Harry Turtledove. Zigeuner. (Asimovs Science Fiction, September/October 2017).

Read in The Year’s Best Science Fiction Thirty Fifth Annual Collection (Dozois, 2018).

My heart sank when I read the editorial introduction, and realised this was Alternate History, a non-SF genre of which I’m generally not fond of, and stories of that type from Turtledove have been of the type that particularly leave me cold (a simple What If that flips an event, and not much more).

So I went into this story with low expectations. Sadly the story didn’t even reach those low expectations.

What we have here is a simple conceit. What if Hitler’s World War One and other personal experiences were a bit different and this meant that he did not have it in for them and the Jewish People were not part of The Final Solution? And that’s it. Nothing more. There’s a nod or two to this in the story (one German driver is named Pirckheimer), but otherwise the story is a fairly unpleasant one about the rounding up and en-training of a group of Roma. And putting the Holocaust’s genocide of Jews down to purely the personal experiences of Adolf Hitler, leaving aside hundreds and hundreds of years of pogroms and intolerance…??

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