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Louis Untermeyer


Colonization: Down to Earth

By Harry Turtledove
A Del Rey Book, 618 pp, 2000

That's right, after a bit of a delay, I've returned to Harry Turtledove and his Colonization series. Why the wait? While I enjoyed the first book, it wasn't quite as fast-moving or action-packed as the Worldwar series.

Unfortunately, this one isn't much faster. In fact, at times, it's rather boring. It has too many characters not doing nearly enough to maintain any interest. The cover also tells a blatant lie - JFK is pictures sitting in front of a personal computer, yet he never makes an appearance, or is even mentioned, in the book.

I'm told by a friend that the series gets better, the action picks up, and the characters do more and are actually interesting. I hope that's the case. I've already purchased the third book, at my local used bookstore for three bucks, so I'm pretty much committed to finishing the series.

Now, all that being said, there are some positive aspects of the book. Kassquit, the human raised as a member of the Race, is very interesting, as she begins to exhibit some very human-like tendencies, while denying she wants to be more like humans, or Big Uglies. That little plot took a stupid and far-fetched turn, though, when she invites Jonathan Yeager aboard the Race ship so they can mate. The two are consummating their first encounter when their ship is attacked, though Turtledove doesn't tell us the outcome of that attack, which is a major error.

Sam Yeager learns, at the very end, who destroyed the colonization ships in the first book, merely by accessing a database! Too bad the Race couldn't think of that. And also, President Warren is the one trying to kill Yeager, which made even less sense.

Wait, I was supposed to be discussing the positive aspects of the book. Well, something finally happens at the very end, when Germany invades Poland and the Race pretty much obliterates that not-empire. But Turtledove tells it from several points of view, and often with characters discussing or learning about events after the fact, not a very exciting way to describe war.

So, in summary, I will read the next book, and then the final one in the series, but it may be a while.

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