The Gladiator
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The Gladiator (Crosstime Traffic #5)

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  325 ratings  ·  29 reviews
The Soviet Union won the Cold War. The Russians were a little smarter than they were in our own world, and the United States was a little dumber and a lot less resolute. Now, more than a century later, the world's gone Communist, and capitalism is a bad word.

For Gianfranco and his friend Annarita, a couple of teenagers growing up in Milan, life in a heavily regimented, sur...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published September 3rd 2008 by Tor Books (first published May 29th 2007)
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Jess Mahler
I admit it--I picked up this book because of the d20.

Harry Turtledove is not one of my favorite author, I find his stuff very hit-or-miss, but this book is definitely a hit.

Set in Italy in an alternate timeline where the USSR won the Cold War, the story follows Gianfranco and Annarita as their normal lives as teenagers learning to be good communists is disrupted by the intrusion of Crosstime travellers from a timeline that might be the future of our world.

One of the things I really enjoyed about...more
Craig Tyler
While not a true science fiction book, this one belongs in the alternate history genre, it has a few "techie" things that make it science fiction. I picked this book up on the cheap and read the jacket and I thought it might sound like something I would like. I did. However it took me a few chapters to realize that the voice of the author seemed a little dumbed down. It was then I realized I was not the intended audience and had inadvertenly picked up a "young adult" book. I am not sure what tha...more
The other John
I don't know, but I've been aching to read some Harry Turtledove since I've returned from overseas. Maybe it was living in an "alternate world" for the past years that moved me to seek out the master of alternate history. Maybe not. Anyway, when I saw this one on the library shelf I snatched it up. The Gladiator is a novel in the Crosstime Traffic series, set in a world where the Soviet Union won the cold war. The year is actually around 2090, and the Crosstime Traffic folks have set up a few ga...more
Alan Gilfoy
Though fiction, he seems to do very well at painting a vivid picture of life under Communism. Likewise, his "The Guns Of The South", while also fiction seems to do a particularly good job of illustrating issues related to _its_ setting (the American Civil War). It was an interesting experience in and of itself and it also felt good to be reminded of one of the highlights of Turtledove's career.

The US standing down during the Cuban Missile Crisis and losing the Vietnam War even worse make sense a...more
Mathew Whitney
While each book in this series seems to improve on the previous in some respects, this one seems to have made a leap. While I still think it only deserves a three-star rating, the difference between this and the previous book (which I also rated at 3) is significant. While that one barely made it to 3, this one left me with no doubt. If you only read one book in this series, so far this should be it (and most would probably be better off to not read any of the earlier books).

While the basic prem...more
Bob
This is a well-writen book. It suffers, though, from a rather formulaic plot. The plot is supported by the idea of parallel alternate universes, which I find so far-fetched and impossible that it necessarily undermines the believability of the plot (how often is an alternate universe spawned? Once a year? Once a microsecond? Once a femtosecond?). The book was set in an alternate universe in which the US and the West lost the cold war, and the Soviet Union reigns supreme. Life is as dull and drab...more
Sean
The Gladiator has an interesting concept, but it's really about 150 pages too long. At its core is a short story that's been stretched beyond its capacity. I found far too much desperate proselytizing in a story based on the idea "What if the USSR won the Cold War?". It could have been an exciting adventure, but this truly turned into a scene from the 1980's when you knew that Soviets were evil and the Stallone from our reality would save us all by boxing Dolph Lundgren from their's in a winner-...more
Sierra
The concept was great- people from one timeline, where Capitalism has won the day, have figured out how to travel across parallel universes. They call the enterprise Crosstime Traffic. In this novel, the reader follows Gianfranco and Annarita in Milan, Italy in a timeline where Socialism/Communism has won. Gianfranco frequents a store called the Gladiator, where games are sold, from miniatures to cards to role-playing. In each game, Capitalism is inserted subtly. The Gladiator stays out of the s...more
Ian
Not a very cerebral read, although in its defense, Gladiator is written for a young adult audience. I kept expecting something to happen, but there was no hook, and no delivery. I felt empty after speed reading through pointless descriptions and situations that did not develop the story or characters in a compelling way. A disappointment.
Joel Flank
Another solid entry in the Crosstime Traffic series by Turtledove. This time, the alternate world is one where Soviet Communism won the cold war, and people's revolutions swept across the world. In Italy in the 2090s of this alternate, a strange game store sells games that seems suspiciously like capitalism. The big twist in this book is that neither of the two main characters is from the home timeline, but instead have their lives and perspectives turned around when they meet one of the Crossti...more
Lana
I picked this up on a whim but apparently Harry Turtledove is quite well known for his AU novels. This also is apparently #5 in a series (Crosstime Traffic). I would definitely pick up a few more of his books. This was very well written with engaging characters and an interesting story line. I like using the concept of gaming to improve school work and invoke thought in young boys. I like a strong female who comes into her own as she learns to both play along with those around her, but also ques...more
Alana
Harry Turtledove shines whenever the topic is Communism. In this alternate YA timeline, the Soviet Union has won the Cold War. In a future Italy, a teenaged boy living in a dreary world ruled by the Soviet Union finds a game shop called The Gladiator. This shop stocks games that make the boy think - and thinking can become very dangerous in this world. Then, The Gladiator is suddenly closed down and things are never the same. I found the characters, the consequences of the Soviet Union controlli...more
Dave
Not as good as the other two of the series thatI've read so-far. A little to "childish" in its presentation. Characters were flat and Turtledove was just a bit too preachy with a rather simpleton world-view of "socialism" vs. capitalism". Some might excuse this considering the publisher's target audience/age group but the lack of thoughtful analysis in trying to gloss over two complex economics theories with an almost infantile black & white schoolhouse dogma was underwhelming.
Jes. Cavanaugh
This is another book that has tricked me into entering a series - a series of which I am not particularly fond. That said, by itself, this was an excellent story. Taking place in an alternate universe where the Russians won the Cold War, it presents and eerie picture of what could have been. It also takes time travel into a universally-friendly concept. Even those who have trouble following time travel will enjoy this story.
Nick

