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Has anyone else read Days of Infamy yet?

 
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Has anyone else read Days of Infamy yet? - 1/5/2005 7:06:37 PM   
SpitfireIX


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I was wondering whether anyone else has read Harry Turtledove's Days of Infamy yet? If so, what did you think of it? Do you find his Pearl Harbor scenario realistic?

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0451213076/ref=pd_pym_ka/104-9636971-9194367

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RE: Has anyone else read Days of Infamy yet? - 1/5/2005 8:18:05 PM   
dtravel


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I have the book. I believe it is #327 in my 'to be read' pile.

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RE: Has anyone else read Days of Infamy yet? - 1/5/2005 9:47:18 PM   
Harald1050


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No, just read some books about "Operation Barbarossa".
Now i will start with a book of Peter Scholl-Latour. German native-speakers will know him. ;))

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RE: Has anyone else read Days of Infamy yet? - 1/5/2005 11:30:56 PM   
Tom Hunter


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I am not starting another Turtledove series until he finishes one of the many others that I have started.

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RE: Has anyone else read Days of Infamy yet? - 1/5/2005 11:34:52 PM   
Blackhorse


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I just read the book over the Christmas - New Year Holiday.

IMHO, this is not Turtledove's best work, and I'm a fan of his.

He portrays a Japanese invasion of Oahu as a mirror-image of Malaya Campaign -- Americans falling back while the Japanese, moving down from the north, outflank the defenders by crashing through seemingly impassable terrain. The Americans are portrayed as plucky, but nevertheless in constant retreat, in the end fighting no better than the British colonial troops in Southeast Asia.

While Turtledove does lip service to the idea that the invasion would be a strain on Japanese logistics, the supply strain doesn't have any consequences in the book, nor does the diversion of resources from other fronts: the Japanese advance in other theatres is as rapid (or more) as it was historically.

Turtledove is not a particulary engaging writer. The joy of reading his books is in the interesting, plausible twists he brings to his Alternative Worlds -- most evident in his Earth in the Balance series (which I highly recommend) that features an Alien invasion in the midst of WWII.

But I found the set-up to Days of Infamy unconvincing, and the few other historical twists that were introduced -- an alternative-history Doolittle Raid, and the not-Midway June, 1942 carrier battle -- was poor payment for slogging through pages of wooden dialogue by uninteresting characters.

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RE: Has anyone else read Days of Infamy yet? - 1/6/2005 6:16:59 AM   
SpitfireIX


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*****Spolier Warning for Days of Infamy--don't read if you don't want to be spoiled*****
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Blackhorse

I just read the book over the Christmas - New Year Holiday.

IMHO, this is not Turtledove's best work, and I'm a fan of his.

I agree it's not his best work, and I'm also a fan.

quote:


He portrays a Japanese invasion of Oahu as a mirror-image of Malaya Campaign -- Americans falling back while the Japanese, moving down from the north, outflank the defenders by crashing through seemingly impassable terrain. The Americans are portrayed as plucky, but nevertheless in constant retreat, in the end fighting no better than the British colonial troops in Southeast Asia.

Interesting comparison--I was thinking that it mirrored the fight in the Phillipines, but you make a good point. One thing that bothered me is that after Yamamoto tells Genda that one division will not be enough troops, Turtledove never tells us how many divisions the Japanese actually use in the invasion. Another thing that bothered me was Turtledove's portrayal of the use of unemployed sailors from Pearl Harbor as emergency infantrymen as ineffective, due to lack of training. One thing that I did find realistic, though, was the advantage in ground combat that the Japanese gained from their total air supremacy.

quote:


While Turtledove does lip service to the idea that the invasion would be a strain on Japanese logistics, the supply strain doesn't have any consequences in the book, nor does the diversion of resources from other fronts: the Japanese advance in other theatres is as rapid (or more) as it was historically.

