cover image Triumph


Ben Bova. Tor Books, $18.95 (253pp) ISBN 978-0-312-85359-4

The prolific SF author of the Voyagers series suggests what might have happened at the end of WW II if Stalin had died and Roosevelt had lived. In Bova's scenario, Winston Churchill presents Joseph Stalin with a ceremonial sword at the 1943 conference in Tehran. Fearing a Soviet attempt to dominate Europe once Germany is defeated, and loathing Stalin as a dictator worse than Hitler, Churchill slips a piece of plutonium into the sword, dooming Stalin to death by radiation poisoning. Further, FDR has given up smoking, thus preventing the stroke that in reality caused his death toward the end of the war. And so a radically different postwar Europe comes into being. Featuring Eisenhower, Patton and other known figures, and covering the 30 days of April 1945, this tale had potential. Written in functional, mechanical prose and devoid of narrative drive, it seems less a work of fiction than facile historical speculation. (Jan.)