Earth and Alternative Earths
Earth is the planet we live on, as we know it really is, and as we can find it in atlases and history books. A fictional country can only be considered to be located on Earth if it does not significantly affect this. This means that a fictional country on Earth cannot have (had) any significant impact on (physical and human) geography, history, and current world events. Fictional countries that are described as being on Earth, but that (would) fundamentally (have) change(d) Earth history and geography, therefore, are considered to be located on an Alternative Earth. Many fictional countries are not that easy to classify. On Geopoeia, such borderline cases are generally classified as Earth countries, rather than Alternative Earth countries.
It should be noted that deviations from reality add up. When several countries on Earth and or borderline cases engage in interactive geofiction, then this interactive geofiction takes place in a context with many changes to Earth history and geography rather than just one. In other words, interactive geofiction always takes place on an alternative earth (or on a completely different planet, of course).
Changes in Earth history without physical geographical changes or fictional time periods on Earth are not Alternative Earths, but Alternate Histories or Uchronias.
- New Courland is an example of a fictional country on Earth. It is a small Caribbean country without significant historical or geographical impact, and that seems to be well embedded.
- Karstonia is an example of a borderline case. It would have drastically changed the history of the Baltic countries and surrounding region, and probably have climatological effects as well, but it is not very big, and seems well embedded within its regional context. (Most fictional countries that are described as being on Earth fall in this category.)
- The Nearly Real World is an example of an Alternative Earth. It adds continents and large countries, and 100s of millions of humans.
- The Exumbran Convention is an example of an interactive geofiction project of countries on Earth and some borderline cases. As a project it explicitly mentions the "Exumbra universe" - i.e. an Alternative Earth - as its setting. By implication, while the countries participating in this project, seen in isolation, can be considered to be Earth countries, the project as a whole constitutes an Alternative Earth. Of course, the former is only possible in cases where individual countries can be seen in isolation, which at the very least requires that they are geographically and historically isolated from each other.