Curious Notions by Harry Turtledove


0765346109.01._SX220_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg (220×355) Author: Harry Turtledove

Title: Curious Notions

Genre: Science Fiction, alternate history

Publication Date: 2005

Number of Pages: 272 pages

Geographical Setting: San Francisco, CA

Time Period: About 100 years in the future

Series: Crosstime Traffic (second in the series; also works as a stand-alone title)

Plot Summary:
Teenager Paul Gomes and his father travel to the San Francisco of an alternate timeline, one where Germany won World War I and America is dominated by the Kaiser’s Germany.  Their mission is to bring home produce for their own resource-depleted timeline.  To locals like Lucy Woo, a 16-year old who works full time to support her family, Paul and his father are known as the keepers of an electronics shop called Curious Notions.  When both the German police and the Chinese triads get suspicious about the technologically advanced goods at Curious Notions, Lucy and Paul are caught up in an adventure that threatens their families and the secret that Paul and his father are guarding.

Subject Headings: Alternate History; Chinese Americans; Father – Son Relationships; Germans in the US; San Francisco; Time Travel; Undercover Operations.

Appeal: accessible, action-oriented, compelling, dangerous, descriptive, detailed setting, linear, plot-centered, resolved ending, suspenseful, urban setting, well-drawn characters

3 terms that best describe this book: alternate timeline, well-drawn characters, compelling plot

3 relevant NF works and authors:

The Lucky Ones : One Family and the Extraordinary Invention of Chinese America, by Mae M. Ngai – a memoir of Chinese Americans and cultural assimilation in San Francisco.

Hitler’s Uncercover War: The Nazi Espionage Invasion of the U.S.A., by William Breuer – a tale of Germans in the United States, but in this book it’s they who are undercover.

Time Machines: Time Travel in Physics, Metaphysics and Science Fiction, by Paul J. Nahin – explores the theory of time travel and draws on examples from science fiction.

3 relevant fiction works and authors:
The Privateer, by James Doohan and S.M. Stirling – a plot-driven science fiction novel with well-drawn characters and uncercover operations.

Hominids, by Robert J. Sawyer – a compelling science fiction novel of an alternate timeline; involves well-drawn characters and inter-dimensional travel.

Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow – a science fiction novel with a dark tone, about a young male protagonist engaged in covert activity in San Francisco.

-Noelle Nightingale


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