1. Terry Pratchett: Mort2. Terry Pratchett: Soul Music
This what-if by Eric Flint (with a slight flavour of alien hi-tec sci-fi as crenelation) takes an american Hillbilly town to the middle of the ravaged Thuringian countryside in the middle of the 30-years war. I received it for christmas from thette
who thought I needed to read it - and afterwards I can see why.
It's lighthearted fluff reading for the most part of it, with romances all over the place, some thoughtprovoking scenarios (if we act like bigots, we will -be- bigots - and this is regardless of whether we're devaluing blacks or germans) and quite a few portraits of dubious if surprisingly well-researched historical accuracy.
Apart from the fact that Gustavus Adolphus figures prominently (the germans NEVER tire of telling me how MY KING slaughtered the german countryside way back when), this book hits close to home.
The town of Grantsville drops into the German countryside at walking distance from where I live. In fact, the characters walk to where I live at one point in the story. (And drive armoured pickup trucks, but never mind that)
For the parts of the book NOT playing just outside my apartment door, they play mainly at Gustavus Adolphus being besieged in the city of Nuremburg - i.e. just outside my previous apartment door.
And I'm impressed that I do not find more fault with such familiar environs. I'm not convinced by his geological utterances concerning the cliffs around Jena. I'm also not convinced by his toponymy - Badenburg simply is a BAD name for this part of Germany (for any part of Germany for that matter - it combines a morpheme meaning 'spa' with one meaning 'fortress' - and thus the only places named that way in Germany are a restaurant (but those are called ANYTHING) and a section of the royal castle gardens outside Berlin. It is very much the case that names have a local ... feeling to them. Around Nuremburg - things can very well be called ober- and unter- something, whereas around Jena, similar village pairs tend to be gross- and klein- something. Similar differences pervade, and give you a sort of sense where to place a randomly picked german place name.
And Flint simply picks wrong.
On the other hand - these are nitpickeries, and it is impressive that he doesn't trigger more annoyances.