In at the Death

One of those things where I end up with a pile of reviewable materials all finishing up at once has just happened. Lucky for me, I’m working today, on one of the slowest days of the year, so theoretically I have enough time to get it all caught up and sorted in my mind before any useful particulars fade away. Though I suppose it might help if I had more inclination; that seems to be another thing in addition to time that gets sacrificed when I finish so many things at once. As ever, the best way to get rolling is to just blunder ahead willy-nilly without any thought until something appears on the page. (I have it on good authority that this is the key to all writing, not merely for reviews.)

Firstly, I finished another Harry Turtledove alternate history cycle. In at the Death chronicles the final year of World War II and its aftermath, in a 1944 and 1945 that has already seen four wars between the United and Confederate States in just 80 years. Since the outcome in broad strokes was essentially a foregone conclusion as of the end of the previous volume, most of what I got out of the book was a chance to enjoy the characters again and to get at least a glimpse of the possible future of a completely different world. After all, with North America divided against itself, Japan had no effective adversaries in the Pacific Rim. And in a Germany that won the previous war and thus had no calamitous economic collapse or subsequent hatred for its Jews, the brightest minds of the atomic age had no reason to flee that country. The future is an uncertain place that I’d be thrilled to see more of, but if Turtledove stops here with the conclusion of the second World War and just brief glimpses of what could follow, it will still have been more satisfying than the concluding volume of the alien invasion of World War II series. As stories with 11 volumes go, well, I’ve certainly read some that were a lot less consistent than this one has been. Yay, alternate history!

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