cover image Colonization: Second Contact

Colonization: Second Contact

Harry Turtledove. Del Rey Books, $25.95 (496pp) ISBN 978-0-345-43019-9

In high fashion, the master of alternative SF launches a sequel series to his acclaimed Worldwar tetralogy (Striking the Balance, etc.). It is 1963, and Earth is divided among five independent powers (the U.S., the Soviet Union, the Third Reich, Britain, Japan) and the invading alien Lizards. Human adaptations of Lizard technology (including space flight) and the Lizard leaders' painful experience of fighting humans have led to an armed truce among all the parties. Now, however, the Lizard colony fleet, with 40 million sleep-frozen colonists, arrives to settle what they expect to be a completely subdued world. That the Tosevites (humans) are still holding out is only the first of several surprises to greet them. The nastiest is probably that ginger, merely addictive to Lizard males, brings Lizard females violently into heat--arousing an irresistible mating urge in the males. The Third Reich, meanwhile, under the leadership of Himmler, continues its odious ways; Jews maintain an uneasy peace with the Lizards, who saved them from the Holocaust; the Soviet Union (under Molotov) survives; and the U.S. is building a huge space station. Characters who have become old friends to readers of the earlier tetralogy abound, and new ones both human and Lizard appear by the double handful. Turtledove handles sexual themes with good taste and appropriate humor. With his fertile imagination running on overdrive, he develops an exciting, often surprising, story that will not only delight his fans but will probably send newcomers back to the Worldwar saga to fill in the backstory. (Feb.)