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Harry Turtledove

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Title: Harry Turtledove  
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Subject: The War That Came Early, List of fictional Vice Presidents of the United States, The Disunited States of America, Days of Infamy series, Prometheus Award
Collection: 1949 Births, 20Th-Century American Novelists, 21St-Century American Novelists, Alternate History Writers, American Byzantinists, American Fantasy Writers, American Historical Novelists, American Male Novelists, American Male Writers, American People of Romanian-Jewish Descent, American Science Fiction Writers, Conan the Barbarian Novelists, Hugo Award Winning Writers, Jewish American Novelists, Kentucky Colonels, Living People, Prometheus Award Winners, Pseudonymous Writers, Sidewise Award Winners, University of California, Los Angeles Alumni, Writers from California
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Harry Turtledove

Harry Turtledove
Turtledove at Worldcon 2005 in Glasgow, United Kingdom
Born (1949-06-14) June 14, 1949
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Pen name Dan Chernenko, Eric G. Iverson, Mark Gordian, H.N. Turteltaub
Occupation Novelist, short story author, essayist, historian
Nationality American
Ethnicity Jewish
Genre Science fiction, fantasy, alternate history, historical fiction, history
Notable works The Two Georges

Harry Norman Turtledove (born June 14, 1949) is an American novelist, best known for his works in several genres, including that of alternate history, historical fiction, fantasy, and science fiction.


  • Early life and education 1
  • Career 2
    • "Master of Alternate History" 2.1
  • Bibliography 3
    • Writing as Eric Iverson 3.1
      • Elabon 3.1.1
    • Writing as H.N. Turteltaub 3.2
      • Hellenic Traders 3.2.1
    • Writing as Harry Turtledove 3.3
      • Videssos' 3.3.1
      • Worldwar / Colonization 3.3.2
      • Southern Victory 3.3.3
      • Darkness 3.3.4
      • War Between the Provinces 3.3.5
      • Crosstime Traffic 3.3.6
      • Days of Infamy 3.3.7
      • Atlantis 3.3.8
      • Opening of the World 3.3.9
      • The War That Came Early 3.3.10
      • Supervolcano 3.3.11
      • Stand-alone Books 3.3.12
    • Web publishing 3.4
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Early life and education

Turtledove was born in Los Angeles, California, and grew up in the nearby city of Gardena, California. His paternal grandparents, who were Romanian immigrants, had first settled in Winnipeg, Canada, before moving to California.[1][2] He was educated in local public schools in early life.

After dropping out during his freshman year at Caltech, Turtledove attended UCLA, from completing his undergraduate degree to receiving a Ph.D. in Byzantine history in 1977. His dissertation was titled The Immediate Successors of Justinian: A Study of the Persian Problem and of Continuity and Change in Internal Secular Affairs in the Later Roman Empire During the Reigns of Justin II and Tiberius II Constantine (AD 565–582).[3]


In 1979, Turtledove published his first two novels, Wereblood and Werenight, under the pseudonym "Eric G. Iverson." Turtledove later explained that his editor at Belmont Tower did not think people would believe the author's real name was "Turtledove" and came up with something more Nordic.[4] He continued to use the "Iverson" name until 1985. Another early pseudonym was "Mark Gordian."

That year he published Herbig-Haro and And So to Bed under his real name. Turtledove has recently begun publishing historical novels under the pseudonym "H.N. Turteltaub" (Turteltaube means turtle dove in German). He published three books as Dan Chernenko (the Scepter of Mercy series).

Throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s, Turtledove worked as a technical writer for the Los Angeles County Office of Education. In 1991, he left the LACOE and turned to writing full-time. From 1986 to 1987, he served as the Treasurer for the Science Fiction Writers of America.

He has written several works in collaboration, including Richard Dreyfuss, "Death in Vesunna" with his first wife, Betty Turtledove (pen-name, Elaine O'Byrne); Household Gods with Judith Tarr; and others with Susan Shwartz, S.M. Stirling, and Kevin R. Sandes.

