It started off well, with a meeting between Hitler, Chamberlain, and several other leaders. In it, events lead toThis could have been so much better.
It started off well, with a meeting between Hitler, Chamberlain, and several other leaders. In it, events lead to WWII being started earlier than it did in real history. Promising.
But from there it flits from vignette to vignette so fast that it's hard to keep track of the characters, and giving no overall view of what is happening. And so many of the characters repeat each other. Lots of soldiers who disdain their leaders and have sex-obsessed sidekicks. Oh, and lots of smoking. Then there's the two women who are both defiant and under German control (one an American who can't get home, and the other a German Jew).
The story has no arc, it just goes 500 pages, then stops.
The story would have been much improved by adding at least one (and preferably two or three) POVs that are party to the top levels, if only to give us a look at how the war as a whole is being pushed. Let's face it, the grunt-eye view does not give you any idea of how things are really going, other than the Germans are pushing to Paris, and the Japanese are pushing into Russian territory. ...more
The short story that gives this slim volume its name is a fascinating alternate history where the Enola Gay crashed in a training flight before the boThe short story that gives this slim volume its name is a fascinating alternate history where the Enola Gay crashed in a training flight before the bombing of Hiroshima, so the task fell to one of the backup crews where the bombardier had the twin curses of imagination and a conscience. This is followed by a second piece that acts like an examination of how one thing can change history, and looks at all the things that could have changed the bombing of Japan, but from the point of view of a world where the first story is the actual history. And finally there is an interview with the author and a complete bibliography.
As a fan of alternate history, I thoroughly enjoyed this volume. The character of the lead in the story was very relatable, which is a nice change from many alternate history stories that are so interested in the ideas that the characters suffer....more
An interesting moebius strip of a book that moves between:
- The story of Zeke and his pair, Eliza, in a future post-holocaust (natural or not? we're nAn interesting moebius strip of a book that moves between:
- The story of Zeke and his pair, Eliza, in a future post-holocaust (natural or not? we're never told) world inside the dystopian city of Texas. It's one of several walled cities that you live in according to your current life stage. Texas is where they send young married adults with no children.
- Zaddock, in the time of Texas rebelling against Mexico. He's trying to deliver a letter in order to win the hand of his employer`s daughter, Elswyth. This leads to his fascination with bats. Illustrations he drew of real and (possibly) unreal animals are salted through the book.
- A novel about the Gray sister (Elswyth and her sister), with references to Elswyth`s mother`s book, which tells the story of Zeke's time
- Hidden letters to Eliza from her father, trying to find the never-opened letter that Zaddock was supposed to
The illustrations very much enhance the book. My only real problem was that I wanted a bit more of a conclusion to the storyline. Either storyline. Instead, it seems to just... stop. Still, it was a very interesting experiment ...more
Sigh. I wanted this to be so much better than it was. Instead we get a bland story about a man recruited to kill a Nazi commander in an alternate histSigh. I wanted this to be so much better than it was. Instead we get a bland story about a man recruited to kill a Nazi commander in an alternate history where England and Germany made peace and divided Africa between then. Things go wrong, and it becomes a race to escape the Nazis while running into black rebels. People die until only the expected character is left alive at the end. Characters are drawn with a broad brush, and the plot is as thin as a Fast and Furious movie. In fact, it read more like an outline for an action movie.
I really wanted to know more about the alternate history. The Africa parts are based on Hitler's actual plans (according to the afterword), but there was a lot that could have been filled in. The US stayed out of everything, but there is no explanation of why Japan never attacked Pearl Harbor (at least I assume they didn't, since the US apparently never went to war with them either). I have trouble believing that the USSR was so easily subdued.
There was the potential for a really good alternate history novel here, but it just didn't quite work....more
This story actually surprised me. I was kind of expecting a pulp-style story about a monkey who is a fighter pilot in WWII. Instead, I got one set a hThis story actually surprised me. I was kind of expecting a pulp-style story about a monkey who is a fighter pilot in WWII. Instead, I got one set a hundred years later where the monkey was star of a massively popular multi-player computer game. But the programmed monkey is showing signs of self-awareness, leading a group to decide that he is an actual artificial intelligence. A member of the group is the girlfriend of the Prince of Wales, and she pulls him into 'rescuing' the enslaved AI.
But things go crazy from there. The company behind the monkey is also owned by the prince's mother, and they've been 'treating' the prince over the years. The break-in finds a *real* monkey instead of a self-aware computer program. And the truth of what the queen has been up to. Meanwhile, a woman who is a cyborg is investigating the murder of her ex-husband (and others), only to be targeted herself.
Oh, and there's the mission to Mars that is more than it seems.
Part alternate-history, part cyberpunk, part steampunk, part thriller, part pulp, this book throws in everything except the kitchen sink. Strangely enough, it all works, and I look forward to giving the next book a shot....more