Harry Turtlesdove's "Worldwar" series of books


Er, actually, NON-SPOILER warning. I am almost done with the 3rd book in the series. PLEASE don’t give away how it turns out, and the “Colonaiation” series is next, keep that to yourself too. Thank you.


I am really enjoying this series. I am a historian by training and Alternate History, when done like this, or like Mr. Turtledove did it in “How Few Remain”, is lots of fun! When history is strained through the PC crap we have to live with today, it’s bullshit. You can’t learn anything from that. History is the study of people and how they reacted to circumstances, not how it would be in your prissy ivory tower! Sorry. Has anyone else read this series, and what did you think?


As I read the books, it occurs to me that The Race is about where we are today, as far as warfare technology is concerned. Does anyone else get this impression? I keep thinking it would be a war of about a week or so had they landed now, not in 1942. We’d fry those Lizzards. Shame, really, I prefer a “Star Trek” vision of contact. Still, a bunch of DAMN good books!

Yes, I’ve read the Worldwar and Colonization series (so far that is, the Colonization series is still be written). I’ve also read the Great War series (How Few Remain is just the prequel to this ongoing multi volume series). I’ve also read most of Turtledove’s other books, many of which are also “alternate history”.

And I was lucky enough to be part of an online group with Harry Turtledove himself. He’s a fine fellow as well as a gifted author. Unfortunately, he ultimately decided his online activity was interfering with the time he needed for writing books, so he’s no longer online that I know of.

I’va also read the Worldwar and Colonization books. I thought the Worldwar books were better. They seemed to move along better. More action. The characters were well developed too. Turtledove is always a good read.

The Colonization books though…I guess I felt they were just too conservative. Once I got used to the series’ take on the situation, the books seemed to follow too orderly. They were a good story though.

I think my biggest problem with Colonization was just that I read them right after Worldwar. Too big a whack of the same author at the same time. I had the same problem with the Dune books too. Read too many in a row and the impact was lessened. When I re-read them at a slower pace they seemed better.

So, good books, a really good author, but I read them one after the other and overloaded.

Spoiler below*

Oh, and just to ruin the whole thing…[sub]the good guys win…sorta.[/sub]

Nope. I think you’ve missed something Weirddave: EMPs. The lizards attacked at the only possible moment in history where we had a chance. 20 years earlier, we would have been trashed, 20 years later, we’d have been vulnerable to Electromagnetic Pulse weapons (I believe that they EMP’d us early on but there was no real effect).

The military’s stuff may be shielded from massive EMPs, but civilian equipment isn’t and the level of infrastructure breakdown would be unbelieveable. Yeah, our military today is far better than theirs, but if we can’t get food to them, if all non-military computers, transportation and communication devices are now dead, the military’s in a lot of trouble.

Also, if we put up too serious of a fight too fast, there’s nothing to stop them from tossing a small asteroid at us and just waiting in orbit a decade or so for things to settle down. Remember, it took the lizards quite a while to realize they were in a real fight.

It’s a great series though!


I read a collection of Turtledove’s short story alternate history years and years ago- I remember very few of them, except for one where Muhammad converted to Christianity rather than founding Islam, and another based in present-day Germany where a little girl is told by her parents that they’re actually Jews living in secret in the Third Reich. I wonder if I still have the book floating around.

I ran across the Worldwar series in college, and read them all during finals week in my junior year. Goddamnit, I could have used that time to study. I liked it, in that it was relatively light reading.

My main complaint about his US alternate history (Guns of the South, How Few Remain, etc) is that


[sub]The bad guys win. And keep winning.[/sub] Other than that, it’s some of the best stuff I’ve read.

Uh, Fenris, HT points again and again how conservative and how slow to accept new concepts the Lizards are. I don’t think that an asteroid drop would be considered (they do not seem to be well versed in space combat). Maybe you’re confusing it with Niven and Pournelle’s Footfall.

