Alternate history

Manhattan Projects Volume 1: Science Bad by Jonathan Hickman

Manhattan Projects Volume 1: Science Bad by Jonathan Hickman

I thought that Manhattan Projects was weird, and then the main characters stuck a cybernetic spike into Franklin Roosevelt's head, creating the world's first artificial intelligence.

Woe to anyone hoping that Jonathan Hickman's comic book series would be an accurate retelling of the construction of the atomic bomb. Sure, it gets mentioned from time to time.

The real driving force of Hickman's story, which ended up on many top comics lists last year, is the idea that the atomic bomb is just one of the hideous creations that super-geniuses Robert Oppenheimer, Albert Einstein, and Richard Feynman were working on. The other stuff... it ain't pretty.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Alina Starkov has never felt like she belonged. Orphaned and adopted by a duke, Alina meets an equally parentless boy named Mal. The two are inseparable, referred to by the duke's servants as melenchki, little ghosts, as they giggle  throughout the vast house. Of course, such things cannot always stay the same.

Shadow and Bone, by Leigh Bardugo, is set in an alternate version of pre-revolution Russia. In this nation, known as Ravka, the new world is starting to infringe on the old. It used to be the Grisha who maintained order. The Grisha are powerful beings who can manipulate living things, the elements, and metals as if using magic. New weaponry and a multiple-front war are changing all of that though.

Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith

In Seth Grahame-Smith’s Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, Abraham Lincoln uncovers a terrible truth at a tender age: that vampires infiltrate every corner of society and are “living man’s” mortal enemy. Lincoln’s father, a classic underachiever, idiotically defaults on a loan to one of the bloodsuckers, who warns that he will have to “take it in other ways.” It is no coincidence then that Abraham’s aunt, uncle, and beloved mother die quickly thereafter from a painful illness with “scorching fevers, delusions, and cramps.” Old folks called this the “milk sickness,” believed to be brought on by drinking tainted milk, but that wasn’t the case this time. Eventually Abraham learns of the connection and vows to “kill every vampire in America.”

One Thousand White Women: the Journals of May Dodd by Jim Fergus

One Thousand White Women: the Journals of May Dodd

One of my patrons called me to discuss One Thousand White Women: the Journal of May Dodd by Jim Fergus. (RC 47157) This is a fictionalized account of a true incident in which an Indian delegation traveled to Washington, D.C. to negotiate a treaty.

One of the Indians was a Cheyenne leader named Little Wolf. As part of the negotiations, Little Wolf requested that his tribe be supplied with 1,000 white women, in an effort to assist in the assimilation of the Cheyenne peoples with the white man. Predictably, the request was met with derision and horror. 

The Company of the Dead

By David J. Kowalski

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Can one man save the Titanic? March 1912. A mysterious man appears aboard the Titanic on its doomed voyage. His mission? To save the ship. The result? A world where the United States never entered World War I, thus launching the secret history of the 20th Century. April 2012. Joseph Kennedy - grand-nephew of John F. Kennedy - lives in an America occupied in the East by Greater Germany and on the West Coast by Imperial Japan. He is one of six people who can restore history to its rightful order -- even though it may mean his own death.
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Too Many Notes, Mr. Mozart

By Robert Barnard writing as Bernard Bastable

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History meets mystery in a novel about one pupil of Mozart's we have never heard of, the young Princess Victoria, whom the composer soon discovers has quite a talent for the keyboard and a knack for being a murder victim.

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I Was Amelia Earhart

By Jane Mendelsohn

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"Amelia Earhart tells us what happened after she and her navigator, Fred Noonan, disappeared off the coast of New Guinea one glorious, windy day in 1937. And she tells us about herself.

"There is her love affair with flying ('The sky is flesh') . . . .

"There are her memories of the past: her childhood desire to become a heroine ('Heroines did what they wanted') . . . her marriage to G.P. Putnam, who promoted her to fame, but was willing to gamble her life so that the book she was writing about her round-the-world flight would sell out before Christmas.

There is the flight itself -- day after magnificent or perilous or exhilarating or terrifying day ('Noonan once said any fool could have seen I was risking my life but not living it').

And there is, miraculously, an island ('We named it Heaven, as a kind of joke').

And, most important, there is Noonan . . ."

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American Hero

By Larry Beinhart

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"Once upon a time there was a mean, dying GOP chairman who had a brilliant scheme to assure that his man would retain the office of president of the United States of America. And the only man who could pull off this elaborate plan was a celebrated Hollywood director. Add to the mix a left-coast gumshoe named Broz who is trapped among cover-ups, undercover work, and his own morality, a cast of bicoastal desperate characters, and the stage is set for a powerful D.C./L.A. production." -- the author's Web site.
Later made into the movie, Wag the Dog. Subsequent editions of the book were renamed for the movie.

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The Eyre Affair

By Jasper Fforde

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"Great Britain circa 1985: time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously. Baconians are trying to convince the world that Francis Bacon really wrote Shakespeare, there are riots between the Surrealists and Impressionists, and thousands of men are named John Milton, an homage to the real Milton and a very confusing situation for the police.

"Amidst all this, Acheron Hades, Third Most Wanted Man In the World, steals the original manuscript of Martin Chuzzlewit and kills a minor character, who then disappears from every volume of the novel ever printed! But that's just a prelude . . . Hades' real target is the beloved Jane Eyre, and it's not long before he plucks her from the pages of Bronte's novel. Enter Thursday Next. She's the Special Operative's renowned literary detective, and she drives a Porsche. With the help of her uncle Mycroft's Prose Portal, Thursday enters the novel to rescue Jane Eyre from this heinous act of literary homicide."

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Across the Nightingale Floor

By Lian Hearn

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"...a story of a boy who is suddenly plucked from his life in a remote and peaceful village to find himself a pawn in a political scheme, filled with treacherous warlords, rivalry--and the intensity of first love. In a culture ruled by codes of honor and formal rituals, Takeo must look inside himself to discover the powers that will enable him to fulfill his destiny."

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