Turtledove won the Homer Award for Short Story in 1990 for "Designated Hitter," the John Esten Cooke Award for Southern Fiction in 1993 for The Two Georges also received an honorable mention for the 1995 Sidewise Award for Alternate History.

His Worldwar series received a Sidewise Award for Alternate History Honorable Mention in 1996. In 1998, his novel, How Few Remain, won the Sidewise Award for Alternate History. He won his second Sidewise Award in 2003 for his novel Ruled Britannia.[5]

On August 1, 1998, Turtledove was named honorary Kentucky Colonel while Guest of Honor at Rivercon XXIII in Louisville, Kentucky. His The Gladiator was the co-winner of the 2008 Prometheus Award.

Turtledove served as the toastmaster for Chicon 2000, the 58th World Science Fiction Convention.[6]

He is married to mystery and SF writer Laura Frankos. His brother-in-law is fantasy author Steven Frankos. He and Laura have three daughters: Alison, Rachel, and Rebecca.

"Master of Alternate History"

Publisher's Weekly dubbed Turtledove "The Master of Alternate History".[7] Within that genre, he is known for creating original alternate history scenarios, such as survival of the Byzantine Empire or an alien invasion in the middle of the Second World War. In addition, he has been credited with giving original treatment to alternate themes previously dealt with by many others, such as the 'victory of the South' in the American Civil War or of Nazi Germany in the Second World War. His novels have been credited with bringing alternate history into the mainstream.[8] He bases his alternate history in scenes of military combat and warfare.[9]


Writing as Eric Iverson


  • Wereblood (1979)
  • Werenight (1979, revised in 1994)
  • Prince of the North (1994)
  • King of the North (1996)
  • Fox and Empire (1998)
    • Wisdom of the Fox (1999, collects the revised Werenight and Prince of the North)
    • Tale of the Fox (2000, collects King of the North and Fox and Empire)

Writing as H.N. Turteltaub[10]

Hellenic Traders

Historical fiction about two cousins, traveling merchants in the 4th-century BC Mediterranean.

Writing as Harry Turtledove


Set in a world analogous to the Byzantine Empire.

  • The Videssos cycle: One of Julius Caesar's legions is transported to a world with magic.
    • The Misplaced Legion (1987)
    • An Emperor for the Legion (1987)
    • The Legion of Videssos (1987)
    • The Swords of the Legion (1987)
  • The Tale of Krispos series
    • Krispos Rising (1991)
    • Krispos of Videssos (1991)
    • Krispos the Emperor (1994)
  • The Time of Troubles series
    • The Stolen Throne (1995)
    • Hammer and Anvil (1996)
    • The Thousand Cities (1997)
    • Videssos Besieged (1998)
  • The Bridge of the Separator (2005)

Worldwar / Colonization

Incorporates elements of both science fiction and alternate history. In Worldwar, aliens invade in the middle of the World War II. The Colonization trilogy deals with the course of history a generation after the initial series, as the humans and aliens work to share Earth. Homeward Bound follows a human spaceship that travels to the aliens' home world.

Southern Victory

The Confederacy wins the American Civil War in 1862 with the help with the United Kingdom and France. It operates as an independent nation into the mid-20th century. (The name above is used by fans; the overall series has no official title.)


A fantasy series about global war in a world related to medieval Europe, where magic exists. Many plot elements are analogous to elements of World War II, with kingdoms and sorceries that are comparable to the historical nations and technologies.

War Between the Provinces

This fantasy series is based heavily on the American Civil War, except magic exists, the roles of the North and South have been reversed, and blond-haired serfs are featured rather than slaves.

  • Sentry Peak (2000)
  • Marching Through Peachtree (2001)
  • Advance and Retreat (2002)

Crosstime Traffic

Travel between parallel timelines has become possible in the late 21st century. This is a young-adult fiction series; it includes no racial slurs, profanity or sex.

