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Weapons of Choice (Axis of Time, #1)
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Weapons of Choice (Axis of Time #1)

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  2,665 ratings  ·  160 reviews
On the eve of America’s greatest victory in the Pacific,
a catastrophic event disrupts the course of World War II, forever changing the rules of combat. . . .

The impossible has spawned the unthinkable. A military experiment in the year 2021 has thrust an American-led multinational armada back to 1942, right into the middle of the U.S. naval task force speeding toward Mid
ebook, 448 pages
Published June 1st 2004 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2004)
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5.0 stars (this one may make it on to the 6 star book list). I did not have big expectations about this book when I first started reading it. Being a history buff and a SF reader, I was just hoping for a fun read. What I got was something superbly plotted, very well written and unique. Not unique in so far as the concept of people from the future going back in time (specifically World War II), which has been done many, many times before. Rather, what was unique, and made this book so intriguing, ...more
Leon Aldrich
This was my first novel by Birmingham, as he came highly recommended by (a reviewer everyone should be following). This author had some big shoes to fill as I've been a voracious reader for thirty years.

This novel is equal to Rally Cry, A Hymn Before Battle, and Island in the Sea of Time.

I looked over the weaker starred ratings as always. A noticeable sign again among those reviewers: they have read few if any "military" fiction, let alone "alternate his
Weapons of Choice, and the Axis of Time series in general, is one of those things I can't but help evangelize to any sci-fi or historic fiction fans I know. It's really the only alt-history series I've been able to get into, for good reason.

John Birmingham writes like Tom Clancy minus the pompousness, skewed worldview, overly long plot buildups, and inability to write female characters. He grabs a UN peacekeeping naval force, crewed by Millennials battle-hardened by two decades of the War on Ter
Lis Carey
It’s January 2021, and an international task force headed up by the USS Hillary Clinton (a George Bush class supercarrier), is off Indonesia, responding to a political crisis caused by the overthrow of the legitimate government and its replacement by the extremist Caliphate. Because of the haste with which the task force was thrown together, they’ve got with them a research ship that had to come along with its protective escort—no time and no spare forces available to send it off to a safer dist ...more
In the book a modern battle fleet travels back in time to WWII and starts to change history. This a definitely interesting read and the author raises some interesting problems that would arise not just because of the technological but also the cultural differences between the time travelers and the people of 1940s. He is also quite competent in giving the different viewpoints (axis/allies, future/past).

So why is it just ok for me (two stars)? First of all although he could just as easily have us
Shelley aka Gizmo's Reviews
An American led Multi-National armada from year 2021 is transported to WW2, right in the middle of the US Task Force heading to Midway for a major battle with the Japanese. The disruption by the time travelers, the resulting destruction of the 1942 Task Force ships changed history. The Japaneses capturing one ship from the future sort of balance the status-quo. The Americans and Allied cannot have all the fun. Embedded in technological structures of the ships, are historical archives of the past ...more
Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk
Like a movie, the book opens with a countdown concentrating on the bevy of characters that will make up the core of the story. Suddenly, chaos and confusion - too much confusion - we need a clearer picture of what is happening but those few seconds are dragged out... so much is happening...
Boom! mayhem... chaos. Two fleets from opposite ends of time clash! Slowly, out of the noise and light and murder and confusion of battle things calm down as men and officers begin to take control.
I'm 200 page
Practical Mike
Meh... I was digging the book at first, but then all of the action got in the way and started to bore me. Not a good sign when too much action is boring. What do I mean? I do not think I'm spoiling anything here when I say quite a few ships go back in time.

(view spoiler)
Jordan Steinhoff
This is not a bad book.

Just not great and not deserving of 3 full stars.

I'll always give the alt-Earth story a shot and this started off great with a quick precis on the book's modern day world and then quickly jumping into the WW2 PTO.

The initial drama and consequences of that jump were superb.

After that, though, it became a bit of a grind. The author tried to keep too many characters relevant, I think, while at the same time not really being successful with the general story of how 21st centu
This book nicely illustrates my own interests, as well as John Birmingham's. Birmingham is clearly into military history and wants to see future US Navy vs. WWII US Navy, so he sets the stage. Of course 80 years of development should give unbeatable advantages to the future navy -- radar, drones, and cruise missiles should let them sink the WWII ships before they can even engage. So Birmingham "evens the odds" by fiddling with proximity, formation, arrival timing, nausea, etc. It feels like mili ...more
Tom Lynch
What happens when an science experiment on board a cutting-edge research vessel goes horribly wrong and sucks the UN naval taskforce escorting it back through time to 1942 where they encounter the US Navy en-route to the Battle of Midway? (In this respect, it is reminiscent of the Final Countdown) The answer is that chaos ensues. For the locals not only have to come to terms with the futuristic American, British and Australian ships, but the fact their crews are multi-racial, contain a large num ...more
S.A.A. Calvert
I first read this book, which is the start of a series, shortly after yet another showing of "The Final Countdown", a film that typically avoids the tricky paradox possibilities by running away from them.

