Making History: Classic Alternate History Stories

Making History: Classic Alternate History Stories

Posted by jack_miller | Published 7 months ago

With 20 ratings

By: Rick Wilber

Purchased At: $9

A dazzling display of history as it might have been, this impressive array of award-winning writers explores the histories that never were, from Ancient Rome to Imperial China and much more. The book features classic reprints of alternate-history stories by Karen Joy Fowler, Kathleen Goonan, Gregory Benford, Nisi Shawl, Harry Turtledove, Michael Bishop, Lisa Goldstein, Alan Smale, Louise Marley, Maureen McHugh, Michaela Roessner, Rich Larson, Sheila Finch, Ben Loory, Walter Jon Williams, Nicholas DiChario, Michael Swanwick and Eileen Gunn, and editor Rick Wilber.

Contents
Introduction by Rick Wilber
"Game Night at the Fox and Goose," by Karen Joy Fowler
"The Lincoln Train," by Maureen McHugh
"Zeppelin City," by Michael Swanwick and Eileen Gunn
"Manassas, Again," by Gregory Benford
"Kamehameha's Bones," by Kathleen Goonan
"P Dolce," by Louise Marley
"A Clash of Eagles," by Alan Smale
"The House That George Built," by Harry Turtledove
"Something Real," by Rick Wilber
"Vulcanization," by Nisi Shawl
"James K. Polk," by Ben Loory
"Foreign Devils," by Walter Jon Williams
"Every So Often" by Rich Larson
"It's a Wonderful Life," by Michaela Roessner
"The Winterberry," by Nicholas DiChario
"Miriam," by Michael Bishop
"If There be Cause," by Sheila Finch
"Paradise is a Walled Garden," by Lisa Goldstein
I really enjoyed this collection of famous alternate-history stories. I hadn’t read any of these before, since I’m not much of a science-fiction reader and am more of a reader of quirky mysteries by writers like Sue Grafton. But I thought I’d give this a try and I’m glad I did, since I immediately found out that “quirky” histories are just as much fun as quirky mysteries. I admit that I’d thought of alternate history as just retelling of Civil War or World War II stories, but it turns out that isn’t the case at all. There are a few of those in here and they’re interesting and well-told. But mostly this is a wide-ranging collection of fictional histories from all over the place, including Roman soldiers in the American Midwest, a California that wasn’t colonized by the Spanish, a really crazy steampunk city, a time-travel piece involving classical music, a War of the Worlds story set in China, a very different version of Babe Ruth, a twisty ending to a feminist alternate reality, and a whole lot more. There are a lot of women writers, which I liked, and most of the stories were award-winners, which I liked, too. So I’ll give this a strong recommendation. It’s an excellent collection of histories that might have been.

- Anonymous

Any reader who loves alternate history - and I do - will love this book, a collection of some of the best stories by many of the genre’s most acclaimed authors.

My favorite story in the book (and, in my opinion, the one that tugs most at your heartstrings) asks what would have happened if John F. Kennedy had his gunshot wounds.

Another story turns the tables on the brutal Leopold II of Belgium, as he becomes a victim of the torture he inflicted on millions of Congolese people, including children.

But all the stories here are strong, and the book is hard to put down. I started reading the book on a Friday and finished it Sunday night. Highly recommended.

- Anonymous

I enjoyed the stories, and the alluring creativity that brings the reader into the heart of each one. I found that I really like the short story format, and how each present an in-depth, attention capturing tale of its own. Compiling them as an anthology gives welcome exposure to the authors, but particularly to readers. Thought provoking, the stories are hard to put down. Alternate History may be an understated way of fueling the imagination with fun tales that lead one tightly down a path of 'what if...' ...what different turns impact on the outcome of discovery, reaching the pinnacle of achievement and performance. How different our world could be. ...and how fun it is being taken down that path as it unfolds, counter-factually.

Rick Wilber's filtering, selection and variety of worthy, award winning samples is a great approach, with his introductions being additionally special, alluring appetizers for each. What a great way for stirring desire to read more!

Thank you, Rick, for doing what you do so well.

...ancient Romans crossing North America... ...civil war life... ...JFK not actually being dead and buried...
...China... ...time travel... ...turning the tables on a brutal dictator... ...Babe Ruth...

...Counterfactual History is clearly it's own category under science fiction, worthy of classification and readership appeal all of its own.

- Anonymous

I will admit upfront that I have not read much of this book. I've read the first two stories and think they were both a huge disappointment. Neither story seemed to have much of a plot. They both had a flat ending that made me feel my time was completely wasted. I have started the third story and it doesn't seem to be any better than the first two. I was very excited by the genre of this book and couldn't wait to read each tale. Now, I am not sure I will even finish the third one, let alone the remainder of them. Maybe I'll give it another shot at some point in the future. There's always a chance that there is one good story buried among all the reeking dung heap of the others. I just hope it's good enough to be worth it.

- Anonymous

Alternate history revolves on the premise that somewhere in the past something happened differently - a war was won by the other side, an empire did not fall, a discovery didn't happen or happened sooner. This is a collection of short stories that explores this premise. Fans of this subgenera or those new to it would enjoy this book, perhaps finding authors to pursue further.

- Anonymous

While there are several stories in this book that could be considered to "alternative history" there are also several that have no connection with history as we know it. A couple of alternative stories left me thinking, "where in the heck did they pull that idea out of?" They were quite far fetched and really not possible given the "change" in history.

- Anonymous

I read the first three stories in this collection and all were okay, but not outstanding. I'm not sure it's worth my time to read the rest. Only one of the three was clearly alternate-earth history.

- Anonymous

I enjoyed the variety of stories that were included in this anthology. Once I started reading it was hard to put it down.

- Anonymous

I recommend this book to anyone...all of the stories are well written, engaging, and just as importantly, very thought provoking. I will be rereading this book, from start to finish for the sheer pleasure of it.

- Anonymous

This is a collection that has something for everyone. It is thoughtfully chosen in this regard.

I would certainly pick up another Anthology by this author.

- Anonymous

some of the scenarios are almost scary but nothing will compare to the distopian state Canada will be in four years

- Anonymous

Did not know enough about some of the historical events to appreciate the stories.

- Anonymous

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