New Zealand As It Might Have Been

Nothing bends one’s noodle quite like alternate reality literature.

And that is :

a narrative that takes place – in a world that we might recognise

– but it is a world that differs from the one we live in.

In the area of literary fiction – striking examples are

which posits an imagined 1885 England : the Industrial Revolution is in full and inexorable swing,

and a steam-driven, cybernetic, computer age arrives a century ahead of its time.


a 1960’s European murder mystery set against the ongoing backdrop of a Nazi victory in WWII.


Stephen King’s new novel about someone preventing the assassination of John Kennedy.

In 1962, Blade Runner scribe Philip K. Dick published The Man in the High Castle,

an alternate history in which Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan won World War II

( & then promptly set about trying to secretly nuke each other ).

Close to home …

New Zealand As It Might Have Been


WHAT IF the Treaty of Waitangi had not been signed on 6 February 1840 ?

WHAT IF Maori had not been made British subjects in 1840 ?

WHAT IF Nelson had been made the capital of New Zealand ?

WHAT IF New Zealand had joined Australia in 1901 ?

WHAT IF the strikers at Waihi had triumphed ?

WHAT IF New Zealand soldiers had never fought at Gallipoli ?

WHAT IF New Zealand had not gone to war in 1939 ?

WHAT IF Japan had invaded New Zealand ?

WHAT IF the Manapouri Power Project had never been constructed ?

WHAT IF Muldoon’s ‘think big’ energy projects had succeeded ?

WHAT IF Brian Talboys had said ‘yes’ to the plotters in 1980 ?

WHAT IF the All Blacks had lost the final test against the Springboks in 1981 ?

WHAT IF the fourth Labour Government had allowed a visit by the USS Buchanan ?

… are all valid questions asked by

New Zealand as it Might Have Been

Radio New Zealand is running an audio series here

The original 2006 publication was so choice

that it spawned a sequel :

New Zealand As It Might Have Been II


Next Post

When Wikipedia No Longer Matters

Fri Jun 3 , 2011