NO ONE COULD STOP THEM--NOT STALIN, NOT TOGO, NOT CHURCHILL, NOT ROOSEVELT . . . The invaders had cut the United States virtually in half at the Mississippi, vaporized Washington, D.C., devastated much of Europe, and held large parts of the Soviet Union under their thumb.But humanity would not give up so easily. The new world allies were ruthless at finding their foe's weaknesses and exploiting them.Whether delivering supplies in tiny biplanes to partisans across the vast steppes of Russia, working furiously to understand the enemy's captured radar in England, or battling house to house on the streets of Chicago, humankind would never give up.Yet no one could say when the hellish inferno of death would stop being a war of conquest and turn into a war of survival--the very survival of the planet . . .
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December 31, 1994
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Excerpt from Tilting the Balance (Worldwar, Book Two) by Harry Turtledove
For nostalgia's sake, Fleetlord Atvar called up the hologram of the Tosevite warrior he had often studied before the invasion fleet actually reached the world of Tosev 3. Nostalgia was an emotion that came easily to the Race: with a unified history of a hundred thousand years, with an empire that stretched over three solar systems and now reached out to a fourth, the past seemed a safe, comfortable place, not least because it was so much like the present.
The hologram sprang into being before the fleetlord: a stalwart savage, his pinkish face sprouting yellowish hairs, clad in soft iron mail and woven animal and plant fibers, armed with spear and rust-flecked sword, and mounted on a Tosevite quadruped that looked distinctly too scrawny for the job of carrying him.
Sighing, Atvar turned to the shiplord Kirel, who commanded the 127th Emperor Hetto, bannership of the invasion fleet. He stabbed a fingerclaw at the image. "If only it had been so easy," he said with a sigh.
"Yes, Exalted Fleetlord." Kirel sighed, too. He turned both eye turrets toward the hologram. "It was what the probe led us to expect."
"Yes," Atvar said sourly. Preparing in its methodical way for another conquest, the Race had sent a probe across the interstellar void sixteen hundred years before (years of the Race, of course; Tosev 3 orbited its primary only about half as fast). The probe dutifully sampled the planet, sent its images and data back Home. The Race prepared the invasion fleet and sent it out, certain of easy victory: how much could a world change in a mere sixteen hundred years?
Atvar touched a control in the base of the holographic projector. The Tosevite warrior disappeared. New images took the Big Ugly's place: a Russki landcruiser, red star painted on its turret, lightly armed and protected by the Race's standards but well-designed, with sloped armor and wide treads for getting over the worst ground; an American heavy machine gun, with a belt full of big slugs that tore through body armor as if it were fiberboard; a Deutsch killercraft, turbojets slung under swept wings, nose bristling with cannon.
Kirel pointed toward the killercraft. "That one concerns me more than either of the others, Exalted Fleetlord. By the Emperor" -- both he and Atvar briefly cast down their eyes at the mention of the sovereign -- "the Deutsche did not have that aircraft less than two years ago, when our campaign began."
"I know," Atvar said. "All their aircraft -- all Tosevite aircraft then -- were those slow, awkward things propelled by rapidly rotating airfoils. But now the British are flying jets, too."
He summoned an image of the new British killercraft. It didn't look as menacing as the machine the Deutsche made: its wings lacked sweep and its lines were more graceful, less predatory. From the reports Atvar had read, it didn't perform quite as well as the Deutsch killercraft, either. But it was a quantum leap better than anything the British had put into the air before.