So why is that everyone loves Turtledove?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Books and Media' started by Usernameandpassword, Nov 11, 2011.

  1. Usernameandpassword Custom User Title

    Sep 1, 2011
    Why do we really have awards (Turtledove Award) in his name?
    He doesn't seem like much to me; not bad but not really good either.
    I read some of his more recent stories because I've been hearing good stuff about him, and it's not impressive imo.
    1. Inserting a buncha sex scenes that disrupt the flow
    2. Flooding it with phrases that he keeps transferring from story to story (if I hear "Stuck between a rock and a hard place" again I will tear my hair out).
    3. Interesting concepts but fail execution (pretty soft AH after a bit too). Chamberlain standing up to Hitler, for example. 2 books later British and French soldiers are marching into the USSR together with Germans. No matter how scary Hitler and the Nazis are that will never happen.
    4. Book factory: He's producing more than 1 book a year now. He needs to slow down. He's like James Patterson or something.
    5. His fetish for weird fantasty stories. He really ought to stick with AH, it was pretty painful for me to read through half of Beyond the Gap.
    6. Weird thing for Japan. He left Japan all of its conquered land in Worldwar for some reason and the Race didn't invade the Home Islands(granted, may of been a good reason but I haven't read the series in a long, long time as my local library has very few books and I don't feel like purchasing anything as of now).
    Frankly, I'm just scared this guy is the "Modern Master" of alternate history. Please try to prove me wrong here as I really, really want to know why everyone thinks he's good and hope I am delusional, as it is hard to find good stuff to read nowadays.
  2. rvbomally Russian Hacker

    Dec 13, 2008
    The thing is, people don't love him or think he's particularly good. Criticism of Turtledove is one of this forum's many pastimes. The reason people at least appreciate him is that he's the most proficient alternate history author and many users here were introduced to alternate history by his work.
  3. Turquoise Blue Blossoming Tibby! Donor

    Sep 5, 2010
    Turtledove has done good things for serious AH, but is better suited for fantasy. His Southern Victory series is generally decent, but tends a bit ASB at the end.
  4. Mathalamus Well-Known Member

    Oct 4, 2010
    well, for one thing, his timeline 191 employs paraellism, despite the fact that a surviving CSA would change a bunch of things.

    ...and a surviving CSA is pretty much impossible.
  5. Color-Copycat Well-Known Member

    Aug 12, 2010
    make america great again
    From what I've been able to discern from the countless Turtledove threads here, not that many actually love him. I think his shorter stories are pretty good, but anything else just drags on and on with redundant repetition and pointless POV characters.
  6. Xgentis Member

    Nov 18, 2010
    Belgium, Wallonia
    I don't love Turtledove. I am also noticing that he seems to like to screw the same countries in a lot of his novels.
  7. Midas zzz

    Mar 9, 2010
    He's one of the few 'mainstream' AH writers, if he can even be called that, who publishes stuff with some remote resemblance to what we do on here. Perhaps published stuff.

    He also publishes on so many topics and works with parallelism, not necessarily AH the whole way through, that it tends towards very interesting discussions on here of actual counterfactuals or AH.
  8. d32123 Banned

    Aug 30, 2011
    北林海, 卡斯凯迪亚自治区
    I read all of TL-191 and I'm two books into Worldwar.

    Yes, parts of TL-191 got really repetitive and the sex scenes were unnecessary and often prevents me from openly suggesting other people read them so that I don't get judged ("You read eleven books of this!"). I think the key is to not take the books too seriously. I mean, hell, he pretty much ignores butterflies most of the time and has almost almost no historical figures butterflied away. The key to my enjoyment was following the relatively interesting stories of each of the characters, and how they adapt to an ever changing world.
  9. Polish Eagle AntiFa Supersoldier

    Apr 11, 2009
    Where the skies are so blue
    1. It's called 'padding out.' Otherwise he could fit all of TL-191 into 4 books instead of 11. :p The man needs to make money.
    2. This is the result of Problem Number 4. When he starts mass-producing books, he stops bothering to vary his language. But back in the day, by which I mean the early 1990s, I found his use of language rather creative (especially with The Race).
    3. Glad I never bothered going past book 1 of that series. :eek:
    4. Yeah, if he were to slow down, he could make better books. His work two decades ago proves that.
    5. Don't like, don't read. If you don't care for his fantasy stories, no one is forcing you to read them.
    6. I've only really seen Japan get any special treatment in the Tosev Timeline, TL-191, and Days of Infamy. Granted, that's most of his books where Japan is mentioned at all (not counting ITPOME, but that's a standard Axis-wank), but there's a good explanation. First, the Race don't care much about Islands, and they figured Japan would be a pointless diversion of resources after they nuked Nagasaki and botched the invasion of Britain. TL-191's explanation of Japan is rather odd, but since almost all of the action is in the Eastern US, I suppose one can make the case that few of the POV characters gave a shit (though Congresswomen and Generals ought to...).

