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From the Library

August 25, 2019

This week’s selection is a trilogy of novels by SM Stirling, the author of the Dies The Fire/Emberverse series that I’ve mentioned a number of times on this blog. This alternate series starts with Island in the Sea of Time.

In it, the island of Nantucket is shipped back to 1250BC. Conveniently, a USCG training ship, the Eagle, is sent back as well, since it was inside the boundary that was transported back.

The value of the series, is it discusses the experiences of the Nantucketers, as they discover they’ve been tossed back into a world they can barely imagine, and have to figure out how to make use of the different personalities, skill sets, and limited materials and equipment they have available to them. Over the course of the three books, they manage to rebuild Nantucket’s historical fishing and shipping industry, go from a small hobby-level engineering setup in one dude’s garage, to an international manufacturing capability, fight several international conflicts with the powers of the era, deal with traitors-turned-emperors in Mycenae (Greece), and more.

From their initial visit to Alba (Britain), to sailing expeditions around the globe for discovery, the series does a good job of exploring some of the possibilities that we may be facing as the hegemony continues to degrade, and things collapse around us, even as other parts of the world maintain some semblance of civilization.

I recommend the series, both for a great preparedness thought exercise (what issues did the Islanders have to deal with that you’ve not even considered?), and because it’s an entertaining read. Stirling really is a phenomenal storyteller.

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  1. Dies The Fire was refreshing after indulging in more recent survival/prepper fiction.

  2. Bob permalink

    Island in the Sea of Time is a fun story so far, but a gay, black, female sea captain? The author doesn’t write like he’s ever met a person who was gay, black, and female, let alone who was a sea captain. I hope his alt history is better than his characterization, because it’s a fun story so far.

  3. Tom Stedham permalink

    I posted this article in the SM Stirling Appreciation Society group on Facebook…

  4. Love the premise, thank you for the suggestion.

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