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Homeward Bound [Paperback]

Harry Turtledove
2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

24 Oct 2005

The brilliant conclusion to Turtledove's epic alternate history of the second half of the twentieth century, which began with the Worldwar trilogy and continued with the Colonisation trilogy. Halfway through World War II aliens invaded Earth. They were repelled - but not for long.

For the aliens known as the Race, the conflict with Earth has yielded dire consequences. Mankind has developed nuclear technology, years ahead of schedule, forcing the invaders to accept an uneasy truce with nations who can defend themselves. But it is the Americans, with their primitive inventiveness, who discover a way to launch themselves through distant space - and reach the Race's home planet itself.

As the twentieth century ends, a daring few men and women embark upon a journey no human has made before and arrive at the place called Home, at the centre of a flashpoint with terrifying potential.

For their arrival on the alien homeworld may drive the enemy to make the ultimate decision - to annihilate an entire planet, rather than allow the human contagion to spread.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks; New Ed edition (24 Oct 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340734833
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340734834
  • Product Dimensions: 3.9 x 11.4 x 17.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 332,195 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Harry Turtledove is the award-winning author of the alternate-history works The Man with the Iron Heart; The Guns of the South; How Few Remain (winner of the Sidewise Award for Best Novel); the Worldwar saga: In the Balance, Tilting the Balance, Upsetting the Balance, and Striking the Balance; the Colonization books: Second Contact, Down to Earth, and Aftershocks; the Great War epics: American Front, Walk in Hell, and Breakthroughs; the American Empire novels: Blood & Iron, The Center Cannot Hold, and Victorious Opposition; and the Settling Accounts series: Return Engagement, Drive to the East, The Grapple, and In at the Death. Turtledove is married to fellow novelist Laura Frankos. They have three daughters: Alison, Rachel, and Rebecca.

Product Description


With shocking vividness, Turtledove demonstrates the extreme fragility of our modern world . . . This is state-of-the-art alternate history, nothing less (Publishers Weekly on HOW FEW REMAIN))

Turtledove plays heady games with actual history, scattering object lessons and bitter ironies along the way. Strong, complex characters against a sweeping alt-historical background. (Kirkus Reviews on RETURN ENGAGEMENTS)

Good fun. It has an authentic speculative quality, energy and dash. (Time Out on A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE)

Engrossing ... definitely the work of one of alternate history's authentic modern masters . . . totally fascinating. (Booklist on THE GREAT WAR series)

Book Description

The brilliant conclusion to Turtledove's epic alternate history of the second half of the twentieth century, which began with the Worldwar trilogy and continued with the Colonisation trilogy. Halfway through World War II aliens invaded Earth. They were repelled - but not for long.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
By Marshall Lord TOP 500 REVIEWER
This is one of those books which some people love and others absolutely hate. For me it deserved five stars but there will be other readers, some of whom enjoyed the first few books in the series, for whom one star would be too many.

"Homeward Bound" is the eighth and probably final book in the series which begins with an alien invasion of earth in the middle of World War II.

The full sequence is

WORLDWAR Quartet, starting in 1942: warring human nations forced to unite against lizardlike Aliens from Tau Ceti 2.

Worldwar: In the Balance

Worldwar: Tilting the Balance

Worldwar: Upsetting the Balance

Worldwar: Striking the Balance

COLONISATION Trilogy, starting about 1962: twenty years after the initial alien attack a second fleet full of colonists arrives, touching off a further round of intrigue and war

Colonisation: Second contact

Colonisation: Down to earth

Colonisation: aftershocks

HOMEWARD BOUND: in 2031 an American spaceship arrives at Tau Ceti to pay the aliens a return visit ...

The first thing to understand about this book if you want to decide whether you would be one of those who love it or one of those who hate it, is that the "Alternative History" element is very small indeed. Most of the action happens in 2031, seventy years after the alien invasion, and very few historical figures are recognisable.

