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Book Title: Worlds that Weren't|
The author of the book: Harry Turtledove
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 388 KB
Date of issue: July 5th 2005
ISBN 13: 9780451460547
Read full description of the books Worlds that Weren't:Worlds That Weren't is a collection of four alternate history stories, each written by a different author known in part for their own work in the genre. Each story diverges from history as we know it at a different point, with some going much further than others. The stories by S.M. Stirling and Mary Gentle are related to novels they previously published. One interesting feature of this collection is that each author includes a short essay/epilogue/afterward discussing the turning point in history which was changed for the sake of their story.
Harry Turtledove starts off the collection with a story that begins with a feel very close to an attempt at one of Plato's works, with Socrates (or Sokrates in this case) in a central role. Fairly quickly, though, anyone who has read anything else by the author will recognize his voice forcing its way into the foreground. While the story can remain entertaining, it takes some effort to make it so. The high point of his writing is in the history and research, which shows in his explanation of the differences between his story and history, as well as the opening of the story itself.
S.M. Stirling takes up the reigns with a story based in a world which exists a few generations after its history has diverged from our own. This world is post-apocalypse, in the form of a natural disaster which strikes near the prime of the British Empire. He explains that the purpose of the setting was to bring back some of the feeling of adventure novels often set (or written) in the time period in which his world's history nearly comes to an end. In many ways he is successful at doing just that, and this one is definitely worth a read.
Mary Gentle brings a story which plays to the idea that history is not quite what we normally think it is. It has been said that the winner writes history, and that the word itself is derived from his story. As she explains, history takes the evidence at hand and makes it fit to the stories we have decided to tell. The history here is still divergent from our own, but this story specifically focuses more on the events and points of fact which might fall through the cracks and be left untold in history. Overall, the concept is interesting, and the story is entertaining, but at times it feels unfinished. The gaps in the story are nearly as big as the gaps in history through which it may have fallen.
Finally, we come to the story by Walter Jon Williams. This one takes personalities which are well known by most, but often not as well known in their true form. Specifically, he decides to take a look at what may have happened if Friedrich Nietzsche had chosen to retire to the American West instead of traveling Europe in search of a locale better suited to his failing health. Of course, there are few better places for historical fiction (or alternate history, in this case) at this particular time (the late 1800s) than Tombstone, AZ, where "German Freddie" comes toe-to-toe with Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp. While giving us an alternate-history take on a classic western, it also reminds us that most of the popular history of the American West is as much (or more) alternate history as anything written here, and the same goes for Nietzsche. While not the best story in this collection, in my opinion, it does have its moments, and often feels like the story in which the author had the most fun bringing his characters to life.
Overall, I think this collection is very much worth reading, and it has introduced me to a couple more authors which may not have come my way for a while otherwise.
Read information about the authorDr Harry Norman Turtledove is an American novelist, who has produced a sizeable number of works in several genres including alternate history, historical fiction, fantasy and science fiction.
Harry Turtledove attended UCLA, where he received a Ph.D. in Byzantine history in 1977.
Turtledove has been dubbed "The Master of Alternate History". Within this genre he is known both for creating original scenarios: such as survival of the Byzantine Empire; an alien invasion in the middle of the World War II; and for giving a fresh and original treatment to themes previously dealt with by other authors, such as the victory of the South in the American Civil War; and of Nazi Germany in the Second World War.
His novels have been credited with bringing alternate history into the mainstream. His style of alternate history has a strong military theme.
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