Alternate History is a genre that asks the question – what if our history had taken a different track? What if the Nazis had won WW II? What if the South had won the Civil War? Harry Turtledove is the Grand Master of this type of science fiction/fantasy and this collection of stories is proof of his skill. What if Atlantis was a real place with exotic animals found nowhere else and John Jacob Audubon went to sketch and paint them before they went extinct? What if Roosevelt had the tabloid press of today at the beginning of WWII? What if Holden Caulfield stepped into the middle of German Mythology while on a European tour? What if Goliath killed David? What if the Kaiser drove the English out of France, won the Great War and a lowly Sgt. Hitler was sent to France to hunt spies and terrorists. My favorite story was also one of the shortest: Who is Stealing the Great Throne Rooms of the Galaxy, but I’m a sucker for puns and this story is full of them.
Some of these stories compelled me to check out the actual history, so I could appreciate the difference, i.e. Alcibiades and the battle between the Athenians and Spartans. In Turtledove’s story, Daemon, the presence of Socrates certainly changes the outcome of not only the battle, but probably Western Civilization as we know it. While all the stories may not be to your taste, most will entertain.
I listened to the audiobook which was 14.5 hours on 2 MP3-CDs. Todd McLaren was the narrator and did a more than adequate job, while not up to the talents of Jim Dale, of Harry Potter audiobook fame. We also have the normal print version and an Ebook version.