Uchronia refers to a hypothetical or fictional time-period of our world, in contrast to altogether fictional lands or worlds. A concept similar to alternate history but different in the manner that uchronic times are not easily defined (mainly placed in some distant or unspecified point before current times), sometimes reminiscent of a constructed world. Some, however, do use uchronia to refer to an alternate history.
The word is a neologism from the word utopia (Greek u-topos no-place), replacing topos with chronos (time). It was coined by Charles Renouvier as the title of his 1876 novel Uchronie (L'Utopie dans l'histoire), esquisse historique apocryphe du développement de la civilisation européenne tel qu'il n'a pas été, tel qu'il aurait pu être (Uchronia (Utopia in History), an Apocryphal Sketch of the Development of European Civilization Not as It Was But as It Might Have Been), reprinted 1988, ISBN 2-213-02058-2.
The concept of Merry England is an example of uchronic myth. It refers to a poorly defined point after Medieval England, mainly existing as a collective memory and nostalgia of a better past, although historically such a period never existed.
Robert E. Howard's Hyborian Age is an example of an explicit uchronian period, while Tolkien's first three ages of Middle-earth may or may not be located in the same world as the modern Earth. In the uchronian interpretation of Middle-earth, this and other fantasy-genre fiction takes place during uchronian periods, set roughly in the prehistoric times. The alternative interpretation of an entirely separate mythology divorced from real history and taking place in another universe says that these stories are not uchronian.
- Hyborian Age
- Gloriana by Michael Moorcock
- Terre D'Ange, the setting of Kushiel's Legacy
- Paul Di Filippo. "Off the Shelf: The Peshawar Lancers". Book Review. SciFi.com. Retrieved 2008-10-01.[dead link]
- Uchronia: Uchronie (l'utopie dans l'histoire), esquisse historique apocryphe du développement de la civilisation européenne tel qu'il n'a pas été, tel qu'il aurait pu être, Uchronia.net, retrieved 2011-10-01