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Upsetting the Balance (Worldwar, Book Three) [Anglais] [Poche]

Harry Turtledove

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Upsetting the Balance (Worldwar, Book Three) + Striking the Balance (Worldwar, Book Four) + In the Balance (Worldwar, Book One)
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Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

Communist China, Japan, Nazi Germany, the United States: they began World War II as mortal enemies. But suddenly their only hope for survival--never mind victory--was to unite to stop a mighty foe--one whose frightening technology appeared invincible.

Far worse beings than the Nazis were loose. From Warsaw to Moscow to China's enemy-occupied Forbidden City, the nations of the world had been forced into an uneasy alliance since humanity began its struggle against overwhelming odds. In Britain and Germany, where the banshee wail of hostile jets screamed across the land, caches of once-forbidden weapons were unearthed, and unthinkable tactics were employed against the enemy. Brilliantly innovative military strategists confronted challenges unprecedented in the history of warfare.

Even as lack of fuel forced people back to horse and carriage, physicists worked feverishly to create the first atomic bombs--with horrifying results. City after city joined the radioactive pyre as the planet erupted in fiery ruins. Yet the crisis continued--on land, sea, and in the air--as humanity writhed in global combat. The tactics of daredevil guerrillas everywhere became increasingly ingenious against a superior foe whose desperate retaliation would grow ever more fearsome.

No one had ever put the United States, or the world, in such deadly danger. But if the carnage and annihilation ever stopped, would there be any pieces to pick up?

Biographie de l'auteur

Harry Turtledove was born in Los Angeles in 1949. After flunking out of Caltech, he earned a Ph.D. in Byzantine history from UCLA. He has taught ancient and medieval history at UCLA, Cal State Fullerton, and Cal State L.A., and has published a translation of a ninth-century Byzantine chronicle, as well as several scholarly articles.

He is also a full-time science fiction and fantasy writer; much of his creative effort has been devoted to alternate history or history-based fantasy. His alternate history works include A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE (a first-contact story), THE GUNS OF THE SOUTH (a speculative novel of the Civil War), and the Worldwar tetralogy that began in 1994 with WORLDWAR: IN THE BALANCE. His novella "Down in the Bottomlands" won a Hugo award in 1994, and he is the coauthor, with actor Richard Dreyfuss, of THE TWO GEORGES.

Two of his fantasy series, The Videssos Cycle and The Tale of Krispos, are set in a world modeled on the Byzantine Empire, and he returns to that universe with his current Time of Troubles tetralogy.

He is married to fellow novelist Laura Frankos. They have three daughters: Alison, Rachel, and Rebecca.

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The fleetlord Atvar had convened a great many meetings of his shiplords since the Race's conquest fleet came to Tosev 3. Lire la première page
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Couverture | Copyright | Extrait | Quatrième de couverture
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 3.9 étoiles sur 5  43 commentaires
8 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Intersting premise, interminable execution 16 juin 2000
Par Quintillius Varus - Publié sur
Harry Turtledove's idea of an alien invasion caught offguard by the pace of technological change is solid and entertaining. As in the Great War series, he appears to be milking the idea for more than it is worth. His choice of short vignettes to keep the reader abreast of a wide variety of characters works, but after a few volumes seems to become counterproductive, and to make a variety of situations less distinctive. The book works because of Mr. Turtledove's thinking and in spite of his writing. His strong suit is thinking through "what ifs" to solid conclusions. To date, I have found following Mr. Turtledove's "what ifs" worth wading through an undisciplined multiplicity of subplots and endlessly, numbingly similar descriptions of combat. The decisions made on the use of atomic weapons in the book follow an interesting line; however, the vignette style leaves the actual detonations and aftermaths almost dull. Some specific quibbles with this volume: 1. The Lizards use 1990's USA technology. Judging from the descriptions in the book, Mr. Turtledove has visualized the aliens using the U.S. Army TO&E. Their air transport loads the same way as a C5, their tanks are identical, and their artillery counterbattery and submunitions capabilities were taken straight out the the U.S. Artillery field manuals. Perhaps I'm missing some subtle satire on Mr. Turtledove's part (and I concede the possibility), but equipping the Lizards with modern (read Earth) technology makes the book read like a schoolboy's fantasy of going back and rampaging through the Panzers with a good old M1 tank. That's been done before (Nimitz? Pearl Harbor?). This has the effect of taking the one or two efforts Mr. Turtledove has made to make the Lizards come alive in their own right (the implications of different sexual patterns, for example) and makes them seem contrived and tacked on. 2. No self-respecting science fiction author should ever, EVER, describe his characters as being clever because they read science fiction. Such references come across as smug and sycophantic (Hey! I'm reading science fiction! I must be smarter than the average bear, too!). No writer who reaches out from his pages and slaps the reader around with such self-referential nonsense can expect a continuing willing suspension of disbelief. In spite of all that, it's not a bad book. It's just not enough for four books. I read through to the end willingly enough; the basic premise alone was interesting enough to ensure that. The Lizards can't just leave because their women and children are committed to coming along behind; but they can't win, either. That is enough to take this book above the usual all-or-nothing space opera. It's not enough, though, to entice me to finish the series.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 The Most Realistic of the Series 3 juillet 2007
Par Geoff Oldham - Publié sur
As Worldwar: Upsetting the Balance opens, the Race isn't yet sure if the Soviets have another atomic bomb. But among the ramifications of the attack are an attempt led by Straha, third in command of the Race's fleet, to depose Fleetlord Atvar. When the vote fails, Straha defects to the United States and tries to persuade the Race's soldiers to give up the fight, broadcasting his rhetoric by radio.

