A Midsummer Tempest

A Midsummer Tempest is a 1974 alternative history fantasy novel by Poul Anderson. In 1975, it was nominated for the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel[2] and the Nebula Award for Best Novel[2] and won the Mythopoeic Award.

A Midsummer Tempest
First edition cover
AuthorPoul Anderson
Cover artistTim Lewis[1]
CountryUnited States
GenreAlternate history/
Fantasy novel
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardcover & Paperback)
Pages207 pp
LC ClassPZ4.A549 Mi PS3551.N378

Plot introduction

The setting is in a parallel world where William Shakespeare was not the Bard but the Great Historian. In this world, all the events depicted within Shakespeare's plays were accounts of historical fact, not fiction. As some of the plays depicted anachronistic technology, Anderson extrapolated that this world was more technologically advanced than in reality. However, the fairies of A Midsummer Night's Dream are also part of this world. The novel takes place in the era of Cromwell and Charles I, but the characters deal with the English Civil War which is coeval with an Industrial Revolution. The fairy element provides a plot tension with the more advanced technology.

Although various plays are alluded to, the plot is chiefly shaped by A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Tempest.

As part of the homage to Shakespeare, the nobler characters speak in blank verse and at least one sonnet, printed as prose.

Plot summary

Prince Rupert is taken by the Roundheads; held captive at a country house, he falls in love with his captor's niece, Jennifer. One of his troopers, Will Fairweather, followed him to the house where he was held captive; with the help of Jennifer, Will brings him to Oberon and Titania, who offer magical aid. Rupert and Jennifer exchange magic rings that will aid them as long as they are true to each other. Rupert sets out with Will to find the books that Prospero sank, in order to aid King Charles.

Rupert, fleeing Roundheads, finds refuge in a magical inn, The Old Phoenix, which proves to be a nexus between parallel worlds. Inside the tavern, he meets Valeria Matuchek, who is from an alternate history twentieth-century America. (Originally, the character had been a child in Anderson's Operation Chaos and a teenager in its sequel, Operation Luna, but is now an adult.) Holger Carlsen is another guest, born in a world where the Matter of France is history, and later trapped in "our own" twentieth-century America (the hero of Anderson's Three Hearts and Three Lions). Valeria explains what will happen in the English Civil War in "our" timeline, including the king's execution, strengthening Rupert's determination to change events here. He finds a Spanish ship that will transport him; it is carrying an ambassador and his wife.

Jennifer's Puritan uncle discovers her on her return, when she resolves to use the ring to find Rupert. She is brought, captive, to a port, where the ring enables her to steal a boat and set sail. The ambassador's wife uses a magic potion to seduce Rupert, and the rings fail. Rupert cannot find his way to the island, and Jennifer is stranded at sea. Despairing, Rupert takes to the library at Milan to try to work out where to find the island and books. Jennifer's plight becomes desperate from thirst, but Ariel (from The Tempest) finds her and brings her to the island. Rupert works out the location, and Jennifer and he are reconciled.

They retrieve the books and magically bear them back to England. Charles I has taken up a position near Glastonbury Tor for reasons he does not understand. Rupert attempts the magic; Will Fairweather is possessed by a spirit of England and stirs up the magic of the land. The Roundheads are defeated, and Charles I wins the English Civil War.

At the Old Phoenix, Valeria believes that even if "romantic reactionaries" like Charles I won the English Civil War here, there is still the prospect of technological advance in North America. However, the fairies believed differently—they supported the Cavalier cause to delay the disenchantment of this world.

Rupert and Jennifer return the rings to Oberon and Titania, and retire to a peaceful married life.


Lester del Rey found Anderson's invention to be "a lovely conceit" and reported the novel to be "a fantasy I can recommend with pleasure."[3] Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reviewer Diana Yates described the novel as "an intriguing 'what-if' story ... that could never be considered historical but is indeed fanciful."[4]


The Old Phoenix appears in several of Poul Anderson's short stories as a nexus between worlds.

