An alternate history story is one in which a hypothetical present (or past) comes about because some critical historical event worked out differently. Some critics prefer to call such stories alternative history or alternate world stories.
One of the most famous alternate history stories is The Man in the High Castle (1962) by Philip K. Dick, which won the 1963 Best Novel Hugo.
Such stories can be traced back to the first century B.C.
Since 1995, the Sidewise Award has been presented annually to recognize excellence in alternate historical fiction.
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