It’s my last story to read from Rayguns Over Texas. I’ll need to find a new book of short stories to review, now that I’ve finished this one!
Published: 2013 in Rayguns Over Texas.
Genre: alternate history
Setting: the U.S. at the end of WWII
Summary: George Washington discovered a pool of water that bestows immortality and has ruled the United States as monarch ever since. Of course, the U.S. is only the Eastern states, and there are several other sovereign nations on the North American continent, including the Republic of Texas. Sam Houston, who also partook of the pool’s water, is currently President of Texas, and once again trying to convince Washington to allow equal access to the Immortality Pool. Washington seems to have unlimited power, especially now that Einstein has turned alchemist and figured out how to modify the pool’s water for multiple uses. Texas has an ace in the hole, though, since they’ve convinced Einstein to turn traitor and develop a bomb to release the magic trapped in the Immortality Pool. Turns out, Einstein has other plans and the bomb won’t do exactly what the Texans expect.
Final thoughts: This was a strong story to finish on. I found the alternate history based around Washington’s immortality quite interesting. In Rountree’s vision, Washington continues to rule the U.S. What kind of problems would develop when your ruler is immortal and controls the source of immortality? It’s tolerable as long as the pool only provides immortality, but once Einstein figures out how to create magical fission bombs, and turning back time, and magical shock troops, the world has some serious problems. Houston recognizes those problems very quickly, and acts on them (hopefully before Washington has time to stop him). I loved the set-up to the story, but the ended seemed a bit soft. The story just kind of stops, with no real resolution to the conflict.
Title comes from: It probably refers to the energy being harnessed by Einstein in the Immortality Pool.
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