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The Mammoth Book of Alternate Histories - Ian Watson, Ian Whates If you've ever wondered about a particular moment in history and how if events at that time had occurred slightly differently the subsequent future might have unfolded completely differently, then that possibility is probably explored in this truly mammouth collection of alternative history stories.

This collection contains four new stories specifically written for this anthology and an array of other classics (of the subgenre) from the last forty years. There are contributions from well known, long established writers of SF (such as Robert Silverberg, Gregory Benford and Frederik Pohl), big names SF writing now (Stephen Baxter, Ken MacLeod and A.A. Attanasio) as well as other lesser known authors.

Themes include events that would have led to Europe becomming predominately Islamic rather than Christian, futures in which the Roman empire never collapsed, alternative WWII outcomes, ways in which native American Indians might have repelled European colonisation and many more.

Some of the stories didn't particularly work for me. Either their theme didn't interest me, their writing style didn't engage me or the story ended too abrubtly but others were much better. I won't go through rating individual stories but I will list a few that I thought were particularly exceptional and justify reading this anthology if only to read them: WEINACHTSABEND by Keith Roberts, THE LUCKY STRIKE by Kim Stanley Robinson, WAITING FOR THE OLYMPIANS by Frederik Pohl, O ONE by Chris Roberson and THE EINSTEIN GUN by Pierre GĂ©vart.

All in all, this collection was of a very high standard and a must read for anyone who has the remotest interest in the subgenre or even if you don't normally read SF at all but are interested in history.