Ha'penny, haunting thriller about an alternate British Reich


13 Responses to “Ha'penny, haunting thriller about an alternate British Reich”

  1. Patrick Nielsen Hayden says:

    It means I think that people who like Cory’s books might like Ha’penny.

    Although all of the books in question are in essence stand-alone stories, there will be one more novel in the linked sequence begun by Farthing and Ha’penny, called Half a Crown. Jo has taken to referring to the series as the “Small Change Trilogy.”

  2. BT Murtagh says:

    Yes, that is where the penny-farthing bicycle got its name.

  3. romulusnr says:

    How does this compare to SS-GB or Fatherland? Seems like if you want to write a book about post-Nazi England, detective story is the way to go.

  4. phasor3000 says:

    an alternate history about a quisling Britain that makes peace with Hitler and helps create a stable, thousand-year Reich on the Continent

    Substitute “Bin Laden” or “Ahmadinejad” for “Hitler” and “Caliphate” for “Reich” and you get yet another alternate history…

  5. Teresa Nielsen Hayden/Moderator says:

    How do Farthing and Ha’penny compare to SS-GB and Fatherland? They’re cozier and more English, which somehow makes them more sinister. Also, I’ve never seen works that were so precise about the ways that increasing totalitarianism gradually affects everyday living and working relationships.

  6. jphilby says:

    “chance of redemption for the all-too-plausible authoritarian alternate history that is such a sharp mirror of our sad present world.”

    Those who profit from the developments in our world

    do so at the pleasure of the people. A cancer cannot spread if it is not fed.

  7. Cameron Barrett says:

    Sounds like a companion book to Philip Roth’s “The Plot Against America” which is an alternative timeline historical fiction novel where Charles Lindburgh is elected president and declares a truce with Hitler and America never enters the war.

  8. RoadTransport says:

    And don’t forget Ian R MacLeod’s wonderful, understated novel ‘The Summer Isles’, which posits a fascist Britain in the Thirties, and which seems to share some of the themes of Jo Walton’s book (the protagonist is gay, for example).
    MacLeod’s book is not really a thriller, but is exciting, elegiac and satisfying (and mystifyingly has only been published in a limited-edition hardback).

  9. Ryan Cousineau says:

    Just as a note, the aristocratic sisters described in the review are almost certainly a fictionalization of the Mitford sisters:


    The parallels (even in your brief summary) are too much to be coincidence.

  10. KRG says:

    The narrator sounds like she may have been based on the life of the Mitford sisters of England…

  11. certron says:

    I want to say that the cover design is great and simple, although it probably doesn’t win any subtlety points from more jaded observers. Also of note is the praise quote by the one and only Cory Doctorow. Does it mean you’ve arrived when you get published on other people’s books?

    Slightly off-topic, but I couldn’t help thinking of the Penny Farthing bikes that were the standard logo of The Prisoner TV show. I don’t know if money plays any central part in the books, and I’ve just realized that the name of the bike may come from the relative sizes of the wheels being similar to the sizes of the Penny and Farthing (1/4 penny) coins. A good picture of the coins is at the bottom of this page.

  12. epi_mom says:

    Regarding similarities to ‘The Plot Against the Fatherland’, I’ve only read ‘Farthing’, but it seems that the timeline change in this world also hinges on Charles Lindburgh being elected US President. That causes the US to avoid any military engagement with Nazi Germany, continuing its isolationist stance, and leaving Britain all alone against Hitler—which sets the stage for the rest of the story.

    Great book, I’m looking forward to ‘Ha’penny’.

  13. drinian says:

    Does anyone know why eBook versions aren’t available? I really don’t like buying dead-tree copies of books now that I have an iLiad Reader. Seems like she’s released CC-licensed stuff before, so she’s pretty tech-savvy.

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