Tales of futures past: science fiction as a historical genre

If we understand history as a genre characterized by analytic interpretation of the past guiding approaches to the present and future, science fiction has surprisingly close affinities to this model. Recognizing that history functions in a range of forms and formats, science fiction's alien geographies and chronologies should not be seen as antithetic to history but rather as another field in which historical analysis functions. This may be best illustrated in a closer study of counterfactuals, a transitional form bridges history and science fiction. Both alternate history and other works of science fiction follow historical practice by grounding stories in notational details of the past (or other temporal alternatives to the present) while emphasizing the power of historically informed interpretation to engage the reader.