Swell
Two popular storytellers have rewritten the ending to famous wars. Alan Moore’s Watchmen sees Nixon coast to victory in Vietnam thanks to the help of superheroes. Quentin Tarantino wraps up WWII a lot quicker in Inglourious Basterds, when Brad Pitt and Co assassinate Hitler four years before the real conflict ended.
Other reimaginings have less fortuitous outcomes. Kim Stanley Robinson’s novel The Years of Rice and Salt chronicles 600 years after the Black Death kills 99 per cent of humanity (instead of a third). Similarly cheery is video game Command & Conquer: Red Alert – Soviet Russia conquers Europe after a time-travel mission halted the Nazis’ rise to power.
Tinkering with the past has not always resulted in great fiction. Animation giant Pixar had a tough time pitching their 2014 film The Good Dinosaur, which changes the path of history by creating a world where an asteroid didn’t kill the dinosaurs, and our pre-historic ancestors evolved alongside humans. It was a tough one to swallow for audiences, however it was nothing compared to the Tim Burton-produced Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, which really needs no explanation. Needless to say, this mash up of history and fantasy was forgotten fairly quickly.