Book of the Week: Twice as Dead.

I’m going to be brutally honest, here: Harry Turtledove’s recent dive into undisguised commentary on contemporary politics and mores has aged incredibly badly. I used to buy his books in hardcover; I didn’t even bother picking up the last couple. That being said… I’ll give him one last chance with Twice as Dead. I fully understand it if other people don’t feel obligated to give him that chance, but I hate just the thought of a final break with the author who gave me Videssos and Ruled Britannia. If that makes me a sap, so be it. I will own the moniker.


Books of the Week: The Darkness series.

I’m rereading Harry Turtledove’s Darkness series. It’s basically the retelling of World War II through a fantasy lens, with a lot of linguistic and anthropological jokes crammed in. Turtledove might be getting a little, ah, cranky at times lately, but this is good stuff. Worth checking out.

Book of the Week: Alpha and Omega.

Alpha and Omega is a bit of a departure for Harry Turtledove in that it is not alternate history: it is, instead, a look at what it would be like if [X]-millenarianism became a thing (prefix carefully not specified). As in, Third Temple rebuilding and red heifers and just how literally* Christians should take the Book of Revelation. There’s a lot of people who will find the book to be rank heresy, of course, but the folks likely to be most upset are hard-shelled secularists: Turtledove does his very best to keep from using the standard lazy slams at various faith traditions, and in a lot of ways his fundamentalist Christian viewpoint character is the most open-minded of the bunch**. Even if his eventual conclusions lead right back to the ‘rank heresy’ thing (a result admittedly shared by every other viewpoint character in this book).

Continue reading Book of the Week: Alpha and Omega.

In the mail: Armistice: The Hot War.

Harry Turtledove’s latest in his Hot War series, which is set in an alternate universe where we started throwing A-bombs around in response to setbacks in the Korean War.  Armistice: The Hot War is shaping up to be one of those series where people don’t precisely win; they just kind of survive it.  Which is kind of interesting, because his last series (The War That Came Early) is the exact opposite.  In that alternate history the world thinks that it went through the wringer, even though having the war start over Czechoslovakia ended up ensuring that most of Western Europe got through it all relatively easily.  Heck, even the Germans ended up in that one with no Hitler, continued union with Austria, and the Holocaust stopped before it could even begin.

Sorry; geeking.  Anyway, it’s good, so far, but Armistice is the third book in a series. So read the first two… first.

Book of the Week: Every Inch A King.

Every Inch a King is not Harry Turtledove’s weightiest work; but it’s entertaining.  It’s only technically fantasy: basically, real life created a story so absurd that Turtledove had to add fantastic elements to it. Nobody would have believed that it happened, otherwise.

There’s a lesson, there.

And so, adieu to Binscombe Tales – The Complete Series.
Continue reading Book of the Week: Every Inch A King.

In The Mail: Harry Turtledove’s Last Orders.

Came this morning; spent the afternoon reading it. Last Orders: The War That Came Early is probably the last book in a series that postulates an alternative Second World War that started over Czechoslovakia and not Poland; no spoilers, but as you can imagine the situation ended rather differently for everybody concerned.  Whether it was for the better – specifically, over the long term – was not resolved by the end of this book.

I liked the series,  but if this sounds interesting to you you should start with Hitler’s War: The War That Came Early, Book One. Continue reading In The Mail: Harry Turtledove’s Last Orders.