All of us know that where, and who, we are today is in direct correlation to the choices and events of our past yesterdays. Well, what if you changed something in that past? Took a left instead of a right. Stopped for a coffee instead of catching the subway. Didn’t marry that person sitting beside. Or married the one that you let get away?
What about past events on a bigger scale? What if Jonas Salk died of polio, rather than creating the vaccine that stopped it from killing 40% of the global population before the age of 12? What if Pope John Paul I (nee Albino Luciani) endorsed birth control and in vitro fertilization for Catholics prior to his sudden death?
ALT.HISTORY 101 takes us through some scenarios caused by the ripples that could have changed the history we know.
The first story I chose to read in the book was Michelle Browne’s The Factory. Michelle ponders… What if the thirteenth amendment wasn’t passed in 1864, and slavery in the USA continued today, but nowhere else in the world? How would other nations respond to what they viewed as a government oppressing its citizen’s basic human rights? What would life be like in a modern, technologically-advanced world for a slave?
In very few pages, I felt that she created deep, main characters, a solid back story and a conclusion that was satisfying. Although, truth be told, the conclusion just left me hoping she would pen a novella (or full novel!) to share more of the story.
ALT.HISTORY shines a magnifying glass on minor historical events that could have had glaring consequences if they happened even slightly differently, like what if the death penalty was legal, but all means of executing it weren’t? It’s a great collection, and my first collective endeavor with Sam Peralta, of the supremely awesome Future Chronicles anthology series.
In Alt.History 101, thirteen top speculative fiction authors re-imagine the world – as one where the women’s suffragist movement failed to win the right to vote; the death penalty exists but all forms of capital punishment are ruled inhumane; natural conception, gestation and childbirth are illegal – and ten other compelling stories charting the histories of these worlds.
Enter worlds so much like our own – yet so different – where everything you know, is history.