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A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah! Paperback – 28 Sep 2000

7 customer reviews

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Paperback, 28 Sep 2000
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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; New edition edition (28 Sept. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575071346
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575071346
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.6 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,202,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Harry Harrison (1925 -) Harry Harrison was born Henry Maxwell Dempsey in Connecticut, in 1925. He is the author of a number of much-loved series including the Stainless Steel Rat and Bill the Galactic Hero sequences and the Deathworld Trilogy. He is known as a passionate advocate of Esperanto, the most popular of the constructed international languages, which appears in many of his novels. He has been publishing novels for over half a century and is perhaps best known for his seminal novel of overpopulation, Make Room! Make Room!, which was adapted into the cult film Soylent Green. Harry Harrison lives in the Republic of Ireland.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Brian Flange on 3 Jun. 2004
Format: Paperback
Alternative history stories are often pretty grim, in the usual "Hitler wins" vein. So, if you enjoy alternative histories but you're fed up with jackboots marching down Pall Mall, refresh yourself with the light touch and easy humour of Harry Harrison's "A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah!" In Harrison's world, George Washington was executed by the British in 1776 and America is still uneasily subject to British colonial rule two centuries later. As the bicentennial of Washington's failed rebellion approaches, revolt is stirring once again in the American colonies. Against this backdrop of seething unrest, Captain Augustus ("Gus") Washington, shamed descendent of the infamous George, tries to reclaim a little family honour by helping to construct a vast vacuum-filled railway-tunnel between Britain and America. Needless to say, the dauntless Gus's path is strewn with perils political and romantic. It's edge-of-the-seat stuff all the way. Will Gus get his girl? Will the Tunnel work? And just how did this world get like this in the first place? Harry Harrison has a lot of fun with the attitudes and technology of his hyper-Victorian alternative world and even works in a few sly portraits of friends and colleagues like Brian Aldiss and Kingsley Amis. I doubt that there's another time-travel story as funny as Harrison's "Technicolor Time Machine", and likewise I doubt that there are any alternative histories that are more fun than "A Transatlantic Tunnel ..." Simply topping.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By T. D. Welsh TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 8 Mar. 2004
Format: Paperback
My main complaint is that "A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah!" is far too short. Having gone to the trouble of constructing such a fascinating, and fairly consistent, parallel world, Harrison could have written twice or three times as much about it. Many novels benefit from being vigorously trimmed back, as the removal of excess verbiage helps the action to stand out more clearly. Here, the opposite is the case. Apart from the protagonist, Captain Augustine Washington, there is virtually no characterisation - and even he is little more than a heroic stereotype. And the civilisation and culture of a world in which the American colonies never achieved independence are merely sketched, with overwhelming focus on transport technology.
Then again, you can easily zip through the book in a day, and nobody can complain about being bogged down by inessentials. Harrison's artistry allows him to translate us to his alternate universe with a few deft strokes. It is unfair to make comparisons with later novels such as Gibson and Sterling's "The Difference Engine", which give a more three-dimensional impression of Victorian society. (Anyway, "A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah!" is set in 1973, although speech patterns and customs are Victorian).
Due to the book's consistent focus on the transatlantic tunnel project, the action is rather intermittent. This will not be a problem for anyone who enjoys descriptions of clever technology, though, as possibilities are opened up that have not been explored even in our world. Some of the ideas may seem questionable - for instance, the artificial islands in the Atlantic, with their hotels, shopping precincts and beaches, might not stand up well to the occasional "perfect storm".
All in all, though, a most enjoyable romp and a big contrast to run-of-the-mill "space opera" science fiction. The introduction by Auberon Waugh and cameo appearances of Messrs Aldiss, Amis and Dick Tracy are a bonus.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 Nov. 2000
Format: Paperback
Harry Harrison pre-empts the steampunk novels of the 1990s with this "Victorian" romance set in a parallel world of 1973 where the war of American Independence was won by the British. Travel by sea is slow and cumbersome, so a group of engineers on both sides of the Atlantic come up with a way of building a tunnel that will traverse the ocean. Chief engineer on the British side is Sir Isambard Brassy-Brunel who is in disagreement with the man in overall charge of both sides. Captain Augustine "Gus" Washington, a descendant of the very George Washington who was executed for his traitorous activities against the UK at Lexington, has been awarded the difficult job of co-ordinating both sides of construction. The fact that Gus wishes to marry Brunel's daughter only adds to his problems in this fun, light-hearted SF novel which also features a medium who can allegedly see into the various existing parallel universes. Her only comments regarding our particular timeline regard our weapons capabilities and (naturally) Woolworths, and Marks & Spencers. Good fun
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ian Whates on 1 Aug. 2003
Format: Hardcover
I made the mistake of having this book on the shelf for some time without reading it, all due to a misconception.
I had assumed, from its title, that this was to be another light and fluffy comic romp a-la 'Starsmashers of the Galaxy Rangers' and the innumerable 'Stainless Steel Rat' books. No harm in that, but did I really want to read another flippant comedy?
Thankfully, I did get around to reading it eventually and discovered my error. Yes, there are flashes of humour, but they are incidental to the story and not the whole point of it. Instead, Harrison gives us a wonderful alternate history adventure, set in a world evocative of a Victorian age caught up in the early industrial revolution. Yes, as the cover suggests, it is reminiscent of the writing of Jules Verne and even of Conan Doyle's Professor Challenger stories. The main protagonist, Captain Augustine Washington, has the determination, charisma and sense of honour you would expect in such a central character.
'Gus' Washington is a descendant of the traitorous George Washington, executed for leading the failed rebellion, and America remains a British colony. Driven by the need to redeem his family name, Gus has excelled throughout his education and early career, becoming a celebrated engineer. His employers' British board now charge him with taking control of the financially troubled American end of the greatest engineering project the world has yet seen - the building of an under-sea tunnel linking Britain to America.
This puts him in direct opposition to his former mentor, the man who first conceived the tunnel:Isambard Brassy-Brunel. Brunel also happens to be the father of the woman Gus loves.
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