Days of Infamy

The Japanese gain the initiative in the Pacific War by invading and occupying Hawaii.


A trilogy which describes a world where the American eastern coast from the tip of Florida to Nova Scotia breaks away from the mainland millions of years in the past and has an island biota similar to New Zealand's. Discovered in 1452 and named Atlantis, this eighth continent becomes a focal point in a gradually diverging timeline. Two short stories, "Audubon in Atlantis" and "The Scarlet Band", have been set in this milieu.

Opening Atlantis was nominated for the 2009 Prometheus Award.[11]

Opening of the World

A trilogy describing a fantasy world in which inhabitants of an Iron Age empire explore a land uncovered by a receding glacier.

The War That Came Early

An ongoing series describing an alternate World War II which begins in 1938 over Czechoslovakia. The first volume, Hitler's War, was released in hardcover in 2009 without a series title. As of March 4, 2010, six total volumes have been contracted for.[12]


A trilogy where the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts at some unspecified point in the future, and covers the decade following the Eruption.

Stand-alone Books

  • The Chronicle of Theophanes, Harry Turtledove editor and translator, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1982. A translation of an important Byzantine historical text, completed soon after Harry Turtledove's PhD studies.
  • Agent of Byzantium (1987) — Imperial Byzantine special agent Basil Argyros is sent on various missions in an alternate universe where Muhammad became a Christian saint and consequently the Byzantine Empire never fell.
  • Noninterference (1988) — A human interstellar survey team violates a directive to avoid interference with alien civilizations, with disastrous long-term consequences.
  • A World Of Difference (1990) — In this alternative history story, the 4th planet of our solar system is larger and named Minerva instead of Mars. The Viking space probe of the 1970s sends back one picture — that of an alien creature swinging a stick — before losing contact. A USA mission and a USSR mission are sent to explore the planet; these two missions start separately but later have to cooperate.
  • Earthgrip (1991) — A woman whose desire is to teach a university course in Middle English Science Fiction joins a trader ship's crew, just to get something different on her curriculum vitae.
  • The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump (1993) — EPA agent David Fisher battles displaced magical powers in a very creative sorcerous equivalent to late-20th century Los Angeles. He follows the evidence to a toxic spell dump, where dangerous remnants of industrial sorcery are stored.
  • Richard Dreyfuss — Set in the year 1996 of an alternate timeline where the American Revolution was peacefully avoided. The painting that symbolizes the union between North America and Britain is stolen by terrorists, and officers of the Royal North American Mounted Police must find it before it is destroyed.
  • Thessalonica (1997) — Early Christians in the Greek city of Thessalonica deal with barbarian invaders on both physical and metaphysical levels (the book was inspired by the Medieval Miracles of Saint Demetrius).
  • Justinian (1998) — Fictionalized account (with some speculation involved) of the life of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian II—using H.N. Turteltaub pseudonym.
  • Counting Up, Counting Down (2002) — A short story collection.
  • The Daimon (2002) — A novella included in the alternate history collection Worlds That Weren't. It describes a world where the Greek philosopher Socrates aids the Athenian general Alkibiades in defeating the Spartans, allowing him to unite the city-states of ancient Greece and contemplate war on the Persian Empire.
  • In the Presence of Mine Enemies (2003) Alternate History — Follows the struggles of a family of secret Jews in Berlin two or three generations after a Nazi victory in World War II. The events in the story follow a common theme of Turtledove's work, transplanting one set of historical events into another setting (the most prominent example being Southern Victory Series moving European history onto the American continent). In this case, the decline of the Soviet Union in the 1990s is translated to the Third Reich in the 21st century (and the secret Jews' way of life is reminiscent of Marranos in Spain).
  • Every Inch a King (ISFiC Press) (2005) — An acrobat becomes king of a small country. Although set in a fantasy world, it is analogous to the real world, this time in the Balkans, between the first and second Balkan War. Shqiperi is modeled on Albania, and the story itself is modeled on the story of Otto Witte.
  • Under Saint Peter's (2007) — Short story found in The Secret History of Vampires (Edited by Darrell Schweitzer).
  • After the Downfall (2008) — A Wehrmacht officer is transported into a fantasy world during the Russian invasion of Germany at the end of World War II.
  • Reincarnations (2009) — A limited edition hardcover containing eight stories, including six never before reprinted and one original story.