Meanwhile, Teerts, a Race pilot held prisoner by the Japanese, escapes during an attack. Back with his own people, he reveals the details of the Japanese nuclear program, headquartered in Tokyo. In response, the Race drops its own nuclear bomb on the Japanese capital. While this cripples the Japanese effort, both the Americans and Germans are almost at the point where they can produce enough plutonium on their own to make a steady supply of atomic weapons.

The Race decides it needs to take the British out of the war, and so they invade England. In response, Churchill issues a demand that they leave or face a new weapon. The Race thinks Churchill is bluffing, only to be surprised by something they're completely unprepared for -- mustard gas. Not only do they lack the weapon themselves, they have no gas masks. And once the British start using chemical weapons, the Germans decide to deploy an even more deadly nerve gas. Until now, the Race has faced only inferior weaponry of types similar to its own. Now the war has entered a new stage.

While the war seemed rather static in the second book, major events fill Worldwar: Upsetting the Balance from the first scene. Turtledove still follows all of his major characters, depicting the war from many perspectives. But now the personal struggles are more often entwined with higher concerns, giving this volume more depth as well as more suspense.

Turtledove also returns to some humorous social commentary, something prevalent in the first book but strangely absent from the second. One sequence details the horrors experienced by one of the Race's psychologists who, as an experiment, is trying to raise a human baby. At another point, the Race's reaction to the concept of science fiction concisely illustrates the Race's views regarding the human ability to innovate.

Throughout the novel, the frustration of the Race's soldiers builds as the humans find new ways to fight them -- actually beating them in many cases. Turtledove is especially effective in portraying the reasons why the Race is reluctant to use nuclear weapons on a large scale and simply exterminate the humans. Overall, this is by far the strongest of the four novels in the series, and a victorious defense, which once seemed impossible, now seems inevitable.

I wonder now whether the whole series could have been greatly strengthened by cutting much of the second volume.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 annoying 20 décembre 1996
Par Un client - Publié sur
After enjoying the first two books in this series
I found this one very annoying. Constant narrative
reminders of character shaping events from
the previous books totally overwhelmed any new
information. I found myself skimming through the
reiterations looking for something new.

I *forced* myself to finish the book, and was annoyed
to realize it was not the end of the series.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 A key piece to the puzzle is missing 18 avril 2008
Par Andariel Halo - Publié sur
Format:Poche|Achat vérifié
To start, I greatly enjoyed this book as with its predecessors, despite the simplistic writing, great lack of world leaders' presence in the pages, and often repetitive subplot statements.

