Jeremy Solter is a teenager growing up in the late twenty-first century. During the school year, his family lives in Southern California -- but during the summer the whole family lives and works on the frontier of the Roman Empire. Not the Roman Empire that fell centuries ago, but a Roman Empire that never fell: a parallel timeline, one of an infinity of possible worlds. At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
November 10, 2003
Number of Print Pages*
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Gunpowder Empire by Harry Turtledove
When Jeremy Solters found a note from his mother in his lunchbox, he started to laugh. He couldn't help it. So many ways she might have got hold of him -- e-mail to his handheld, e-mail to his desktop, voicemail to his phone, a tingle on the implant behind his ear. But what did she pick The most primitive comm mode she could find, and the one most likely to go wrong. That was Mom, all right. Maybe she'd spent too much time out in the alternates. She forgot to use technology when she had it at her fingertips.
He unfolded the note and made sense of her scrawl. Stop at the store on the way home and pick up two kilos of apples, she wrote. Jeremy laughed again and reread the note to make sure he had it right. He supposed he should have been glad she hadn't talked about pounds and ounces. He never could remember which was bigger. And he supposed he should have been glad she'd remembered to write in English. He could have read neoLatin. But if she'd used Koine or Great Serbian or any of the Indic languages, she wouldn't have got her precious apples.
"What's that " Michael Fujikawa asked, as Jeremy wadded up the piece of paper and tossed it in the direction of the trash can.
"Note from my mom, if you can believe it," Jeremy told his friend. The crumpled note bounced off the front of the trash can. Jeremy sighed. He unfolded from his perch on a concrete bench, picked up the paper, and threw it out. He was tall and skinny, but he'd never made the Canoga Park High basketball team. This wasn't the first time he'd proved he couldn't shoot.
Michael only nodded. "Oh, yeah," he said. He was short and kind of round. Most of Jeremy's friends were short and kind of round. He sometimes wondered if that meant anything. Before he could do more than start to wonder now, Michael went on, "My dad will do the same thing. When he comes home from an alternate, it's like he has trouble remembering he's at the end of the twenty-first century, not stuck in a fifteenth-century equivalent or whatever."
"Maybe that's it," Jeremy agreed. "I was thinking the same thing about Mom."
The sun beat down on him. It was only May, but it was supposed to get up past thirty today. The Valley was like that. When real summer came, it could climb over forty for a week at a time.
Jeremy ate his sandwich and his yogurt and an orange from a Palestine that hadn't seen a century and a half of murder and war. That Palestine was a sleepy Turkish province where nothing much ever happened. The oranges and lemons were especially fine there. He didn't know whether that was better or worse than the Palestine in his own world. It sure was different, though.
Michael's lunch had a couple of golden plums of a sort Jeremy hadn't seen before. He pointed to the one his friend was eating. "Where'd that come from " he asked.
"Safeway," Michael said unhelpfully.
"Thanks a lot," Jeremy told him. "Which world did it come from, I mean It's not one of ours, is it "
"I don't think so," Michael said. "But I don't know which alternate it's from. All I know is, Dad brought it home when he did the shopping the other day. Half the time, the store labels don't tell anyhow."
"They're supposed to," Jeremy said. "The EPA gets on 'em if they don't."