"The Undiscovered" is an alternate history short story by William Sanders that won the Sidewise Award for Alternate History. "The Undiscovered" was originally published in the March 1997 issue of Asimov's and, in addition to its Sidewise Award nomination, was nominated for the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, and the Theodore Sturgeon Award. The story was subsequently reprinted in The Year's Best Science Fiction: Fifteenth Annual Collection, The Best Alternate History Stories of the 20th Century, and Best of the Best: 20 Years of the Year's Best Science Fiction.
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The story is narrated by a Cherokee man in the late 16th century. An English immigrant called the Spear-Shaker has been captured by the narrator's tribe, and is essentially adopted by them. The Spear-Shaker tries to introduce the concept of stage play to the tribe by producing a version of Hamlet for them, but mutual cultural misunderstandings make this very difficult. The story's tone is a comic farce, but the message is pessimistic, seeming to say that genius and hard work guarantee nothing, and that failure and constant alienation may even be the most likely result in some cases.
- Schmunk, Robert B. (1998). "Winners and Finalists". Sidewise Award for Alternate History. Uchronia. Retrieved 2011-06-14.
- Sanders, William (March 1997). "The Undiscovered". Asimov's Science Fiction. New York: Dell Magazines: 86.
- "1998 Hugo Awards". The Hugo Awards. WSFS. 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-14.
- "1998 Nebula Awards". The Locus Guide to SF Awards. Locus. 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-14.
- "1998 Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award". The Locus Guide to SF Awards. Locus. 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-14.
- Dozois, Gardner (1998). The Year's Best Science Fiction: Fifteenth Annual Collection. 15. New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 224. ISBN 0-312-19033-6.
- Turtledove, Harry (2001). The Best Alternate History Stories of the 20th Century. New York: Del Rey. p. 270. ISBN 0-345-43990-2.
- Dozois, Gardner (2005). The Best of the Best : 20 Years of the Year's Best Science Fiction. New York: St Martin's Griffin. p. 380. ISBN 0-312-33656-X.
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