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Curious Notions
by Harry Turtledove

Category: Fiction / Fantasy
272 pages; ISBN: 0765306948

Rating: 8/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner

Review

Curious Notions
Harry Turtledove
Tor, Oct 2004, $23.95, 272 pp.
ISBN: 0765306948

Crosstime Agent Lawrence Gomes warns his recently graduated from high school son Paul that this alternate earth they enter is dangerous. The key pivotal point difference occurs when the Kaiser wins World War I and ultimately in 1956 defeated the Americans. Now almost two centuries later, Germany still rules this world with advanced technology that if they learn about Crosstime trafficking, they have the skill to steal the idea and use it to conquer other earths.

In that environment, the Gomes open up Curious Notions, a shop to sell electronic equipment in San Francisco but their real purpose is to get raw materials for their timeline. However, the state-of-the-art merchandise that is common back home comes to the attention of the German Occupation Police Inspector Weidenreich. He demands Paul reveal who supplies them with such advanced gizmos; Paul mentions a local Cheese merchant who obtains the goods from China. The Chinese Triads are curious about the shop too. As Paul befriends Lucy Woo, the authorities, the Triads, and the Gomes play a game of cat, cat and mouse with the Woo family as the cheese.

CURIOUS NOTIONS, the second Crosstime Traffic book, is an entertaining young adult thriller. Readers will believe that this German occupied American of the future really happened as Harry. Turtledove provides the right levels of “factoids” especially when indigenous Lucy narrates. The story line is exciting with Paul inadvertently marking Lucy and her family as their suppler to the police because the Gomes chose to sell items they know will bring official and criminal attention on them when they are to remain inconspicuous. Still this is a fine entry that will send curious readers seeking the premier tale GUNPOWDER EMPIRE.

Harriet Klausner

 

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