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In the Balance (Worldwar, Book One) Mass Market Paperback – Dec 28 1994

3.8 out of 5 stars 91 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; Reprint edition (Dec 28 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345388526
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345388520
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 4.1 x 17.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 91 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #47,471 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

This intelligent speculative novel depicts an alternate history in which, at the height of World War II, Earth is attacked by alien beings with weapons far more destructive than any possessed by the Allied or Axis forces. Turtledove ( The Guns of the South ) gives a surprisingly convincing flavor to the time-worn story of warring nations uniting to repel extraterrestrials; his human characters, both actual and invented, ring true as they struggle to trust each other after years of enmity, and although the alien threat has a B-movie feel, he makes an effort to portray the invaders sympathetically as well. The first in a projected series, the book ends where it began: in and around a battle. The smooth writing is marred only by slightly overdone dialogue for real-life figures like General Patton. The historical details, especially those concerning the weapons and methods available in the 1940s to defend Earth, are accurate and well rendered.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

The year is 1942. In Russia, Hitler's panzers are fighting a losing battle; in China, Japanese invaders ravage the countryside; in England, the RAF watches the skies for enemy bombers; in Chicago, scientists frantically try to unlock the secrets of the atom--and in the skies overhead, an alien army launches its forces to conquer the Earth. Turtledove ( The Guns of the South , LJ 9/1/92) excels in alternate history, and this panoramic exploration of a world at war with itself and with invaders from beyond the galaxy showcases his fertile imagination. A feast for history buffs as well as sf fans, this title belongs in most libraries.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Fleetlord Atvar strode briskly into the command station of the invasion fleet bannership 127th Emperor Hetto. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Harry Turtledove's "World War - In the Balance" series weaves a vast tapestry of unforgettable historic and fictional characters set in the backdrop of WWII. In an alternate version of history starting in 1942, an armada of alien beings invades the Earth, equipped with what we moderns will readily recognize as Space-Age weapons and technology, such as integrated circuits, smart bombs, supersonic jets, night vision, etc. Mankind, ill-equipped in comparison, fights back valiantly with tools that "The Race", as the aliens call themselves, are unfamiliar with - spontaneity, initiative, craftiness, and all-too-human lowdown treachery.
This huge four-volume epic spans the entire globe as human cultures struggle to find common ground on which to oppose the ultimate foe. The pre-existing conflicts on Earth at the time, such as China's civil war, involving Chiang's Nationalist Chinese Kuomintang versus Communists versus the invading Japanese, provide for endless conflict and lively stories and substories throughout the series.
Despite the sheer magnitude of the effort, Turtledove, like a master juggler, makes it look easy, and keeps all the balls in the air as the plots and subplots progress, and they never get boring. The series is such a pageturner that at the end, my only disappointment was that there was nothing left to read. It's really that good.
You'll be rooting for characters both factual and fictional, human and alien, as master storyteller Turtledove gets inside the heads of all his characters, and shares their outlook with you.
"World War - In the Balance" is an immensely entertaining and satisfying read, and will delight both history and science fiction readers. Very highly recommended! Be sure to read "The Guns of the South", another masterwork by this ace storyteller.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've been interested in alternate reality and alternate history for awhile now. It started with TV shows like Star Trek, and Justice League, who gave the concept a shot every now and then, then comics (I own a fair few of Marvel's 'What If...?' series and have checked out more than a few of DC's Elseworlds books) and now I've finally crossed into books. I had done some research on the subject on wikipedia to see where I should start, and with all the titles and the nickname, Master of Alternate History, Harry Turtledove seemed like a good place to kick off.

I found my copy of 'In the Balance' in spring break of this year and just finished it yesterday. It was an easy enough read, and I will credit Turtledove with this, he doesn't treat you like an idiot when it comes to WWII history, nor does he go about instantly assuming you know everything there is to know. To me, as a sometimes interested but not what you would call a conisseur of war, this came as a relief.

Coincidentally, before reading this, I had just finished Harry Harrison's 'West of Eden' (not to be mistaken with Steinbeck's 'East of Eden', let me assure you), another what if story featuring what would have happened had the meteor that alledgedly finished off the dinosaurs never happened. The world, after millions of years, is populated by the descendants of the lizards, with humans existing as a very small minority in North America. You're probably asking what this has to do with Turtledove's book, so I'll answer: the dino-descendants, called the Yilane, bear a striking resemblance in manner and appearance to this book's alien invaders, The Race (or The Lizards as we humans call them).
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By A Customer on March 26 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
My thoughts about both this book and the whole series is of two minds. First, it's a great piece of mindless summer blockbuster type destruction, (...) this series was in desperate need of a chainsaw-swinging editor, because there's massive amounts of bloat in it. I've read the books several times, but after the first time I definitely do a 'reader edit' and skip whole sections of the books as not worth the time to read, as well as the ridiculously frequent flashbacks.
There are some deficiencies, I think, in how people respond to the alien invasion - much like the Germans and the British, the US hadn't seriously pursued jets for reasons similar to the ones Turtledove ascribes to the RAF and Luftwaffe, but an alien invasion would have lit a fire under Lockheed's butt the same as it did to Turtledove's Germans and British; there are also the underfunded US and (even more so) German programs developing crude SAMs which would have also been kicked into high gear by sheer necessity. (...) But that's minor stuff...
I do agree with the aliens not being able to invade their grandmother's kitchen, too; some kid plucked at random from his computer would probably do a far better job than Atvar or any of the other Lizards in strategizing.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Here's a series that in many respects is terrific, but it has a few major flaws, particularly including the author becoming a bit too impressed with himself. The books are long winded and repetitive. If you've waded through Robert Jordan's long, never ending Wheel of Time series, you can appreciate an occasional recap to remind you of who the characters are and what their motivations are. But Turtledove not only does that from book to book, but does it constantly, mind numbingly, throughout each book. Wehrmacht Col. Jager for instance tells you almost every time you meet him of how he didn't realize Jews were being killed. Each character seems to redundantly trot out their pet themes every time they are introduced. Given that Turtledove uses the technique cut-aways to deal with competing subplots, that means this happens a lot--just about every time he returns to a particular character. How many times can we read about Ludmilla and her reaction to the attempted rape? Over and over again, evidently. They say and think the same things constantly. It is beyond tedious--it begins to be padding, a sign of an author who badly needed an editor. This series could've been brilliant as a trilogy. It's still fun as a four parter--but not perfect.
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