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 shipped en-masse to death camps? And that’s it. Nothing more.

There’s a nod or two in the story before the Big Reveal (one German driver is named Pirckheimer) if you get your rocks off on spotting what the twist in the tail/tale is, but otherwise the story is a fairly unpleasant one about the rounding up and putting on a train 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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