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25 Jun 2005
More What If? - ed.Robert Cowley - Pan 2003
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As its name suggests, this is a book of counterfactual history, in which "eminent historians imagine what might have been". Regular readers of SF and other imaginative fiction are quite used to this concept due to the "alternate world" sub-genre of novels churned out by Harry Turtledove and his ilk. Most of these are not great works of literature (excepting, of course, such masterpieces as Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle), but are mildly interesting for the way that recognisable characters appear in completely different contexts. I thought that this might be a superior version of the same thing, with properly knowledgeable people coming up with plausible scenarios. And indeed it is. There's only one small problem - the whole thing is a completely wasted exercise.
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