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Thursday, 4 March 2004
WORLDS THAT WEREN'T
A collection of four novellas by Harry Turtledove, S. M. Stirling, Mary Gentle, and Walter Jon Williams. The recurring theme is the classic alternative history story. Lately, I've been avoiding Turtledove like the plague, but he really returns to his strengths in his novella THE DAIMON, which is a "what-if" story set in the time period of the Pelopenessian War. The two lead characters are Socraters and Alicbediades, the same lead in TIDES OF WAR by Steven Pressfield. This is the best novella Turtledove has written in a long while. I also recommend Mary Gentle's alt-history version of the Fall of Constantinople (several years later) entitled THE LOGISTICS OF CARTHAGE. This is a story in the same universe as her earlier ASH: A SECRET HISTORY. Probably the best written novella of the bunch. I had given up on S.M. Stirling by the end of the first Draka book (though did try him again in that series he did with Drake sometime later), but found SHIKARI IN GALVESTON to be emminently readable, if not exactly the most skillful plot I've ever read. A good gap-filler, replete with the classic SM Stirling sex scenes. The oddest story might be Williams' THE LAST RIDE OF GERMAN FREDDIE, which places Friedrich Nietzsche at the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Funny, but a trifle forced and artificial. Not as big of a fluff piece as SHIKARI is, but nothing heavy either. As in most collections, you take the bad with the good. The Turtledove and the Gentle piece make this one worth the price of admissions! Walt

Posted by mrnizz at 9:36 AM EST
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