Sunday, December 11, 2011

Down in the Bottomlands, by Harry Turtledove

Down in the Bottomlands was nominated for a Nebula in 1994 for best novella.  Kind of a thin year, I guess.  It's a competent story, but not something one would normally go far out of the way to read.  It's an espionage/mystery story set on an alien Earth--rather too literal a one.  This planet is what I would call an Earth "skin"--peopled by humans with predictably human motivations, with 20th century human technology, all with straightforward english analog names.  Examples--"starbombs" = nuclear weapons, "The Trench" = pretty much like the Grand Canyon, etc.  There's action, sex, and environmental appeal, but it's all stiff as can be.

Turtledove is mostly known for alternate history work--alternate versions of WWII, etc.  I would go there for better examples of his writing.  Two stars for this one.

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