Alt Kafka – Franz Kafka in Alternate History

Alt Hist: Historical Fiction and Alternate History

This blog post is written by Séamus Sweeney. Séamus is the author of Dublin Can Be Heaven from Alt Hist 3.

Writers often write about writers and writing.  This is hardly surprising for many reasons. One is the simple fact that writers generally like books, and that books therefore feature prominently in stories. Another is the postmodern turn of literature in the last number of years, in which allusion, reference, and even recapitulation of texts play a more prominent role in modernism or in the traditional realist novel. And specifically in alternate history, as the genre is by definition a literary rewriting and subversion of the historical record, literature and its power to reshape reality is a theme with a clear appeal and relevance.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, literature and literary figures feature prominently in alternate history fiction. In Bruce Sterling and William Gibson’s The Difference Engine, the great romantic poets of…

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