Note — Nov 15, 2020

The Intriguing Maps that Reveal Alternate Histories

Seen in → No.150

Source →

Samuel Arbesman wrote about alternate history maps in his excellent Cabinet of Wonders back in September, and expanded on the idea for BBC Future in the link above. Short read with great examples, a few maps, and a number of rabbits holes.

No longer merely a subculture of science fiction, alternate history has become a realm of serious research, with historians involved in the study of counterfactuals. […]

But one of the deepest pleasures of alternate histories are their maps. Sometimes these allow stories to unfurl, or complement the hypothetical world of a tale being told. But in many cases, the map alone tells a story. […]

Chabon hit upon the attraction of imagined cartographies: the lure of making the paraphernalia of verisimilitude. These worlds are different but they could exist, and we can be easily sucked into spending too much time lavishing detail on these constructions.”