There are a few little touches relating to real people - I caught references to Henry Kissenger ("The Doctor"), James Dean (no car crash, he lived to old age) and Matt Damon. And one of the comic touches in the book is a "lizard" (e.g. Tau Cetan) policeman who is clearly a parody of Lieutenant Columbo.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Or if you need the adrenaline rush delivered by his earlier novels.
My expectations were limited and proven right. Don’t expect anything like the original (World War) trilogy; it clearly wasn’t going to be like those. Turtledove has moved the plot along to the aftermath and in this book rapidly takes us (and humans) back to the Race’s own planet (Home), with our own technology equal to and now beginning to pull ahead of theirs. The book focuses mainly on the repercussions of this to the Lizards, and how the two societies might stumble towards some kind of hegemony.
It is entertaining in its own way, and as I didn’t expect to be gripped as I was by the original series I wasn’t disappointed. I won’t be giving much away to say that all the action takes place in meeting rooms.
My real criticism, and the reason for the low score, is simply the lack of imagination and creativity this work shows. As a Sci-fi writer I would expect Mr Turtledove to be able to conjure up an alien society that is sufficiently different from ours, but he funked this one completely. In almost every way he simply makes the Race a mirror of ours; just with the ‘people’ being reptilian rather than mammals. So Home is just like earth, cities, transport, society, culture, food, pets (even!), the media and everything else exactly as it is here, adjusted slightly for smaller creatures and a hotter, dryer climate. There’s even a Lizard detective who is ‘Colombo’ with grubby scales.
Maybe this is a book too far. By showing the aliens to be so ‘human’ and basically decent, he gains our sympathy for them, but in doing so strips away any remaining scariness that is vital to sustain an ‘alien invasion’ storyline. An enjoyable read, but only worth 2 stars.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By G. Kent
I was motivated to write something about Turtledove's novel by the rather negative tone of the other reviews. The point is that this novel (I agree with other regulars that the ending definitely leaves it open to write more novels set in this universe) is really not alternative history SF. We are now many years from the intervention point in WWII when the Race attacked Earth. What we have here is a SF story about first interstellar mission. It needs to be compared rather with Turtledove's straight science fiction, somewhat Poul Anderson influenced it seems to me, like Earthgrip and Non-interference.
It is an accomplished portrait of a very different alien society. It may basically be capitalistic, and in other respects similar to our own, but in many psychological aspects it is very different. I think many of the criticisms are unfair. It is the similarity between the Race and Humans that gives the differences their cutting-edge. After all, there has to be certain similarities for there to be like concepts of Government, war, peace, conquest and colonisation between the various species. To say more would be to give away the crucial plot denouement.
So this novel should be read as what it is, not an alternate universe (except in so far as any science fiction novel is an alternate universe), but an investigation of interstellar diplomacy. Of course most of it is talk and the equivalent of smoke-fill rooms -- this is one of all about diplomacy and avoiding war, not military SF.
Those who like the science fiction of the 50s/60/70s are likely to enjoy this novel. Those looking for alternative history are likely to find the disappointment, as the other reviewers.
If you enjoyed early Turtledove you will, I think, enjoy this,
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Worldwar
This was bought by me for my husband who collects Harry Turtledove books. He is highly delighted with it. I will soon be purchasing more of these books as gifts
Published 11 months ago by Mrs H
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring beyond belief - worst Turtledove book ever?
I really enjoyed the four volumes of the World War-series and the following three of the Colonization-series, and I would recommend them to most fans of action-orientated alternate... Read more
Published on 13 Aug 2011 by MaskedMarauder
5.0 out of 5 stars A quite satisfying ending to a very original cycle
I read all the "War of the Worlds" books and I just loved this cycle for its originality and courage. Read more
Published on 22 Aug 2007 by Maciej
4.0 out of 5 stars Little action, but a lot more thought
A few criticisms to get out of the way first:

1) Too much repetition

2) Sub plots which begin and go no further

3) It's not similar to either World... Read more
Published on 25 Aug 2006 by Jeremy
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring - Truth
I, like other reviewers purchased this book on merits from previous instalments - what a cop-out! Just save your money and watch the flowers grow - far more entertaining!
Published on 11 Jun 2006 by R. Nicklin
1.0 out of 5 stars A lousy end to a decent series.
The lack of imagination shown by Turtledove in this final episode of the 'World War' / 'Colonisation' series is little short of staggering. Read more
Published on 10 April 2006 by F101VOODOO
2.0 out of 5 stars Why did he write this
If you read any of the other 'World war' books and enjoyed them then don't read this book.
I have to wonder why he wrote this book at all. Read more
Published on 29 Mar 2006
1.0 out of 5 stars Another bitter dissapointment.
It's a shame really, world war was possibly one of my favourite book series of all time, a really interesting, gripping story. Read more
Published on 27 Mar 2006 by A. Bailey
1.0 out of 5 stars Much ado about Nothing
I was an avid reader of the World War and Colonisation series. This book was supposed to tie up all the loose ends and showm humanity reaching Home. Read more
Published on 9 Dec 2005 by A. Kane
4.0 out of 5 stars great book
While this wasn't the type of story one has come to expect in this series, it is a great story. I enjoyed the interaction of the charcters on this new world and seeing how the... Read more
Published on 10 July 2005 by brian
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