Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Alternate histories of life on earth
My new column is up at Bookslut and this month I review four new alternate history titles. This is one of my favorite genres; I just loved how authors work within the existing framework of history to create fantastic new stories. In Jenny Davidson's The Explosionist, Napoleon won at Waterloo and it is now the late 1930s and none of the allies are shaping up as you would expect (Scotland and England don't get along for starters). Jay Lake has a literal clock work world in Escapement where America is still a colony of Britain which is embroiled in a tense standoff for global conquest with China (oh - and there's a wall around the middle of the planet!). Elizabeth Bear also writes about an America that never became independent in New Amsterdam (that would be Manhattan for you and me). There are also vampires and sorcerers and Nicola Tesla. Lots of political intrigue in that one, with many horrifying twists.
Finally, Mike Resnick has a collection of amazing stories in the The Other Teddy Roosevelts. There's everything here from vampires to big game hunting, alien invasions to Jack the Ripper. This book is wonderful - lots of adventure but also so smart and so carefully crafted around Roosevelt very real, and very awesome, actual life. Get a copy if you can; you won't regret it.