Going to post this here because Mizal was recently complaining about this forum being dead.
And while I doubt if that’s going to change with me posting here, it’ll probably still surprise the hell out of her that I’ve actually read anything, let alone a whole series.
Okay so the basic premise of this series is an alien invasion landing right in the middle of when WW2 to occurring. (1942) The guy who wrote it, Harry Turtledove is sort of known as the “master of alternate history” since he specializes in it.
The first part of the series which is 4 books, deals with two alien battleships landing their invasion forces and the Axis and Allies have to ultimately join forces in order to combat them.
Of course this isn’t some Independence Day thing where humanity just puts aside all their differences and everyone is holding hands. Nope, everyone is still scheming against each other, about the only two who aren’t are the US and UK.
There isn’t one central character and the book actually integrates a lot of historical characters (Even the failed painter himself) with their points of view. So it doesn’t just focus on say America, it focuses on people all over the world and sometimes they even meet up with each other later.
Also focuses on the aliens and their points of view. Ranging from the fleet commanders to the grunts.
I suppose the “main everyman” character we’re supposed to identify with is some 40 year old baseball player who was 2 days until retirement. Well not really, but I think due to his age he was getting ready to call it quits due to athletes not really having a long lifespan in their field.
The problem is, he’s fucking boring as shit. I mean I just didn’t give a shit about him at all and was wondering why we kept going back to him.
And he’s in every goddamn book, from the beginning to the end of the series.
Not to mention he’s supposed to be the “everyman” and he ends up doing something we’re supposed to agree with, but he’s ultimately a fucking traitor and if I didn’t care for him much before, really didn’t like him then.
But anyway the first series at least has so much shit going on, that he’s less central in that one. Probably the most interesting POVs are the ones by the Nazis and as I said, the aliens. Russians are up there too. (Doesn’t focus on the Japanese that much except for a few parts)
Now due to their being a large cast of character and a multiple front war going on, there are main characters dying. Probably not enough of them though, or at least not enough of the ones I thought were dull.
So the aliens land, but there’s a big problem. The aliens thought humans were going to be riding about on horses and dressed up like knights of yore since that’s what they saw when they sent their probe several hundred years before. When they arrived in cryo sleep, they didn’t expect humans to have so much tech advancement. Their own race doesn’t change very quickly. They’ll study and test a piece of tech for a century before deciding how and if it should be implemented or not. The more complex the tech, the longer they'll take.
The aliens of course are still better equipped, but their invasion weaponry is probably comparable to modern human weaponry which would have easily rolled over humanity if they’d still been stuck in the medieval period. Not so much in 1942 and certainly not right in the middle of WW2 when humans were itching to kill each other and have no problem doing the same thing to aliens.
The other thing the aliens have a problem with is the idea that humanity isn’t united under one banner. The come from a planet where they’ve had an emperor for 10,000 years. They also conquered two other races which were similarly unified.
The fact that they land when humanity has not only 5 major powers at war AND they aren’t even all proper monarchies (The US system particularly confuses them and they’re outright horrified that the USSR killed their monarch) is a nightmare for them to deal with.
This also becomes more of a nightmare when humanity figures out how to build nukes and start dropping them. The aliens have them but they are REALLY reluctant to use them.
First of all, the planet is supposed to be conquered and pacified for ANOTHER colonization fleet that’s supposed to be on its way in a couple more decades.
Second, the aliens know all the bad things that happen when you start nuking shit and they think the human are insane that they would actually irradiate great parts their own planet just an attempt to win the war. Humans also start using poison gas as well, which the aliens can’t understand why they would use such a horrible weapon if there was little to no protection from it.
To top all this off, it turns out that ginger has a very strong effect on the aliens, basically making them less logical and feel good. So yeah, it’s like crack to them and turns them into junkies. Some enterprising humans naturally take advantage of this.
All of this is so stressful to the aliens that they begin fighting amongst themselves to the point where one fleet lord rebels against the other and they have minor revolt on their hands which is something that NEVER happens due to them all being very strict in obeying hierarchy.