    Turtledove's really not that well-liked. He got quite a few of us into Alternate History, but now we know what's wrong with his style of it. We still have a special place in our hearts for his earlier works, but now he's kind of a joke.
  10. Wolfpaw Banned

    Nov 3, 2008
    God Hates Flags
    Because like it or not, he's the masthead of AH.

    The man's incredibly proficient and though the quality of his writing has deteriorated over the years (the man needs a better editor, frankly), he still manages to at least start conversations on topics.

    I think Turtledove's best piece of AH is Rule Britannia. Why? Because at the end of the book, Turtledove actually meditates on the various PODs and factors required for the scenario he created, and he's refreshingly frank about the difficulty of achieving a Spanish-occupied England.

    HT does this to a much lesser degree at the end of The Guns of the South when he describes his process for determining the '64 and '67 elections. GotS is also one of the few AH books to occupy the NYT bestseller list, so that's another point in the man's favor.

    He's very active in the AH and Sci-Fi publishing community, often serving as editor and lending his name to anthologies that contain stories by lesser-known authors that we otherwise may never have found.

    We owe him and his borderline-OCD output a considerable debt for at least providing something of a canon to our obscure genre.

    Plus he's a nice chap, not a genocidal nut like Stirling.

    Though I could see Turtledove preferring the award to be called the "Poul Anderson Award;" the man was something of a hero to Harry.
  11. Pichuscrat 1490's Kid

    Nov 6, 2010
    Toronto, Canada
    I honestly never heard of Turtledove until like 2 months after I came onto, and I always thought of alternate history by myself, but mainly about the usual CSA/Nazi stuff... the site has further educated me of the subject. Yet I have never read Turtledove.
  12. mowque Banned

    Mar 21, 2007
    He put AH on the map but he isn't the best writer.
  13. RamscoopRaider Some Sort of Were-Orca, probably an Akhlut Donor

    Aug 9, 2011
    Newtown, CT
    Well as for why he produced so much, he lives in an expensive area and had three daughters in a row to put through college

    He actually seems to prefer writing fantasy to AH, it is what he started with

    I also think he is better as a short story writer, all his short stories anthologies I have read are good
  14. Alex1guy First Of His Name

    Aug 23, 2011
    The New Zealand Empire
    It's all pretty much been said, but yeah he's a rallying figure for alt hist, sure his works are often what we would call ASB but at least it's something.
  15. Sumeragi Banned

    Jul 12, 2011
    British Columbia
    Most of us don't love him, but rather respect him (even if it's with a grudge). He's the one who put AH into the mainstream, and who had written rather plausible TLs compared to the wacky stories before him. However, I'm starting to think his success got into his head (The War that Came Early's The Big Switch comes to mind).
  16. The Red A virulent, ignorant bigot

    Mar 30, 2008
    Occupied Scotland
    Here's what always bugged me about Worldwar, after Tokyo is nuked I distinctly remember a scene where someone refers to the fact the Japanese basically collapsed in the wake of it and although they hadn't surrendered to the Race they were essentially an irrelevance, twenty years later they're a superpower again somehow.
  17. scourge Californian Patriot

    Oct 19, 2007
    Not to sound like a dick or anything , but what have you contributed to the alternate history genre ? Sure Turtledove's writing can be mind numbing at times , but he can write a good novel when he wants to.
  18. Snake Featherston Banned

    Jan 23, 2004
    Lake Charles, Louisiana
    Turtledove is very good at publishing in quantity. The quality of what he publishes, however, is not quite equivalent to the quantity of it.
  19. wilcoxchar The Craft Beer and Coffee Guy

    Jan 15, 2008
    The People's Republic of Boulder
    Turtledove's short stories and his earlier works are rather good, and like it or not, he is probably the most well known AH author out there.
  20. Polish Eagle AntiFa Supersoldier

    Apr 11, 2009
    Where the skies are so blue
    Thought it was Nagasaki they nuked?

    I didn't hear anything about them collapsing. But I haven't read Striking the Balance in ages, though I got the other three in paperback months earlier (got Striking the Balance for $1 in hardcover, but haven't had time to re-read it).

    The Tosev Timeline is honestly my favorite of his works, after Justinian.