Kawashita had passed up the chance to die honourably, to go down with the mortally wounded carrier Hiryu. And when the alien spacecraft plucked him from the sea near Midway, he was sure he'd made the wrong choice: now he would certainly die, but it would be alone and without honour.
But the aliens did not kill him. Instead, they gave him a world of his own, a world in which he was supreme master, able to recreate and alter history, to indulge any fantasy. Then suddenly, he was once again amongst humans – for whom World War II was a half-forgotten memory, four centuries past.
Gregory Dale Bear (born 1951) is an American science fiction and mainstream author. His work has covered themes of galactic conflict (Forge of God books), artificial universes (The Way series), consciousness and cultural practices (Queen of Angels), and accelerated evolution (Blood Music, Darwin's Radio, and Darwin's Children).
Greg Bear. Wikipedia.
Photo: Photo of science fiction writer Greg Bear taken at the World Science Fiction Convention in Glasgow (photo by Geoffrey A. Landis, August 2005). Photo source: Wikimedia Commons.