This implies to me that you don't have to read the other books in the series to understand this one, which means that there should not have been nearly as much clunky exposition as there actually was. The Constitution was never ratified, the Articles of Confederation were eventually seen as a toothless farce, and the country split apart. The states trade with each other, engage in diplomacy, and even go to war with each other. But the hardest part is going along with the racist attitudes in the alternate timeline. Most of the characters also have a superficiality to them that leaves one uninvolved with their experiences.
Virginia swiftly imposes a quarantine, trapping Becky and Justin and Randolph Brooks in Elizabeth. Each North American state has become like their own country and not all of the states are so friendly with each ot Justin and his mother work for the Crosstime Traffic Corporation and spend their time traveling to different alternate universes from the home timeline of the late 21st century. The main characters just sit around and think about how different things are where they come from. There did not seem to be any overarching reason to have this story except for the cool idea. California is one of the most advanced and powerful of the states; no one messes with them. Even Crosstime Traffic can't help.
In the alternate where Beckie lives, each state is an independent country with laws and customs unique to the state. I would consider looking into his other Crosstime novels and would advise anyone that is into dystopians or speculative fiction to do the same. Beckie is just as horrified by the violence and racism of the alternate Virginia as Justin is, and the two are drawn to one another. A lot of it just wasn't my cup of tea, but sometimes it was kind of slow, too. It's a fun little conceit that lets Turtledove explore a variety of 'What-ifs', with commentary on various social dynamics. Turtledove constantly goes back over the same lite philosophical ground about slavery, race relations and the challenges of moving between parallel universes.
Ohio uses a biological agent which prevents Justin and his Mom from going back to their timeline even if he can find a way back to the town he came in to. Both are sprawling multi-book epics with loads and loads of characters from a variety of races and species. That was really the only instance of suspense and true action I felt in the entire book. But just now she's in Virginia with her grandmother, who wants to revisit the tiny mountain town where she grew up. The premise had so much promise, and then. If he talks like he writes, I hope he hasn't actually taught. .
I'm going to take a leaping guess here and assume that book one actually explains the whole concept of crosstime traffic and why Justin's home timeline thinks they're the only ones special enough to be able to travel across time. Despite his unease, he accompanies Randolph Brooks, another Time Trader, on a visit to the tiny upland town of Elizabeth, Virginia. Ohio sets a tailored virus loose on Virginia. You know, instead of being an actual dystopian it's an alt-history that thus alters the present and future. Reciprocal terms offered to the trade on direct orders only. In this case, Justin is along for the ride when a war breaks out, in a world in which the United States. They are normal, albeit from two different timelines.
We use Crosstime Traffic to conduct discreet trading operations in less advanced timelines, selling goods just a little bit better than the locals can make. The only reason she's in small town Virginia is because her grandmother dragged her there to visit old relatives. This is a rousing story that reminds us that 'adventure' is really someone else in deep trouble a long way off. The boy, Justin Monroe, meets Beckie Royer who is visiting an aunt, who lives in Virginia, with her grandmother who is every granddaughter's worst nightmare. For Beckie, it's about surviving so she can return to her family in California. It's profitable, but families who work as Time Traders have to be careful to fit in, lest the locals become suspicious.
Beckie is from California, and like the rest of her world, unaware that Time Traders exist. The story focuses on a Crosstime agent, Justin, in the State of Virginia who has to deal with war breaking out with Ohio, a bio-engineered plague, being caught in a dull isolated town, as well as the military coming by. Beckie lives in this alternate world. He does--but it only kicks in after 200 pages of wheel-spinning, and as a result feels very rushed and shallow. It's part of the human condition. The two timelines are deceptively similar, and cross-time traveller My teen son and I read this together and liked it. Justin and his mother work for the Crosstime Traffic Corporation and spend their time traveling to different alternate universes from the home timeline of the late 21st century.
This makes for a mostly tight, slick story which restricts Turtledove's unfortunate tendency to ramble and repeat himself, apart from in a few instances notably, we are continually reminded that white oppression of blacks persists in the Southern States, except in Mississippi where it is reversed. The main characters in the book are two teens called Beckie and Justin. Then war between Virginia and Ohio breaks out anew. How did the plurality of states interact with the unequal treaties of China and the conflicts that followed? A bit harder to change. Even Crosstime Traffic can't help. This book has all the strengths of the previous Crosstime Traffic novels, and fewer of the weaknesses. We use Crosstime Traffic to conduct discreet trading operations in less advanced timelines, selling goods just a little bit better than the locals can make.
I would have liked to explore it more, but the author didn't do much elaborating and the characters were stuck in a small town for most of the book. The issue of Race relations and the observation that stronger federal authority has favoured equality is another interesting observation. Turtledove has built an alternate reality that is not only imaginative, but hauntingly realistic. Instead there are several smaller countries and Justin and his mother are going to Virginia. Justin arrives, he has some adventures, he leaves. This series is a good entry point of the sub-genre Alternate History for a young reader that may show an interest in science fiction. Beckie notices that there is something different about Justin and that is why she likes him.
Sign up for a 30 Day Trial: Since the election there has been talk the United States is more divided then ever before. We know the situation they are in. He was able to build a world focused around what the characters were feeling. He's developed a cult following over the years; and if you've already been there, done that with real-history novelists Patrick O'Brian, Dorothy Dunnett, or George MacDonald Fraser, for your Next Big Enthusiasm you might want to try Turtledove. Ignoring that showed a clear disconnect between the author and the type of characters he was writing. The story, though, is very interesting.