Sunday, November 14, 2010

Atlantis and Other Places: By Harry Turtledove



A famous naturalist seeks a near-extinct species of bird found only on the rarest of lands in "Audubon in Atlantis." A young American on a European holiday finds himself storming an enchanted German castle in "The Catcher in the Rhine." The philosopher Sokrates plays a key role in the Athenian victory over the Spartans in "The Daimon." Centaurs take a sea voyage aboard "The Horse of Bronze" to a land where they encounter a strange and frightening tribe of creatures known as man. London's most famous detective, Athelstan Helms, and his assistant Dr. James Walton are in Atlantis investigating a series of murders in "The Scarlet Band."

This collection includes these and seven more amazing stories of ancient eras, historical figures, mysterious events, and out-of-this- world adventure from the incomparable Harry Turtledove.


There are some authors who’s names are just synonymous with science fiction and good writing in general. Such authors include Orson Scott Card, Philip K. Dick, Douglas Adams, and Harry Turtledove. Personally I’ve read a good number of these authors books and loved them all. That is all except Harry Turtledove. I don’t know why but I’ve never picked up and read one of Mr. Turtledove’s books. I’ve always heard wonderful things about them and how he’s such an amazing and intelligent author, but when it came time to read one of his many books I always found myself reading something else instead.

So when I was sent Atlantis and Other Places I felt this anthology of short stories would be a perfect place to see what this master storyteller has up his sleeve. And I have to say it was some show.

If you don’t know what Turtledove is famous for is his historical science fiction and fantasy. These books encompass a range of history subjects from ancient civilizations to the present. In Atlantis and Other Places Turtledove does a fantastic job of sampling a number of his different histories and stories. My personal favorite was The Horse of Bronze, a short story about the first time centaurs encounter humans in their search for tin. It’s very well told and had just the right amount of action and intrigue to keep the reader going in the story. But what I was most impressed by the story was the narrative voice. Turtledove does a fantastic job creating a relatable, intelligent, yet intriguing voice in Chiron, the famous centaur from the Greek myths.

That said not all the stories are gems, I personally didn’t love a few of the stories but overall I enjoyed more than I disliked. Also, considering I usually don’t love short stories that fact that Turtledove was able to both keep my attention in his stories and have the majority of them come out with a positive reaction really speaks to his ability as a writer. Therefore in my opinion if your haven’t read Harry Turtledove then you should, and Atlantis and Other Places is as a good as any place to begin in your soon to be interest in this fantastic author.

8 out of 10


Publisher: Roc Hardcover

Published: December 7, 2010

Price: $24.95

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