Poul Anderson, A Midsummer Tempest, 1974

Imagine an alternate universe in which every word written by William Shakespeare was the literal, historical truth. Since that, in turn, would imply the existence of clocks capable of chiming the hour in Julius Caesar‘s Rome and cannons in Hamlet‘s tenth-century Denmark, it’d be no wonder if this world’s seventeenth century were more technologically advanced than ours! And, shades of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, of course there’d be myth and magic too!

Poul Anderson picks up this premise and runs with it, in a story peopled with a latter-day knight errant, a damsel who refuses to passively give in to distress, and a Shakespearean fool nearly the equal of Falstaff himself.

Watch for the rhyming couplets, and wait for the climax — it’s one you won’t soon forget!