SFF

Across the Universe: Tales of Alternative Beatles

Fantastic. Dec. 2019. 300p. ed. by ed. by Michael A. Ventrella & Randee Dawn. ISBN 9781515423959. $26.99; pap. ISBN 9781515423966. $15.99. SF
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The Fab Four are reimagined as wizards, robots, hockey players, zombies, the Marx Brothers, and more in this anthology from Ventrella (Big Stick) and Dawn (Home for the Holidays). An introduction by “Wicked” series coauthor Nancy Holder sets the stage. Standouts include the clever time-travel, short-short “The Perfect Bridge” by Charles Barouch; “Meet the Beatles” by Pat Cadigan, a delightful exercise in nostalgia; and two stories based on the “Paul is dead” hoax: “Paul Is Dead” by Lawrence Watt-Evans, in which an alternate universe Paul replaces the original, and “When I’m #64” by Patrick Barb, in which Paul constantly dies and comes back to life. The absolute standout is “Through a Glass Onion” by Christian H. Smith, a poignant, inspirational tale about a failed musician named John Lennon from another universe who is given a vision of the success he had in ours.
VERDICT This anthology will be mostly of interest to Beatles fans, but even non-fans will find stories here that will move and surprise them.

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