A Midsummer TempestPoul Anderson
fantasy, alternate history
Mythopoeic Fantasy Award 1975. World Fantasy Award nominee 1975, Nebula Award nominee 1975.
What if Shakespeare were a historian and his world a mortal one of men and elves?
Somewhere, spinning through another universe is a history almost like ours except for the result of a revolution or two and the earlier incidence of a few inventions. A prince called Hamlet has lived in Denmark, and the English woods are full of Pucks, Titanias, and Oberons. Cromwell is at the throat of King Charles, but locomotives rage through the verdant countryside and observation balloons tower over battle lines.
Rupert, prince of the Rhine and defender of the crown, has been captured by the Roundheads, and an eviscerated Royalist force is chased to Glastonbury Tor, the site of legendary Avalon, the Court of Arthur. But Rupert has escaped, sent on a magic quest for the fairy kingdom that chooses to make its stand in England against forces of industrial revolution. If his aims succeed, Rupert can save both the land for its spirits and the king for his crown.
Poul Anderson brings back heft and haleness to an age that used its language well and its halberd even better. Cavalier and Puritan come full-bodied and lively out of his rich imagination, and science fiction takes an unexpected ride into the past.
Poul Anderson (1926–2001) was born in Pennsylvania of Scandinavian stock. He started publishing science fiction in 1947 and became one the great figures in the genre, serving as President of the Science Fiction Writers of America, winning many Hugo and Nebula awards, and also winning the Gandalf (Grand Master) Award.