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Colonization: Second Contact by Harry Turtledove
Published by Del Ray Books
Reviewed by Leigh Kimmel
Colonization: Second Contact by Harry Turtledove is the first of three installments of the sequel to the WorldWar tetralogy. Two decades have passed since the Lizards' conquest fleet arrived to an Earth embroiled in the Second World War. Humans and Lizards have achieved an uneasy accomodation, but all that is about to change with the arrival of the colonization fleet.
Many of the major characters of the earlier books make a reappearance, aged and changed by the intervening years. Some of the changes are for the better, but not all. In a world where Nazi Germany is still a major power and Britain has been shorn of her colonial empire by the Lizards, anti-Semitism is crossing the English Channel to make its ugly appearance and make life miserable for David Goldfarb. At the same time, a German space pilot's close call with the power of the Gestapo makes him begin to question the anti-Semitic policies he had always taken for granted.
Meanwhile, the Lizards are discovering that the natives of this curious world still have surprises for them. The all-male crew of the conquest fleet has had some trouble with ginger, the innocuous human spice that acts as a potent and addictive drug to the Lizards' biochemistry. However, it has an even more extraordinary effect on female Lizards. The Lizards are seasonal maters with an annual heat cycle. Normally, all female Lizards come into heat pretty much at the same time, so that sexual desire and its socially disruptive effects are confined to a few days of each year. However, ginger apparently mimics the effects of the hormone that triggers the female's season. Suddenly the Lizards are facing a problem with major social rammifications, a problem their ultra-stable social system gives them no means to handle.
Like the WorldWar books that preceded it, this volume is not something you can pick up and put down at will. It kept me reading well past my bedtime, determined to find out what happened, even when I knew I needed to do things the next day.
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Colonization continues in the second volume, Down to Earth.
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Review posted March 20, 1999
Updated December 28, 2000