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Homeward Bound Hardcover – December 28, 2004

94 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Alternate-history maestro Turtledove's conclusion to his Worldwar and Colonization sagas, about how lizard-like aliens known as the Race invaded Earth during WWII and were fought to a stalemate by the major Allied and Axis combatants, lacks the vividly described battle scenes of its predecessors, but more than compensates by closely examining the Race's culture and society. While the Race have colonized much of Earth, they're amazed by the human ability to adapt to change. (The aliens' probe some 600 years earlier led them to expect they'd be facing armored knights.) When an American starship makes the trip to Home, the Race's planet of origin, the lizards fear the loss of their technological dominance and decide to annihilate Earth, their colony included... The question of how much common ground exists between the lizards and humans wouldn't have been out of place in old issues of Astounding. The author dramatizes the old "nature versus nurture" argument through the moving stories of a human woman raised from birth by the lizards and of two aliens raised as humans. Fans will be pleased that room remains for a sequel.
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From Booklist

Turtledove brings the saga of the Lizards (the Race) and the Tosevites (Big Uglies, or humans) to a resounding and massive conclusion. The human race has developed a starship, and early in the book, it appears in the skies of Home. That sets the Race by the ears (well, it would if they had any), and their respect for and fear of the Tosevites' rate of change and technological ingenuity has them waiting for the other shoe to drop, though they don't wear shoes. [...] Turtledove keeps the story from becoming too convoluted by focusing on Sam Yeager, successful diplomat in spite of himself, and his family, and on Kassquit, the human baby raised as a Lizard, and thereby produces not only a more coherent narrative but also tours de force of characterization. Which is not to say that the book is free of japes, wordplay, and such odd devices as an aging Matt Damon in a pornographic historical epic, all of which reassure the reader that this is indeed a case of Turtledove in full cry. The whole saga, begun in the Worldwar series and continued in the Colonization trilogy, may not quite equal Turtledove's alternate America books, but it certainly ranks as something few other writers would have attempted and even fewer would have brought off so well. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 597 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; First Edition edition (2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034545846X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345458469
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.6 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,737,687 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Darren O'Connor on March 31, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed the series as a whole. It's a fascinating premise: aliens invade in the middle of WWII, and the warring nations must put aside their differences in order to confront the new threat. Also, after several books of humans playing catch up with the alien invaders, it was satisfying to see them pull ahead technologically.

But having said that, this book has serious flaws. Turtledove is, I am saddened to admit, apparently devolving as a writer. Look at his first major work, the "Videssos Cycle" and you will see good pacing; good plotting; memorable, colorful characters; rich detail; and a host of other virtues. Look at his more recent work, and you will see signs of a more slipshod approach to each project. Perhaps this is because he is churning out a lot more books these days, and quality is suffering at the hands of quantity. Perhaps also, having achieved critical success and gained a following, his editors are less inclined to make changes to his work than they were when he was an unknown newcomer.

This book was more or less good. It wasn't great. And that's a pity, for greatness is something this author is quite capable of. Some details just don't ring true at all. Throughout this whole series, he's had humans meekly accept the appellation "Big Uglies" -- a clearly derogatory term -- from the Race. Nowhere to you see humans stand up and declare that that is a derogatory and insulting name, and they find it unacceptable -- even when humans are grown powerful enough to insist upon respectful treatment.
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34 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Canticle For Leibowitz on September 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Once upon a tiime, September 23, 2005

Reviewer: Canticle For Leibowitz (San Francisco, CA USA) - See all my reviews

Once upon a time there was a writer named Harry, who wrote some great and imaginative books, Guns of the South, Household Gods, Ruled Britannia...WHERE OR WHERE IS HE? Sorry, but anyone these days who buys any part of any of his many series is simply begging to be taken. I swear, its to the point that Harry Turtledove could be replaced by a computer program designed to write hack historical science fiction, a program designed for the computers of the late 1980's...does he mail these in? Does he pay interns to write for him? Look, I know some of you will hate this review, and probably love what hes doing, but really, don't you all know his formula by now, couldn't many of you outline his hack formula? Is there any one left who doubts he is STRETCHING THESE OUT FOR ALL THEY'RE WORTH? Is he paid by the word? Does he even care any more, does he have any respect left for his public? I LOVED his work, and I regret what he has become...now, please don't hate me!
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35 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Dexter Hamilton on December 18, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Basically, the story went nowhere.

Nothing happened. I don't know how else to say it. Americans made it to Home in suspended animation. Home is hot and dry. The Race is shocked. America demands that they be respected as equals by the race. The Race refuses and just before they decide to launch a pre-emptive war, an American "Faster than Light" ship reaches home. Instead of spending years in suspended animation, the trip to home takes 5 weeks. Home, now realizing that they are now technologically INFERIOR for the first time in their history, decides not to make the attack. One of the Americans becomes Kassquit's sex partner, leaving her pregnant. The Americans go home.

Uh.......that's pretty much it. 600 pages.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Marshall Lord TOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 25, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is one of those books which some people love and others absolutely hate. For me it deserved five stars but there will be other readers, some of whom enjoyed the first few books in the series, for whom even one star would be too many.

"Homeward Bound" is the eighth and probably final book in the series which begins with an alien invasion of earth in the middle of World War II. The full sequence is

WORLDWAR Quartet, starting in 1942: warring human nations forced to unite against lizardlike Aliens from Tau Ceti 2.

Worldwar: In the Balance
Worldwar: Tilting the Balance
Worldwar: Upsetting the Balance
Worldwar: Striking the Balance

COLONISATION Trilogy, starting about 1962: twenty years after the initial alien attack a second fleet full of colonists arrives, touching off a further round of intrigue and war

Colonisation: Second contact
Colonisation: Down to earth
Colonisation: aftershocks

HOMEWARD BOUND: in 2031 an American spaceship arrives at Tau Ceti to pay the aliens a return visit ...

The first thing to understand about this book to decide whether you would be one of those who love it or one of those who hate it, is that the "Alternative History" element is very small indeed. Most of the action happens in 2031, seventy years after the alien invasion, and very few historical figures are recognisable.

There are a few little touches relating to real people - I caught references to Henry Kissenger ("The Doctor"), James Dean (no car crash, he lived to old age) and Matt Damon. And one of the comic touches in the book is a "lizard" (e.g. Tau Cetan) policeman who is clearly a parody of Lieutenant Columbo. But essentially this is a novel of alien contact, not alternative history.
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