The Best Alternate History Stories of the 20th Century ed by Harry Turtledove with Martin H. Greenberg.
Ballantine Publishing Company/Random House: NY, 2001.

I so far haven't branched too far into reading adult alternate history. Since this is titled "Best of," I thought I'd give it a try. Many of the adult alternate history books are heavily sci fi (space oriented), which I'm not really interested in. I prefer the history based stories. This book has some of both. Overall I am excited about the book. There was only 1 story I wasn't interested in reading, and a few make the book definitely worth reading.

The book starts with a reworking of the dropping of the atomic bomb which I love, The Lucky Strike by Kim Stanley Robinson. If you are going to die for principles, then the protagonist has got it right. Next, The Winterberry by Nicholas A. DiChario envisions John F. Kennedy's life if he had survived the assassination attempt. A little depressing, but a good case of extrapolation. In Islands in the Sea by Harry Turtledove, emissaries (one Christian and one Muslim) curry the favor of a Bulgarian khan and debate religion for him. Then, they await the decision he makes for his people. The fate of the world hinges on his choice. Susan Shwartz's Suppose They Gave a Peace describes a family that traditionally watches election results together, this time during the Vietnam War. A father mulls the folly of his daughter's behavior, but then changes his mind after hearing of his son's military death and marriage. Gene Trimble in Larry Niven's All the Myriad Ways contemplates the rash of recent suicides and wonders if time travel trade is responsible. If endless results are caused by endless branching universes, then the consequences are less dramatic. Does this matter, or not? Through Road No Whither by Greg Bear portrays a modern German war in which two couriers are lost as they try to deliver orders. They come upon an old woman in a hut that refuses to guide them due to their motives. After a century of no war, humans wage war against rogue mechs that used to serve them in Manassas, Again by Gregory Benford. In Dance Band on the Titanic by Jack L. Chalker, a ferry's route corresponds to several routes on other timelines resulting in countless changes in destinations and passengers. After seeing repetitions, a new employee interferes, with the hope of saving a life. Bring the Jubilee by Ward Moore takes place in a United States defeated by the Confederate States. Hodgins learns through self-study at his benefactor's book store. When he is ready to move on, he joins a community dedicated to scholarship and discovery. His forte is historical research, and he assists a colleague with her time travel experimentation. Iason is a time traveler, in Eutopia by Paul Anderson, researching alternate histories, their cultures and governments. His briefing pre-travel is faulty, and he unknowingly commits a faux pas and must be extricated from the current project. The Undiscovered by William Sanders may be my favorite story in the book. An Eastern American tribe captures a scrawny white man who has unexpected depths. The tribe has an expert in languages who is given a chance to communicate with the man. He is embraced by the tribe after fiercely defending their camp and showing himself to be an exceptional entertainer. Mozart in Mirroshades by Bruce Sterling and Lewis Shiner is a little strange. Increased trade is enabled by time travel, with a consequence of future knowledge and technology being transferred to the past. In some cases, the travelers use their future knowledge for their own motives, including fraternizing with historical personalities. And those people use the knowledge to escape their destinies. Some even manipulate their way onto flights to the future. The Death of Captain Future by Allen Steele is my least favorite. A grunt worker accepts a job on a shuttle to migrate cross space. He thinks the captain is nuts. The ship goes to the aid of a freighter, with even worse conditions. Last, but not least, is Moon of Ice by Brad Linaweaver, in which the Nazis have won, and propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels reminisces about Hitler, ideology, and the relaxing of restrictions after the war. Goebbels has two politically active children. One in the new SS controlled country of Burgundy, and one fighting for the German Freedom League against the agenda of her father.

RL=YA-adult, adult book

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