Some of today's top science fiction writers explore the futures that might have been, including original stories from Julie E. Czerneda and other great names in the genre.

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Some of today's top science fiction writers explore the futures that might have been, including original stories from Julie E. Czerneda and other great names in the genre.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Fans of alternate history will undoubtedly enjoy ReVisions, an anthology of 15 never-before-published stories that explore slightly amended scientific discoveries and their effects on civilization. What would happen if the AIDS epidemic had erupted a century earlier? What if humankind looked to the depths of the ocean instead of the stars? What if the Black Death had been averted? Those questions and more are answered within.

Noteworthy stories include "Unwirer," by Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross, a chilling look at a near-future America where the Motion Picture Association of America won its 1995 bid at the National Information Infrastructure hearings to redesign the Internet and turned it into a centralized, regulated, user-unfriendly nightmare. "Swimming Upstream in the Wells of the Desert," by Mike Resnick and Susan R. Matthews, takes place in a future where cold fusion energy has irrevocably changed the worldwide economy; and "The Resonance of Light," by Geoffrey Landis, speculates about how the Serbian inventor Nicola Tesla could have stopped WWI with an auspicious scientific discovery. Doranna Durgin's "A Call to the Wild" follows a shepherd named Neil, as he tries to do his job in a world where dogs were never domesticated; and "Silent Leonardo," by Kage Baker, takes a look at a 16th-century Europe where Leonardo da Vinci's numerous notes and sketches are developed for military use.

Historic revisionists everywhere will delight in these scientifically and technologically based literary speculations. For readers that frequently ask, "What if?" -- this collection is definitely for you. Paul Goat Allen

What ifa? Every one of the 15 stories in this collection asks this question in a different way. What if the transmission of the Black Plague by fleas had been discovered earlier? What if lasers had been invented sooner? But the basic question each one of them asks is what if the past had unfolded differently? The authors of these stories explore a variety of historical and scientific possibilities. Readers will be touched by Dorranna Durgin's "A Call from the Wild," a heart-wrenching story about what would have happened if the dog had not been domesticated and had instead become a creature to be feared and even hated. In "Silent Leonardo," Kage Baker asks what might have happened to the practices of warfare if Leonardo Da Vinci's brilliant ideas had not remained merely visions, but had rather been carried out by those who recognized their brilliance. In "Site Fourteen" by Laura Anne Gilman, we see what might have happened if the race to explore space was replaced by the desire to explore the deepest parts of the ocean. These stories would have a great curricular advantage in many subject areas. History, science, and even math classes could use them as supplementary material to their lessons. Each of the stories has a "Revision Point" that explains how the past actually unfolded, so that readers can get an idea of where the changes lie within the story. This is an entertaining collection that is also quite educational despite (or perhaps even because of) the historical revisions. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2004, Penguin, DAW, 312p., Ages 15 to adult.
—Heather Lisowski
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101166857
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 8/3/2004
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 413,977
  • File size: 340 KB

Meet the Author

Biologist Julie E. Czerneda's science fiction has received international acclaim, awards, and best-selling status. She is the author of the popular "Species Imperative" trilogy, the "Web Shifters" series, the "Trade Pact Universe" trilogy and her new "Stratification" novels. She was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Her stand-alone novel, In the Company of Others, won Canada's Prix Aurora Award and was a finalist for the Philip K. Dick Award for Distinguished SF. Julie lives with her husband and two children in the lake country of central Ontario, under skies so clear they could take seeing the Milky Way for granted, but never do.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2005

    Mixed Bag

    Most of the stories take place in modern times, detailing how life would be different if historical events were slightly altered. The best of these is 'Herd Mentality'. The idea works best in 'The Resonance of Light', in which history unfolds as we know it, but near the end of the tale, an alternate event transpires and we are left to wonder about the consequences. Skip 'Axial Axioms'. Instead of a short story, this one is just a series of disconnected set-ups for puns that only a mathematician would (maybe) love.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    fun what if alternate history tales

    This fifteen short story collection contains what if alternate history tales that will delight genre fans. Each tale takes a key scientific or technological element and changes when it occurred so that it either intersects at an earlier pivotal moment in history such as the Sumerians inventing the printing press in BC or never materialized such as Galileo fails to release his findings. The tales are all well written and the explanation of the REVISION point is fun to follow to ascertain whether the reader agrees with the author¿s logic. Intriguing are those with a modern aspect to include Tesla inventing a laser in the nineteenth century, Livingstone bringing AIDS out of Africa in the nineteenth century and the government pushing aquanauts over astronauts and banning the Internet. Mindful of the Marvel Comics What If series, this terrific collection will have the audience thinking of new ones such as what if an underpaid over paid book reviewer was given a guitar instead of Narnia?---- Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2012


    *she expects Bella to be here.*

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2011

    Very Good

    Very good book. The level of detail in the stories is excellent. Definitely kept my attention.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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