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TL-191 question

MAC88

Active member
Published by SLP
Location
WI, USA
#21
Now I actually haven't read any TL-191 books in person, so I'm curious: Is anything after How Few Remain itself even worth it?
The Great War series was good overall IMO: some repetitive bits (like Carsten and sunburn :) ), but the characters and descriptions were well done, and there were some easter eggs and funny/fascinating bits included here and there that I didn't pick up until much later (like a certain scene with the George Enos character in Walk In Hell, on the Mississippi :) ), and have kept me interested in the series long after first reading them in my teens.

The American Empire interregnum dragged at times, and the characters felt a bit more wooden/cutout-like, but it was still interesting in showing how Turtledove wrote AH without needing war or some other conflict as background on every page.

The Settling Accounts section is where the subtle and obvious repetition (in character attitudes as well as dialogue and scenes) was much more obvious, and the characters felt less distinguishable and more cookie-cutter, yet it still had its decent points, and the action scenes (in the last book most of all) kept me reading.

As a history nut (real and AH), I enjoyed all the books on those two bases alone, to varying degrees. My only advice would be taking a little while off between each book, so as not to be overloaded and make them all seem the same several books in (esp. in Settling Accounts).
 
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MAC88

Active member
Published by SLP
Location
WI, USA
#24
It's been long enough that the characters blur together, but if I remember right it was one of the characters meeting their lawyer for the first time. Pinkard maybe?
He meets one (Isidore Goldstein from JAG) not long after being jailed, then Moss becomes his lawyer after Goldstein is injured in a car accident. I thought at first there was a scene like that with Ophelia Clemens and Dowling at some point, but realized I was wrong.
 

Thande

I could not fail to disagree with you less
Published by SLP
#25
Also, wasn't the original plan that the USA would be the one becoming Fascist but then Turtledove realized that wouldn't play well? In particular that would explain why Flora Hamburger seems so clearly based off of Rosa Luxemburg in the Great War series.
I've heard that before but I'm doubtful of it.

It's been long enough that the characters blur together, but if I remember right it was one of the characters meeting their lawyer for the first time. Pinkard maybe?
That's correct.
 

Thande

I could not fail to disagree with you less
Published by SLP
#27
"Mark Twain Sex Scene" is the name of my new p-st-hardcore discopunk band.
I remember one of those online humour sites once tried to do a "Harry Turtledove's Notebook" thing. It wasn't very funny for the most part because they didn't have enough grasp of his tropes, a lot of it was just generic. But the one part that made me laugh was the contextless sentence "Genghis Khan has sex with a spider on a blimp".
 

Burton K Wheeler

Itinerant Frontier Hobo
Location
garbage can
#28
Hoo boy, now there's a question and a half, considering the entire series stretches to, like, 15 books or so?

I have fond memories of the alt-WW1 series, and 'The Centre Cannot Hold' interregnum, but gave up before we got to alt-WW2
Exactly my experience. I started to lose interest as it became obvious alt-WW2 would parallel the real thing, but How Few Remain is definitely worth reading, the WW1 books are pretty good if you like that sort of thing, and you may like The Center Cannot Hold if you find 1920's and 30's politics interesting and enjoyed the rest. The WW2 books may be worth reading but I find the premise flimsy enough I wouldn't bother.
 

Burton K Wheeler

Itinerant Frontier Hobo
Location
garbage can
#29
Also, wasn't the original plan that the USA would be the one becoming Fascist but then Turtledove realized that wouldn't play well? In particular that would explain why Flora Hamburger seems so clearly based off of Rosa Luxemburg in the Great War series.
No, it's more just reflecting that the alt-USA is more Prussian that real America, with a militaristic society and a strong social democratic movement.
 

Burton K Wheeler

Itinerant Frontier Hobo
Location
garbage can
#30
I remember one of those online humour sites once tried to do a "Harry Turtledove's Notebook" thing. It wasn't very funny for the most part because they didn't have enough grasp of his tropes, a lot of it was just generic. But the one part that made me laugh was the contextless sentence "Genghis Khan has sex with a spider on a blimp".


It was Zack Parsons on Something Awful back in the day. I'm like 95% sure you've made this exact post before and I've responded with this exact post (minus, obviously, this sentence).
 

Coiler

Connoisseur of the Miscellaneous
Published by SLP
Location
Nu Yawk
#35
And there's definitely a story in Jackie getting killed in Dallas- a short story, mind you, not Turtledove's three book epic with World War Three breaking out.
Ok, a part of me is genuinely (if moribidly) curious about how Turtledove would handle a Fuldapocalypse. (Yes, I know he did a 50s WWIII - I haven't heard good things about it)

Short Story Turtledove could do some single-set piece tale set there and do it well. Single Novel Turtledove would probably make a middling book that sits beside Harvey Black's ___ Effect or Brad Smith's better books on the "well, there's still definitely worse out there" on the World War III Novel Tier List. Long Series Turtledove, well.... I probably don't have to answer that.
 

libbrit

Well-known member
#36
Entirely coincidentally, ive started rereading all the TL-191 books, and one thing that stands out is that there isn't really a good guy. Certainly the Confederates are the more obvious `bad guy` for fairly clear reasons, but after the war in the 1880s, the USA of the books isn't much more than a North American Prussia-its treatment of the Mormons, its whole-scale occupation and oppression of the Canadians, none of which suggest the USA is a liberty loving good guy, more so a vengeance obsessed militarist dystopia.
 

Death's Companion

General Ugg Apologist.
#37
Entirely coincidentally, ive started rereading all the TL-191 books, and one thing that stands out is that there isn't really a good guy. Certainly the Confederates are the more obvious `bad guy` for fairly clear reasons, but after the war in the 1880s, the USA of the books isn't much more than a North American Prussia-its treatment of the Mormons, its whole-scale occupation and oppression of the Canadians, none of which suggest the USA is a liberty loving good guy, more so a vengeance obsessed militarist dystopia.
I think there is something in this but the US does have a few moments when its Leaders talk about going full on Nazi and extending their policies to a natural conclusion and promptly throw up in their collective mouth and backtrack. And they do have a strong socialist movement that outside wartime is dedicated to helping the people whilst the Democrats and Republicans kind of seem to veer back from the brink.


I think imperfect and European is the general trend. Its nasty to its enemies, does a lot of shit to its own people and its not really comparable at all to OTL USA in culture or politics but its kind of got potential to go either way.


It at least has racial equality as a stated policy goal decades earlier than its OTL counterpart...so its a bit of a weird mixed bag.
 

Thande

I could not fail to disagree with you less
Published by SLP
#40
One small thing I did enjoy was that the Socialist Party in Timeline-191 promoted public ownership by encouraging people to buy shares in large corporations.
Although the way they don't mention this till immediately before 1929 definitely smacked of "wait, hang on, I want to do the Depression the same as OTL but the Socialists are in power, um..." It could have been clever if it'd been foreshadowed rather than feeling like plot railroading.