The twentieth century was awash in war. World powers were pouring men and machines onto the killing fields of Europe. Then, in one dramatic stroke, a divided planet was changed forever. An alien race attacked Earth, and for every nation, every human being, new battle lines were drawn. . HOMEWARD BOUNDWith his epic novels of alternate history, Harry Turtledove shares a stunning vision of what might have been-and what might still be-if one moment in history were changed. In the WorldWar and Colonization series, an ancient, highly advanced alien species found itself locked in a bitter struggle with a distant, rebellious planet-Earth. For those defending the Earth, this all-out war for survival supercharged human technology, made friends of foes, and turned allies into bitter enemies.
Alternate-history maestro Turtledove's conclusion to his Worldwar and Colonization sagas, about how lizard-like aliens known as the Race invaded Earth during WWII and were fought to a stalemate by the major Allied and Axis combatants, lacks the vividly described battle scenes of its predecessors, but more than compensates by closely examining the Race's culture and society. While the Race have colonized much of Earth, they're amazed by the human ability to adapt to change. (The aliens' probe some 600 years earlier led them to expect they'd be facing armored knights.) When an American starship makes the trip to Home, the Race's planet of origin, the lizards fear the loss of their technological dominance and decide to annihilate Earth, their colony included-until another Earth spaceship arrives, this one with the faster-than-light drive the Race never developed. The question of how much common ground exists between the lizards and humans wouldn't have been out of place in old issues of Astounding. The author dramatizes the old "nature versus nurture" argument through the moving stories of a human woman raised from birth by the lizards and of two aliens raised as humans. Fans will be pleased that room remains for a sequel. Agent, Russ Galen. (On sale Dec. 28) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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December 27, 2004
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Excerpt from Homeward Bound by Harry Turtledove
Fleetlord Atvar pressed his fingerclaw into the opening for a control. There is a last time for everything, he thought with dignity as a holographic image sprang into being above his desk. He'd studied the image of that armed and armored Big Ugly a great many times indeed in the sixty years thirty of this planet's slow revolutions around its star, since coming to Tosev 3.
The Tosevite rode a beast with a mane and a long, flowing tail. He wore chainmail that needed a good scouring to get rid of the rust. His chief weapon was an iron-tipped spear. The spearhead also showed tiny flecks of rust, and some not so tiny. To protect himself against similarly armed enemies, the Tosevite carried a shield with a red cross painted on it.
Another poke of the fingerclaw made the hologram disappear. Atvar's mouth fell open in an ironic laugh. The Race had expected to face that kind of opposition when it sent its conquest fleet from Home to Tosev 3. Why not? It had all seemed so reasonable. The probe had shown no high technology anywhere on the planet, and the conquest fleet was only sixteen hundred years behind eight hundred years here. How much could technology change in eight hundred years?
Back on Home, not much. Here . . . Here, when the conquest fleet arrived, the Big Uglies had been fighting an immense war among themselves, fighting not with spears and beasts and chainmail but with machine guns, with cannon-carrying landcruisers, with killercraft that spat death from the air, with radio and telephones. They'd been working on guided missiles and on nuclear weapons.
And so, despite battles bigger and fiercer than anyone back on Home could have imagined, the conquest fleet hadn't quite conquered. More than half the land area of Tosev 3 had come under its control, but several not-empires a notion of government that still seemed strange to Atvar- full of Big Uglies (and, not coincidentally, full of nuclear weapons) remained independent. Atvar couldn't afford to wreck the planet to beat the Tosevites into submission, not with the colonization fleet on the way and only twenty local years behind the fleet he commanded. The colonists had to have somewhere to settle.
He'd never expected to need to learn to be a diplomat. Being diplomatic with the obstreperous Big Uglies wasn't easy. Being diplomatic with the males and females of the conquest fleet had often proved even harder. They'd expected everything to be waiting for them and in good order when they arrived. They'd expected a conquered planet full of submissive primitives. They'd been loudly and unhappily surprised when they didn't get one. Here ten local years after their arrival, a lot of them still were