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SS-GB by Len Deighton

SS-GB (1978)

by Len Deighton

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9622013,638 (3.63)48
  1. 50
    Fatherland by Robert Harris (Sr_Moreno)
    Sr_Moreno: Another detective story set in an alternate past, Fatherland is far better written and plotted.
  2. 10
    The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick (Michael.Rimmer)
    Michael.Rimmer: Alternate History: Axis powers won WWII
  3. 00
    Farthing by Jo Walton (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: Detectives try to survive in Fascist England
  4. 00
    Spy Sinker by Len Deighton (John_Vaughan)
  5. 00
    All our tomorrows by Ted Allbeury (SV1XV)
  6. 00
    Violent Ward by Len Deighton (John_Vaughan)

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» See also 48 mentions

English (17)  French (2)  Danish (1)  All languages (20)
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
Spätestens seit Philip K. Dicks Roman Das Orakel vom Berge (Originaltitel: The Man in the high castle) auf Amazon läuft, ist das Genre Alternate History nicht nur den Hardcore-Scififans ein Begriff. BBC hat sich Len Deightons 1978 erschienenem Roman SS-GB gewidmet und passend zur Verfilmung hat Heyne das Buch in einer Neuauflage herausgebracht. Das verwendete Was-wäre-wenn-Szenario ist dabei eines der meiner Meinung nach am häufigsten: Was wäre wenn Deutschland den 2. Weltkrieg nicht verloren hätte.

Der Stoff bietet ja ungeahnte Möglichkeiten. In SS-GB begleiten wir Scotland Yard Inspector Archer und ich muss ehrlich gestehen, dass ich mit ihm einfach nicht warm wurde. Ihm fehlt meiner Meinung nach als Figur jegliche Tiefe und er blieb für mich als Leser einfach nur extrem blass und farblos. Vom Rest hat mich das aber gar nicht so sehr abgelenkt. Das Buch liest sich sehr schnell und spannend. Auch wenn es einige Dinge enthält, die mir als Leser sehr unlogisch erschienen, so war ich doch schnell drin in der Geschichte und wollte das Buch kaum noch weglegen.

Die düstere Atmosphäre hat mich schon arg in ihren Bann gezogen, persönlich hätte es mir aber sehr viel besser gefallen, wenn die Alternative Geschichte nicht nur Beiwerk gewesen wäre, sondern noch etwas mehr Einfluss auf die Handlung gehabt hätte. Die Idee einen Kriminalfall vor ein alternatives Geschichtssetting zu setzen, wurde doch von einigen anderen Autoren wesentlich besser umgesetzt. Hier empfehle ich allen Neugierigen die Romane von Jo Walton, ganz besonders Die Stunde der Rotkehlchen.

Ein unterhaltsames und gutes Buch, das vielleicht nicht sehr herausragt im Vergleich zu anderen Werken des Genres, aber gerade für Einsteiger in den Alternate History-Bereich ist es definitiv empfehlenswert. ( )
  Powerschnute | Mar 21, 2019 |
This is a re-read, occasioned by watching the BBC adaptation of it that finished last weekend. When I read the novel in 2008, I felt somewhat ambiguous about it; seeing the adaptation and having its imagery fresh in my mind certainly enhanced my appreciation of the characters in particular. However, I still feel that the plot is too convoluted and in places difficult to follow. The moral ambiguity of many of the characters is mostly welcome though, again, at times annoying (re Mayhew in particular). The novel is well written and the grimy and oppressive reality of a Britain in late 1941 where the Nazis successfully invaded earlier that year and have taken over the country and all its institutions in the space of a few short months, is chillingly stark in its presentation. The atmosphere is just sometimes let down by the details of the actual plot. ( )
1 vote john257hopper | Mar 24, 2017 |
After losing the Battle of Britain, Britain is now an occupied country, with the Germans assuming superior roles in all offices of influence, including the police. Detective Inspector Douglas Archer of Scotland Yard is not happy with the state of affairs but he keeps his head down, only wanting to do his job, which causes some of his colleagues to accuse him of being a collaborator. One day he is called to investigate the shooting of an art dealer in Shepherd Market, which at first looks like a routine murder inquiry but quickly turns into anything but. When the Resistance begins to take an interest in Archer, he must decide once and for all where his loyalties lie.

Surely one of the earliest alternative history novels, it surprised me to find out that it was written nearly 40 years ago, as the writing and the plot have barely dated. It is a political thriller with a superb evocation of Britain as it would have been had the Germans not lost the Battle of Britain – the fear and suspicion, and the internal conflict between resisting the Germans and allowing some degree of cooperation are explored convincingly and in great detail. Unfortunately some of the characters' motivations become heavily muddled so that it's not always easy to understand what's going on. (I'm hoping that the current BBC TV series will partially illuminate this side of the novel. - Alas, it didn't.) The beginning is quite slow but then the book picks up pace, and there are some genuine surprises in store for the reader. Almost uniquely, the murderer isn't revealed until the very last page, and the solution wouldn't have occurred to me, though whether that's the author's ingenuity or just the result of a muddled plot, I don't know.

The author has clearly researched the hierarchy of the German command structure very well, to the extent that the plot was slightly neglected, in my opinion. A glossary in the appendix would have been of enormous benefit to understand some of the power struggles that lie at the heart of the novel. ( )
1 vote passion4reading | Mar 7, 2017 |
Strangely disappointing. It begins well enough, but the plot is very confusing and in some places the story is so thinly described that one loses track of who's doing what to whom. I wish books that use German military titles would give a glossary, I get very confused. ( )
  mlfhlibrarian | Mar 6, 2017 |
A nice alternate history crime novel. Set in Nazi occupied Britain after Britain loses world war 2, and the Nazis don't invade the Soviet Union.