One of the guards sent to escort Jennifer when she is being used as bait in a trap for the catching of Prince Rupert is named "Nehemiah Scudder". That was the name of the First Prophet in Heinlein's "If This Goes On—".


  1. ^ "Publication: A Midsummer Tempest". The Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Retrieved 2017-09-08.
  2. ^ a b "1975 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-07-26.
  3. ^ "Reading Room", If, August 1974, pp.147
  4. ^ "Book Review", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, October 26, 1978, p.29

External links

Alternate history

Alternate history or alternative history (Commonwealth English) (AH), is a genre of speculative fiction consisting of stories in which one or more historical events occur differently. These stories usually contain "what if" scenarios at crucial points in history and present outcomes other than those in the historical record. The stories are conjectural but are sometimes based on fact. Alternate history has been seen as a subgenre of literary fiction, science fiction, or historical fiction; alternate history works may use tropes from any or all of these genres. Another term occasionally used for the genre is "allohistory" (literally "other history").Since the 1950s, this type of fiction has, to a large extent, merged with science fiction tropes involving time travel between alternate histories, psychic awareness of the existence of one universe by the people in another, or time travel that results in history splitting into two or more timelines. Cross-time, time-splitting, and alternate history themes have become so closely interwoven that it is impossible to discuss them fully apart from one another.

In Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Catalan and Galician, the genre of alternate history is called uchronie / ucronia / ucronía / Uchronie, which has given rise to the term Uchronia in English. This neologism is based on the prefix ου- (which in Ancient Greek means "not/not any/no") and the Greek χρόνος (chronos), meaning "time". A uchronia means literally "(in) no time". This term apparently also inspired the name of the alternate history book list, uchronia.net.

High Deryni

High Deryni is a historical fantasy novel by American-born author Katherine Kurtz. It was first published by Ballantine Books as the sixty-first volume of the celebrated Ballantine Adult Fantasy series in September, 1973, and has been reprinted a number of times since. A revised and updated edition of the novel was released in 2007 by Ace Books. High Deryni was the third of Kurtz' Deryni novels to be published, and the final book in the Chronicles of the Deryni Trilogy. The next Deryni book to be published was Camber of Culdi, which details events that occur two centuries before High Deryni. However, the internal literary chronology of events in the Deryni series is continued in The Bishop's Heir.

List of fictional bars and pubs

This is a list of notable fictional bars and pubs.

List of fictional books

A fictional book is a non-existent book created specifically for (i.e. within) a work of fiction. This is not a list of works of fiction (i.e., novels, mysteries, etc.), but rather imaginary books that do not exist.

Magic ring

A magic ring is a ring, usually a finger ring, that has magical properties. It appears frequently in fantasy and fairy tales. Magic rings are found in the folklore of every country where rings are worn. Some magic rings can endow the wearer with a variety of abilities including invisibility and immortality. Others can grant wishes or spells such as neverending love and happiness. Sometimes, magic rings can be cursed, as in the mythical ring that was recovered by Sigurd from the hoard of the dragon Fafnir in Norse mythology or the fictional ring that features in The Lord of the Rings. More often, however, they are featured as forces for good, or as a neutral tool whose value is dependent upon the wearer.A finger ring is a convenient choice for a magic item: it is ornamental, distinctive and often unique, a commonly worn item, of a shape that is often endowed with mystical properties (circular), can carry an enchanted stone, and is usually worn on a finger, which can be easily pointed at a target.

Magician (fantasy)

A magician also known as a mage, warlock, witch, wizard, enchanter/enchantress, or sorcerer/sorceress, is someone who uses or practices magic derived from supernatural, occult, or arcane sources. Magicians are common figures in works of fantasy, such as fantasy literature and role-playing games, and enjoy a rich history in mythology, legends, fiction, and folklore.