Web publishing

  • Winter of Our Discontent: The Impeachment and Trial of John F. Kennedy (2007), co-written with T.V. series creator Bryce Zabel. After John Kennedy survives the attack at Dealey Plaza unharmed, the resulting investigation sets events in motion that tear apart his administration. Zabel eventually published the final work as a solo project in 2013.
  • Turtledove, Harry (2009). "The House That George Built".  Babe Ruth remains a minor league player for most of his career, until he retires and opens a Baltimore pub. In 1941, Ruth reminisces about what could have been with a skeptical H. L. Mencken.
  • Turtledove, Harry (February 3, 2010). "Vilcabamba". Tor Books. Macmillan. Retrieved January 28, 2014.  After an alien race subjugates most of the world in the 22nd Century, a rump United States must decide how to respond for to the aliens' plans to violate the treaty that guarantees the country's sovereignty.
  • Turtledove, Harry (2013). "Lee at the Alamo".  When Texas secedes from the Union in 1861, Lt. Colonel Robert E. Lee, acting commander of the Department of Texas, decides to defend U.S. munitions at the Alamo, launching the first battle of a slightly different American Civil War.
  • Turtledove, Harry (January 8, 2014). "The Eighth-Grade History Class Visits the Hebrew Home for the Aging". Tor Books. Macmillan. Retrieved January 28, 2014. . Anne Frank and her companions in the Secret Annexe remained hidden until the liberation of the Netherlands. In 2013, an elderly Anne shares her experiences with a group of eighth-graders.


  1. ^ Thomson Gale (April 2007). Something About The Author: Volume 176. Ktav Publishing House. p. 212.  
  2. ^ Harry's War of the Worlds
  3. ^ The immediate successors of Justinian : a study of the Persian problem and of continuity and change in internal secular affairs in the later Roman empire during the reigns of Justin II and Tiberius II Constantine (A.D. 565-582) / by Harry Norman Turtledove, Thesis (Ph.D.), UCLA, 1977. Reproduction: University Microfilms International, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1979.
  4. ^ Barnes & Noble Meet the Writers: Harry Turtledove
  5. ^ "Sidewise Awards for Alternate History, Past Winners". Retrieved 2008-09-02. 
  6. ^ "Chicon 2000, Guests of Honor". 2000-07-23. Retrieved 2008-09-03. 
  7. ^ Hall, Melissa Mia (April 7, 2008). "Master of Alternate History".  
  8. ^ Graeme Blundell (2008-10-18). "On lowbrow street". The Australian. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  9. ^ """All the Alternate Histories in "Other Earths. Book review.  
  10. ^ "Turteltaube" means "Turtledove" in German
  11. ^ "Prometheus Finalists". Science Fiction Awards Watch. March 24, 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-26. 
  12. ^ "Hitler's War", Turtledove website.
  13. ^
  14. ^ The War That Came Early: The Big Switch
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^

External links

  • Official website , a complete bibliography of Turtledove's work, including a list of his various series.
  • Fantastic Fiction Author Page
  • Harry Turtledove's page at Tor Books
  • Official Turtledove YahooGroup
  • Harry Turtledove page on the Internet Book List
  • Harry Turtledove at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  • National Review Online audio interview with Harry Turtledove
  • An audio interview with Harry Turtledove (MP3 format) from Hour 25
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