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William Sanders

By / July 29, 2017 / no comments

Still catching up here. While I was away, the death was announced of William Sanders. In person, he seems to have been a somewhat prickly character who made enemies more easily than he made friends, and the obituaries were full of references to controversies that were usually of his making.

East of the Sun and West of Fort SmithBut as a writer, particularly as a writer of alternate histories, he was probably under-rated. He twice won the Sidewise Award for Alternate History, once for his story “The Undiscovered”, in which William Shakespeare finds himself by mischance in colonial America and is captured by a Cherokee tribe. During his time with the tribe he writes a version of Hamlet, which is performed by the Native Americans, who regard the story as a comedy rather than a tragedy. His second Sidewise Award winner, “Empire”, tells of a Napoleon Bonaparte who, instead of rising in the French army, had gone to America and made himself emperor of Louisiana, which now extends across the middle of the continent. Along with his generals, Sam Huston, Davy Crockett and Andrew Jackson, he now awaits an invasion by the Duke of Wellington as England attempts to restore its influence over America. Both of these stories are included in the collection East of the Sun and West of Fort Smith.

The Wild Blue and the GrayHis alternate history novels include Journey to Fusang, in which America was first conquered from Asia; and The Wild Blue and the Gray in which an independent Confederate States of America comes to the aid of Britain in World War One.

The Ballad Of Billy Badass & the Rose of TurkestanAre We Having Fun Yet?: American Indian Fantasy StoriesHis fiction often included Native American elements, as in his novel The Ballad of Billy Badass and the Rose of Turkestan, in which the dumping of toxic waste on Native American land unleashes a monster; and the stories collected in Are We Having Fun Yet?: American Indian Fantasy Stories.

J.His last novel, J, tells of three women from parallel worlds who slowly discover that they are in effect the same person.

In 2006 he launched an sf magazine, Helix SF, with Lawrence Watt-Evans, but the magazine folded in 2008. During this time, however, he started to become better known for the controversies he started than for his writing, and indeed he seems to have written little in the years since then.

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