CHAT: Turtledove (was: RE: Nov 11th)
|From:||And Rosta <a.rosta@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, November 17, 1999, 16:10|
[This message entirely CHAT]
> Quoth Nik Taylor:
> > Kinda reminds me of a book I read once, called "The Great War: American
> > Front". It was an alternate history book.
> Harry Turtledove is *awesome* at doing alternate history. I'm right now
> working through his Worldwar series, whose premise is an alien invasion
> that takes place in ~1942 amidst WWII, and the concomitant battle for
> the planet. Seriously, he's gotta be at least somewhat linguistically
> oriented, because he's pulling out all sorts of French, German, Yiddish,
> and Russian for this. :)
Which of his books would you recommend? [That's a genuine request, not
a polite preamble to me saying my piece.]
I somewhat randomly bought a load (because "try Harry Turtledove" was
what I got when I solicited a recommendation of books to read from an
august conlanger). _A world of difference_ is possibly the worst novel
I've read for many years. Its prose is of peerless banality. (And my
literary tastes are very much middlebrow.) _Guns of the South_ was much
better written (better in its prose if not in other respects), but while
it is perhaps interesting to speculate for two minutes about Robert E.
Lee with an AK47, time travelling white supremacists stretched my
disbelief to the point of insuspensibility; or perhaps it would be
better to say: stretched suspension of disbelief beyond my willingness.
> > The premise behind it was that during the Civil War, Britain stepped
> > in to mediate a treaty between the USA and the CSA (The South), using
> > the threat of intervening on the CSA's side to force the USA to agree.
> Not exactly: the idea was that in real life the Confederacy lost an
> important set of orders, but in the book those orders went through and
> turned the tide (or rather, allowed the Confederacy to demonstrate that
> it could defend itself indefinitely, at which point Britain and France
> stepped in and recognised the Richmond government).
This sounds like _How few remain_, which I bought but haven't read. Is
_The Great War: American Front_ a sequel, or what?
BTW, the best Alternative History/Uchronian work for *conlangers* I've
come across so far is _For want of a nail_ by Robert Sobel. This is not
because it has anything to do with linguistics, but rather because it
is not a fictional novel but a fictional historical treatise. It is
therefore a counterpart of fictional grammatical treatises, such as
have been created for, e.g., Tepa, Kinya, Denden. I think many conlangers
opening this book would experience a sense both of delighted recognition
of the nature of the creative impulses behind it and of admiration at
the achievment. I am surprised Sobel's book (1973) found enough of a
readership to remain in print.