On the other hand, I love the serie. What works for me, is all the little historical details, some easy to find, others that you catch only after rereading the books (I especially liked the Russian mine dogs incident and the Gustav affair)

I’m don’t think I am. First, I believe in book 3 (I may be misremembering)of the original series, one of the lizards suggests dropping an asteroid on them, but the idea is dismissed because the lizards are concerned about environmental damage and damage to their own operations, same reason they don’t indescriminatly nuke us from orbit. But if we seem like too much of a threat too early on, before they get too entangled, they may just ignore the eco-damage. Second, regardless of how slow to adapt the lizards are: dropping a asteroid can’t be a new concept for them: if they’re space-fareing it’s self-evident. All it takes is gravity. :slight_smile:


I’m sorry, but all I recall is that they we’re concerned about the use of nukes (of course, I’ve been known to be wrong before !).
Also, to Weirddave, have you read HT’s story “The last article”(in HT’s anthology Kaleidoscope and several others [I have at least four copies of it in four different anthologies])? The Nazis have won the European part of WWII (no US involvement) and it is about the occupation of India (Gandhi meets Model). It really brought home to me the limits of non-violence.

I read some of this series, but I fell out of it a while ago. It was good though.
Has anyone read those books that feature a civil-war division on another planet, fighting off nomadic aliens? I can’t remember what it was called. Harry Turtledove might have wrote it. Anyways, it’s also great.

The more Turtledove books I read the harder it is for me to decide which side is the bad guy. I start a chapter hoping the main character in the last chapter slaughters his enemies and by the end of the current chapter which invariably features a member of "the enemy " forces I have switched sides.

Turtledove’s books work wonderfully as alternative fiction but also manage to produce people I am interested in for their own merits.

My youngest son and I have scoured used book stores (or as he calls them…day old book stores) and we have our own Turtledove library.

It would be difficult for a movie to be made from any of his books without being PC’d to death …but I keep hoping.
Mama Maroon

That’s the Lost Regiment series by William R. Forstchen. Forstchen was also the co-author (with Newt Gingrich) of 1945 a World War II alternate history novel.

Turtledove used a similar idea when he wrote the Videssos series about a detachment of Roman legionnaires who were magically transported to a fantasy world. And Turtledove also co-wrote a book with a celebrity: The Two Georges, a mystery set in a world where there was no American Revolution, written by Turtledove and actor Richard Dreyfuss.

Guns of the South was optioned once, if I recall correctly. Obviously though the actual movie was never made.

According to Turtledove, the lizards, with the exception of the fields of medicine and space travel, at the same technological level that we are today.

I like Harry Turtledove, but I always felt the WorldWar series lacked imagination.
His lizards have modern day technology, their lizard pets come in two common types very similar to cats and dogs in personality. They have earth lizard physiology, right down to cloaca (although seem to be warm-blooded).
They insist on fighting the war in modern terms. What the heck? They are on top of a gravity well! Why worry about poisoning the world with nukes? Simply precision push asteroids down! This idea was used way back, in “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.” Colonize the asteroids! Shoot down any spaceships and spacecenters on earth and pound the world into submission! Instead they land and attack (even after seeing the technology advances) and allow critical advances to fall into enemy hands.

That’s the best part of Worldwar. It’s really just one of those “what would happen if you took an F-15 back to World War II” stories, with aliens supplying a bit more comic relief. He really doesn’t make much of a secret about it. In fact, he is careful to mention certain details like the barrel motion compensators on the Lizard landcruisers (M1A2 Abrams), the ground-attack capabilities of the killercraft (F-16, maybe?), the small-caliber high-velocity automatic weapons (M-16), artillery-tracking radar, and of course, the skelkwank-guided “smart” bombs. It’s great.

I like the use of the aliens because they add a certain amount of plausibility to the story. Did I just say that? No, seriously. If it were Stormin’ Norman roaring back in time with his Coalition, there’s no way you’d believe that the WWII-ers could go toe-to-toe. Stodgy aliens, though, that somehow makes sense.