Second Contact  
Author Harry Turtledove
Cover artist Tim O'Brien
Series Colonization
Genre(s) Alternate History, Science fiction
Publisher Del Rey
Publication date February 9, 1999
Preceded by Striking the Balance
Followed by Down to Earth

Second Contact (Del Rey, 1999) is an alternate history and science fiction novel by Harry Turtledove. It is the first novel of the Colonization series, and the fifth of the overall Worldwar timeline.


The novel takes place over a period from 1962 through 1963, two decades following the end of the Race Invasion of Tosev 3 covered in previous volumes. Earl Warren is President of the United States, Vyacheslav Molotov is the General-Secretary of the Soviet Union, and Heinrich Himmler is the Chancellor of Nazi Germany.


Cover of the British Edition

At the start of the novel, the Race's Colonization Fleet enters the Solar System, bringing with them eighty to one hundred million colonists for settling on Earth. As the fleet enters Earth orbit, an unknown human power unleashes a nuclear attack that kills millions of Race members who are in cold sleep. As Germany, the USSR, and the United States each have large-scale space capability, any of the three nations may have been responsible for the attack. In addition, while there is peace between the independent human nations and the Race, Mao Tse-Tung and Ruhollah Khomeini continue to lead popular resistance to the invaders in China and the Middle East, respectively. In the US, where the Race earlier tried to make use of the discriminated black population's grievances, Martin Luther King leads the Civil Rights Movement.

Meanwhile, the Race colonists, who expected to encounter an Earth that was already conquered with the natives still at medieval levels of advancement, have to deal with the consequences of the cold war with the humans. The fleet brings with it not only the first civilians, but also the first Race females, both of which cause tension among the male soldiers who formed the invasion force. To the Race males, ginger is a euphoric drug; to the females, it causes them to go into estrus, resulting in wide-scale social implications.