What-Iffy Category Definitions
On the House "What-If" Rec List we share some of our favorite House, M.D. fics, 'verses, and authors that form a genre we call "What-If."
In our review of the literature, several categories presented themselves. Stories range from wildly fantastical to essentially realistic, but all depart significantly from canon reality.
See also: Definitions of our Rec Reasons.
Dead character can interact with a live one — as a ghost, in dreams/unconscious, etc. Or, a character experiences life on another plane after (or near) his own death.
"Hey! I do the metaphors." —House in 2x12 'Distractions'
Modern America has slaves, theocracy, totalitarian state, etc.
Alternate Personal History
Canon character with a different past. Or, character chose a different path or profession than in canon — and thus never became our canon character at all.
Alternate Time Period
Takes place in a different era/decade/century.
Alternate World History
Things turned out a bit (or a lot) differently than we're used to — crops, foods, customs, exports/imports, costs, transportation, technology, population, country/colony, etc.
Amnesia stories where a character must build a life for himself based on whatever he has to go on.
How our heroes cope, post- (or during) apocalypse. Can be more realistic (e.g., epidemic, bomb) or horror (e.g., zombies, creature invasion).
Story includes entities such as vampires, mermaids, werewolves, and so on.
Crossover with, or draws concepts from, another fandom or fic 'verse — usually one with supernatural/what-iffy elements in its canon.
Character talks with a deity, the devil, or some other kind of supreme being. Some of these are also Wishful Thinking fics.
Some people naturally have wings or a tail, for example. Also applies to 'verses where all humans are somehow biologically different than in our reality.
…with profound consequences. Contractverse, brainwashing, serious injury, disability, etc. Many of these are also Recovery Fics.
Magic happens in a very recognizable context. In some stories, this may include overt manifestation of religious, mystic and/or folkloric elements.
Type 1: Magic is real and/or normal in this 'verse, not crack.
Type 2: Magic happens as a plot device ("She put a spell on me — but that's impossible!")
Character enters an alternate universe, or deduces that there is one. Can be an original AU, or an existing fic 'verse/fanon.
Superpowers, prophetic dreams, etc. Can be acquired or inherent.
Chronicles healing in the aftermath of a life-altering event, usually involving serious injury or psychological trauma.
More classic sci-fi elements — character as an android, space travel/aliens, time travel, etc.
Turned into a ___ (kid, animal, vampire, etc.). Also includes bodyswap and genderswap.
Wish I'd never been born/met House/had muscles removed; wish my best friend weren't dying. Character tries to alter the past to change his present, or makes a deal to change the future.