I think this is the most unrealistic part of the book--I kept expecting to read about how the Japanese had been slowed down in the Phillipines and elsewhere--instead, things happened pretty much historically, plus the Japanese were able to capture Port Moresby in May 1942 because the US Navy was too preoccupied to oppose them.

quote:


Turtledove is not a particulary engaging writer. The joy of reading his books is in the interesting, plausible twists he brings to his Alternative Worlds -- most evident in his Earth in the Balance series (which I highly recommend) that features an Alien invasion in the midst of WWII.

Actually, the series is called Worldwar and is among Turtledove's better works. My favorite Turtledove books (which I think most WitP players would enjoy) are those that follow the alternate timeline started with How Few Remain. The premise of this book is that the South wins the American Civil War (due to Turtledove's changing just one event during the Antietam campaign), and a re-match takes place 20 years later. After this, the three books of The Great War series cover World War I (with North and South on opposite sides, of course), and the three books of the American Empire series cover the inter-war years. The Settling Accounts series (the first book of which came out last summer), will cover World War II.

I agree in general with your comments about Turtledove's writing. I would add that I find his command of historical and cultural detail very enjoyable in general, though sometimes he goes overboard and seems to be trying just to show off his knowledge. He also has an annoying (IMO) tendency to insert bad jokes in his writing. For example, in the Worldwar series, after an alien spacecraft carrying nuclear weapons is destroyed in the Ukraine, causing widespread radioactive contamination, the reader learns that the action is taking place right next to the village of Chernobyl. Turtledove used to limit these to about one per book, but lately their frequency has increased. He also tends to push the envelope on his descriptions of sex scenes--this bothers me to the extent that it distracts me from my reading. As the saying goes, good writing is transparent--frequently when I read Turtledove, I find myself thinking about the writing, and not the story.

quote:


But I found the set-up to Days of Infamy unconvincing, and the few other historical twists that were introduced -- an alternative-history Doolittle Raid, and the not-Midway June, 1942 carrier battle -- was poor payment for slogging through pages of wooden dialogue by uninteresting characters.

Another thing that bothered me about DoI were the ease with which US carriers seemed to sink in only a couple of hours (or less) from 3-4 bomb and/or torpedo hits. Even when carriers were sunk during the war, they often took more than a day to sink. For example, the Hornet was hit by three bombs, two torpedoes, and two kamikazes, and was still able to control her fires. She was under tow and still able to fire her 20mm guns when another torpedo from a subsequent strike caused the Americans to abandon her. Two destroyers fired all of their torpedoes and over 400 5" shells into her, and she still didn't sink. The Japanese ended up administering the final blow with a spread of Long Lance torpedoes.

What I do like about DoI is the realistic portrayal of life under Japanese occupation, and in Japanese prison camps. DoI also does a good job of showing that the Japanese didn't treat their own troops much better than they treated PoWs. I have to say that on the whole, the book is pretty depressing--I imagine that the sequels will be more cheerful.

_____________________________

"I know Japanese. He is very bad. And tricky. But we Americans too smart. We catch him and give him hell."

--Benny Sablan, crewman, USS Enterprise 12/7/41

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RE: Has anyone else read Days of Infamy yet? - 1/6/2005 6:18:21 PM   
rtrapasso


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Tom Hunter

I am not starting another Turtledove series until he finishes one of the many others that I have started.


Here, here! He is almost as bad as Philip Jose Farmer in starting stuff, and NEVER, EVER able to finish it (even after multiple promises, at least from PJF). Phooey on any new series of his.

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RE: Has anyone else read Days of Infamy yet? - 1/6/2005 7:06:34 PM   
SpitfireIX


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quote:

ORIGINAL: rtrapasso

quote:

ORIGINAL: Tom Hunter

I am not starting another Turtledove series until he finishes one of the many others that I have started.


Here, here! He is almost as bad as Philip Jose Farmer in starting stuff, and NEVER, EVER able to finish it (even after multiple promises, at least from PJF). Phooey on any new series of his.


