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The Best Alternate History Stories of the 20th Century

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The Best Alternate History Stories of the 20th Century

Explore fascinating, often chilling "what if" accounts of the world that could have existed--and still might yet . . .Science fiction's most illustrious and visionary authors hold forth the ultimate...
Explore fascinating, often chilling "what if" accounts of the world that could have existed--and still might yet . . .Science fiction's most illustrious and visionary authors hold forth the ultimate...
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Description-
  • Explore fascinating, often chilling "what if" accounts of the world that could have existed--and still might yet . . .

    Science fiction's most illustrious and visionary authors hold forth the ultimate alternate history collection. Here you'll experience mind-bending tales that challenge your views of the past, present, and future, including:

    • "The Lucky Strike": When The Lucky Strike is chosen over The Enola Gay to drop the first atomic bomb, fate takes an unexpected turn in Kim Stanley Robinson's gripping tale.
    • "Bring the Jubilee": Ward Moore's novella masterpiece offers a rebel victory at Gettysburg which changes the course of the Civil War . . . and all of American history.
    • "Through Road No Wither": After Hitler's victory in World War II, two Nazi officers confront their destiny in Greg Bear's apocalyptic vision of the future.
    • "All the Myriad Ways": Murder or suicide, Ambrose Harmon's death leads the police down an infinite number of pathways in Larry Niven's brilliant and defining tale of alternatives and consequences.
    • "Mozart in Mirrorshades": Bruce Sterling and Lewis Shiner explore a terrifying era as the future crashes into the past--with disastrous results.
    . . . as well as works by Poul Anderson • Gregory Benford • Jack L. Chalker • Nicholas A. DiChario • Brad Linaweaver • William Sanders • Susan Shwartz • Allen Steele • and Harry Turtledove himself!

    The definitive collection: fourteen seminal alternate history tales drawing readers into a universe of dramatic possibility and endless wonder.

Excerpts-
  • Chapter One THE LUCKY STRIKE
    Kim Stanley Robinson

    War breeds strange pastimes. In July of 1945 on Tinian Island in the North Pacific, Captain Frank January had taken to piling pebble cairns on the crown of Mount Lasso--one pebble for each B-29 takeoff, one cairn for each mission. The largest cairn had four hundred stones in it. It was a mindless pastime, but so was poker. The men of the 509th had played a million hands of poker, sitting in the shade of a palm around an upturned crate sweating in their skivvies, swearing and betting all their pay and cigarettes, playing hand after hand after hand, until the cards got so soft and dog-eared you could have used them for toilet paper. Captain January had gotten sick of it, and after he lit out for the hilltop a few times some of his crewmates started trailing him. When their pilot Jim Fitch joined them it became an official pastime, like throwing flares into the compound or going hunting for stray Japs. What Captain January thought of the development he didn't say. The others grouped near Captain Fitch, who passed around his battered flask. "Hey, January," Fitch called. "Come have a shot."

    January wandered over and took the flask. Fitch laughed at his pebble. "Practicing your bombing up here, eh, Professor?"

    "Yah," January said sullenly. Anyone who read more than the funnies was Professor to Fitch. Thirstily January knocked back some rum. He could drink it any way he pleased up here, out from under the eye of the group psychiatrist. He passed the flask on to Lieutenant Matthews, their navigator.

    "That's why he's the best," Matthews joked. "Always practicing."

    Fitch laughed. "He's best because I make him be best, right, Professor?"

    January frowned. Fitch was a bulky youth, thick-featured, pig-eyed--a thug, in January's opinion. The rest of the crew were all in their mid-twenties like Fitch, and they liked the captain's bossy roughhouse style. January, who was thirty-seven, didn't go for it. He wandered away, back to the cairn he had been building. From Mount Lasso they had an overview of the whole island, from the harbor at Wall Street to the north field in Harlem. January had observed hundreds of B-29s roar off the four parallel runways of the north field and head for Japan. The last quartet of this particular mission buzzed across the width of the island, and January dropped four more pebbles, aiming for crevices in the pile. One of them stuck nicely.

    "There they are!" said Matthews. "They're on the taxiing strip."

    January located the 509th's first plane. Today, the first of August, there was something more interesting to watch than the usual Superfortress parade. Word was out that General Le May wanted to take the 509th's mission away from it. Their commander Colonel Tibbets had gone and bitched to Le May in person, and the general had agreed the mission was theirs, but on one condition: one of the general's men was to make a test flight with the 509th, to make sure they were fit for combat over Japan. The general's man had arrived, and now he was down there in the strike plane, with Tibbets and the whole first team. January sidled back to his mates to view the takeoff with them.

    "Why don't the strike plane have a name, though?" Haddock was saying.

    Fitch said, "Lewis won't give it a name because it's not his plane, and he knows it." The others laughed. Lewis and his crew were naturally unpopular, being Tibbets' favorites.

    "What do you think he'll do to the general's man?" Matthews asked.

    The others laughed at the very idea. "He'll kill an engine at takeoff, I bet you anything," Fitch said. He pointed at the wrecked B-29s that marked the end...
About the Author-
  • Harry Turtledove was born in Los Angeles and earned a Ph.D. in Byzantine history from UCLA. He has published a translation of a ninth-century Byzantine chronicle, as well as several scholarly articles. His alternate history works include many short stories, the Civil War classic The Guns of the South, the epic Great War series set in World War I, and the Worldwar tetralogy which began with Worldwar: In the Balance. He is a winner of the Sidewise Award for Best Alternate History for his novel How Few Remain.
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    Random House Publishing Group
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