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May 15, 2016

On sale, um, now, Harry Turtledove’s The House of Daniel
Posted by Patrick at 11:15 AM * 21 comments

houseofdaniel.jpg [Yes, this post should have gone up on April 21. See comment #1.]

Available in hardcover and e-book. Excerpt here.

My flap copy:

Since the Big Bubble popped in 1929, life in the United States hasn’t been the same. Hotshot wizards will tell you nothing’s really changed, but then again, hotshot wizards aren’t looking for honest work in Enid, Oklahoma. No paying jobs at the mill, because zombies will work for nothing. The diner on Main Street is seeing hard times as well, because a lot fewer folks can afford to fly carpets in from miles away.

Jack Spivey’s just another down-and-out trying to stay alive, doing a little of this and a little of that. Sometimes that means making a few bucks playing ball with the Enid Eagles, against teams from as many as two counties away. And somethimes it means roughing up rival thugs for Big Stu, the guy who calls the shots in Enid.

But one day Jack knocks on the door of the person he’s supposed to “deal with”—and realizes that he’s not going to do any such thing to the young lady who answers. This means he needs to get out of the reach of Big Stu, who didn’t get to where he is by letting defiance go unpunished.

Then the House of Daniel comes to town—a brash band of barnstormers who’ll take on any team, and whose antics never fail to entertain. Against the odds Jack secures a berth with them. Now they’re off to tour an America that’s as shot through with magic as it is dead broke. Jack will never be the same—nor will baseball.

Some notice:

“In a loving callback to the early days of a quintessential American sport, Turtledove takes readers on a scenic tour of the highways and byways of an alternate United States in 1934…Turtledove’s feel for historical accuracy brings Jack’s era to life.”
Publishers Weekly

“Part picaresque novel, part supernatural drama…Turtledove does a good job evoking the world of the barnstormer, and captures the rhythm of a life punctuated by baseball.”
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Mr. Turtledove drops sly allusions to genre classics, including his own werewolf stories (written as Eric Iverson). But most of the time this is a story about baseball, the ‘game for historians,’ written by an obsessive fan who remembers leagues and teams and players from long ago.”
—Tom Shippey, The Wall Street Journal

“Pitch-perfect. Harry Turtledove crafts a richly detailed portrait of barnstorming baseball in the 1930s, stitches it around a supernatural orb, and smashes this quintessentially American story over the fence for a home run. Read it!”
—Scott Simkus, author of Outsider Baseball: The Weird World of Hardball on the Fringe, 1876-1950

Comments on On sale, um, now, Harry Turtledove's The House of Daniel:
#1 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2016, 12:01 PM:

Yes, this post should have gone up on April 21. Many things have run late over the last several weeks, for reasons.

We plan to keep posting announcements of this sort whenever a book one of us edited is published -- preferably on the actual publication day, but if not, then as soon as we can. Look tomorrow morning for another post about a recently-published title

#2 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2016, 12:34 PM:

Is this a stand-alone novel or one of a series? Sounds interesting, but don't have time or spoons to get into another series right now, and I know Turtledove writes a lot of series...

#3 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2016, 03:10 PM:

It's a stand-alone. It's also very good, and very funny.

It's a fantasy with low-key magic, and an AH with a few intriguing twists.

(Personal note: A few years ago I discovered that Harry and I are distantly related. This is a small planet.)

#4 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2016, 03:46 PM:

This sounds (and looks--love the cover) like an absolutely perfect Summer Book . . .

#5 ::: JDC ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2016, 04:08 PM:

Not having read the book yet, I'm assuming the title at least is inspired by the "House of David" barnstorming team. They were really intersting. See

#6 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2016, 08:36 PM:

Looks like just the thing for light springtime reading. Thanks!

#7 ::: Richard Hershberger ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2016, 06:51 AM:

So here is my dilemma. I am a baseball fan, and very into baseball history. I also very much enjoyed Turtledove's work, back before he began extruding alt-history product. On the other hand, I find most of his later work uninteresting, and I'm not as charmed by mash-ups of the "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" sort as many seem to be. Put together, this book is a solid "maybe." Has Turtledove moved past his extruded alt-history product phase? That would be good news indeed!

#8 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2016, 09:08 AM:

JDC, yes, it's very much influenced by the (real, and fascinating) House of David.

#9 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2016, 09:59 AM:

It looks like this is going to press a lot of the same buttons as Brittle Innings by Michael Bishop (which I enjoyed very much.)

#10 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2016, 01:05 AM:

Just finished this evening. It is alt-history, but the fantasy aspects flavour the world, they're not actually its focus. Baseball is. I like baseball, so that works for me. It isn't one of those stories that careens toward a thundering conclusion. It's one where the journey is more important than the destination, which is also very baseball.

#11 ::: Chuk ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2016, 05:30 PM:

Was there a short in this setting? Or maybe it was an excerpt released from the book -- it feels like I read it years ago though.
That said, I usually like Turtledove but almost always hate baseball. I am torn.

#12 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2016, 04:54 PM:

Dratted library doesn't have it yet. It looks like a lot of fun, and since my preferred team is not doing real well I need some fantasy about baseball (not fantasy baseball, an entirely different thing).

#13 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2016, 05:20 PM:

It isn't one of those stories that careens toward a thundering conclusion.

So it's been hauled up the beach to have its bottom scraped and then the tsunami arrives? All die. Oh the embarrassment.

"Careen is not a synonym for career."

In other news, "revert" does not mean "reply" but seems to be creeping into English from an Indian usage - so we're heading for three nations divided by a common language.

Bah! (Also: humbug.)

#14 ::: Idumea Arbacoochee, Lone Descriptivist in a Judgmental and Prescriptivist World ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2016, 05:27 PM:

Hey Moose, charity is totally a thing, as is courtesy toward one's fellow commenters.

(There are ways to make points about usage that foster good conversation. That wasn't one of them.)

#15 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2016, 05:41 PM:

Indeed, I think as far as careen == career, that ship has sailed.

#16 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2016, 05:43 PM:

Dear pericat and Idumea,

Please accept my humble apologies, it's been a long week and this moose is excessively tired and irritable.

<Drags snark out to the coalshed and locks it up for the duration.>

Sorry for any offence caused.

#17 ::: Idumea Arbacoochee, Big Softie ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2016, 05:47 PM:

<Sneaks out to the coalshed with a plate of hot snarkfood and a couple of snarklate chip cookies so the snark's stay, while productive, isn't uncomfortable.>

#18 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: May 22, 2016, 10:41 PM:

@13 Thesaurus on my Mac says my word choice is acceptable. It may not be what you like, but I'll just have to live with that.

Also? I'm not your punching bag.

#19 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2016, 11:40 AM:

'Dear Mr Nielsen Hayden, I am interested in a careen in publishing...'

#20 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2016, 03:23 PM:

Both definitions of "careen" used above are correct usage, per The Oxford Dictionary of Difficult Words:

1 turn (a ship) on its side for cleaning, caulking, or repair.
2. move swiftly and in an uncontrolled way in a specified direction.

#21 ::: Eimear Ní Mhéalóid ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2016, 12:44 PM:

"Revert" in the sense of "reply" is old-fashioned business-letter-speak in Ireland and by no means a recent import.

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