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Almost Real: Alternative Histories & Near Future Dystopias


    The Man in the High Castle

    A dazzling speculative novel of 'counterfactual history' from one of America's most highly-regarded science fiction authors, Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle includes an introduction by Eric Brown in Penguin Modern Classics.Philip K. Dick's acclaimed cult novel gives us a horrifying glimpse of an alternative world - one where the Allies have lost the Second World War. In this nightmare dystopia the Nazis have taken over New York, the Japanese control California and the African continent is virtually wiped out. In a neutral buffer zone in America that divides the world's new rival superpowers, lives the author of an underground bestseller. His book offers a new vision of reality - an alternative theory of world history in which the Axis powers were defeated - giving hope to the disenchanted. Does 'reality' lie with him, or is his world just one among many others?Philip Kindred Dick (1928-82) was born in Chicago in 1928. His career as a science fiction writer comprised an early burst of short stories followed by a stream of novels, typically character studies incorporating androids, drugs, and hallucinations. His best works are generally agreed to be The Man in the High Castle and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the inspiration for the movie Blade Runner.If you enjoyed The Man in the High Castle, you might like Yevgeny Zamyatin's We, also available in Penguin Classics.'The most brilliant science fiction mind on any planet'Rolling Stone'Dick's finest book, and one of the very best science fiction novels ever published'Eric Brown

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    Farthing

    Farthing is an alternate history novel written by Jo Walton and published by Tor Books in August 2006. A sequel, Ha'penny, was released in October 2007 by Tor Books.

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    The Mirage

    The Mirage is set in an alternate history version of the year 2009. Much of the back-story is revealed in excerpts from the Library of Alexandria, this world's version of Wikipedia funded by Muammar Gaddafi. A politically united Arabia (analogous to the real Arab League), declared independence from the Ottoman Empire at the end of the 19th century and established itself as the United Arab States. Throughout the 20th century, Arabia grew to occupy most of the Middle East and North Africa, and northern East Africa. Arabia intervened decisively in World War II on the Allied side, culminating in Adolf Hitler's beheading at Nuremberg in 1946. The world's only Jewish state was afterwards established in northeast Germany, with its capital in Berlin.

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    The Handmaid's Tale

    This dystopian novel is a work of speculative fiction by Canadian author Margaret Atwood. Set in a near-future New England, in a totalitarian theocracy which has overthrown the United States government, The Handmaid's Tale explores themes of women in subjugation and the various means by which they gain agency.

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    Altered Pasts: Counterfactuals in History

    A bullet misses its target in Sarajevo, a would-be Austrian painter gets into the Viennese academy, Lord Halifax becomes British prime minister in 1940 instead of Churchill: seemingly minor twists of fate on which world-shaking events might have hinged. Alternative history has long been the stuff of parlor games, war-gaming, and science fiction, but over the past few decades it has become a popular stomping ground for serious historians. The historian Richard J. Evans now turns a critical, slightly jaundiced eye on a subject typically the purview of armchair historians. The book's main concern is examining the intellectual fallout from historical counterfactuals, which the author defines as "alternative versions of the past in which one alteration in the timeline leads to a different outcome from the one we know actually occurred." What if Britain had stood at the sidelines during the First World War? What if the Wehrmacht had taken Moscow? The author offers an engaging and insightful introduction to the genre, while discussing the reasons for its revival in popularity, the role of historical determinism, and the often hidden agendas of the counterfactual historian. Most important, Evans takes counterfactual history seriously, looking at the insights, pitfalls, and intellectual implications of changing one thread in the weave of history. A wonderful critical introduction to an often-overlooked genre for scholars and casual readers of history alike.

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    Fatherland

    Berlin, 1964. Depuis que les forces de l'axe ont gagné la guerre en 1944, la paix nazie règne sur l'europe. seule, l'amérique a refusé jusqu'ici le joug. mais dans quelques jours, le président kennedy viendra conclure une alliance avec le reich. ce sera la fin du monde libre. Deux meurtres étranges viennent perturber les préparatifs. les victimes sont d'anciens s.s. de haut rang jouissant d'une paisible retraite. Chargé de l'affaire, l'inspecteur march s'interroge. s'agit-il d'un règlement de comptes entre dignitaires ? mais, s'il s'agit d'affaires criminelles pourquoi la gestapo s'intéresse-t-elle à l'enquête ? quelle est cette vérité indicible qui tue tout ceux qui la détiennent et semble menacer les fondations même du régime ? le mystère s'épaissit et, dans berlin pavoisée, les bourreaux guettent prêts à tout pour étouffer dans la nuit et le brouillard les dernières lueurs de la liberté. Ce roman du britannique robert harris a été traduit dans le monde entier et a suscité de nombreuses polémiques en grande-bretagne, mais aussi en allemagne où les éditeurs se refusèrent d'abord à le publier. Salué par une presse élogieuse, il est devenu un best-seller international. " le passé réinventé ! une histoire à faire frémir. des personnages et une intrigue totalement convaincants ". " the telegraph " " a donner la chair de poule ! " " the sunday times " " le thriller au mieux de sa forme. des sensations de fièvre, et de terreur à chaque page. une écriture superbe. un roman qui installe robert harris au firmament des meilleurs auteurs du genre. " " the times magazine "