Douglas Archer, detective, Scotland Yard, has a body with radiation burns, a piece of a prosthetic limb and a conscience that struggles with working under the Nazi regime.

It's a good crime/police investigation novel coupled with the intrigue and shadows that come with a resistance movement working in an occupied country. Plus there's a conspiracy to free King George V from the Tower of London.

Enjoyable with a realistic air of history despite never having occurred. ( )
1 vote HenriMoreaux | Sep 4, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
If anyone can make one of those if-history-had-been-different concoctions really click, it's Len Deighton--right? Well, almost. The idea is that Germany (SS) invaded and conquered Britain (GB) in 1940, so now it's 1941--ravaged London under Nazi occupation. ... [t]he conspiracies ... are less than convincing, more than a bit confusing, unsatisfying at the close -- below par for Deighton. But Deighton's feel for atmosphere is unrivaled, and his flair for character has never been surer; the Germans especially are a varied and perversely sympathetic lot. ... You may not much care -- or even understand -- what's going on, suspense-wise, in Deighton's make-believe England; but you'll find it a wonderfully creepy place for a visit.
added by Roycrofter | editKirkus' Reviews (Feb 1, 1979)
Len Deighton's splendid and, as it at once proved to be, absorbing para-historical novel SS-GB. (They came here in 1941.) With its honour and barbarity, schoolboy's-fantasy uniforms and outlandishly-named ranks, it has always struck me as the most fascinating of all iniquitous organisations. Until Mr Deighton told me I had no idea that you could be a member of the Gestapo as well as of the SS and still not be a member of the Party...

SS-GB is distinguished also by a skill I have never seen so highly developed elsewhere. A large part of the dialogue naturally consists of what is supposedly German presented in English. Any self-respecting author in that position faces the difficulty of keeping his readers reminded that this is indeed the case, that the characters are not simply talking English. The comic-strip or 'Mein Gott!' solution is often to be found a surprising distance up the market... Mr Deighton solves the problem triumphantly by writing fully idiomatic English but now and then deviating into an expression which is just a little wrong for the speaker or the situation, thus evoking in a flash the conscientious 'translator' grappling manfully with a refractory German colloquialism. It must have been fun to write those passages and they are certainly a joy to read.

This excellence and others notwithstanding, SS-GB remains an example of what we usually understand by escape fiction; it grips the reader far too firmly and uninterruptably for a straight novel.
added by SnootyBaronet | editSunday Times, Kingsley Amis
Deighton being the sort of realistic writer he is, the nightmare is both more and less frightening than it is, or could be, in a free fantasy of absolute tyranny. The occupying Nazis are human beings, vulnerable men with problems. The occupied Britons are not, except for the small force of the Resistance, particularly heroic...

Cigarettes are damnably dear on the black market. Churchill, it seems, was shot making the V-sign. The Mirabelle is reserved for high officers of Air Fleet 8 headquarters. There is no blackout. Fried turnip slices are sold in the streets. The beer is watery. Business as usual and life going on. This is one of Len Deighton's best.
added by SnootyBaronet | editThe Observer, Anthony Burgess
In het door de Duitsers in 1941 bezette Engeland ontbrandt strijd om een vitaal rapport over atoomsplitsing tussen de Engelse ondergrondse en diverse onderdelen van de Duitse bezettingsmacht. Ingewikkelde intrige, waarin de thema's ondergronds verzet, spionage, ontvoering, moord, met elkaar verweven zijn. De tegenspelers - Engels politie-inspecteur en Duits legerofficier - (antihelden) worden psychologisch goed getekend in hun tweestrijd tussen loyaliteit en overmacht. Ook de bijfiguren zijn goed getypeerd. Korte zinnen en suggestief taalgebruik scheppen een sfeer van spanning, onontkoombaarheid, wantrouwen, machteloosheid, in de trieste omgeving van bezet Londen. Goede vertaling. Vrij kleine druk.
(Biblion recensie, A. van den Berg-Brandt.)
added by karnoefel | editNBD / Biblion
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'In England they're filled with curiosity and keep asking, "Why doesn't he come?' Be calm. Be calm. He's coming! He's coming! --Adlof Hitler 4 September, 1940 at a rally of nurses and social workers in Berlin.
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"Himmler's got the King locked up in the Tower of London," said Harry Woods.
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Book description
England, 1941. Buckingham Palace is a smoldering ruin. The King of England is a prisoner in the Tower of London. Winston Churchill is dead--executed by a firing squad. Once, England ruled the most powerful empire on earth. Now she belongs to Hitler. For Scotland Yard's top detective, Douglas Archer, life must go on. And as life goes on, so indeed does murder. But soon the trail of clues--a charred corpse, a suave Berlin emissary, a secluded seaside resort--turns into a dangerously swinging tightrope of violence and betrayal as Archer, a man just trying to survive, is caught between the embittered patriotism of the underground and a Nazi maze of secrets and doom that threatens to cover all England in a final, fatal mist that glows like the heart of an atom. [from the book cover]
Haiku summary
Douglas Archer solves
scientist's death in Nazi-
occupied Britain.

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In February 1941, British Command surrendered to the Nazis. Churchill has been executed, the King is in the tower and the SS are in Whitehall. This is a spy story quite different from any other. Only Deighton, with his flair for historical research and his narrative genius could have written it.… (more)

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