Mechanical (character)

A mechanical is any of six characters in A Midsummer Night's Dream who perform the play-within-a-play Pyramus and Thisbe. Named for their occupations as skilled manual laborers, they are a group of amateur and mostly incompetent actors from around Athens, looking to make names for themselves by having their production chosen among several acts as the courtly entertainment for the royal wedding party of Theseus and Hippolyta.

The biggest ham among them, Bottom, becomes the unlikely object of interest for the fairy queen Titania after she is charmed by a love potion and he is turned into a monster with the head, eyes and ears of an ass by the servant-spirit Puck.

Mythopoeic Awards

The Mythopoeic Awards for literature and literary studies are given by the Mythopoeic Society to authors of outstanding works in the fields of myth, fantasy, and the scholarly study of these areas.From 1971 to 1991 there were two awards, annual but not always awarded before 1981, recognizing Mythopoeic Fantasy and Mythopoeic Scholarship (Inklings Studies). Dual awards in each category were established in 1992: Mythopoeic Fantasy Awards for Adult Literature and Children's Literature; Scholarship Awards in Inklings Studies and Myth and Fantasy Studies.

In 2010 a Student Paper Award was introduced for the best paper presented at Mythcon by an undergraduate or graduate student; it was renamed the Alexei Kondratiev Award several months after its creation.The 2016 finalists were announced at the beginning of June and the awards were announced August 7, 2016, at the annual conference.

Nebula Award for Best Novel

The Nebula Award for Best Novel is given each year by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) for science fiction or fantasy novels. A work of fiction is defined by the organization as a novel if it is 40,000 words or longer; awards are also given out for pieces of shorter lengths in the categories of short story, novelette, and novella. To be eligible for Nebula Award consideration a novel must be published in English in the United States. Works published in English elsewhere in the world are also eligible provided they are released on either a website or in an electronic edition. The Nebula Award for Best Novel has been awarded annually since 1966. Novels which were expanded forms of previously published short stories are eligible, as are novellas published by themselves if the author requests them to be considered as a novel. The award has been described as one of "the most important of the American science fiction awards" and "the science-fiction and fantasy equivalent" of the Emmy Awards.Nebula Award nominees and winners are chosen by members of the SFWA, though the authors of the nominees do not need to be members. Works are nominated each year between November 15 and February 15 by published authors who are members of the organization, and the six works that receive the most nominations then form the final ballot, with additional nominees possible in the case of ties. Members may then vote on the ballot throughout March, and the final results are presented at the Nebula Awards ceremony in May. Authors are not permitted to nominate their own works, and ties in the final vote are broken, if possible, by the number of nominations the works received. Beginning with the 2009 awards, the rules were changed to the current format. Prior to then, the eligibility period for nominations was defined as one year after the publication date of the work, which allowed the possibility for works to be nominated in the calendar year after their publication and then be awarded in the calendar year after that. Works were added to a preliminary list for the year if they had ten or more nominations, which were then voted on to create a final ballot, to which the SFWA organizing panel was also allowed to add an additional work.During the 53 nomination years, 183 authors have had works nominated; 40 of these have won, including co-authors and ties. Ursula K. Le Guin has received the most Nebula Awards for Best Novel with four wins out of six nominations. Joe Haldeman has received three awards out of four nominations, while nine other authors have won twice. Jack McDevitt has the most nominations at twelve, with one win, while Poul Anderson and Philip K. Dick have the most nominations without winning an award at five.

Operation Chaos (novel)

Operation Chaos is a 1971 science fantasy fixup novel by American writer Poul Anderson. A sequel, Operation Luna, was published in 1999.

Poul Anderson bibliography

The following is a list of works by science fiction and fantasy author Poul Anderson.

