The Worldwar franchise is an alternate history universe created by Harry Turtledove. It begins with the Worldwar tetralogy, followed by the Colonization trilogy, and ending with the novel Homeward Bound.
- Homeward Bound (2004)
See Worldwar Characters.
The series begins in the spring of 1942 when The Race, an intelligent species of reptilian aliens from a planet orbiting Tau Ceti, invades Earth at the height of World War II. The aliens' projected development timeline of Earth led them to believe that it should still be at a level of scientific and technological development associated with the early medieval period of our history, and the Race is quite confused to find that it has attained an early electrotechnological level of development. However, while Earth weapons are far more sophisticated than the Race had anticipated, they remain primitive compared with the Race's weapons--but this is often to the humans' advantage: Their attempts to disrupt human electronics with an EM pulse are largely ineffective, and low tech pyrotechnic ballistic projectiles such as the shells of Germany's Dora artillery battery frustrates their missile defense systems.
The Race quickly conquers the less developed human societies of Latin America, Africa, and South and Southeast Asia, having some success at exploiting conflicts among human factions to procure allies among peoples who had been exploited through racial and imperial policies of the great powers. However, the Race also finds that, though it may be able to gain military superiority in a given area with relative ease, completely pacifying that area is a much more difficult prospect.
Combat operations in Europe, North America, and East Asia prove even more difficult. Very quickly, a group known as the Big Five emerges, constituted of the five human nations which are able to fight the Race to a standstill using conventional military means: the United States, the Soviet Union, the Greater German Reich, the United Kingdom, and the Empire of Japan.
The Race is further upset by the discovery that ginger has a highly potent and addictive narcotic effect on its biochemistry, a fact which human agents across the world exploit ruthlessly, whether to put the Race at a military disadvantage or simply to make money; by the cold weather of much of Earth's climate, especially in the northern reaches of the United States and Soviet Union, where winter often approaches the limits of the Race's biological tolerance for cold; and the Race's inability to understand human political systems such as totalitarianism and democracy, both of which are unknown in the histories of Home and the worlds the Race has previously subjected.
Eventually three of the five human great powers develop the capacity to build atomic bombs and show a willingness to use them against cities occupied by the Race, despite the Race's willingness to retaliate with its own nuclear weapons against human population centers. This, coupled with the increasing impracticability of subduing human nations through conventional means, leads the Race to conclude that it would be better off negotiating a ceasefire with the humans to avoid the ecological ruin of the planet. The Conquest Fleet holds those territories it has subdued in anticipation of the arrival of the Colonization Fleet in 1962 and looks for opportunities to extend its influence into human nations to which it grants diplomatic recognition. All the human powers also look for opportunities to subvert the Race's control over its colonies.
An uneasy and occasionally violated peace exists between the Race, and Germany, UK, US, Japan, USSR. USSR, Germany, US all have the nuclear bomb, Japan develops the bomb in this period. Ginger, a drug unknown to the Race which causes them to go into heat, is illicitly trafficked, being something the Race will readily pay for, that their more advanced technology doesn't counter.
The advanced state of humans leaves many colonists out of work, since their jobs can be handled by primitive humans, so they are unhappily rerolled into soldiers, which were not anticipated to be needed after initial landing and conquest of the planet.
US, Germany, and USSR all have space programs and space stations. Eventually the US goes to Mars. Germany tries to follow suit, but gets into all-out war with the Race and is destroyed, thus also ending their Mars shot.
Eventually, Earth technology catches up to the Race's.
- series:Homeward Bound
The US manages to build an interstellar ship, and travels to the Home world of the Race. The USSR follows suit, and their ship is in transit through the novel. The Japanese don't complete a ship. The US explores Home. Developments that astonish the Race occur on Tosev 3, resulting in a seemingly impossible FTL ship from the US visiting Home, proving that the US could now defeat the Race in a war. A new Cold War starts, as the Race points out that Earth can be wiped out by using the Race's interstellar ships as high-Tau fractional-c bombardment devices.