That there are significantly fewer “conventional World War III” books than I thought when I started this blog is something I’ve repeatedly said. But I recently decided to take a look and see just how many (or, to be honest, how few) World War IIIs fit the “tail of the elephant” category of what I first saw online. The criteria were as follows.
- They obviously had to be mostly conventional World War IIIs.
- They had to be commercialized, even if only in self-published form.
- They’re listed by series and not author to prevent long individual series from skewing the results.
- They had to be unambiguous alternate history. So the 1980s classics wouldn’t count because those are set in a then-contemporary time.
- They had to take place after 1980. The “just after World War II” WW3s are a different kind of fiction in my eyes.
With that, I got the following rough list.
- -Harvey Black’s “Effect” series
- -William Stroock’s World War 1990 series
- -The Bear’s Claws by Russell Phillips
- -Northern Fury H Hour
- -John Agnew’s Operation Zhukov
- -Brad Smith’s World War III 1985
- -Martin Archer’s War Breaks Out
- -James Burke’s The Weekend Warriors
- -John Schettler’s Kirov series.
- -Mark Walker’s Dark War series
There’s obviously ones I missed, but still, only ten entries. Ten. For comparison, there’s easily more different authors on the “action hero” tag here (I counted around 17.) It feels both satisfying to see even a general number and a little weird to know that what you saw was something as narrow in scope as Worm fanfiction (even if understandably so).