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Old 03-11-2011, 11:07 AM   #8587
ATDrake
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Join Date: Mar 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdurrant View Post
I really liked her series of books that started with Chicks in Chainmail (& I hope the first one of those makes it to webscriptions eventually).
The first three Chicks in Chainmail anthologies are actually collected in a new omnibus edition called Chicks Ahoy which was in one of the recent Webscription months (Dec 2010, I think). If you liked them, you might want to try Rosemary Edghill's The Warslayer if you haven't read it already. It's a Free Library book.

As for me, finished Harry Turtledove's In the Presence of Mine Enemies last night. I love historically-based sf/fantasy AU and by all rights I should love Turtledove since he's so prominent in the field, but he's actually pretty hit or miss with me. Either his stories engage me completely or they mostly leave me flat with the nagging feeling that I ought to like them more than I actually do.

In the Presence is very definitely a hit.

Basic premise: the Nazis won and proceeded with their conquest and extermination plans worldwide, but a tiny pocket of Jews manages to survive in the present day in Berlin, by pretending to be Nazis themselves. Meanwhile, the Reich has overextended itself and is falling prey to the internal and external pressures that eventually led to the collapse of Soviet-led Eastern Bloc communism in our world (communism having been wiped out in this AU), which is witnessed in various ways by the Jewish Berliners.

Very poignant, affecting, and brilliant story told from multiple viewpoints and you can see how the society and the changes happening to it really affect the characters, from the 10-year old girl who's just discovered her real heritage and has to reconcile it what she's been taught about Jews in school as well as hearing from her sisters who are not in on the secret, to the doctor's administrative assistant who tries to cover up for a couple who comes under suspicion because their baby has Tay-Sachs syndrome, to the Fräulein Doktor Professor of Medieval English Literature who not only has to put up with "Kinder Kirke Küchen" attitudes from her colleagues but also witnesses the revival of democracy via the British Fascist Party, of all things, and many more.

Also sprinkled with "does this look familiar to you?" RL in-jokes, like the play about a producer who wants to get his theatre shut down so he can take the money and run and comes up with this horrible production involving Churchill and Stalin which becomes a smash comedy hit which prevents him from shutting the theatre down.

Excellent and highly recommended in general, but especially for people with an interest in alternate history with WWII point-of-departure, the toppling of the Berlin Wall (this is highly analogous), extrapolations of how literally backstabbing politics affect everyday life, and mostly heartwarming stories about the continued survival of persons targeted for elimination under totalitarian regimes and how they do it.

Now on Elizabeth Ann Scarborough's modern fairy-tale fantasy The Godmother's Web, which I've had out from the library way too long and am reading to decide whether to buy the e-edition from Smashwords since all her stuff there is 25% off for Read an eBook Week and I was rather disappointed with The Godmother's Apprentice, 2nd in the series. But so far, it's shaping up to be a better read and perhaps nearly as good as The Godmother, which I really liked when I bought it from Fictionwise.
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