Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

May Books 7) Alternate Generals

7) Alternate Generals, ed. Harry Turtledove (with editorial assistance from Roland Green, and Martin H. Greenberg getting copyright credit)

Collection of alternate history pieces with a military theme. Most of these were pretty unmemorable. "And so - Nelson fought for the French! Napoleon joined the church! Custer lived and was elected president!" If the entire story can be summed up in half a sentence I wonder why I bothered reading the rest.

Three did stand out from the crowd for me. "Billy Mitchell's Overt Act", by William Sanders, and "Vati", by R.M. Meluch, both made the same historical point from opposite directions: they have a brilliant air commander in the second world war whose decisions manage to put his side in a much better tactical position, with, ironically, much worse strategic consequences than in our time-line. An interesting contrast.

The most fun was Lois Tilton's "The Craft of War". The idea is a little more subtle than most: Sun Tzu, exiled from China, is hired by the Persians and helps them conquer Greece. The story is told as a Socratic dialogue between Socrates himself and Alcibiades, and Tilton succeeds in casting the characteristic style of Sun Tzu in Socratic terms. My one regret was that she didn't do much with the acerbic character of Socrates himself, but this was the one story in the book that left me wishing I knew more about the historical background.
Tags: bookblog 2006, writer: harry turtledove, writer: martin greenberg
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