The Gladiator


Author: Harry Turtledove

Title: The Gladiator

Genre: Alternative Histories; Science Fiction

Publication Date: 2007

Number of Pages: 288

Geographical Setting: Milan

Time Period: Future

Series: Crosstime Traffic (5 of 6)

Plot Summary: The Gladiator is the fifth novel in the Crosstime Traffic series. It is set in Milan, Italy in the year 2097 AD in an alternate version of history where Communism triumphed over Capitalism in the Cold War. The story is told through the point of view of two young people, Gianfranco Mazzilli and Annarita Crosetti. The Crosetti and Mazzilli families share a kitchen and bathroom between their two apartments, a consequence of Communist living. Gianfranco develops a passion for a game called Rails across Europe, available only at a gaming shop called The Gladiator. The Gladiator is soon shut down by the Security Police. One clerk, Eduardo Caruso, escapes and comes to the two for help. He reveals he is actually from another time, a world where the U.S. won the Cold War and Communism does not exist. The two resolve to help him get home. As Eduardo reveals more about his world, Gianfranco and Annarita being to consider the consequences it might hold for their own.

Subject Headings: Capitalism; Dystopias, Police; Socialism; Teenagers; Time Travel; Twenty-First Century; War Games.

Appeal: World-Building; Plot-Driven; Issue-Oriented; Fast-Paced; Atmospheric; Strong Sense of Place; Thought-Provoking; Suspenseful; Compelling; Gritty; Descriptive; Richly Detailed.

3 Terms That Best Describe This Book: Dystopian, Alternative History, YA-Crossover.

Relevant Works and Authors


Cold War Hot: Alternate Decisions of the Cold War by Peter Tsouras

Readers drawn to alternate histories or to Non-Fiction about the Cold War may find this an interesting read.

Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic Culture by Alexander R. Galloway

Gaming plays a significant role in The Gladiator; this book discusses gaming’s cultural and social impact, particularly on younger generations.

Science Fiction and Philosophy: From Time Travel to Superintelligence by Susan Schneider

This book touches on many of the themes found in The Gladiator; its emphasis on time travel may appeal to some readers.


Brave New World by Alduous Huxley

A classic dystopian novel; appropriate for YA-Crossover readers.

Children of Men by P.D. James

Set in an unknown dystopian future; incorporates themes of Science Fiction and social repression.

V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd

A dystopian, alternate war history; its graphic novel format may also appeal to YA-Crossover readers.


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