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Entry updated 5 May 2020. Tagged: Theme.

Item of Terminology sometimes used to denote the Alternate History subgenre, thus avoiding the usual sf term. This avoidance may indicate either dislike of the conventional but grammatically awkward phrase "alternate history" or – regrettably often – an attempt to distance "respectable" or "literary" use of this traditional sf technique from science fiction itself. A narrative described as counterfactual will generally eschew sf devices and present its changed course of history as a given, suggesting that any Jonbar Point deviation resulted from chance rather than manipulation. Philosophical or historical examinations of the grounds for exercises in counterfactual speculation tend (see Checklist below for examples) to treat fiction as illustrative of the arguments presented (rather than the reverse). [DRL]

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