Alt. History 102 (The Future Chronicles) by various authors #TuesdayBookBlog #bookreview

Alt. History repeats itself… From the creator of the #1 bestselling Future Chronicles anthology series comes a 28809351collection that turns the world you know upside down.

In Alt. History 102 – the follow-up to the bestselling Alt. History 101 – twelve top speculative fiction authors re-imagine the world – as one where a beautiful actress becomes a spy for the Allied forces, as one where the Internet is tightly held only by an elite few, as one where the Native American population is resistant to European diseases – and nine other compelling stories charting the histories of our world.

Enter worlds so much like our own, yet so different – where everything you know… is history. – Goodreads.com

The concept of alternate history is fascinating when you think about it.  But setting history aside for a moment – just the fact that so many things could have changed on a personal level if you’d answered the phone, gone left instead of right, left 5 minutes earlier, agreed to go out on that first date, majored in something different – a person could spends countless hours just thinking about it.  But with history – there are endless possibilities and directions these authors could have taken – and it’s a fascinating collection of stories.  All of them will get your mind churning, thinking about what if?  A few that stuck with me are:

The Blackbird Sings by Therin Knite – This story gives us a glimpse into what could have happened if the Cold War had ended differently.  Knite always creates some powerful, kick-ass female characters and Kara is no exception.  With cybernetically enhanced agents chasing an assassin, The Blackbird Sings moves along at a brisk pace and comes to a rewarding conclusion.

The Tesla Gate by Drew Avera – Nikola Tesla is attempting to build the Tesla Gate that will traverse time and space, but he stands to lose a part of himself.  I’ve always been intrigued by anything having to do with Tesla and Samuel Clemens being in this story was just a bonus.  I enjoyed the dialogue between Tesla and his other personality and would like to see this story continue.

The Black Network by Adam Venezia – In this story, computers exist, but only a select group are given the means to access information – something that’s just downright scary to me.  This was an admirable portrayal of how far some people will go to gain information and better their lives.

Requiem by Will Swardstrom – What if Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Marie Antoinette had fallen in love as children, that love carried into adulthood, and Mozart attempted to save the French queen?  Excellent writing and an engrossing, bittersweet story.

With such a variety of imaginative, thought-provoking stories, there’s something here for everyone.

I received a copy of this book from one of the authors in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

Crime and Punishment: A Speculative Fiction Anthology #bookreviews @MikeH5856

There will always be crime. 51Qi9jSRpqL._SX310_BO1,204,203,200_

There will always be those who covet what others possess, or who are driven to acts of violence through rage or cynical design. And there will always be those who seek justice for those crimes. Yet justice is in the eye of the beholder, and rarely does it come easy.

A bounty hunter, whose own freedom depends on him finding those who must have theirs taken away, never asks why. Or what will happen to those he captures. But when he is sent back to his home planet to hunt a child and her family, he must confront the horror of his past and question whether he can ever truly be free.

A woman holds a gun to a man’s head, getting ready to pull the trigger. But her story doesn’t start there. It starts way back when she was a kid, in outback Australia. It starts when the government began to put bombs in people’s heads. When they started toying with probability-based punishment. Now, when she pulls that trigger, she doesn’t know if he’ll live or die. Or live and die.

In the near future, where the internet has evolved into the Mind, and become so complex that content is served preprocessed and digested by personal assistant AIs, independent thought is a thing of the past, a crime even. When insurgents appear, persuading people to see the truth, a police captain begins to question where her allegiance truly lies.

A young woman who has lost everything but her soul fights to reclaim her life from a violent, sadistic criminal. But when she’s given a chance for freedom, she realises escape is not enough. First, a just punishment must be exacted for crimes committed.

Eight stories that push the boundaries of what justice the future holds by some of the most exciting new speculative fiction authors writing today. – Goodreads.com

What a dark, thought-provoking read – and I enjoyed every minute of it.  Several of these authors I’ve read before, a few were new to me, but even though the theme was the same, all the stories were diverse and compelling.  Those that impacted me most were:

Atonement by Lucas Bale:  As someone who buys his freedom by being a bounty hunter, Lahm faces some hard realities and attempts to rectify actions in his past.

Bang Bang by S. Elliot Brandis:  Given the current political climate in this country, this story is arguably a horrifying, ominous glimpse of the future rather than speculative fiction – a chilling, provocative read.

The Marque by Michael Patrick Hicks:  Sometimes we make choices based on survival, but we then must live with the consequences of those choices.  In this story, Darrel Fines must determine the type of man he really is.

Don’t skip the foreword by Samuel Peralta – a very apt description of karma.

I received a digital copy of this book from one of the authors in exchange for an honest review.