I brought several books along on our vacation and I purposely chose a variety of them to suit whatever my mood might be at the moment. I’ve finished the first two, which are “Conquistador: A Novel of Alternate History”, by S.M. Stirling, and “Heat: An Amateur’s Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany” by Bill Buford.
“Conquistador” is fiction, but not quite science fiction except for one important element. I suppose if you consider the TV show “Lost” to be sci-fi then so is “Conquistador.” The premise is that in 1944 a World War II veteran starting his post-war life in Oakland discovers a gateway to another dimension, the same world we live in now, except North America was never colonized. Naturally (naturally!), he and his Army buddies decide to set up a colony. Flash forward 65 years and now someone is threatening to blow their secret. (Yes, they’ve been keeping it secret.) Now a California Fish and Game Warden special investigator gets caught up in the middle of a civil war from another dimension.
I liked the book, but it wasn’t perfect. For one thing, unless you’re familiar with the geography of California you’re going to want a map in front of you (or, like in my case, Google Earth.) Even then I had a hard time picturing the places Stirling was describing. A map in the book would have been very helpful. (I looked in vain for one online.)