Time travel is a dream long held by human beings. Who hasn’t had fond thoughts about showing Nicola Tesla their personal Tesla Coil or taking him for a drive in an electric car that bears his name? The devil is in the details of the technology, which is what ties together this collection of short fiction—the stories in this collection appeared in Analog science fiction magazine between 1990 and 2000.
The stories in this collection were first published in Analog Science Fiction and Fact magazine between 1990 and 2011. They feature the adventures of eccentric kilt-wearing anthropologist / archaeologist / xenologist Rhys Llewellyn and his able assistants, Yoshi Umeki and Roderick Halfax. Given my fascination with archaeology, first contact…and all things Scottish, I suppose these stories were inevitable.
The Secret Life of Gods
In the Year Without a Summer, a group of mad geniuses descended on Geneva. In an attempt to save the body and mind of George Gordon, Lord Byron, they performed a dreadful and forbidden experiment that forever changed history—and tore their own lives apart.
Years later, Byron’s daughter Ada has inherited her father’s genius. With Charles Babbage, inventor of the analytical engine, she invents the “automatic sciences,” allowing the creation of machines that mimic human action, and even human thought. Once again, history has changed. Mechanical spiders perform menial tasks. Intelligent locomotives keep their own time schedules. Massive dirigibles and flying automata have flung the Empire—and piracy—into the sky itself.
But even a golden age casts a long shadow, and silent forces are moving in the darkness. Whispers of a conspiracy to destroy the Empire are beginning to surface. The fate of the Geneva experiment and the mad geniuses that created it remains unknown.
“The Shadow Conspiracy will appeal greatly to lovers of steampunk, science fiction and alternate history. Featuring very strong female characters (something that the BVC consistently encourages), brilliant ideas and thought-provoking subject matter, it is an anthology that I highly recommend. What really happened in the villa on Lake Geneva that long ago year without a summer, 1816? Read it and find out.” —Fantasy Book Review
Because in some parts of our country we still celebrate Columbus Day and because so few of us really understand what Columbus (Christobal Colon) did, I offer this fictional re-imagination of the events of his landing on Hispaniola.
Divergence: 1276 CE
What if: Chinese refugees fleeing the Mongol conquest of Hangzhou sailed across the Pacific.
Summary: Two centuries later, Columbus arrives in Hispaniola and is told of the rich counter of the Northern Land. Subsequent events do not occur in his favor.
Published: In Paradox #8 (Winter 2005-2006).
Awards: Finalist: 2006 Sidewise Award for best short-form alternate history.
Click to download a PDF of O, Pioneer.
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