Last Month in Reading

It’s time for the monthly review of the books I read last month.   Quite the variety in terms of subjects and quality.  Still a good month for in terms of number of books read.

Opening Atlantis, Harry Turtledove

The first of Turtledove’s trilogy of Atlantis alternate history novels, Opening Atlantis is an adequate read.  It is not mind blowing or anything, but it is sufficiently competent and entertaining to be worth reading.  The novel tells the story of an alternate history where a large island, or small continent, (I’ve since realized that it is the East Cost pulled off of America) sits between Europe and America.  Dubbed Atlantis by its discoverers, the novel follows it is colonization up through its equivalent of the French-Indian War through the eyes of the original English settler and his descendants.

One problem with it is that it covers too much time and is too much of a history to really develop the characters.  This is very much a novel of plot and not character, but the viewpoint is too close to the characters to give a wide, history like view. Another problem is that Atlantis’ history too closely mirrors America’s.  What is the point of an alternate history when it sticks so close to actual history?  This is more of a mild disappointment than a big problem, though.  With all of history to use as a canvas, Turtledove transplants what we already know with some cosmetic changes.  I hope the latter books deliver on the promise that Opening Atlantis nearly squanders.

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