Thursday, December 17, 2015

recent read; Tales From The Otherverse

Tales From The Otherverse edited by James Reasoner

Other times, other places, other stories than the ones we know...These are the Tales From the Otherverse, where anything is possible and things never work out quite the way you'd expect. Some of today's top talents in popular fiction turn their hands to tales of alternate history. Featuring new stories by bestselling, award-winning authors Bill Crider, Lou Antonelli, Scott A. Cupp, Robert E. Vardeman, James Reasoner, and more. Explore the Otherverse and see what might have been!=====

James Reasoner has assembled a set of alternate history tales not limited to any era or place. That gives this anthology a lot of variety. A few of these have unexpected twists, so I don't want to give away too much in the synopses. But here's what you get;

“The Battle of the Bands” by Scott A. Cupp
The heyday of 1960s rock...- or is it 1860s rock? Custer and his boys against a band of Native American musicians in a battle of the bands - with strange echoes of otherworlds and death.

“Port Radium” by Lou Antonelli
What if Douglas MacArthur had been a German general during WWII?

“Mrs. Lincoln’s Dinner Party” by Cheryl Pierson
Mary Todd Lincoln takes matters into her own hands, inviting Jefferson Davis's wife and other members of the Confederacy to a dinner party in Washington D.C., to broker peace. But different guests have different motivations.

“The Assassination of President Broussard” by Keith West
An alternate tale of the South, where Woodrow Wilson shunted to the vice presidency by the election of Robert F. Broussard. Bonus points for weaving in a reality where the American hippo meat market happened. In fact, the hippo meat issue is the inciting incident of the tale, as they start to rival the steer beef market. The feud between Duquesne and Burnham (enemies in the Boer War, now both working together) is also pivotal to this unique story.

“Books Burning Brightly in the Night” by Robert E. Vardeman
Air pirates and zeppelins populate this derring-do tale of an FBI agent going against his bosses and going with his hunches to foil a gang of air pirates.

“A Wisp of Memory” by John Hegenberger
A private detective is hired by Rod Serling and finds himself in his own Twilight Zone-esque situation.

“It Doesn’t Matter Anymore” by Bill Crider
Another music tale, in which Buddy Holly lived and Waylon Jennings died on that fateful plane crash. An anniversary concert ten years after gives Elvis a shot at a comeback.

“The Great Steamer Riot of 1936” by Scott Dennis Parker
Great story about a swing jazz band with a trumpeter who is a little too perfect. Steam androids and insular intolerance clash. The Depression is more an era for "diesel punk" than "steam punk," so this one was a poignant surprise.

“The Alexandria County Library Book Sale” by Richard Prosch
 A fun story of Greek culture and the library of Alexandria lasting into the modern age.

“The Hero of Deadwood” by James Reasoner
What if Bill Hickok road into the Presidency on the back of his fame? And is history as malleable as it might seem, or does it self-correct regardless of the players?

Tales From The Otherverse is an engaging read of alternate histories. The stories are short, so no need to bog down in large novels or novel series to get your alternate history fix.


  1. Thanks for the great review, Paul, not only of my story but of the whole anthology. And thanks for linking to Jim Cornelius's post. It was the article he linked to that gave me the idea for the story.

  2. I'm reading' it!

    Jim Cornelius