However, the whole war is ultimately a stalemate since the alien fleet lord gets to the point where he’s got enough planet busters to destroy earth and threatens that he’ll just do that and take the consequences of his actions before his emperor because he's sick of dealing with this shit. So diplomacy ensues.
Basically the aliens get parts of earth. Particularly the places they first landed and conquered, like Australia, a majority of the middle east, parts of India and China and part of Europe which becomes like a buffer zone between the Nazis and the Russians (And a safe haven for Jews and other, since the aliens really don’t understand the whole Nazi philosophy and just see humans as all the same)
The end is basically an unknown future since the earth is occupied, but the aliens really aren’t in control of it. And there is still a colony ship on its way so that’s going to have to be dealt with as well. Meanwhile the major world powers that are in control have made even more advances in technology. The rate that humans will just advance and not give a shit about the consequences is deeply troubling for the aliens.
And yep, the Nazis and Imperial Japan are still around by the end so aliens landing was one of the best things that could have happened for them.
Anyway, that’s the first 4 books of the series. I’ll post about the rest later, though I think the first part was probably the best of the series.
The desert areas of the world are more similar to their own homeworld so they like those places better anyway.
They also don’t know how to exactly handle all the navy that humans have since they don’t have large bodies of water on their home world either. Don’t know why they decided earth would be a good place to settle considering the huge amount of water on the planet.
Okay the second part
So the next part of the series is known as the Colonization trilogy and it takes place during the 60s.
The aliens have been living there for about 20 years now and humans have sort of gotten used to them to the point where you got teenagers shaving their heads and tattooing their faces like the little reptile buggers. (Forgot to mention the aliens are lizard like in nature)
While there are new characters introduced, some of the characters from the first four books don’t appear. or given lesser appearance. Some died of course in the last series, but others are mentioned as dying in between books. Hitler for example died and Himmler took power and is currently in charge of the Nazi Empire.
Still a few others are just not mentioned entirely. Wish Sam Yeager was one of those characters.
Actually before I get into some of the other stuff of the story, we’ll address Sam, who is the baseball player I mentioned in the last post. After looking back at the story, I guess he was a little younger than I thought he was in the first part of the series. (Pretty sure he's in his 40s in this series though) He just ALWAYS felt like a boring old fuck though.
In the first book Sam’s hobby was reading scifi shit. So when he got drafted into the army and after distinguishing himself in a battle, they thought maybe due to the fact that he was all into scifi he might have a grasp of how to deal with the aliens on some diplomatic level.
One particular thing that some in the Harry Turtledove community (Yeah, there’s a community for everything) argue about is how Sam got Barbara, his wife that he met in the first books.
Barbara was with this other guy (Name that escapes me at the moment) who was like a super genius scientist type. They got separated during the invasion and super scientist guy also gets a special mission to go on by the military.
He goes through fucking hell and back to accomplish this, dodging lizard patrols, and trying to get around on a fucked up bicycle. He completes his task and finds out Barbara is still alive, only to find out Barbara’s already moved on with Sam who had gotten assigned to guard her (And whoops! His dick just slipped in!).
Now she thought her husband had died since he was missing for a long time, but she moved on pretty damn quickly. Sam actually even sort of felt bad about it, when her husband turned out to not be dead. Though Barb was surprisingly pretty cold about the whole ordeal. She basically told her old flame to take a hike because things were different now.
Her old flame was naturally pretty damn pissed. He had just been through hell and not only had his girl left him for some boring fuck, the army was telling him that he better not do shit about it since they needed Sam as their “alien specialist.”
Her old flame eventually goes nuts and starts shooting at soldiers and gets himself killed. But yeah a lot of readers thought his character got a shit end.
So fast forward to 20 years ahead, he’s now married to Barb and got a son by her. He also gets called to look after two eggs the military managed to get from the lizards since they want them to be raised like humans and see what happens. So there’s an ongoing plot with that.