Nice learning vehicle for the targeted young adult audience. Typical Turtledove prose and pacing, i.e. slow and deliberate pacing. Any teens reading this review should consider, as a followup, reading 'one day in the life of ivan denesovich' by schulzinytsin. Easy read with a much less filtered view of the political prisoners of the USSR. Still going on today, e.g. North Korea and a bunch of other totalitarian states.
Gregory Rothbard
A great book for young adult readers. For me it lost some of its flow when it went into exposition, and explanation of cold war politics. However, for the younger reader it would be a great book. The book was interesting enough to finish, and gave me a new appreciation for Harry Turtledove. I plan to read more Turtledove in the future.
Whitney
Cool idea of the alternate history, and I was really into it for about half the book then it fell flat and dragged on. I didn't realize it was part of a series of sorts. (Same idea but could stand alone books I think?) Didn't love the ending. Might be interested in the other ones if they have better endings.
Chad
As a young adult I devoured Turtledove's novels for adults. So I suppose it's kind of fitting to read his YA stuff now that I'm an adult. I wonder if I'd enjoy his adult novels as much now, because there's a remarkable lack of subtlety here in a story that could have otherwise been pretty interesting.
Stefan
The setting of Milan in a world dominated by Communism was interesting. Turtledove vividly described a world in which thought, money, and movement are restricted. I liked the originality of using board games at the Gladiator to subtly encourage counterrevolutionary thoughts.
Eric
This is the first time I have read a crosstime book and it was a different kind of story. At times it was interesting and at other times it got kind of slow. I might try another one in the future, but for now I am going to try reading something else.
Mark
First Turtledove novel since "Guns of the South" that I've made it all the way through... not a great book but filled with interesting ideas. Esp. nifty: the power of games to change hearts & minds!
Kenneth Flusche
Not what I expected from the title, but exaxctly what i wanted from the crosstime series, loved it in typical thought provoking Turtledove fasion.
Nora
I enjoyed the notion of gaming as education (or even subversion). This Crosstime Traffic novel was a big improvement for me over In High Places.
Burt
Harry Turtledove writes wonderful alternate history. This one involves Communism triumphant in Italy and a game store!
Mark Dellenbaugh
Lightweight but enjoyable YA alternate history. There are worse ways to spend a few hours.
Steve
Turtledove's Crosstime books are some of my favorites. This is another gem.
Russell Dixon
Enjoyed reading, and loved thinking of Milan and Italy in a different way
Steve
I book I picked off the shelf at library. Well worth reading.
Galina Derevyanko
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Dr Harry Norman Turtledove is an American novelist, who has produced a sizeable number of works in several genres including alternate history, historical fiction, fantasy and science fiction.

Harry Turtledove attended UCLA, where he received a Ph.D. in Byzantine history in 1977.

Turtledove has been dubbed "The Master of Alternate History". Within this genre he is known both for creating original sce...more
More about Harry Turtledove...
The Guns of the South In the Balance (Worldwar, #1) How Few Remain (Timeline-191, #1) Tilting the Balance (Worldwar, #2) Striking the Balance (Worldwar, #4)

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