, . . DAW, $7.99 (308pp) ISBN 978-0-7564-0546-5
The well-known authors in this wide-ranging alternate history anthology strike out in welcome new directions, often focusing on obscure events or people. The musician Ralph Vaughan Williams appears as an aging ambulance driver amid an extended Great War in Alistair Reynolds's “The Receivers,” while an astronomical phenomenon leads the conquering Inca to become the world's dominant power in Stephen Baxter's “The Unblinking Eye.” Those taking on more recognizable themes—like a magical race's diaspora in Theodora Goss's “Csilla's Story,” or an America that never suffered a civil war in “This Peaceable Land; or, the Unbearable Vision of Harriet Beecher Stowe” by Robert Charles Wilson—reveal their twists' horror and grit without being gratuitous. The well-realized narratives and gripping details make each tale a good introduction for any reader new to alternate history.
Reviewed on: 02/23/2009