Meanwhile the colony ship arrives and now there are a bunch of civilian lizards waking up and wondering why the planet hasn’t been properly conquered. So they bitch at the fleet lord who hates having to deal with them because they really don’t know shit about all the problems that occurred when the invasion fleet arrived.
Also now there are female lizards about, and guess what? Ginger affects them in a very different way. It puts them prematurely in a mating cycle and they become sexually “ready.”
At one point a report of a male lizard gets the bright idea to give ginger to females so they have sex with him.
“Why what a sneaky fellow! I would not have acted in such a manner had I known ginger would do this. That is not right.” - female lizard
“Yes, it most certainly isn’t right. In fact this may be the first time hearing of something like this.” - lizard police officer
And so the first incident of lizard RAPE occurs and now they have to make laws for that.
Meanwhile the lizards also get to deal with arab uprisings, along with worrying about the rest of the major powers. The US in particular launches a space station, meanwhile the Nazis are getting more belligerent.
It all comes to a head, when one of the major powers destroys one of the two battleships in orbit with a missile. The blame is immediately assumed to be the Nazis or the USSR, but thanks to Sam snooping around and finding out some shit, he discovers that it was the US that did it and he tells the aliens.
Seriously? You tell the fucking aliens who are fucking super pissed and ready to bring nuclear destruction down on whatever nation did it?
“Oh it was the right thing to do.”
Sam is a fucking traitor on top of being a goddamn idiot.
Anyway, Sam meets the president who he asks why he did it to which he says. “We had the shot, so we took it and it was a good chance we wouldn’t catch the blame.”
Fortunately for the US, the President manages to convince the aliens to only nuke ONE city as retaliation. And the president evacuates the entire city and he’s the only one that remains there. So basically he falls on his sword to save the US, like a true patriot.
Of course none of that would have been necessary had Sam not been a fucktard.
Anyway some other bullshit happens. One other bit is in the first part of the series the lizards were raising a human (a Chinese girl they took from the mother) to be more like a lizard which they didn’t find particularly fun since human babies are a big hassle to look after when compared to their own young.
The girl is grown by this part of the series and of course is now giving them more shit since she’s a teenager. At one point Sam’s son goes up in the spaceship where she is and he fucks her despite having a girlfriend on earth. So Sam’s son is as much of a scumbag as his dad. Whoopee.
The last part of the series mostly deals with the Nazis just being unable to contain their wacky ways and they just declare total war on the aliens by nuking the shit out of the places they live. This is a doomed war of course, because no other major power supports this and they’re fighting the aliens on their own.
Though even by themselves, they give the lizards a good fight until the fleet lord just gets tired of it and decided to just annihilate Germany with nukes. Eventually what’s left of the Nazi high command surrenders and they have to give all their conquered territory back (France in particular)
It once again ends with an uncertain future since the US space program is becoming more and more advanced (along with the other remaining powers) and the aliens are concerned they maybe one day they’re going to go to THEIR home planet.
Anyway that’s about it for the second part of the series. A post about the last and final book to it will be up soon, stay tuned!
As I remember he gets pardoned by the president before he sacrifices himself. There were a few attempts on Sam's life before hand I believe though. I dunno, that part seemed dumb.
Though Sam is also a big part of the alien diplomatic process since he’s raising two of them to be like humans and he’s also on good terms with the other fleet lord who rebelled in the first part of the series and defected to the humans. (Makes sense, traitors get along with each other) So that’s another reason they have to keep him around.
The Chinese girl raised by the lizard isn’t really exotic in the way humans would probably find her hawt exotic. She’s got a shaved head since she tries to make herself more “lizard like” and does her best to emulate the way they act. As I remember she’s sort of running around naked due to lizards not really giving a shit about clothes and having no real interest in the human form. Plus she’s the only human in their ship for awhile so no need for them.
I think Sam’s son just fucks her because he’s the first boy around her age she’s ever seen in person (human in general) and they’re both oozing teenage hormones. (And his own girlfriend didn’t put out or something)
Really the Chinese girl’s mom Liu Han was a more interesting character. She’s one of the more major POVs in the first part of the series. She starts off as a simple peasant girl that gets routinely molested by the village big shot. Then the Japanese fuck everything up, THEN the aliens fuck everything up.
