A World of Difference Author:Harry Turtledove When the Viking lander on the planet Minerva was destroyed, sending back one last photo of a strange alien being, scientists on Earth were flabbergasted. And so a joint investigation was launched by the United States and the Soviet Union, the first long-distance manned space mission, and a symbol of the new peace between the two great rivals.Hum... more »ankind's first close encounter with extraterrestrials would be history in the making, and the two teams were schooled in diplomacy as well as in science. But nothing prepared them for alien war -- especially when the Americans and the Soviets found themselves on opposite sides...« less
Early Turtledove. More of a pure SciFi story in the tradition of Heinlein, etc. than alternate history.
Interesting story. 2 Manned probes to planet "Minerva" encounter intelligent yet non-technical life. One probe is Russian one US. Cold War issues intervene and a brewing conflict among the natives is made worse by involvement of the humans.