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Upsetting the Balance (Worldwar Series, Volume 3) Mass Market Paperback – October 30, 1996

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Upsetting the Balance (Worldwar Series, Volume 3) + Tilting the Balance (Worldwar Series, Volume 2) + Striking the Balance (Worldwar Series, Volume 4)
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Editorial Reviews


"Turtledove exhibits his genuine feel for crafting believable answers to historical 'what ifs.'" ---Library Journal --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.

From the Publisher

What got me about the Worldwar series wasn't the aliens. It wasn't the warfare (though Harry's really good at it--I especially love the tanks). It wasn't even the fact that he'd turned history on its ear in a big way. No, it was the people.

If they were historical figures, like Josef Stalin, or Adolf Hitler, or Omar Bradley, he really brought them back to life. But even they took a back seat to Harry's original characters--the soldiers, the civilians, the resistance members, the spies. Whether they were American or Russian or British or Chinese, he made me care about them, about their lives and their loves. And he made me care a lot about their deaths--the kind of deaths that happen in war.

He made the most out of cultural juxtaposition, when a Polish Jew had to fight alongside a Nazi, or a British officer found himself in a tumultuous affair with a female Russian pilot (and sharpshooter--whoosh). These were the real people, They took a science fiction alternate history and elevated it to a new level. The result is a terrific adventure.
                                --Steve Saffel, Senior Editor

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Product Details

  • Series: Worldwar
  • Mass Market Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (October 30, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345402405
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345402400
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.4 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #372,064 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

Great action and plot development!!
No Name
Maybe I'm wrong, but I still find this impossible to get over.
Andariel Halo
It really is like a 400-page episode of the A-Team.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Quintillius Varus on June 16, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Harry Turtledove's idea of an alien invasion caught offguard by the pace of technological change is solid and entertaining. As in the Great War series, he appears to be milking the idea for more than it is worth. His choice of short vignettes to keep the reader abreast of a wide variety of characters works, but after a few volumes seems to become counterproductive, and to make a variety of situations less distinctive. The book works because of Mr. Turtledove's thinking and in spite of his writing. His strong suit is thinking through "what ifs" to solid conclusions. To date, I have found following Mr. Turtledove's "what ifs" worth wading through an undisciplined multiplicity of subplots and endlessly, numbingly similar descriptions of combat. The decisions made on the use of atomic weapons in the book follow an interesting line; however, the vignette style leaves the actual detonations and aftermaths almost dull. Some specific quibbles with this volume: 1. The Lizards use 1990's USA technology. Judging from the descriptions in the book, Mr. Turtledove has visualized the aliens using the U.S. Army TO&E. Their air transport loads the same way as a C5, their tanks are identical, and their artillery counterbattery and submunitions capabilities were taken straight out the the U.S. Artillery field manuals. Perhaps I'm missing some subtle satire on Mr. Turtledove's part (and I concede the possibility), but equipping the Lizards with modern (read Earth) technology makes the book read like a schoolboy's fantasy of going back and rampaging through the Panzers with a good old M1 tank. That's been done before (Nimitz? Pearl Harbor?). This has the effect of taking the one or two efforts Mr.Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Geoff Oldham on July 2, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As Worldwar: Upsetting the Balance opens, the Race isn't yet sure if the Soviets have another atomic bomb. But among the ramifications of the attack are an attempt led by Straha, third in command of the Race's fleet, to depose Fleetlord Atvar. When the vote fails, Straha defects to the United States and tries to persuade the Race's soldiers to give up the fight, broadcasting his rhetoric by radio.

Meanwhile, Teerts, a Race pilot held prisoner by the Japanese, escapes during an attack. Back with his own people, he reveals the details of the Japanese nuclear program, headquartered in Tokyo. In response, the Race drops its own nuclear bomb on the Japanese capital. While this cripples the Japanese effort, both the Americans and Germans are almost at the point where they can produce enough plutonium on their own to make a steady supply of atomic weapons.

The Race decides it needs to take the British out of the war, and so they invade England. In response, Churchill issues a demand that they leave or face a new weapon. The Race thinks Churchill is bluffing, only to be surprised by something they're completely unprepared for -- mustard gas. Not only do they lack the weapon themselves, they have no gas masks. And once the British start using chemical weapons, the Germans decide to deploy an even more deadly nerve gas. Until now, the Race has faced only inferior weaponry of types similar to its own. Now the war has entered a new stage.

While the war seemed rather static in the second book, major events fill Worldwar: Upsetting the Balance from the first scene. Turtledove still follows all of his major characters, depicting the war from many perspectives.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Andariel Halo on April 18, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
To start, I greatly enjoyed this book as with its predecessors, despite the simplistic writing, great lack of world leaders' presence in the pages, and often repetitive subplot statements.

Little has changed in most of the war, until the Lizards invade Britain. In typical Turtledove fashion, this happens suddenly and with almost no forewarning to the reader. But this I can forgive in seeing the intent of letting the readers feel the same sudden horror and realization as the characters when discovering they are being invaded. The Britons resort to using mustard gas to fantastically lethal effectiveness, leading the Germans to use their own stockpiles of gasses far more lethal and efficient than mustard gas on the Lizards.

For me, some subplots bore me endlessly, such as Nieh Ho-Ting and Liu Han in China, Jens Larssen in America, David Goldfarb and Moishe Russie in Britain, but most are interesting, including a development in which Ussmak is forced to reveal his ginger addiction in order to save his landcruiser captain Nejas, or Ttomalss's attempts to raise Liu Han's baby by himself, which is very much touching and cute.

And if you notice I mention being bored with some of the human stories and greatly intrigued by some of the Lizard stories, you're a step ahead of me, or you've seen what I've seen and agree with me:

Something in this story, from book 1 on, is missing. Something is not explained or supported. Something does not add up, some piece of this masterful puzzle is missing, which without, could cause the whole story to fall apart:

Why does humanity hate the Lizards so vehemently?
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