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The Draining of the Fens: Projectors, Popular Politics, and State Building in Early Modern England (Johns Hopkins Studies in the History of Technology)
Eric H. Ash
Progress: 81/416 pages
Martin Luther: His Road to Reformation 1483-1521
Martin Brecht
Progress: 236/543 pages

A great book by an under-appreciated talent

Alternities - Michael P. Kube-McDowell

Before I read this book, I was unfamiliar with Michael Kube-McDowell; I had even read (and enjoyed) some of his short stories without knowing who he was. I didn't get too far into this novel, though, before I realized that I had missed one of the more under-appreciated talents in science fiction. In it, Walter Endicott, a businessman in 1966, discovers a gateway to a parallel Earth where he is a United States senator. Replacing his counterpart, he shares the knowledge about the gateway (part of a network connecting several alternate Earths) with a government desperate to gain an advantage in a Cold War struggle that the U.S. is losing to the Soviet Union. From this premise, Kube-McDowell builds a story around Endicott, the president, and a "runner" in an unhappy marriage, one that deftly mixes Cold War tensions with science fiction dimension-hopping. It's a work of alternate history that for its detailed plot and sophisticated yet relatable characters, stands head and shoulders above the others of its type.