Colonization: Second Contact

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Colonization: Second Contact
Author Harry Turtledove
Country USA
Language English
Series Colonization
Genre Alternate history/Science fiction
Publisher Del Rey Books
Publication date
February 9, 1999
Pages 496
ISBN 0-345-43019-0
OCLC 39728086
Dewey Decimal 813/.54 21
LC Class PS3570.U76 C65 1999
Preceded by Worldwar: Striking the Balance
Followed by Colonization: Down to Earth

Colonization: Second Contact is an alternate history and science fiction novel by Harry Turtledove. It is the first novel of the Colonization series, as well as the fifth installment in the Worldwar series.


The novel is set in 1963, eighteen years following the end of the alternate World War II shown in the Worldwar series. Earl Warren is President of the United States, Vyacheslav Molotov is the Premier of the Soviet Union, and Heinrich Himmler leads Nazi Germany. Smaller countries remain independent, such as the Republic of Ireland and Imperial Japan, which still controls portions of its World War II-era empire. A few isolated areas are still held by Charles de Gaulle's Free France, and in German-occupied France the French Resistance remains active.

At the start of the novel, the colonization fleet of the Race enters the Solar System, bringing with them eighty to one hundred million colonists for settling on Earth. As the fleet enters Earth orbit, a human satellite unleashes a nuclear attack that kills millions. 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. All three deny it when furious Race leaders demand answers, but in truth two of the three human nations are as much unaware of the attacker's identity as the Race. In addition, while there is peace between the independent human nations and the Race- albeit an uneasy one- Mao Zedong and Ruhollah Khomeini continue to lead popular resistance to the invaders in China and the Middle East, respectively. Race efforts to wage a counter-insurgency war in those regions are frustrated by their lack of familiarity with such warfare and a near-total lack of support from the human population. The Race also becomes aware of subtle support of these resistance movements by Germany, the United States, and the USSR, but as the Race are unable to prove it nothing can be done to stop them.

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, throwing Race forces on Earth into social chaos. Worse still for the commanding Fleetlord of the Race forces on Earth is a sharp upswing in armed revolts in the Middle East and in China; at the novel's end Khomeini's guerrillas have staged several successful ambushes against Race patrols, while resistance forces under Mao Zedong storm the Forbidden City.