From Publishers Weekly
Alternate historian extraordinaire Turtledove (Hitler's War) explores a dozen different "what if?" scenarios in this reprint collection. These stories, some dead serious and some absurdly improbable, demonstrate his ability to slip, chameleonlike, from one mode to the next. An aging John Audubon searches for rare birds in "Audubon in Atlantis," and Hitler's life takes a very different turn in the epistolary "Uncle Alf." "The Catcher in the Rhine" adeptly blends an American classic and a Wagnerian opera. Perhaps the most outrageous is "Bedfellows," featuring George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden. Turtledove also takes a few potshots at the modern media in "News from the Front." Helpful forewords explain the inspiration for, or divergence point of, each story. Whether he's going for humor or pathos, action or social commentary, Turtledove's research is always solid, his speculation thoughtful, and his execution professional. (Dec.)
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Turtledove has long been established at the head of the alternate-history field. This short-story collection suggests that he can also thrust his tongue farther into his cheek than most authors can dream of. The first and last stories are laid in his new creation, the mid-Atlantic subcontinent of Atlantis. In one, John James Audubon sets out to capture on canvas the fast-disappearing birdlife; in the other, an eminent London detective and his doctor partner tackle the mystery of the Scarlet Band. In “Daimon,” the Greek general Alkibiades rises to the level of Alexander the Great, with unfortunate results for Socrates. “The Horse of Bronze” is a wild romp through classical Greece, while “Occupation Duty” explores another possible conqueror for Southwest Asia. “The Catcher in the Rhine” is a send-up that a certain cult novel has long deserved, while “News from the Front” savagely juxtaposes modern mediaocracy with WWII. And let’s not forget “Uncle Alf,” wholly spent inside the mind of an alternate Adolf Hitler (the Germans won WWI), and just plain scary. High Demand Backstory: Publisher promotion, plus his recognizable name, equals buzz. --Roland Green