Little has changed in most of the war, until the Lizards invade Britain. In typical Turtledove fashion, this happens suddenly and with almost no forewarning to the reader. But this I can forgive in seeing the intent of letting the readers feel the same sudden horror and realization as the characters when discovering they are being invaded. The Britons resort to using mustard gas to fantastically lethal effectiveness, leading the Germans to use their own stockpiles of gasses far more lethal and efficient than mustard gas on the Lizards.

For me, some subplots bore me endlessly, such as Nieh Ho-Ting and Liu Han in China, Jens Larssen in America, David Goldfarb and Moishe Russie in Britain, but most are interesting, including a development in which Ussmak is forced to reveal his ginger addiction in order to save his landcruiser captain Nejas, or Ttomalss's attempts to raise Liu Han's baby by himself, which is very much touching and cute.

And if you notice I mention being bored with some of the human stories and greatly intrigued by some of the Lizard stories, you're a step ahead of me, or you've seen what I've seen and agree with me:

Something in this story, from book 1 on, is missing. Something is not explained or supported. Something does not add up, some piece of this masterful puzzle is missing, which without, could cause the whole story to fall apart:

Why does humanity hate the Lizards so vehemently?

Every human character on every other page rants and raves about how evil and how awful and how much cold furious personal hatred they have for the Lizards, and how horrifying the Lizards are and how the ENTIRE EARTH should sooner be destroyed than let the Lizards win the war, or how Jews and Nazis, or Nazis and Soviets, or Chinese and Japanese would sooner join forces and help one another than have the Lizards around.

And yet through all Turtledove's descriptions of the Lizards and their actions, they are shown to be more benevolent and merciful than any human empire in the history of mankind, as well as the most benevolent and merciful of sides in this conflict short only of the Americans and Britons.

Lizards are appalled to a vast degree at images of Nazi concentration camps, causing them to show a vast degree of latitude and benevolence to the Jews liberated from the ghettoes. Lizards never abuse their captives or conquered---in fact, the Jews in the ghettoes are fed far better, given more freedoms, and more status in the eyes of the Race; the only malnourishment is due to the world-wide shock the Lizard invasion has caused on the local economic infrastructures.

The Lizards are very generous to their human prisoners, and NEVER torture any of them.

The only sides in this conflict I can see easily fighting the Lizards to the death would be the Americans and Britons for freedom; I could just as easily envision the Nazis or the Soviets or the Chinese or even the Japanese (as they have an empire and emperor-worship, same as the Race) allying with the Lizards to help quash the worldwide resistance in exchange for great power over the defeated lands.

Even with a great suspension of disbelief, absolutely nothing in Turtledove's writing convinces me (or seemingly tries to convince me) that the Jews, who have been brutally mistreated, worked to death, and murdered by the Nazis, would so grudgingly fight alongside them, because the Lizards had the audacity to feed them and arm them and protect them and strip them of some freedoms they never had under the Nazis to begin with.

Nothing in the writing convinces me that the Chinese, who suffered among the worst war crimes in history at the hands of the Japanese (the Rape of Nanking comes to mind, as well as the gruesome "experimentations" of Unit 731 and others) would so easily cease fighting the Japanese to fight off the Lizards, who by the writing have seemingly done nothing serious to Chinese lands compared to the Germans or Americans.

In fact, aside from the three nuclear bombs dropped on Berlin, Washington D.C., and Tokyo respectively, the Lizards have done nothing to warrant such vehement hatred from almost unanimously the entire human race---and the nukes were only used in the heat of war.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I still find this impossible to get over. Compared to what the Nazis did with their concentration camps and Gestapo, the Soviets with their gulags and NKVD, the Japanese with their mass-rapes and murders, I can't imagine the Lizards being anything more than just an obligatory foe not nearly fearsome enough to stop most of the in-species fighting already taking place before they arrived.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Good but repetitive 22 octobre 1998
Par - Publié sur
Lizards invade earth during WW II - installment 3. A good storyline and backdrop, but the author repeats himself an awful lot. For example, in the first book the Lizards are suprised at how technologically advanced the humans are. In the 3rd book, there are still pages and pages of various lizards lamenting the same thing in almost the same words. Character development stopped somewhere in the 2nd book also. 1,200 pages into this series, the baseball player characters still relate everything back to playing minor league ball, almost verbatim in some spots. Could have edited the first three books into one or two faster, better books.
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