|Submitted by Anonymous|
(Mar 20, 2001)
This is science fiction in only a token sense, because it is based on a time machine, yet there is no explanation of how it works or why it has its bizarre limitations. It's really just a plot device to get the author's imagination going. You see, the white supremacists of the 21st century are making their last stand, and, in desperation, decide to send General Lee a modern arsenal of weapons, particularly the AK-47, in order to turn the war to the South. Don't try to make sense of it, just go with the flow, and you will soon be enthralled by Turtledove's grasp of history. His book reads like that PBS Civil War series turned into something far more interesting, but just as realistic; everything except the corny music and b/w daguerreotypes and snapshots of yellowing letters. It is truly exquisite to root for the underdog, and if you're like me, and probably most people, and have a soft spot for a losing cause, it's downright neat to read of the Johnny rebs kicking' Yankee butt with them danged new repeater things they got from these mysterious fellers from North Carolina or someplace. The scene of the rebs converging on Washington and making Lincoln surrender should bring tears to every true Southerner's eyes: if only! At this point, though, the book take a PC turn, and shows Lee actually become a worse abolitionist than Lincoln, and at this point the book goes off the PC deep end, even for moi. Indeed, it smacks of a nasty joke on the very readers who would have plunked their money down to buy it, only to see the southern victory turn into a bummer. Still, there's nothing quite like it and it's a musty if you're looking for a good read and are burned out on hard sci-fi. 4 out of 5 stars.