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Alternate Tyrants Paperback – 15 Oct 1997

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Tepid tales enlivened by only the occasional gem 9 Mar 2010
By MarkK - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This collection of alternate history stories is the fifth in a series that Mike Resnick edited in the 1990s. As the title suggests, the theme is one of historical tyrants who never existed in the settings the authors envisioned or made choices that led to different developments. Written by a mixture of longtime pros and relative newcomers, the stories range across the span of human history, from ancient Greece to a near-future tale of a King William V who engineers the resumption of power by the British monarchy.

With the exception of Maureen F. McHugh's Hugo Award-winning short story "The Lincoln Train" (which is easily the best story in the book), all of the stories in this collection were original works published for the first time. This helps to explain the main problem with the collection; though the quality varies, nearly all of them feel like little more than a response to an assignment. Only a few such as Jack Haldeman and Barbara Delaplace's "That'll Be The Day" (about a 1960s America in which rock `n' roll stars run the country) or Mark Bourne's "Boss" (in which a chance encounter between Al Capone and a political fixer lead to the gangster becoming President) really rise above this to stand as interesting or imaginative tales in their own right. The rest depend on the awkward premise of the collection for their existence, and often do not reward the time spent to read them, which makes the collection one that only a diehard fan of the alternate history genre will want to read.
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