Sunday, January 15, 2006

Curious Notions, by Harry Turtledove

Curious Notions: A Crosstime Traffic Novel, by Harry Turtledove

This is the second book in the Crosstime Traffic series. While not as well written as the first outing, it does explore a more interesting alternate. In this earth, the Kaiser won WWI and then successfully invaded America in the 1950’s. Well over 100 years later, the USA is still under the jackboot of the Germans. The technology of this world is advanced enough so they could possibly figure out the secret of crossing worlds, which is a serious concern to the prime earth. Of course, a poorly educated 17 year old girl is able to figure out the secret, so it is a bit hard to swallow that the greatest minds of that time can’t. Concentrating on plot holes isn’t a good idea, though, or you might start to wonder why a society that can print money and identification papers that passes for perfection in the alternate worlds bothers to trade at all. The deus ex machina bailout (twice, actually!) of the ending doesn’t help regain any credibility, either. With the simple, repetitive writing and young protagonists, I suspect that this series would be better marketed towards young adults.

First Sentence:
Every now and then, Lucy Woo could pretend that San Francisco was a great city in a great country.

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