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The Mammoth Book of Alternate Histories (Mammoth Books) by [Watson, Ian, Ian Whates]
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The Mammoth Book of Alternate Histories (Mammoth Books) Kindle Edition

3.5 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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Length: 610 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product description

Review

Mr Watson wreaks havoc with what is accepted - and acceptable. (The Times)

One of Britain's consistently finest science fiction writers. (New Scientist)

Book Description

Over 40 fascinating stories of worlds that might have been

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1470 KB
  • Print Length: 610 pages
  • Publisher: Robinson (25 Feb. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003BFXASK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #191,765 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer reviews

Top customer reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is indeed a pretty mammoth collection of alternate histories. 20 stories, (3 of which are new to the collection), all of which are alternate histories. This is done in different ways - some are far into the future long after some diversion from our established history takes place, and some take place around what the author imagines to be a crux in history.

The quality is pretty high throughout (take a look at the list of authors to see that) and there was little in here that I personally disliked (though, of course you may not like as much as I did). In fact, even authors that I've never really fancied the idea of (Harry Turtledove, for one) have some enjoyable stories in this.

Given the number of stories, it's hard to provide comprehensive reviews of each (also, probably best to avoid spoilers!) suffice to say at the price, you can't really fault this. It's not perfect by any means, but there was little that I really hated, so give it a go!

James Morrow - THE RAFT OF THE TITANIC [New to the collection]: Everyone is evacuated from the Titanic in an audacious rescue attempt, but no-one is discovered. Set against the backdrop of what happened over the next few years. Good fun.

Ken MacLeod - SIDEWINDERS [New to the Collection]: Alternate history and the multiverse - features a chap that is able to jump between differing histories. Excellent stuff.

Eugene Byrne & Kim Newman - THE WANDERING CHRISTIAN: Christianity never quite gets the hold that it did. Basically a history of what happened over the preceding hundreds of years.

Suzette Hayden Elgin - HUSH MY MOUTH: Short story showing a different outcome from the American Civil war (and that doesn't mean a conventional "the south won" story). Good stuff.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
did not read much of this,found it heavy going
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A2
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Not as interesting as I had hoped but well worth the minimal amount I paid for it
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great stuff brilliant service
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Format: Paperback
This is the second "Mammoth" collection I've read, and they've made me much more positive about anthologies in general. This particular set of stories includes some impressive names and even more impressive tales. I enjoyed almost every story in here. One or two were a little bit off, but most hit the five star rating with space to spare, which is way above the majority of anthologies that I've come across.

Alternate History stories often tend to fall into the same broad strokes, and indeed you'll find several long lived Roman Empires, histories where different religions gain ascendancy in different parts of the world and of course a couple of visions of how Hitler could have elsewise spent his time.

I don't really want to do a synopsis for each story as some of them are difficult to introduce without being either so bland that several of them sound the same, or going into too much detail and giving away the entire story. That said, a few hightlights of this collection for me were;
A Very British History by Paul McAuley - A look back at a very different space race.
The Lucky Strike by Kim Stanley Robinson - The most thought provoking story, about a different plane being assigned the Hiroshima bombing run, and the comparrison to a firing squad at the end is particularly striking.
and Darwin Anathema by Stephen Baxter - In 2009 a much more powerful Catholic Church puts the bones of Charles Darwin on trial for heresy.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This collection contains one extremely good story and a handful of readable ones, but I found most of them weak. Also I must say that I was surprised how many of stories are deep fried in anti-Christian bigotry and sometimes also a virulent strain of anti-white RACISM. Some of them really shocked me. Below you will find some information about all the stories, with as little spoilers as possible:

THE RAFT OF THE TITANIC by James Morrow. The best story in the collection and an absolute treasure! Vaguely inspired by the famous painting "The raft of La Meduse" and enriched by citations from Coleridge's poem "The rime of ancient mariner", wickedly twisted and full of wit, this is a marvel, which could proudly figure in any collection of main stream literature short stories. I never read anything by James Morrow before, but after swallowing this story I am going to remedy to it very fast.

THE SIDEWINDERS by Ken MacLeod. A honest story about infinite parallel worlds, attempting to launch a debate between progress/intervention and conservatism/isolation and with some funny moments happening in a parallel UK, governed by a kind of super-leftist Labour Party. Good read but definitely not a master piece.

THE WANDERING CHRISTIAN by Eugene Byrne and Kim Newman. This story will be almost certainly incredibly offensive to any believing Christian, but will probably delight all Christian-haters. It is well written, I must give the authors that, but I was deeply offended by their these that Christianity triumphed in Europe only because of ONE "lucky break" and that if that did not happen, it would fatally decline and ultimately vanish, when in the same time ALL other religions would prosper and progress.
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