Birmingham confronts the nature of 1940s society head-on, as a typical 21st century crew including gay men, women, and, er, people of colour who aren't kitchen hands comes up against the homophobic, racist and sexist society of the period. Lots of cameos from well-known people, some sly jokes (i
Mike Rinehart
I have been looking for an alternate history series to start reading and The Axis Of Time series fits the bill perfectly. I found Weapons of Choice to be a great set up for the next two books. The premiss is a combat task force from the future manages to zap itself back in time to 1942 just before the battle of Midway. Well that battle doesn't take place but now both sides have cool future tech to play with. This book dealt mainly with the Japanese and American side of the war but the Germans an ...more
Tony Calder
This is an excellent read for those who enjoy alternate history books, or for anyone who likes a fast paced military thriller. This is the first in Birmingham's World War trilogy, in which a modern day carrier battle group is transported back in time to World War II. This is definitely a book that can keep you up all night, wanting to read "just one more chapter" :) This is certainly not a new theme - it has been covered many times in books (there are a few in jokes for Turtledove fans) and movi ...more
James Leitess
Enjoyable book. Liked the author's choice to focus on the social challenges arising from a 70 year cultural gap within the "same" culture in addition to the other plot mechanics arising from the time travel and techno-gap.

The choices made by the protagonists felt legit w/a certain degree of US Military fan service for folks who'd like to go back and "fix" the wrongs of the Great War.

Once the visitor's impact on the past started to really escalate the author supplied an ending that was satisfyin
It was okay. Better than two stars but not as good as three stars. There were parts I thought the author did a great job with and other parts that just fell flat. Some of the story flowed rather fast; other parts just dragged on and on. The ending was rather abrupt; it seemed like a bunch of different ideas were thrown together to end it when the author could maybe have expounded a bit further on them. Also, the book was broken up into five parts/sections; the flow between sections was choppy at ...more
The premise is totally off the planet - a naval task force from the near future is sent back in time to the Second World War - but what I really enjoyed was the way that the two different societies found themselves in conflict - and coöperation. The various scenarios are explored and enjoyed. A particular focus of the narrative is the way that women and minorities are presented. In the WW2 navy, having a black woman command a warship is unthinkable, in the displaced fleet, it's unremarkable. Tha ...more
Daniel Shellenbarger
Weapons of Choice begins with the sudden disappearance of a near-future NATO fleet off Indonesia (thanks to a singularity experiment gone mostly right and slightly but INCREDIBLY wrong) and its subsequent reappearance off of Midway Island in 1942 mere hours before the fateful battle for control of the Pacific ought to have occurred. Their arrival sets off a series of dramatic shifts in the conduct of the war as both sides are suddenly presented with advanced military technology (to their delight ...more
What happens when a near future naval armada is sent back to the beginning of World War II. This is the question posed by Weapons of Choice. This book is an alternate history of sorts and covers a wide range of characters and setting including the visitors from the future, the contemporary American society and military as well as the Japanese Military and their ongoing efforts.

This is a book that swallows you whole after the first few pages making you feel that you are right there alongside the
I've read a number of time-travel books, even several where a sizable group of people (usually Americans) are thrown back in time and end up using their military superiority to defeat someone. But I think Birmingham's book is the most nuanced in terms of character reaction to the events. And it's certainly the book which created the most complex and conflicted emotional response from me.

I've been trying to figure out why the interactions between the characters from the two time periods seemed so
David Sarkies
Sep 10, 2014 David Sarkies rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody
Recommended to David by: Some guy from America
Shelves: sci-fi
A rather dull alternate history sci-fi story
20 October 2012

I picked this book up because I had quite enjoyed Birmingham's non-fiction works, if you can consider He Died with a Falafel in his Hand to be a work of non-fiction (I suspect that it falls into that grey area, much like Chopper's books, where there is truth in the story but much of it has been fuzzed out to protect the guilty) that I thought I might try this book. Anyway, it looked quite interesting, being about a US carrier group bein
I love the concept of the future meeting the past and seeing how the writer will effect changes in history as a result.

