Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Titanic Tour Through My Bookshelf ...continued

I recently invested a few bucks in David J. Kowalski’s The Company of the Dead (2012). I’m just into the book, but I can tell you so far, so good. It’s an alternate history story where the change in history centers on the sinking of the Titanic, which we will be, fittingly enough, marking the centennial of this April. At 700-plus pages it’s a big meaty read – almost as big as the ship itself – and it looks like one I’ll enjoy.

Going through my bookshelves, I found a few other alternate history books that feature the ill-stared liner. In Donald R. Benson’s And Having Writ… (1978), the Titanic still sinks but with a much different outcome. In the book, a party of well-meaning but inept aliens crash-lands on Earth in 1908. Convinced that the only way they can leave earth is to accelerate its technology through a world war or two, our heroes spend much of their time travelling the globe trying to convince the Powers that Be to get at it already.  If you can dig up this book at a second-hand bookshop someplace, I would recommend you do.

The unsinkable Titanic is still afloat in the second volume of Richard A. Lupoff’s hugely enjoyable two-book Flat Earth series, Countersolar! (1987).  The liner puts in a couple of appearances in a romp that is firmly rooted in the adventure pulps of the 1930s and 40s.

Finally, there’s Darwina (1998) by Robert Charles Wilson. The great “Miracle” that transforms Europe from the centre of Edwardian-age empires into a vast alien wilderness occurs in March 1912, about a month before the Titanic was set to sail. The Titanic’s sister, Olympic, is mentioned in passing so maybe I’m stretching it a bit to fit in this delightful book. Throw equal measures of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Philip K. Dick into a blender and you’ll get an idea of what this thoughtful read is all about.

I’ll just end it with a reminder that my own two contributions two the genre, Elvis Saves JFK! and War Plan Crimson, A Novel of Alternate History,  are available for just $0.99 and $2.99, respectively.  Of course, they're both free to preview.  Both books are also available through such fine on-line retailers such as Barnes & Noble and Apple's iTunes Store.

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