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Tilting The Balance

3.4 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Random House UK (Aug. 15 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0712649948
  • ISBN-13: 978-0712649940
  • Shipping Weight: 567 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews
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Product Description

From Amazon

World War II screeched to a halt as great military powers scrambled to meet an even deadlier foe, armed with formidable technology that made victory seem inevitable. The menace worsens in this, the second novel in the four-book alternate-history saga that Booklist called "possibly the most ambitious in the subgenre's history and definitely the work of one of alternate history's authentic modern masters." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

The second volume of Turtledove's Worldwar series (after Worldwar: In the Balance), an alternate-history saga in which lizard-like aliens invade Earth during WWII, quickly bogs down. As the plot moves among the huge cast of characters, including many historical figures (Ribbentrop, Roosevelt, Zhukov), and as Turtledove meticulously describes various tanks, planes and guns, readers will realize that they, too, must suffer for the author's research. And none of that homework has bred any subtlety: good people have good sex, while corrupt people suffer appropriate retribution. National and ethnic stereotypes abound, too: the British are more capable than they seem; the Germans are keen mechanics; most Americans, of course, are paragons. There are exceptions, of course-a few interesting lizards and a peace-talking Chinese woman-but it isn't hard to figure out which world leader will "tilt the balance" by using the first human-made atomic bomb. With so much attention paid to the machinery of war and the machinery of history, Turtledove rarely engages the subtleties of character, resulting in a novel that, despite offering its share of mind candy, never makes its many intrigues sufficiently gripping.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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For nostalgia's sake, Fleetlord Atvar called up the hologram of the Tosevite warrior he had often studied before the invasion fleet actually reached the world of Tosev 3. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I liked the first book so much that I hurried out to by the second installment in the series. Now that I am two books into the series, I am somewhat disappointed in emphasis Turtledove puts on average human characters that do not have a birds-eye view of the political situation. He attempts to show us progress by repeatedly using Atvar (the alien fleet commander) as a sounding board by which to reveal the political situation to the reader. It doesn't seem as though we get enough of this from the human point of view, however. I'd like to see what is going on in the White House and in British Parliament. I'd like to know what the great historical figures think about the situation. The closest we get to such points of view are narratives about Molotov or occasional glimpses of FDR or Hitler that are far too short.
One subplot that had me on the edge of my seat was the Jens storyline. I felt a great deal of sympathy for Jens and was earily suspicious about the fate he would receive. Without revealing the plot, I would just like to say that I wish I could have seen more reaction from Barbara, who seems rather callous in regard to Jen's situation. Why has she reacted (or rather not reacted) this way? I would like to see some more depth of character from all involved in this plotline.
All in all, this book is still worth reading, despite a few disappointments. The knowledge that Turtledove brings to his writings is certainly rare and I still like the attention he pays to various historical details, many of which were likely to be lost on me. That I recognized many such details only indicates that there must have been many more.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was a quick read, the story moves tolerably quickly, but the premise and plotline is pretty weak. As other reviewers have pointed out, the technology employed by the lizards seems primitive for spacefaring aliens from many light years away. However, as a number of other reviewers have pointed out, there is something fundementally wrong with the "love triangle" that involves three of the characters.
What I cannot decide is if the rather unbelievable development of the scientist's wife falling for the failed baseball player Science Fiction buff (very droll that)is compelling or revolting. I certainly could not read the book for several days as I realized that this was the way the the author was about to manipulate his characters. The deliberate manipulation of Jens to destroy the integrity of the character in the eyes of the reader is painful. The promotion of the Sam character with the near fawning of a supposedly intelligent female character is blatent and demeaning. In the end I finished the book, because I had to find out - but I strongly dislike this level of manipulation. Given the response of many other reviewers so did they.
Overall I will probably have to read the rest of the series just to satisfy my curiosity, but I am not inspired by the books either on an emotional or intellectual level. I would strongly caution anyone about reading the series for the same reason. You are likely to feel compelled but will you really enjoy the compulsion ? I think I will stick to Stephen Baxter
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Turtledove is great, his alternate histories manage to be very authentic (well apart from the use of English slang as I can testify) while not dragging the reader into factual tedium.
I find the Race more interesting than the humans however. The use of alien idioms is obviously human generated but still effective. My favourite is: egg-addled. It's a term all of us should use!
I felt particularly sorry for Ttomalss in the Russian gulag, which brought home to me the fate of Stalin's human victims.
Turtledove resists the opportunity to make the Race a terrible breed of monsters from the stars. Indeed, in work like 'The Two Georges' turtledove seems to have sympathy for Empires (naturally his PhD is in Byzantine history).
The Race are an ordered, civilised people, unlike the squabbling humans! Turtledove successfully throws up many scenarios from across the globe with such fluid transitions you wonder how much research the supremely-bearded master of alternate timelines does every day.
As a bit of a sci-fi geek there are some things I don't understand. If the Race has the ability for interstellar travel why don't they have better weapons than tanks and jets? What happened to lasers and transporters? Why didn't they bring or manafacture more nukes along for the ride? The answer is that humanity could not have put up much of a fight with such items banging around.
Why are the Rabotevs and Hallessi also slow and cautious in development while humans are innovative? Isn't that a bit convenient? Won't all the nukes going off around the place seriously irradiate a much bigger portion of the planet than shown so far?
Just how many males does the Race have? Also, wouldn't it have been easier to wipe out humanity with a DNA encoded virus or something?
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By A Customer on May 4 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
After a rather disappointing In the Balance, I was a little wary about starting Titling the Balance. But, thankfully, this second installment in the World War series was a whole lot better. The story and characters have already been set up, so we got into a lot more action. The story got really exciting in the end, what with the Jager/Skorzeny/Drefsab stuff at the end and the stunning conclusion in Russia. I surely wasn't expecting what happened to Bobby Fiore-- that took me by surprise, but it gave me the sense that nobody was invulnerable against the Lizards. Still, like all books, this one had its problems. One of the major ones was the Jens/Sam/Barbara stuff. First of all, in nearly every scene with Sam and Barbara, they're naked and in bed together. That got old real quick, considering I hate this Sam guy. Jens is my favorite character and he certainly gets a kick in the-- as the book eloquently puts it-- nuts. I agree with a fellow reviewer that Jens was treated as a jerk here in this book, while Sam was goodie-two-shoes. Sam's a punk. And so's Barbara, who had no faith in her husband and concluded he was dead and moved on way too quickly. Whatever Harry Turtledove was trying to do here, he didn't do a good job of making the readers sympathize with Barbara and Sam. Instead it felt... disturbing. Nonetheless, that was the only problem I had with this otherwise exciting novel.
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