SF that starts out as realism/historical fiction and ends up somewhere else?
September 19, 2012 12:44 PM Subscribe
Speculative fiction about historical gradualism: I'm looking for SF stories which begin in the real historical world (past or present) and then gradually diverge from it, without
any single decisive turning point.
posted by RogerB to media & arts (11 answers total) 41 users marked this as a favorite
After reading Samuel Delany's Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders, which begins in the present and follows its characters in their everyday lives eightyish years into the SF future, and Terry Bisson's Any Day Now, which begins as a strictly realistic historical novel set in the Fifties and slowly, sneakily shades into an alternate-history version of the Sixties, I'm getting interested in the idea that there might be a niche or two I haven't previously thought much about within SF, that narratively represents gradual historical change. So I'm looking for other book suggestions that share this characteristic.
Criteria: The story must start in a purely realistic present or historical setting and diverge from it only gradually, without any clear single moment of transition, turning point, etc. I'm NOT interested in anything that just jumps into the future via a narrative break/flash-forward/prolepsis; also NOT interested in the more common kind of alternate history that's about the consequences of a single or a small number of decisive "what if" changes. Ideally I'm looking for things that might read like pure realism for quite a long time, until eventually the reader pauses, surprised, and realizes that they haven't been reading about the actually existing world for some time.