I don’t read a whole lot of alternate history, and don’t receive much in slush. I suspect partly that’s because I don’t care for for it as a top three reading choice, and partly because aside from the badly written stuff pretending to be the real McCoy there just isn’t that much of it written.
Well, here’s three places in semi recent history that would be fascinating cleft points for incorporating into either an alternate history, or a future that sprang from two or three changes in history.
1: America the Empire.
Some might say the USA is already an empire. But what if we’d decided to keep the extra continental territory of the mid 1800’s through early 1900s? What if Cuba, the Philippines and Japan became part of the US of A? Would they be worked in as equal basis states? Retained as simple tribute states? How would it affect the local level feuds and wars that were a part of Philippine history? If the Cold War came to be with the US owning that additional territory what would it’s shape be?
2: Mosheshwe King of The Dark Continent
Mosheshwe was a very shrewd diplomat and probably a better leader both civilly and militarily than Shaka Zulu. He was one of the few, if not the only African leader of his time to be able to buy guns from the Europeans. He managed to push the British out of his turf more than once as well. Suppose he gained an alliance with some outside European power and managed to take over and hold enough territory to push the British out entirely?
3: Japan the Juggernaut
Japan ran over and ransacked much of China in the (first) Sino-Japanese war and gained multiple concessions from a negotiated end. What if the Quing never sued for peace? How much of China would and could the Japanese have claimed? Russia (among other European nations) wasn’t quite thrilled with Japans treaty to end that war, how much less pleased would they have been if Japan grabbed and held half of China? There are probably half a dozen highly probable forks history could take.