Book Review: Counting Up, Counting Down - Harry Turtledove



Title Counting Up, Counting Down
Author Harry Turtledove
Pages 412
Year 2002
Publisher Del Rey - Ballantine Books
Reading time 14 days (January 2010)
Rating 5 / 10

Well... This was an odd book. Having heard that he his a master of alternate history I had to read something by him. I have some novels of the World War Series but after reading this book I will have them stand-by for another time...

This book is the collection of 17 stories.
I can't say I enjoyed it. I did not. Most of stories are dull and without purpose. There are some who I liked like After the Last Elf is Dead a story depicting a what if of (anti-)Tolkien's LOTR. In most books of fantasy out there ends nicely with the forces of good wining. So Turtledove came up with an idea of what's like an evil wining? It's a straight story about a high captain and his conquest for it's lord. This high captain admires it's opponents for fighting for a lost cause and the ending was nicely done. I would like to read novel with evil characters and such...
Most of the other short stories are bad. Some of them I couldn't finished for being so uninteresting like Deconstruction Gang or the Green Bufallo.
Forty, Counting Down and Twenty-One Counting Up are two good stories and good aditions for this book depicting what alternate history should be. (Well and time travel). Must and Shall is a different story of what if in the all North Vs South in the American Civil War. Usually (and Harry have several books with it) the alternate history depicts the South wining the war. But on this one the North did win the war but treat the Southerns as almost as slaves. It was a detective story and a nice one.
The Phanton of Tolbukhin and Ready for the Fatherland are two forgottable stories adding nothing intesteting.
Other nice stories were Il's ne passeront pas or In this Season. The other stories were unteresting, some with plot holes and un-appealing that I didn't finish...

Having failed to read anything by him with the sole exception of In the Presence of Mine Enemies a long time ago (which I didn't finish) I am afraid of picking up another book by Harry. He writes several books a year. Each book with 400 or 500 pages. How can he do it? Maybe the great output of books make them weaker. I hope I am wrong because I already have several more books by him and I hate to have just because of the covers...
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