John's Reviews > Roma Eterna

Roma Eterna by Robert Silverberg
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bookshelves: science-fiction, short-story-collection

Fascinating Alternative Roman History From Robert Silverberg

"Roma Eterna" is a collection of 10 different short stories masquerading as a novel, that raises some tantalizing questions to answer the central, overarching question in this book: What if the Roman Empire never fell, but not only survived, but endured to the present as the foremost empire on the globe? It is not Silverberg's best work of fiction (His finest works include early novels such as "Shadrach in the Furnace" and his critically acclaimed series, "The Majipoor Chronicles" which began with "Lord Valentine's Castle".), and yet remains a compelling collection of tales which should interest alternative history fans. The best tales include "Waiting for the End", where a Romanicized Greek bureaucrat awaits the conquest of the Eternal City by Greek Byzantine forces sent from Constantinople, attempting to unify the divided Latin and Greek halves of the empire, "Via Roma", where a young aristocratic Celtic Briton witnesses in Rome the bloody downfall of the Empire and the rise of the "Second Republic", and "Tales from the Venia Woods", where two Teutonic children unknowingly reveal the hiding place of the last of the Caesars, the last Roman emperor. The final tale, "To the Promised Land", about Hebrews building spaceships to escape Earth and an inevitable collapse of the Second Republic is among the least effective in this collection. And yet, to Robert Silverberg's credit, he has written a future history almost as compelling as Kim Stanley Robinson's "The Years of Rice and Salt".

(Reposted from my 2004 Amazon review.)
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
February 3, 2004 – Finished Reading
February 10, 2012 – Shelved
February 10, 2012 – Shelved as: science-fiction
February 10, 2012 – Shelved as: short-story-collection

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