I'm not sure where you came up with this. Every series of his I've read (Worldwar, The Great War, American Empire) has been finished, except the two that he just started in 2004 (Settling Accounts, and whatever series Days of Infamy ends up being part of). I also know that he's finished the Colonization series, which I haven't read yet. AFAIK, he puts out one book a year in whatever series he's currently working on.

_____________________________

"I know Japanese. He is very bad. And tricky. But we Americans too smart. We catch him and give him hell."

--Benny Sablan, crewman, USS Enterprise 12/7/41

(in reply to rtrapasso)
Post #: 8
RE: Has anyone else read Days of Infamy yet? - 1/6/2005 9:51:41 PM   
rtrapasso


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quote:

ORIGINAL: SpitfireIX

quote:

ORIGINAL: rtrapasso

quote:

ORIGINAL: Tom Hunter

I am not starting another Turtledove series until he finishes one of the many others that I have started.


Here, here! He is almost as bad as Philip Jose Farmer in starting stuff, and NEVER, EVER able to finish it (even after multiple promises, at least from PJF). Phooey on any new series of his.


I'm not sure where you came up with this. Every series of his I've read (Worldwar, The Great War, American Empire) has been finished, except the two that he just started in 2004 (Settling Accounts, and whatever series Days of Infamy ends up being part of). I also know that he's finished the Colonization series, which I haven't read yet. AFAIK, he puts out one book a year in whatever series he's currently working on.


Well, the two series i had been reading were the In the Balance/Colonization series, and the series where magic and dragons substitute for technical weapons and airplanes in WWII (World at War series). I had been reading those for some time, and it has been over a year on either of them IIRC since the last one. I always check the SF section when i go into book stores - no sign of a sequel on either series. This has stopped me from reading any more of his stuff.

UPDATE:

However, since you claimed that he had finished stuff (i.e. Colonization series), i did a search on Amazon - and you are correct. Apparently, the book stores i go into either sold out of his new stuff, or possibly have decided not to carry his newer stuff (i can always find copies of his older books). So, i will have to retract my statement that he doesn't finish stuff - at least until he starts a new series based on the old series.

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RE: Has anyone else read Days of Infamy yet? - 1/7/2005 4:45:38 AM   
rogueusmc


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Sounds like W.E.B. Griffin...he seems to get bored with a seris and will, more often than not, Take a character from one series and start a new one around them.

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RE: Has anyone else read Days of Infamy yet? - 1/7/2005 5:20:58 AM   
SpitfireIX


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quote:

ORIGINAL: rtrapasso

However, since you claimed that he had finished stuff (i.e. Colonization series), i did a search on Amazon - and you are correct. Apparently, the book stores i go into either sold out of his new stuff, or possibly have decided not to carry his newer stuff (i can always find copies of his older books). So, i will have to retract my statement that he doesn't finish stuff - at least until he starts a new series based on the old series.



One word: Borders. :-)

_____________________________

"I know Japanese. He is very bad. And tricky. But we Americans too smart. We catch him and give him hell."

--Benny Sablan, crewman, USS Enterprise 12/7/41

(in reply to rtrapasso)
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RE: Has anyone else read Days of Infamy yet? - 1/7/2005 3:09:59 PM   
Skander

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: rtrapasso

quote:

ORIGINAL: Tom Hunter

I am not starting another Turtledove series until he finishes one of the many others that I have started.


Here, here! He is almost as bad as Philip Jose Farmer in starting stuff, and NEVER, EVER able to finish it (even after multiple promises, at least from PJF). Phooey on any new series of his.


At least PJF could write. I read one Turtledove series (actually part of one) the Aliens vs WW2. I wasn't impressed really. I would have preferred reading real history, as his characters all seemed to be really flat but the narrative spent most of its energy describing their internal lives. Dull, the effort would have been better spent treating the characters more like real history would have and concentrating more on the action. His ideas are interesting, but in the end he can't make them worth the time and effort IMO.

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