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Ryan's Reviews: The Two Georges, by Harry Turtledove and Richard Dreyfuss

Coiler

Connoisseur of the Miscellaneous
Published by SLP
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Good review.

I like that @RyanF reviewed a big-name pop-AH novel (which is, after all, the type of AH most people actually know) and was able to give it a fair shot in spite of its flaws.
 

Thande

Generic Nice and Savoy Things
Published by SLP
Apparently the broader alternate history of the world in The Two Georges also involved consultation with Harry Harrison, which seems amusingly ironic considering his better known AH connection is an absurd anti-British Ameriwank. I actually didn't mind the space-filling empires too much because they do reflect real foreign policy aims at the time of the POD, and China and the Ottoman Empire are just protectorates rather than part of the British Empire (unclear on that map). In some ways it's similar to Tony Jones' "Monarchy World", except that one substitutes a modernising China for France (which collapses into small states like Germany and Italy) and then lets the 18th century foreign policy objectives play out.

The Two Georges is a guilty pleasure of mine (LTTW can arguably be considered my attempt to do 'continuing British America' more realistically) because it is so relentlessly anti-American in tone. Not only does the OTL USA compare unfavourably to the NAU in matters like racism, but we never see downsides from the lower level of technology (like someone being killed by an illness treatable in OTL). About the only exception may be the description of miners/the class system in Charleroi. British terminology and culture is shown to be universal and dominant: trucks are lorries, people wear cricket caps, etc. Never mind that this didn't actually happen in the OTL British Empire where Australia, Canada etc. all have their own distinct terminology and culture.

The other thing I found interesting about The Two Georges was how the adventure plot (though serviceable as Ryan says in his review) goes to some peculiar choices of places (the Queen Charlotte Islands?), when you'd think it'd take the opportunity to do more of a travelogue of iconic places in America like say Astoria (Chicago) on the way from one coast to the other.
 

Thande

Generic Nice and Savoy Things
Published by SLP
Oh and one other thing while we're on the subject--one area I felt it went a bit far in pushing the whole 'the NAU is less racist than the OTL USA' thing--I can kind of buy the idea of Sir Martin Luther King as Governor-General given that'd be a partly ceremonial and appointed role not an elected one, but it also mentions that the Leader of the Conservative Party in the NAU, Sir Devereaux Jones, is also black. Given that given what we seem from the state of society he'd presumably either be picked by the Magic Circle or a 'caucus' vote among the parliamentary party, this does seem a bit optimistic for 1996.
 

Redolegna

Champagne Socialist
Moderator
Published by SLP
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The Two Georges is a guilty pleasure of mine (LTTW can arguably be considered my attempt to do 'continuing British America' more realistically) because it is so relentlessly anti-American in tone. Not only does the OTL USA compare unfavourably to the NAU in matters like racism, but we never see downsides from the lower level of technology (like someone being killed by an illness treatable in OTL). About the only exception may be the description of miners/the class system in Charleroi. British terminology and culture is shown to be universal and dominant: trucks are lorries, people wear cricket caps, etc. Never mind that this didn't actually happen in the OTL British Empire where Australia, Canada etc. all have their own distinct terminology and culture.
Could it be that they seem superior to you because you are British but that the writers intended for it to sound mixed at best?
 
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