As a student of history, I’ve always been fascinated with great moments in time. Of course we can’t change what happened but there’s an entire branch of fiction dedicated to exploring the “what if’s” of history. Alternative history as a genre is often difficult to define and even harder to write.
“Tales From Alternate Earths,” the latest anthology from Inklings Press, presents eight tales of wonder and “what if’s” that reach back to ancient Romans (and earlier) to events not far removed from our present. And the collection they’ve assembled does alternative history right.
The collection starts with a fascinating tale from Jessica Holmes rewriting the events of Sept. 26th, 1983 when the Soviet early warning nuclear detection system incorrectly alerted that the US fired intercontinental ballistic missiles. She reimagines the events as if the Soviets believed the alert and the consequences of that action.
Author Terri Pray follows with a detailed account of the last days of Julius Caesar, but not as we know it. It was so well written I forgot entirely about Caesar’s true demise and found myself buying in to her retelling.
From there the collection reimagines Earth as ruled by dinosaurs from the imaginative story “Twilight of the Mesozoic Moon” from Brent Harris and Ricardo Victoria.
Nuclear war and the rise of JFK to presumed world leader in the story “One World” by Cathbad Maponus is an intriguing take on a very well known figure.
Rob Edwards takes a real event, the meteorite that struck a remote Russian forest, and places it in another setting in urban London in his tale “Stargazing on Oxford Street.”
“The Secret War” by Leo McBride is an excellent tale of what truly inspired H.G. Wells. The tone and feel of this story easily one of my favorites in the collection.
Daniel Bensen’s “Treasure Fleet” tells the tale of a Chinese empire that’s converted to Islam and discovers the New World. Though well written and highly unique, I couldn’t quite get into the story as much as the others.
The collection ends with another of my favorites, “Tunguska, 1987” by Maria Haskins. This time traveling tale grabbed me from the first line and didn’t let go till the end.
As the fourth offering of short stories from Inklings press, I found this anthology to be imaginative and original. This was the first time Inklings Press opened the doors to out-of-house authors and it was a welcome addition to an already strong field of writers.
If you like to guess the course of history and how things could be different if only one thing were changed, this collection is for you. I can’t recommend this enough. Even if you aren’t a student of history, pick the anthology up. The writing is so strong and convincing you’ll not be disappointed.
You can get the anthology from Amazon.