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The Best Alternate History Stories of the 20th Century; Linaweaver,… (edition 2001)

by Bear ed. Harry Turtledove; Poul Anderson, Gregory Benford, J. L. Chalker, N. A. DiChario,, Martin Harry Greenberg

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388727,669 (3.42)5
Member:vegaheim
Title:The Best Alternate History Stories of the 20th Century; Linaweaver, W.Moore,
Authors:Bear ed. Harry Turtledove; Poul Anderson, Gregory Benford, J. L. Chalker, N. A. DiChario,
Other authors:Martin Harry Greenberg
Info:Del Rey (2001), Edition: 1st, Paperback, 432 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:fiction, fantasy, anthology, alternate history

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The Best Alternate History Stories of the 20th Century by Martin Harry Greenberg

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
A very enlightening and entertaining group of tales. This prompted me to investigate some areas of history, as I found I was so unfamiliar with the period in question that I was unable to pinpoint how the story differed from reality. A couple, particularly one set in the future, I question their categorization as an 'alternate history' tale.
Are they the "best"? I'm not sure.
Appreciated the inclusion of author bios with the entry. Some either omit these entirely or stick them all at the end.
  EmScape | Jun 11, 2014 |
Harry Turtledove introduced me to the whole alternate history genre way back in the early nineties with The Guns of the South, his brilliant take on the American Civil War. Turtledove is all over the alternate history map with books that even include aliens invading Earth during WWII, and the like, but my other favorite of his, Ruled Britannia, sees William Shakespeare using his writing skills to motivate the populace to overthrow their Spanish oppressors. It is only fitting then that Mr. Turtledove is the editor of this collection of some of the alternate history stories considered to be the best ones written last century.

The Best Alternate History Stories of the 20th Century includes fourteen stories (one of which is 100 pages long) that offer “what if” re-imaginings of everything from the dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan, to George McGovern’s Vietnam-era election victory over Richard Nixon, to Shakespeare lost in the New World and living with an Indian tribe, and on to more commonly-themed tales involving a German victory in World War II and a Southern one in the Civil War.

The longest, and oldest, of the stories (“Bring the Jubilee”) dates to 1952 and the most recent (this collection was published in 2001) was written in 2000 – with the majority of the tales having been first published in the eighties and nineties. Some of the more recognizable author names are: Harry Turtledove, Kim Stanley Robinson, Larry Niven, Greg Bear, Poul Anderson, and Ward Moore.

My personal favorite is one of the more oddball ones in the collection, a story by Nicholas A. DiChario called “The Winterberry,” in which John F. Kennedy survives the head-wounds he suffered in Dallas on November 22, 1963. It is a touching tale of innocence, family love and loyalty, and overwhelming sadness. Even if you never read another alternate history story, I think the ones like this one – the non-military themed ones – will appeal to most any reader. And, who knows? You just might find yourself intrigued enough to read others in this fun genre.

Rated at: 3.0 ( )
  SamSattler | Jan 13, 2013 |
Group M1
  gilsbooks | May 20, 2011 |
A mixed bag as other reviews have said. I was surprised that a few of the stories had only a very tenous link to alternative history and one or two no connection at all that I could see.

Still, some good reads. [Come the Jubilee] by Ward Moore was the best in my opinion. A novella that is set in an America where the south has won the civil war (I know, been done before, but Ward Moore did it in 1952, so it's probably one of the first) and the north is an impovrished, second-rate country. The protagonist is a historian who meets up with a woman working on a time travel machine. ( )
  CharlesBoyd | Nov 6, 2010 |
This is a mixed bag of quality, as books like this usually are, but it's worth reading just for Kim Stanley Robinson's brilliant short story, 'The Lucky Strike.' ( )
  wanack | Mar 26, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Martin Harry Greenbergprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Turtledove, Harry, editormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Anderson, Poulsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bear, Gregsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Benford, Gregorysecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chalker, Jack L.secondary authorall editionsconfirmed
DiChario, Nicholas A.secondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Greenber, Martin H.Editorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Harry TurtledoveEditorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Linaweaver, BradContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tutledove, HarryIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Crawford, CathyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345439902, Paperback)

What if? Harry Turtledove, renowned alt-historian and the editor of this anthology, calls that question "those two mournful little words." But little though they might be, they inspired some of the previous century's most brilliant speculative fiction, including the 14 short stories collected here.

And with contributors like Poul Anderson, Greg Bear, Gregory Benford, Larry Niven, Kim Stanley Robinson, Bruce Sterling, and Turtledove himself, there's truly not a clunker in the bunch. All of these stories revolve around Turtledove's central beard-tugging question, but they vary wildly in style, mood, and approach. Many toy with how the future might be altered had some particular event turned out differently (what if the Confederates had won at Gettysburg, or the Enola Gay had crashed before making its fateful flight?), while others follow dimension-hoppers traveling through tangled branches of our timeline (as in Sterling's "Mozart in Mirrorshades," Anderson's "Eutopia," and Jack L. Chalker's surreal ferry ride through "Dance Band on the Titanic").

All but four of these stories were written in the last two decades of the century--before then, Turtledove suggests in part, we weren't scientifically certain about whether Martians and "oceans on Venus full of reptilian monsters" might exist, so we were satisfied by more conventional, planet-faring SF. But the ideas that the contributors wrestle with here, and that irresistible human urge to speculate about the implications of our actions (and whether our decisions matter at all), prove timeless. --Paul Hughes

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:04:54 -0400)

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YA fantasy. Superb anthology.

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