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Book Nook: Alternate Tastes of London

By Andrew and Kat Flin

Everything you need to know about your holiday in Alternate Londons.

Alternate History is often written around great events and major changes. Major wars, great political upheavals, dramatic social shifts.

Alternate Tastes of London is not like that. It takes as its premise that, with the advent of time travel, people will look to make a profit from this through tourism. This is then developed into “sideways” travel, which involves going to the same time and place, but one where history developed differently. Quite simply, the premise is that tourism will be a major beneficiary of transport capacity between alternate realities.

That’s the premise of this book, which present 12 travel guides to different versions of London that arise with different histories. Each guide is for a different month, although that has little impact other than providing a framework for the book.

As a few of the examples of the history, one month is based on how London would have developed had the French won the Battle of Trafalgar and managed to invade; Trafalgar Square is graced here with Napoleon's Column. There's a month where the Romans never fully left, and one where they never actually arrived. There's a month where in 1066, Harald Hardrada won the triple crown. And so on; ten alternate months and two based on worlds from fiction.

That's Napoleon up there.

Picture courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Each chapter follows a similar pattern. First, there is a brief summary of the history behind this version of London, then there is a description of the arrival and accommodation and first impressions of the city. This is then followed by a tour of the city, encompassing a description of the sights, cultural event, a sporting event, a shopping expedition, discussions with local people, and a restaurant review. This is then followed by a selection of recipes that the London being visited, derived from how the authors perceive that the cuisine would have developed.

The recipes are all usable. Some are easier to follow than others, but all of them have been tested and work. This is, essentially, the unique part to the book. It's also a major reason why I'm overweight, having been a guinea pig for the various recipes.

What is remarkable about this book is that the authors were still at school when it was first published.

Alternate Tastes of London, Andrew and Kat Flin.

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