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Gunpowder Empire (Crosstime Traffic) Library Binding – May 29, 2008


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Product Details

  • Series: Crosstime Traffic
  • Library Binding: 286 pages
  • Publisher: Paw Prints 2008-05-29; Reprint edition (May 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1435291026
  • ISBN-13: 978-1435291027
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 4.2 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,569,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Readers nostalgic for the juvenile SF novels of Robert A. Heinlein and Andre Norton will find much to enjoy in alternate-history master Turtledove's time-travel novel, the first of a new series, in which a late 21st-century world has eliminated pollution and resource scarcity by exploiting the resources of various alternative realities. The Solter family spends their summers in one such reality, on the frontier of a Roman Empire that never fell, trading Swiss Army knives and other hi-tech trinkets for grain. When the mother suffers an appendicitis attack, the Solter parents travel back home to Southern California for treatment, leaving their teenage children in charge. Then things start to go wrong-the parents are stuck back home and can't communicate with the kids, while invaders lay siege to the Roman city near their summer place, and ever-efficient Roman bureaucrats start asking the kids embarrassing questions. Turtledove (In the Presence of Mine Enemies, etc.) presents his teenaged heroes with a series of moral choices and dilemmas that will particularly resonate with younger fans. This is a rousing story that reminds us that "adventure" really is someone else in deep trouble a long way off.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

The current master of alternate history honors genre founding father H. Beam Piper (1904-64) in a story set on an exhausted, early-twenty-second-century Earth that draws resources from a host of parallel time lines, in some of which the planet is a wilderness, in others inhabited--or uninhabitable. Jeremy and Amanda Solter, typical L.A. teenagers, are spending the summer with their grain-trading parents in a time line in which the Roman Empire never fell. The promise of an interesting experience evaporates when, in rapid succession, their parents go home because of their mother's appendicitis, the cross-time-traveling machine goes down, and the Lieutvans (avatars of the Lithuanians) invade. Tough as they are, Jeremy and Amanda discover that real war is indescribably more ghastly than described war, and dealing with slavery, fur-wearers, and other nonamenities of premodern civilizations is pretty grueling, too. Seemingly a series opener intended to introduce the concept of parallel worlds and Turtledove's take on it, the book succeeds as an homage to parallel-worlds pioneer Piper and a well-told, engaging tale. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

If so, he needs to try again, and a little harder.
Konrad Baumeister
The Characters seem to get into some sticky situations, but then sort of just get out of trouble, setting a pattern of non-events for the whole book.
D. H. Richards
Hmmmm, I normally like Turtledove and alternate history type books, but this one was kind of a letdown.
April Wiley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Konrad Baumeister on October 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
An alternate history where the Roman Empire survives into and past our own time would make for a fascinating read if researched and written well, and Harry Turtledove would be one author who could probably do it. If so, he needs to try again, and a little harder.

Nowhere on the book jacket or cover blurbs or inside this $25 book is there are warning/indication that this is a book for children and maybe (very) young teenagers, but what is what it is. Since it is sold as standard science fiction/alternative history, and the author is well-known for that kind of standard fare for adults, it strikes me as a little cynical to just let the adult reader find this out for himself after buying the book.

Unfortunately, even as a youth-oriented adventure story that happens to be set in another "timeline," it falls short. JK Rowling need not fear this entry into her market.

It seems a little churlish to quibble about details in a kids' story, but kids are smart enough to pick up on this stuff, and Turtledove is smart enough to know better. So here are some of my personal quibbles.

The thing is set in the 2090s, and science has made interdimensional travel possible. Here, it seems to be used primarily for plundering oil and foodstuffs from the other worlds and bringing the goods back home, in exchange for slum trinkets like Swiss army knives and gaudy Japanese watches. Despite the "current" year being some 80 to 90 years ahead of us, very little besides this inter-dimensional trick has changed. Kids are still obsessed with TV and CDs, they shop at WalMart and Home Depot, use a PowerBook computer, and all of the gadgets in common use were in use in our time, 2005. They also speak English.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By W Boudville HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 25, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The title deliberately evokes the classic "Gunpowder God" by H Beam Piper. While it was not the first book to introduce the concept of travel to a backward parallel universe, it is widely considered to be the one of the best of its ilk. Turtledove has made his name specialising in science fiction about alternate history. So this is a natural and slight shift in emphasis, where travel is permitted between the universes. None of his other books depict this, if I recall.
Certainly, the cover raises high hopes of a similarly swashbuckling tale of war, akin to Piper's classic. Alas, it falls short. The book is not military science fiction. Rather, you might consider it as a fitting sequel to "Household Gods" that Turtledove wrote with Judith Tarr. Granted that was pure fantasy, while this is hard SF. But the bulk of both books are thematically similar. Household Gods shows life in ancient Rome. This book depicts it in a Roman Empire in about 2100 CE, but at the technological level of our 17th century. In both are the gritty details of everyday life that most novels set in those eras omit. It is quite well done for that. Turtledove shows his scholarship in his attention for historical detail.
The plot is quiet. The war is just a backdrop. This may disappoint some readers.
He does introduce some deliberate cognitive dissonance, by having his American characters loathe the touch of furs. He uses that to place some separation between us and them, since they are depicted as being from the late 21st century. But therein is my biggest problem with this book. His depiction of that is far too similar to ours. Apart from the ability to travel between dimensions, he posits very little change. And in one paragraph, one of the characters uses a Powerbook?!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Michael K. Smith TOP 500 REVIEWER on January 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
When Harry is on a roll, he produces some of the best alternate history yarns of recent years. When he's not paying attention, however, his stuff can be overwritten and under-thought, sloppily edited and thin in the plot line. More than that, this first volume in a series is obviously a Young Adult book but there's no indication of the target audience anywhere on it. The premise is that sometime in the next few decades, we will stumble across the technology (never explained or even theorized about) to cross into variant timelines: Worlds where Germany won World War II, where the Armada conquered England, where the Vikings stayed in New England and beat off later European settlers, etc. In other words, all the usual alternate history themes. Specifically, this one is set in an alternate Rome where Agrippa survived into old age, conquered Germania for Augustus, and established a 2,000-year empire which is now just beginning to develop cannon and flintlocks. Teenagers Jeremy and Amanda Solters accompany their mercantilist parents every summer to an alternate town in Romania (Dacia in that world), where they carry on a brisk business in pocket watches, glass mirrors, and Swiss Army knives. They have to be careful not to upset things in that world by talking too much -- just what effect all this alien technology is supposed to have is lightly passed over -- and they take grain in trade rather than silver because the Home Line needs the food. Then their mother develops appendicitis and has to be escorted back through the portal by their father. And then the portal malfunctions and the kids, naturally, have to fend for themselves -- possibly forever. And then the Lietuvans (Lithuanians) invade. And then, and then, and then.Read more ›
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More About the Author

Harry Turtledove is the award-winning author of the alternate-history works The Man with the Iron Heart; The Guns of the South; How Few Remain (winner of the Sidewise Award for Best Novel); the Worldwar saga: In the Balance, Tilting the Balance, Upsetting the Balance, and Striking the Balance; the Colonization books: Second Contact, Down to Earth, and Aftershocks; the Great War epics: American Front, Walk in Hell, and Breakthroughs; the American Empire novels: Blood & Iron, The Center Cannot Hold, and Victorious Opposition; and the Settling Accounts series: Return Engagement, Drive to the East, The Grapple, and In at the Death. Turtledove is married to fellow novelist Laura Frankos. They have three daughters: Alison, Rachel, and Rebecca.

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