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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Monday, April 12, 2004

The Best Alternate History Stories of the 20th Century edited by Harry Turtledove with Martin H. Greenberg. New York: Ballantine Pub. Group, 2001. ISBN: 0345439902

This is another collection of those "what if" stories. What if history had gone a different route? What if the South had won the Civil War? What if Nazi Germany had developed the atom bomb before the western allies? What if Islam, not Christianity, had prevailed during the Middle Ages? What if McGovern, not Nixon, had won the election in '72? The list goes on and on. Exploring the ramifications of some of these notions is what this book is all about.

And further, what if ALL of those things happened, only in parallel universes to ours? What if, every time you make a decision, branching universes are created, one in which you make one choice, another in which you made the other. Go ahead, jump off the high bridge or tall building. After all, in another universe, just created, you didn't jump. Read Larry Niven's contribution to this collection, aptly titled "All the Myriad Ways," to explore that concept out to its bitter fruition.

Some of the other story titles are equally compelling: "Dance Band on the Titanic," "Manassas, Again," "Mozart in Mirrorshades," and the list goes on. If this kind of mind-bending adventure is your thing, take a read through this collection. Recommended.

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