At some point when the aliens are abducting people from various parts of the world to study humans, she’s one of those along with… one of Sam’s old baseball buddies! They eventually end up fucking and I guess that’s where her daughter gets it from. The lizards take notes for research purposes. (And in their case, it really is for research!)
One funny thing is even though she’s into him, she still call him a foreign devil and he tries to explain that he isn’t a devil, but she doesn’t seem convinced and so he figures that just must be what the Chinese call people who aren’t Chinese. (Like the Japanese are eastern devils and the aliens are scaly devils)
When she gets pregnant the lizards let them both go in a lizard occupied town in China and eventually they both get recruited by the communist party.
They recruit Sam’s buddy since they see he’s got a good throwing arm and figure he’ll make a good grenadier. He gets shot like a scrub soon after though and then Liu gives birth and that’s when the the aliens take her daughter
Despite all this, she ends up surviving everything and joins the commies and rises through the ranks there.
She is in the Colonization trilogy too, but she’s a lot more weary. Mao isn’t nearly as successful against the alien occupation and while he’s still leading things, he’s getting old and the commies just aren’t as enthusiastic like they were in the beginning.
She eventually sees her daughter again aboard the space ship, but since she’s been raised by lizards and never knew her its not some heartwarming reunion. Liu meets Sam too on the alien ship and he’s surprised to learn that she fucked his buddy and the girl is his daughter.
Yeah, the kids emulating the lizards are sort of the replacement for hippies. There are some brief mentions of how culture turned out a little differently due to aliens invading. Though some stuff stays the same.
Like The Beetles still become popular, but they’re called that due to them all having shaved heads and their music of course is a bit different.
Also with the Nazis still around a bit longer, the UK starts becoming a bit more influenced by them and one of the other main characters ends up fleeing to Canada because being Jewish in the UK just starts to not feel all that safe anymore. I think later on he’s tinkering with a children’s stuffed animal and lizard tech and ends up creating the first Furby, decades before they existed in our timeline.
Okay, final book. I feel like I’m only writing this stuff for Mizal at this point, but that’s okay this can be our own private book club together.
Well there isn’t actually much to this one. It mostly deals with tying up the storyline of what is the ultimate fate of the relations between the aliens and humans.
Most of the old characters are gone at this point and just deals with a select few. The focus is more about travel to the alien home world and what that place is like when they get there.
It also does a lot of time jumping. Starts in 1972 shortly after all the events in the last book.
So Sam the traitor Yeager gets called before the US government in 1977 who still aren’t really happy with the man and in fact there are tons of people that rightfully call him a traitor. But they take into consideration his experience with the aliens and they give him a choice to undergo this cryogenic experiment since they’re planning on building and trying to send a ship to the alien home world. Since that might take a very long time, they need to keep the people in stasis so they aren’t dying before they get there.
Sam agrees since he doesn’t have much else going on. His son has a life of his own now, half the country hates him, he’s not raising two lizards anymore, and old cheating Barbara died of cancer or a heart attack or something. So, fuck it. Might as well get the chance to visit an alien planet right? The US government tells everyone he died.
Time jumps to a few points in the 80s and 90s where some other characters are getting the same call to under go this cryo-experiment. One of these is Sam’s son and his wife (Yeah, the same girl he cheated on as a teenager.)
So I think the ship launches sometime in the late 90s and it takes them about 30 years to get there.
Meanwhile things have been getting progressively worse relationship wise between humans and aliens. To the point where the lizards aren’t just wondering if it isn’t just a better idea to just purge the fucking planet because humans are so damn dangerous along with just adapting technology at a rate they can’t believe.
They’re already sending one ship to the home world, what is stopping them from sending their own invasion force and given what is known about humanity, that’s a very likely scenario.
Fortunately for humanity it takes the lizards a fucking century to ever come to a fucking decision on anything. So before they send another war fleet to purge the planet they got shitload of time.
