Harry Norman Turtledove, Ph.D. was born and raised in Los Angeles, and is celebrating his 64th birthday today. This prolific writer still resides in the San Fernando Valley with his family, including his wife, Laura Frankos, and daughters Alison, Rachel, and Rebecca.
Though Turtledove started college at Caltech, he left after his freshman year. He ended up at UCLA, where he worked to gain a Ph.D. in Byzantine History in 1977.
This tall, slim, bearded author has had numerous noms de plume, including Eric G. Iverson, Mark Gordian, Dan Chernenko, and H.N. Turtletaub. He excels at speculative fiction, and alternate and military history, with his many fine works blending these themes seamlessly. He has written military, fantasy, and science fiction works, ranging from the Byzantine Empire to the American Civil War, to the World Wars, to the future, as well as translation work in eight languages!
Dr. Turtledove first captured my attention in 1992, when I was doing Civil War reenacting. I spotted a book in a bookstore with intriguing cover art. It showed Robert E. Lee in Confederate gray holding an AK-47! This wonderful “what if?” book, Guns of the South, was well-researched, yet had elements of surprise and suspense that kept me engrossed to the very end.
He’s written quite a few series of books, including Elabon (as Eric Iverson), Hellenic Traders (as H.N. Turtletaub), and, under his own name, Videssos, Worldwar / Colonization, Darkness, War Between the Provinces, Atlantis, and a young adult series entitled Crosstime Traffic, among many other titles. He has numerous stand-alone titles in addition to short stories and series, and has collaborated with several writers, including his first wife Betty Turtledove (pen name Elaine O’Byrne), Richard Dreyfuss, Judith Tarr, Susan Shwatrz, S.M. Sterling, and Kevin R. Sandes.
Turtledove has won numerous awards over his writing career, among them the HOMer Award for Short Story, the John Esten Cooke Award for Southern Fiction, a Hugo in 1993, and several Sidewise Awards for Alternate History. His stories have been nominated, received honorable mentions, and one, Gladiator, was co-winner of the 2008 Prometheus award.
Dr. Turtledove himself has been named an Honorary Kentucky Colonel, was Toastmaster at ChiCon 2000 (the 58th World Science Fiction Convention), has been Guest of Honor at numerous conventions, and was dubbed “the Master of Alternate History” by Publisher’s Weekly.
When you first see this quiet, scholarly man, you would think, quite rightly, that he is a college professor. As you become more familiar with him, you will discover a quick wit and fun sense of humor, as well as a man who truly loves his work. As he told Mike Hodel of Hour 25, “When I sit down to write, I’m telling myself a story too, and that’s part of the fun”.
We wish Dr. Turtledove all the best, and look forward to more amazing stories in the future.
Look for books 5 and 6 in the War that Came Early series, and book 3 in the Supervolcano series later this year!