Fantasy/SF Book Reviews

The Internet Writing Journal, October 1998

Page One of Two

Departures by Harry Turtledove

Del Rey, June 1993.
Paperback, 342 pages.
ISBN: 0345380118.
Ordering information:
Amazon.com. | Amazon.co.uk


Cover of Departures
by Harry Turtledove This appealing collection of short stories from master alternative history storyteller Harry Turtledove, author of The Guns of the South, provides entertaining historical plot twists for the reader. Lovers of alternative history and science fiction will be enchanted with these tales that include a genetically altered pig that might be considered a kosher meat, a baseball player that continually gets fluke hits, a retired confederate captain who returns to the battlefield for a reunion and a student who finds Genghis Kahn in the twentieth century. Rich characters and scenes make the stories come to life. Departures is a grand collection of alternative history and science fiction short stories. A great way for readers to introduce themselves to the alternative history genre.


The Great War: American Front by Harry Turtledove

Del Rey, June 1998.
Hardcover, 503 pages.
ISBN: 034540615X.
Ordering information:
Amazon.com.


Cover of The Great War: American Front
by Harry Turtledove This massive work by leading alternative novelist Harry Turtledove postulates what World War I could have been like had the United States never joined together as one country. The book comprises the full development and action of an engaging war between two sides of the United States in 1914, known as the Great War. The Northern States (called the United States) have joined forces with Germany and are led by President Ted Roosevelt. The Southern States (called the Confederacy) have joined forces with Britain and France and are led by President Woodrow Wilson. On either side are the blacks, who are still slaves in the South, and are oppressed and looked down upon by most of the Whites in the country. The Great War ravages North America and takes place on land, sea and the sky as Turtledove shows how the airplane becomes a remarkable fighting machine. The book also provides frightening depictions of the introduction of the machine gun on the war front. The novel focuses on the lives of specific characters and their personal experiences in dealing with the Great War, including Scipio an educated black servant for a white southern woman who has to deal with two sides of the war, Abner Dowling a bright lieutenant who has to diminish and thwart some of the inane battle plans of his commanding general George Custer and Irving Morrell a brave captain trapped in a hospital, who has to fool the doctors into not aumputating his leg and letting him return to the battlefield.

Believable characters and alternative historical accounts that seem like real historical events make the reader believe this could really have been the way it happened if our country had never united. A moving and spellbinding work.


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