The Bow-Tied Blogger

The life and adventures of one soldier and his various journeys.

  Saturday, May 12, 2007

Time for a Book Review. My first one in April.

Homeward Bound by Harry Turtledove

This is it! The final book in the WorldWar series by Harry Turtledove. It begins in 1972, where the Emperor summons Atvar to return to the home planet. Five years later, Sam Yeager is part of an experiment to freeze a human and transport them to the Lizard planet. In about ten years or so, Kasquit opts to be frozen along with Ttomalss, her father/researcher. In 1994, Jonathan and his wife are frozen and Reuven Russie is the Chief Doctor in Jerusalem. The downside to this prologue is that many other characters will no longer matter as events go far into the future. Penny and Rance will die of old age or excitement. Dutourds will no longer get any mention, nor will the Goldfarbs and their other friends in Alberta. I would have liked a tying up of loose ends. At least some mention is made of other characters, like Mordecai's grandchildren and Drucker's son, plus the sad news that Reuven Russie has a son named Dr. Chaim Russie who is killed by an Arab bomb. It was very sad to hear that, but at least not everyone beyond the main cast was completely written off.

Now, on the mission, we have four astronauts and a doctor piloting the ship once they awake from cold sleep as well as the Yeagers and four new faces, the DelaRosas, Maj. Coffey, and Henry Kissinger (though he is known as the doctor). Kisisnger was intended to be the diplomatic leader, but he dies in cold sleep, making Sam Yeager the new leader.

The first part of the book discusses life on the lizard home world, how hot it is and how even their south pole is like a wintry Los Angeles. Not too much to note, though it is interesting how the cities and the attitudes of the people are described, plus the two other subject races, Rabotevs and Hellesi, are shown as well as some interesting talk of evolution that helped me understand why the lizards were so advanced so early on. Earth and Home are not that different to an extent. On Earth reptiles evolved into mammals and within mammals further evolution led to primates, leading up to humans, while reptiles evolved into sentience on home granting at least a few million years of a head start. One big difference is that the lizards were every conservative and careful about technology causing evolution at a much slower pace than humans, which is why they were conquering outer space before bronze weapons were forged on Earth, but by the end of the tale, American scientists learned how to travel faster than light speed, traveling 10 light years in five weeks.

To be honest I felt disappointed by the book as I wanted more follow through on other characters, but I realize a story must conclude eventually. The Emperor was an interesting and wise character, but it seemed like he was a parody of a human leader, and much of lizard society seem to be like human society but with differences.

I only wish Turtledove will make short stories in the future to flesh in details about the other people mentioned, but I do need to realize that this is a fantasy world and cannot go on forever. I still recommend this series, but I am glad i checked out these books instead of buying them.

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