Usually, Crosstime Traffic concerns itself with trade. Our world owns the secret of travel between parallel continuums, and we use it to trade for much-needed resources with the worlds next door; preferably without letting them know about any of that parallel-worlds stuff. But in one parallel world, Crosstime Traffic is present, not to trade, but to study what went wrong.
In a Los Angeles where nuclear war broke out back in 1967, survival is a matter of neighbourhood versus neighbourhood. When the Westsiders block Sepulveda Pass, the inhabitants of the San Fernando Valley are forced to fight back. With the help of some prewar machine guns, the Valley prevails, and their forces occupy the Westside.
In this brutal world, Liz and her family are undercover Crosstime Traffic agents living near the ruins of UCLA. Dan is a soldier in the occupying Valley army. Dan thinks Liz is the most impressive woman he's ever met. Liz thinks she'd better avoid Dan if she wants to protect the mission.
To complicate matters, when Dan catches Liz in the UCLA library, he fears she may be a spy for the Westsiders. After all, what reason could anyone have for reading about the Old Times, if not to figure out how to reconstruct old weapons systems
Then a real spy for the Westside government-in-exile shows up at Liz's house...
Harry Turtledove has lived in Southern California all his life He has a Ph.D. in history from the University of California at Los Angeles and has taught at UCLA, California State Fullerton and California State University, Los Angeles. He has written many works of speculative fiction and fantasy. He is married to the novelist Laura Frankos and they have three daughters.