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What Might Have Been, Volumes 1 & 2: Alternate Empires, Alternate Heroes (1989)

by Gregory Benford (Editor), Martin H. Greenberg (Editor)

Other authors: Poul Anderson (Contributor), Michael Cassutt (Contributor), Paul Di Filippo (Contributor), George Alec Effinger (Contributor), Sheila Finch (Contributor)18 more, Karen Joy Fowler (Contributor), Harry Harrison (Contributor), James P. Hogan (Contributor), Marc Laidlaw (Contributor), Barry N. Malzberg (Contributor), Pat Morrissey (Cover artist), James Morrow (Contributor), Larry Niven (Contributor), Frederik Pohl (Contributor), Kim Stanley Robinson (Contributor), Rudy Rucker (Contributor), Tom Shippey (Contributor), Susan Shwartz (Contributor), Robert Silverberg (Contributor), Judith Tarr (Contributor), Harry Turtledove (Contributor), Walter Jon Williams (Contributor), George Zebrowski (Contributor)

Series: What Might Have Been (1,2)

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1812148,522 (3.86)3

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There are some fantastic stories in this collection--my favorite is actually the very last one included, "No Spot of Ground" by Walter Jon Williams, which takes a look at what life Poe might have lived if he hadn't died in Baltimore when he did, and the view Williams has of him 20 years later is fantastic. And with a book full of other great authors--such Robert Silverberg, Harry Turtledove, Poul Anderson, and Larry Niven, to name only a few--I think any fan of science fiction is bound to find some stories to fall in love with here. This was something of an introduction to alternate history for me, as I've only read a few books in this subgenre in the past, but it was a fascinating journey. In some cases, I think I would have gotten quite a bit more out of the stories if I'd been more familiar with the history they were playing off of, but I suppose that would be true for anyone diving into this genre (and it's also true that I'm not the history buff many readers are, which may have put me behind to begin with). Still, I'd absolutely recommend this collection to anyone interested, and there are a few stories here which I'll no doubt come back to and re-read. The collection is incredibly varied, too, so don't let the page count scare you off! ( )
  whitewavedarling | Dec 17, 2019 |
Excellent book that I bought, read, did not understand, and read again.

The re-telling of history is fascinating in this volume of short stories. Many things are covered: an alternate Confederacy allows women to become doctors, but only doctors. Lawrence of Arabia is really in hiding, not dead (yet!) and helps the Allies during the North African campaigns of the Second World War. Most touching and heart-wrenching is that two extra helicopters go to help rescue the hostages from Iraq; because of this decision, the hostages are rescued, Carter is re-elected, and someone is in a crucial spot at a crucial time during December, 1980.

While history changes on pivotal points, and almost too quickly sometimes to catch these pivotal points, this is a fascinating look at what "might" have been. ( )
  threadnsong | Jun 18, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Benford, GregoryEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Greenberg, Martin H.Editormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Anderson, PoulContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cassutt, MichaelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Di Filippo, PaulContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Effinger, George AlecContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Finch, SheilaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fowler, Karen JoyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Harrison, HarryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hogan, James P.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Laidlaw, MarcContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Malzberg, Barry N.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Morrissey, PatCover artistsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Morrow, JamesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Niven, LarryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pohl, FrederikContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Robinson, Kim StanleyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rucker, RudyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Shippey, TomContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Shwartz, SusanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Silverberg, RobertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tarr, JudithContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Turtledove, HarryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Williams, Walter JonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Zebrowski, GeorgeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed

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