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alternate history

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

I enjoy reading a genre of science/speculative fiction where a writer takes a historical event, and tweaks a key point, and then imagine what might happen if it had turned out differently. A favorite of mine from this area is a guy named Harry Turtledove, who also writes fantasy novels/series, but it best known for his reimaginings of events following, say, an alien invasion of earth in the middle of World War II, or the aftermath of a southern victory in the Civil War.

Right now, I'm finishing up his "Hot War" series, which takes place in an alternate Korean War scenario, where Harry Truman dropped an atomic bomb on Chinese territory to try and relieve the American and UN troops being overrun at the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin didn't take this atomic insult to his communist friends lightly, and set a few radioactive fires of his own, and that sets the scene for Turtledove's three book series describing the course and aftermath of this third World War.

Turtledove's books are easy reads, but he does manage to keep my attention with compelling characters amidst interesting "What if" scenarios, enough that I can overlook his penchant for re-describing characters' situation multiple times within each book, as if we'd forget why soldier X was digging a foxhole for the umpteenth time only 30 or so pages after the previous foxhole was dug.

Worth looking into if you're a fan of history and speculative fiction.
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    My book group Novel Conversations is doing alternative history as our genre next meeting. I don't know if anyone will be reading Turtledove. I have a few books. Empire of Lies by Raymond Khoury, a thriller which imagines the Ottoman Empire conquered Europe. An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris, a thriller which imagines America is shattered into different countries when Franklin Roosevelt is assassinated before being sworn in. Christian Nation by Frederick C Rich, where John McCain is elected, is sworn in and dies,making Sarah Palin President. There are several more but those are the ones I'm reading currently.
    21 days ago
    Books sounds great happy reading
    22 days ago
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