See also Category:Works by Poul Anderson

Prince Rupert of the Rhine

Prince Rupert of the Rhine, Duke of Cumberland, (17 December 1619 – 29 November 1682) was a noted German soldier, admiral, scientist, sportsman, colonial governor and amateur artist during the 17th century. He first came to prominence as a Cavalier cavalry commander during the English Civil War.Rupert was a younger son of the German prince Frederick V, Elector Palatine and his wife Elizabeth, the eldest daughter of James VI of Scotland and I of England. Thus Rupert was the nephew of King Charles I of England, who made him Duke of Cumberland and Earl of Holderness, and the first cousin of King Charles II of England. His sister Electress Sophia was the mother of George I of Great Britain.

Prince Rupert had a varied career. He was a soldier from a young age, fighting against Spain in the Netherlands during the Eighty Years' War (1568–1648), and against the Holy Roman Emperor in Germany during the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648). Aged 23, he was appointed commander of the Royalist cavalry during the English Civil War, becoming the archetypal Cavalier of the war and ultimately the senior Royalist general. He surrendered after the fall of Bristol and was banished from England. He served under Louis XIV of France against Spain, and then as a Royalist privateer in the Caribbean. Following the Restoration, Rupert returned to England, becoming a senior English naval commander during the Second and Third Anglo-Dutch wars, engaging in scientific invention, art, and serving as the first governor of the Hudson's Bay Company. Rupert died in England in 1682, aged 62.

Rupert is considered to have been a quick-thinking and energetic cavalry general, but ultimately undermined by his youthful impatience in dealing with his peers during the Civil War. In the Interregnum, Rupert continued the conflict against Parliament by sea from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean, showing considerable persistence in the face of adversity. As the head of the Royal Navy in his later years, he showed greater maturity and made impressive and long-lasting contributions to the Royal Navy's doctrine and development. As a colonial governor, Rupert shaped the political geography of modern Canada—Rupert's Land was named in his honour, and he was a founder of the Hudson's Bay Company. He also played a role in the early African slave trade. Rupert's varied and numerous scientific and administrative interests combined with his considerable artistic skills made him one of the more colourful individuals of the Restoration period.

Three Hearts and Three Lions

Three Hearts and Three Lions is a 1961 fantasy novel by American writer Poul Anderson, expanded from a 1953 novella by Anderson which appeared in Fantasy & Science Fiction.

World Fantasy Award—Novel

The World Fantasy Awards are given each year by the World Fantasy Convention for the best fantasy fiction published in English during the previous calendar year. The awards have been described by book critics such as The Guardian as a "prestigious fantasy prize", and one of the three most prestigious speculative fiction awards, along with the Hugo and Nebula Awards (which cover both fantasy and science fiction). The World Fantasy Award—Novel is given each year for fantasy novels published in English or translated into English. A work of fiction is defined by the organization as a novel if it is 40,000 words or longer; awards are also given out for pieces of shorter lengths in the Short Fiction and Long Fiction categories. The Novel category has been awarded annually since 1975.World Fantasy Award nominees and winners are decided by attendees and judges at the annual World Fantasy Convention. A ballot is posted in June for attendees of the current and previous two conferences to determine two of the finalists, and a panel of five judges adds three or more nominees before voting on the overall winner. The panel of judges is typically made up of fantasy authors and is chosen each year by the World Fantasy Awards Administration, which has the power to break ties. The final results are presented at the World Fantasy Convention at the end of October. Winners were presented with a statue in the form of a bust of H. P. Lovecraft through the 2015 awards; more recent winners receive a statuette of a tree.During the 44 nomination years, 154 authors have had works nominated; 45 of them have won, including ties. Five authors have won twice: Gene Wolfe, out of eight nominations; Tim Powers, out of five; Patricia McKillip, out of four; Jeffrey Ford, out of three; and James K. Morrow for both of his nominations. Wolfe has the most nominations for an author who has won at least once, while Stephen King has the most nominations without winning, at nine, followed by Charles L. Grant at six and Jonathan Carroll at five.

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