What if Adolf Hitler had never been born? In this very witty, British "alternative history," Michael Young, a Cambridge graduate student who has just completed his dissertation on Adolf Hitler's childhood, and German physicist Leo Zuckermann, inventor of a machine that can look into the past, come up with a way to prevent Hitler from ever having been born. But things don't quite work out....
For one fateful weekend, the annual science fiction and fantasy convention, Rubicon, has all but taken over a usually ordinary hotel. Now the halls are alive with Trekkies, tech nerds, and fantasy gamers in their Viking finery, all of them eager to hail their hero, bestselling fantasy author Appin Dungannon: a diminutive despot whose towering ego more than compensates for his 5' 1" height . . . and whose gleeful disdain for his fawning fans is legendary.
Hurling insults and furniture with equal abandon, the terrible, tiny author proceeds to alienate ersatz aliens and make-believe warriors at warp speed. But somewhere between the costume contest and the exhibition Dungeons & Dragons game, Dungannon gets done in. While die-hard fans of Dungannon's seemingly endless sword-and-sorcery series wonder how they'll go on and hucksters wonder how much they can get for the dead man's autograph, a hapless cop wonders, Who would want to kill Appin Dungannon? But the real question, as the harried convention organizers know, is, who wouldn't?
True story or not, William the Blind's recounting in very nearly Elizabethan English of a version of the Jamestown story is fascinating reading. While not to be taken as a straight history, its rather cynical play on familar characters and situations sounded in an Elizabethan cadence is intriguing.
The late Philip K. Dick's works were one of the strongest influences on science fiction writers in the first decade of the 21st century, including the fields of alternate history and paranoid thrillers.