An American led Multi-National armada from year 2021 is transported to WW2, right in the middle of the US Task Force heading to Midway for a major battle with the Japanese. The disruption by the time travelers, the resulting destruction of the 1942 Task Force ships changed history. The Japaneses capturing one ship from the future sort of balance the status-quo. The Americans and
There is simply way too much wrong with this novel. I don't want to go too much into it here -- see others' reviews, on GR, Amazon, etc.
Perhaps MY main beef is: Birmingham goes way overboard on techno-babble and handwavium. Dunno why, other than -- methinks -- to draw attn. away from countless other flaws that afflict the book.

Hence ... I abandoned this book a while back, roughly on page 102.

Writing this review and giving it 2/5 stars needs some explanation, tho' not necess. justification! Here
Procrastinador Diletante
Este podia ser mais um livro de viagens no tempo, em que os protagonistas iriam ter grandes preocupações com as habituais e complexas questões de alterarem o futuro, mas com uma chegada caótica a 1942, esta frota multinacional de 2021, não tem muita oportunidade para essas discussões.

Para mim, isto foi logo um dos grandes aspectos positivos do livro, visto que John Birmingham não perdeu tempo com longas explicações sobre a forma como foram transportados para trás no tempo, nem deu hipótese às vá
Thom Swennes
Enter the Twilight Zone on a world scale! As you are watching a glass-smooth horizon dotted with ships, water and a cloudless sky, it happens…. You’re not completely surprised for what you see could have been, would have been, should have been…. All has disappeared. Seconds later it reappears 79 years in the past amid Task Force 16 and 17 on their way to the Battle of Midway. The unexpected ships didn’t appear just near the Task Forces but in them causing ships, equipment and even personnel to m ...more
The premise of the book is very simple - what happens if a multinational military fleet from 2022 ends up in 1942, just before the battle of Midway? The execution of this premise fills the book, with just a few short chapters setting up the event that causes the time-travel to occur, followed by the initial arrival of the time travelers into the Pacific WWII theater and the events they precipitate. There are a lot of details about the differences between the two groups of soldiers, some fascinat ...more
Jonathan Palfrey
I liked this book somewhat better on second reading. It's a page-turner, well paced, competently written, and well researched as far as I can tell.

Approximately the first third of it, in which unexpected time travel results in a shocking encounter between naval fleets of 2021 and 1942, is convincing and pretty damned cool. After that, it remains readable but I find the further developments somewhat less convincing.

It seems to be aimed at readers with a particular interest in the Second World War
Michelle O'flynn
John Birmingham has lived the kind of life shared by many drop-kicks in Australia, and I am proudly one of them, although being female, have not shared some of his bawdy sexual frolics. This author now takes us into another territory altogether, demonstrating his vast talent as a great story teller. Mixing a bit of sci-fi with a war thriller, John has created a very different outcome for WW2 in the future, great strong characters who evoke their different cultures with accuracy and at times grea ...more
I'd heard a lot about this series over the last couple of years, mostly good. Gotta say, it wasn't quite what I'd expected. The decision to go with an armada from our future (2021 to be exact) just feels odd, and I'm very skeptical of the degree of military advancement depicted from 2005 to 2021. The biggie to me is the fusion powered aircraft carrier. Not a chance. Maybe if we'd had viable fusion plants in 2005 a 15 year development cycle for such a major vessel might almost be long enough. but ...more
As part of the post New Year recovery time to read a less taxing tale. The Axis of time triology is essentially an alternate history tale in which a future joint nations navel task force travels back in time to just before the Battle of Midway in 1942.

The writing isn't challenging and generally rips along with some interesting treatments such as ships being fused as a result of the time travel and how crew members handle time travel. Sure the 1942 guys are the ying to the future PC crews yang an
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Goodreads Librari...: ISBN 9780141029115 - Weapons of Choice: World War 2.1 2 14 Apr 06, 2012 11:25AM  
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John Birmingham grew up in Ipswich, Queensland and was educated at St Edmunds Christian Brother's College in Ipswich and the University of Queensland in Brisbane. His only stint of full time employment was as a researcher at the Defence Department. After this he returned to Queensland to study law but he did not complete his legal studies, choosing instead to pursue a career as a writer. He curren ...more
More about John Birmingham...
Designated Targets (Axis of Time, #2) Final Impact (Axis of Time, #3) He Died With A Felafel In His Hand Without Warning (The Disappearance, #1) After America (The Disappearance, #2)

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