With the integration of its core themes and narrative strategies into the mainstream, science fiction in its traditional sense appears to have lost its competitive edge and its innovative potential. At the same time, its critical elements have survived in the area of alternative history fictions, notably in German-language literature. This paper analyses three recent examples: Christian Kracht, Ich werde hier sein im Sonnenschein und im Schatten (2008), Wolfgang Jeschke, Das Cusanus Jahr (2005), and Rob Alef, Das magische Jahr (2008). The objective is to explore how a classical device of fantastic literature is employed to introduce utopian/dystopian elements and challenge the status quo. As a vehicle for subversive cultural criticism, German alternate history fictions prove to be both flexible and relevant.

in: Lars Schmeink / Astrid Böger (eds), Collision of Realities. Establishing Research on the Fantastic in Europe, pp.325-338, Berlin: de Gruyter 2012