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    The Yiddish Policemen's Union

    The New York Times bestseller, now available in paperback--"an excellent, hyperliterate, genre-pantsing detective novel that deserves every inch of its...blockbuster superfame" (New York).For sixty years Jewish refugees and their descendants have prospered in the Federal District of Sitka, a "temporary" safe haven created in the wake of the Holocaust and the shocking 1948 collapse of the fledgling state of Israel. The Jews of the Sitka District have created their own little world in the Alaskan panhandle, a vibrant and complex frontier city that moves to the music of Yiddish. But now the District is set to revert to Alaskan control, and their dream is coming to an end.Homicide detective Meyer Landsman of the District Police has enough problems without worrying about the upcoming Reversion. His life is a shambles, his marriage a wreck, his career a disaster. And in the cheap hotel where Landsman has washed up, someone has just committed a murder--right under his nose. When he begins to investigate the killing of his neighbor, a former chess prodigy, word comes down from on high that the case is to be dropped immediately, and Landsman finds himself contending with all the powerful forces of faith, obsession, evil, and salvation that are his heritage.At once a gripping whodunit, a love story, and an exploration of the mysteries of exile and redemption, The Yiddish Policemen's Union is a novel only Michael Chabon could have written.

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    Brave New World

    Far in the future, the World Controllers have created the ideal society. Through clever use of genetic engineering, brainwashing and recreational sex and drugs all its members are happy consumers. Bernard Marx seems alone harbouring an ill-defined longing to break free. A visit to one of the few remaining Savage Reservations where the old, imperfect life still continues, may be the cure for his distress...

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    The Children of Men

    The human race has become infertile, and the last generation to be born is now adult. Civilization itself is crumbling as suicide and despair become commonplace. Oxford historian Theodore Faron, apathetic toward a future without a future, spends most of his time reminiscing. Then he is approached by Julian, a bright, attractive woman who wants him to help get her an audience with his cousin, the powerful Warden of England. She and her band of unlikely revolutionaries may just awaken his desire to live . . . and they may also hold the key to survival for the human race. Told with P. D. James’s trademark suspense, insightful characterization, and riveting storytelling, The Children of Men is a story of a world with no children and no future.

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    Never Let Me Go

    In one of the most acclaimed and strange novels of recent years, Kazuo Ishiguro imagines the lives of a group of students growing up in a darkly skewered version of contemporary England. Narrated by Kathy, now 31, Never Let Me Go hauntingly dramatises her attempts to come to terms with her childhood at the seemingly idyllic Hailsham School, and with the fate that has always awaited her and her closest friends in the wider world. This is a story of love, friendship and memory, Never Let Me Go is charged throughout with a sense of the fragility of life.

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    We

    A seminal work of dystopian fiction that foreshadowed the worst excesses of Soviet Russia, Yevgeny Zamyatin's We is a powerfully inventive vision that has influenced writers from George Orwell to Ayn Rand. This Penguin Classics edition is translated from the Russian with an introduction by Clarence Brown.In a glass-enclosed city of absolute straight lines, ruled over by the all-powerful 'Benefactor', the citizens of the totalitarian society of OneState live out lives devoid of passion and creativity - until D-503, a mathematician who dreams in numbers, makes a discovery: he has an individual soul. Set in the twenty-sixth century AD, We is the classic dystopian novel and was the forerunner of works such as George Orwell's 1984 and Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. It was suppressed for many years in Russia and remains a resounding cry for individual freedom, yet is also a powerful, exciting and vivid work of science fiction.Clarence Brown's brilliant translation is based on the corrected text of the novel, first published in Russia in 1988 after more than sixty years' suppression.Yevgeny Zamyatin (1884-1937) was a naval engineer by profession and writer by vocation, who made himself an enemy of the Tsarist government by being a Bolshevik, and an enemy of the Soviet government by insisting that human beings have absolute creative freedom. He wrote short stories, plays and essays, but his masterpiece is We, written in 1920-21 and soon thereafter translated into most of the languages of the world. It first appeared in Russia only in 1988.If you enjoyed We, you might like George Orwell's 1984, also available in Penguin Classics.'the best single work of science fiction yet written'Ursula K. LeGuin, author of The Left Hand of Darkness'It is in effect a study of the Machine, the genie that man has thoughtlessly let out of its bottle and cannot put back again'George Orwell, author of 1984

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    British-Lebanese author and media entrepreneur. My writing has appeared in The Guardian, GQ and Brownbook amongst other places. Author of Our Man in Beirut (2012) and currently working on a ... Show More

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