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Eleven original stories about the different paths our world might've taken...
Alternate history explores the many possible directions our world could follow if certain key events didn't occur at all or were changed in some crucial way. Is our Earth the only Earth, our reality the only one that exists? Or are there many parallel worlds and societies, some very similar to ours, some barely recognizable?
Lincoln had never become president, and the Civil War had never taken place?
Columbus never discovered America, and the Inca developed a massive, technologically advanced empire?
Magic was real and a half-faery queen ruled England?
Hitler and Germany won the war because America never got involved?
Many of the world's religions were totally commercialized, their temples run like casinos, religions deisgned purely for profit?
An author discovered a book written by an alternate version of himself?
Robert Charles Wilson — Jeff Vandermeer — Stephen Baxter
Theodora Goss — Lizz Williams — Gene Wolfe
Greg Van Eekhout — Alastair Reynolds — Paul Park
Lucius Shepard — Benjamin Rosenbaum
minnows, black holes, Chomolungma, earth and air and absence, all things, in the same way it enveloped the tea forest, seeming to have created it out of its substance, nurturing it as an oyster does a pearl. And this led me to a supposition that would explain the purpose of my journey: Like pearls, the Cradles were necessary to its health . . . and it may have been that the whole of mankind was necessary to cure it of or protect it from a variety of disorders; but for this particular disorder,
right to play with this doll in this way. You were accused of insensitivity. He argued for malice. Secretly you suspected yourself of an irrepressible caprice, a wild demonic hunger for the world to go bang. Like a beast inside you that was beyond your control. But maybe that was not how it was at all. You know the one you kissed when you shouldn’t have? You had a headache. There was not really time. Also, it was too early, not right. And it ended badly. Did you really want that kiss? What were
like the mathematics teacher at her school, when she had hopelessly muddled a multiplication problem. “Then she would have been killed, just as her mother the queen was killed. Csilla, you must understand that the Inquisition was burning anyone identified as a witch. And the easiest way to be a witch was to be one of the T̈nd’r. We have always been hiding, always fleeing, since the days of the Daughters of the Moon. Your father was working to change that. He was writing a book—” “I know,” said
around I could feel it running down my thigh. It’d be like a reminder of what you felt. Of what I felt.” She looked to Lucy. “You know what I mean? Isn’t it that way for you?” Lucy’s head twitched—it might have been a nod—and she compressed her lips. The college boys stared at me in wonderment. They had, I thought, taken me for a relative or some kind of neutered loser. The taxi girls were transfixed, hanging on Riel’s every word. “It’s because I’m beautiful, I feel that way, I think. Mitch
deliver himself of some bloody, doleful tale, staring into his glass as if relating his wartime experiences to gnats that had drowned in a half-inch of Jim Beam. I think these stories were intended as self-justification, explaining in advance why he was probably going to kick the crap out of me later on, capping off his evening with a spot of exercise; but I heard them not as apology or warnings about the world’s savagery—they had for me the windy lilt of pirate stories, and I loved to hear him