Fantasy Novels Set In The Past

There are millions of fantasy stories set in pseudo-medieval or -dark-ages environments, but those aren't actually our world. Fantasy set in the historical past is less common. SF set in the past is rarer still.

There are certainly novels set in the past, but these are usually essentially mimetic; they may be imaginative (or inaccurate, depending on how you look at it), but they are generally not fantastic.

One pattern that does come up is of a (future) historian travelling back in time to do research, but usually ending up involved in events. One example is 'Fire Watch' by Connie Willis, in which a historian travels to 1940s London, and ends up being part of a fire-watch team during the Blitz. Another example is a book (whose title and author Duncan Martin could not remember) in which an Oxford don travels back to the time of the plague (although we are not sure which plague!).

There is, of course, Alternate History?. Often, these stories are set in the chronological past, but not that of our world, so it's not clear that they are really 'set in the past'. If we admit them, obvious examples are 'Father Land?', by Thomas Harris, 'SSGB?', by Len Deighton?, and 'The Man In The High Castle?', by Philip K Dick?. Of these, the first two are 'straight' Alternate History?, whereas the last is, as you'd expect, crazed Dickian SF.

'Crypto Nomicon?', by Neal Stephenson?, is SF, and has sections set in the past. However, the stuff in the past is essentially background: it's neither Alternate History? nor SF per se.

Niall Harrison has suggested 'ASH', by Mary Gentle?, as a fantasy novel set in the past, but was not sure whether this was really so.

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