Also fortunately for the lizards, it’s the good old US of A sending a ship and not any of the other major powers which might be more violent. Because the USA would always sue for a diplomatic solution rather than just bombing the shit out of anyone.
So anyway Henry Kissinger is supposed to be the main ambassador (He’s never referred to by name, just the “Doctor” but it’s definitely him) However, Henry’s heart stopped while is cryo stasis and they can’t get it started again. They think they might be able to save him later, but ain’t nobody got time for that. So they freeze him again and wake up Sam since he’s the next best thing apparently.
He gets informed that he needs to convince the aliens that they aren’t a bunch of violent barbarians that should be exterminated. Tall order, but that what task he’s saddled with. He also reunites with his son and he even tells him how he met his mother which is a big shocker to him.
There is more drama because the Chinese girl raised by the aliens returns to the home world as well and Sam’s son sees her again. (Causing his wife to be suspicious the whole time)
Also the fleet lord AND the traitor fleet lord go back home as well. They even speak to each other again after years of separation. Both of them pretty much cursing the day they were assigned to go to earth in the first fucking place.
The home world is described a bit and humans even get to see the other two races that the lizards conquered. I think one of them is squid like and another one is bug like. They pretty much have fully been indoctrinated by the lizards to believe everything they believe though.
Well anyway the diplomatic mission is sort of all up in the air. Mainly because again, the lizards take fucking forever to come to a decision. However, humanity makes the decision for them when another ship arrives via FTL travel which is better than what the aliens have.
The time to have acted against the humans is lost. The humans have out teched the aliens and now have a significant advantage that any war against them now wouldn’t even be a certain win.
It’s like when you play civilization and you don’t take out Ghandi immediately. The fault is yours!
So the lizards reluctantly accept peace as equals with humanity, but that doesn’t really mean much since their whole belief that they were the most superior beings in the galaxy has been shaken. So their society is going to start experiencing some major changes whether they like it or not.
Also while the US is willing to make peace with the lizards, this doesn’t necessarily mean other nations won’t be hostile.
This problem is even worse when you consider that the USSR, Imperial Japan AND even the fucking Nazis (who managed to recover from their nuking) are STILL around in the 21st century and all working on their own star ships!
While there is this idea of hope that with the FTL travel available, there won’t be any need to go conquer others for expansion purposes since you can get to far away inhabitable planets much faster, we ALL fucking know that is definitely not going to happen. Especially not with space Nazis around.
Yeah its a shitshow for the aliens all around and they really screwed the gecko by not wiping us out as soon as they landed in 1942.
It ends with Sam and the rest going back to earth which is a lot quicker now due to FTL travel and they find all the changes really weird and don’t like certain TV shows (Some reference to a short lived endurance game show called “The Chair” is referenced since it was a thing during the time the book was written) and I think Sam writes a book and it sells well because everyone that hated him is dead and much like in our timeline nobody remembers fucking history.
Well that’s it. Despite everything, it kept my attention and I obviously enjoyed the series. If I hadn’t, there’s definitely no way I would have read 8 books. I can barely stay focused on stories here, let alone several novels.
Awesome write-up! Really enjoyed reading it.
I’m used to the “humans are better than aliens because… we have emotions… we care about each other… we are selfless/cooperate better” tropes (which always came off as sappy to me). This one (“humans beat aliens because we are reckless; and, so, innovate faster”) is a new one for me; and, I gotta say, I like it.
Also, alternate world history is just cool as fuck regardless.
Oh yeah, I've read this series before. I haven't actually read the whole thing though, because I stopped once the aliens made their peace deal with the humans. Yeah, some of the characters were definitely boring as SHIT, and I thought it was a little dumb how a random Panzer Colonel singlehandedly stopped an entire SS operation and killed Skorzeny, the biggest evil badass ever. Sam Yeager isn't that bad though; I find him interesting enough.
All in all, I think the series is O.K, but I liked Southern Victory (where the confederates win the Civil War) a lot more.