Shout Out

May. 15th, 2016 08:17 am
[identity profile] posting in [community profile] althistory

In the Presence of Mine Enemies (2003) is an alternate history novel by
American author Harry Turtledove, expanded from the eponymous short story.
The title comes from the fifth verse of the 23rd Psalm. The novel
depicts a world where the United States remained isolationist and did not
participate in the Second World War, thus allowing victory to the Axis
Powers, who divided the world among themselves. Still, some years after the
war, the Third World War occurred, featuring the Axis Powers defeating the
US and Canada.

Set in 2010, the novel focuses on Heinrich Gimpel and a small group of Jews
who survived the Holocaust by passing as Gentiles. The events occur against
a backdrop that parallels the Soviet Union's last days, with characters
based upon Mikhail Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin, and others…

Whenever the door to the waiting room opened, Esther had to fight against a flinch. Would it be someone in the somber uniform of the Security Police? Whenever the phone rang, her hand wanted to shake as she reached for it. Would someone be warning her of a new disaster?

If the Security Police had operatives in Dr. Dambach's office, they were disguised as worried mothers - one of the most effective disguises Esther could imagine, and also one of the most unnecessary. All the phone calls featured more worried mothers except one. That one had a worried father: a cartoonist who worked out of his house. "Ja, Herr Wasserstein, you can bring Luther in at half past two this afternoon," Esther told him.

As soon as Irma came in during the lunch hour, Esther left. She had one more anxious moment walking out of the building. Would they bundle her into a car and take her away to God only knew where? They didn't. She walked to the bus stop. No one bothered her at all.

But the fear didn't go away. It never would.


Social contract theory is rightly associated with modern moral and political theory and
is given its first full exposition and defense by Thomas Hobbes. After Hobbes, John Locke
and Jean-Jacques Rousseau are the best known proponents of this enormously influential

I'd have recognized a shout-out - no other patients' occupations are mentioned - but of what, would have gone past me if I hadn't long ago seen a lampoon of Bill Watterson's Calvin & Hobbes called “Luther and Locke.”


- The biggest problem with that book is seen in its description:  Just as he did with his “Southern Victory”  series, Mr Turtledove simply borrows events that have occurred, puts new names on them and away we go.  Why bother?  We've already seen how it turns out!

The only other time I've seen that was with Jerry Pournelle, the least imaginative science fiction writer I've ever encountered (you'd think that was a prerequisite - ?), who simply lifted a battle of the Spanish Civil War and rolled it out without changing ANYthing except the name of the planet it happens on.  [The Volunteer Brigade, marching through the hot, dusty countryside with their bolt-action rifles (and Party commissar 'political officer' watchdog), sing “Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory,” word for word.  This is supposed to be, like, the late 21st century.  Uh huh.]

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