Tuesday, August 02, 2016

GoodReads Review: Alternate Outlaws ed. Mike Resnick

Alternate OutlawsAlternate Outlaws by Mike Resnick
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a solid collection of alternate history stories, all based on one of (sometimes both of!) two premises: a famous historical figure was in fact an outlaw; an infamous criminal was in fact the hero of the story. It's a fun idea, but many of the stories, while entertaining and satisfying as fictional yarns, don't fully live up to the promise of the premise. Others feel like slice of life, dependent entirely on the identity of the fictional outlaw to give the story interest.

I particularly enjoyed the stories based on the wackiest outlaws: Sir Francis of Assisi, Helen Keller, Santa Claus. Some of the stories were chilling: Michelle Sagara's "What She Won't Remember" (Agatha Christie), Janni Lee Simner's "Learning Magic" (Harry Houdini) and the closing story, Barbara Delaplace's "Painted Bridges (Adolph Hitler). Also of a note was a particularly lush tale featuring Queen Elizabeth, Tappan King's "The Crimson Rose." And finally, "Good Girl, Bad Dog" by Martha Soukup shows Lassie in a light you've never seen before.

This is a minor point, but in many cases, I wish the stories hadn't come with author introductions that revealed the name of the historical persona beforehand. It would have been more fun to piece together while reading.

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