Harry Turtledove is the award-winning author of the alternate-history works The Man with the Iron Heart, The Guns of the South, and How Few Remain (winner of the Sidewise Award for Best Novel); the War That Came Early novels: Hitler’s War, West and East, The Big Switch, Coup d’Etat, and Two Fronts; the Worldwar saga: In the Balance, Tilting the Balance, Upsetting the Balance, and Striking the Balance;the Colonization books: Second Contact, Down to Earth, and Aftershocks; the Great War epics: American Front, Walk in Hell, and Breakthroughs; the American Empire novels: Blood & Iron, The Center Cannot Hold, and Victorious Opposition; and the Settling Accounts series: Return Engagement, Drive to the East, The Grapple, andIn at the Death. Turtledove is married to fellow novelist Laura Frankos. They have three daughters: Alison, Rachel, and Rebecca.
A World of Differenceby Harry Turtledove
When the Viking lander on the planet Minerva was destroyed, sending back one last photo of a strange alien being, scientists on Earth were flabbergasted. And so a joint investigation was launched by the United States and the Soviet Union, the first long-distance manned space mission, and a symbol of the new peace between the two great rivals.
Humankind's first close encounter with extraterrestrials would be history in the making, and the two teams were schooled in diplomacy as well as in science. But nothing prepared them for alien war -- especially when the Americans and the Soviets found themselves on opposite sides...
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- Random House Publishing Group
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Harry Turtledove is the master of 'what if' fiction, and here he tackles a very interesting scenario. What if the planet we call Mars was inhabited by intelligent life? Turtledove answers this by following the first manned mission to the planet, which includes both Russians and Americans from an Earth that is still going through the Cold War. The story plays somewhat predictably, with the Russians winding up on the 'bad guy' side, but it's an excellent story about how first contact with an alien race might go. It is also very refreshing to see aliens that actually are alien and not just versions of higher Earth life, like the lizard men of his WorldWar series. The Minervans are radially symmetrical, with six eyes, six arms, and six legs all equally spaced around their bodies. They hate liquid water, and their blood acts as anti-freeze. A lot of thought and imagination went into their creation, and the book (and readers) benefit from that.
Decent story about humans becoming involved in martian politics. Not sure why we have to preorder a book that was published over twenty years ago.