Ossus Library Index Science Fiction Index

TILTING THE BALANCE

A novel by Harry Turtledove (1995, Del Rey Books)
Book 2 in the Worldwar saga.

Humans continue to oppose the Lizards, working their way toward building an atomic bomb, as the Lizards move to take over the resistant countries.

 

 

3 stars

Read November 13th to 25th, 1999  
    I would be inclined to say that, although progress was made by both sides of the war in this book, not enough progress was made to justify this as a separate book in the series.  It's still too early to tell, but I think when all is done, the Worldwar series probably could be told in three books instead of four. 

  It was still a good read; it just became tiring after a while. 

  After the first book ended with a push to keep the aliens out of Chicago, with long chapters devoted to that cause, I suspected the second book would end on a similar note.  I guessed the big finale about halfway through, and I was right.  Based on how the Chicago push was written, I was a bit disappointed at how the end of this one was played out Ėfrom an outsiderís view, where it only took a couple of pages.

  That is unfortunate, because the rest of the book is written in great detail, not just about the war, but also about how the war affects people and their relationships.  Most affected is Jens Larssen, American nuclear physicist Ėat least he thinks he is the most affected.  His wife took him for dead, so she married and is now pregnant with another manís child.  If it wasnít for the pregnancy, she would have returned to him, but since she picked the other guy, and he has to work in the same place as her, he hates her, and can only think of vengeance.  I saw this storyline well in advance- in book one, actually -and although it shows how war can affect a marriage, I donít know if it was necessary. But by his attitude in this book, it may affect the war.  I just donít like reading about people who grumble all the time. 

  Also affected is Chinese Liu Han, and her mate, American Bobby Fiore, who finally come down from the Lizardsí spaceship.  Bobby gets in with some Communists, though, and he ends up leaving Liu Han behind.  There doesnít seem to be any emotional baggage on Bobby, but it may still affect Liu Han and her baby.  Weíll have to wait and see.

  The Russians fly around, spy, and get to play around with a nuclear bomb.  The German scientists find a bomb too much to handle, while tanker Jager gets some action in France, and then in Croatia.  The British capture a radar, but canít make anything out of it, because of the micro-electronics.  Another group of British are stuck in a tiny Russian city and have to cooperate with an untrusting Russian / German coalition.  That was the story I disliked most ĖI found it quite dull, despite the politics.

  Thatís about it on the human side of things.  Not too much in the way of advancement.

  The Lizards continue to press their advantage, but are slowing down because of dwindling supplies.  The Lizard prisoners divulge a lot of information in their arrogance, and are shocked when this information turns out to be useful.  Ginger continues to hurt them, and because of this and a string of losses near the end, Atvarís leadership may be called into question soon.

  I felt that much Ėor maybe most- of the stuff in this book could have been cut.  The writing was great, however.  It made me feel that everything happening was real, and was happening to real people. Close to the end, both sides think the war has finally tilted to their side, but neither one is in a position to win the war.  By the end of this book, this opinion is no longer accurate. 

 
   

Back to Top

All reviews and page designs at this site Copyright (c)  by Warren Dunn, all rights reserved.