I’ve a fondness for alternate history. My first professionally published story, ‘A Path to the Sun’ (which you can read for free here), is alt. history, so when the editor of the fabulously titled ‘Mammoth Book of Tales from the Vatican Vaults‘ asked me to contribute a story, I was delighted.
The conceit is that Pope John Paul I didn’t die, but lived on and reformed the Catholic Church. This included throwing open the Vatican’s secret archive, thus exposing wisdom, revelations and stories the Church had previously been at pains to keep hidden – none of which, you’ll be pleased to hear, involve Jesus getting it on with Mary Magdelene.
Other contributors include Mary Gentle, K J Parker and Storm Constantine and the editor has cunningly linked the stories with prefaces and end notes, as written by a (alternate) future academic. My own contribution, ‘The Sky Weeps, the Earth Quakes’ returns to my old obsession with the survival of pre-Columbian American cultures, but the range of takes on the theme is impressive; I’ve just started reading the book, and I can tell I’m going to have a lot of fun in this alternate future.