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Alternative history is a strange kind of world. The authors will spend months, if not years researching real life events, real life characters, plottiAlternative history is a strange kind of world. The authors will spend months, if not years researching real life events, real life characters, plotting maps and following conquests that happened in humanity's history. Then they will purposefully twist their own work by imagining a single event while splits the timeline into uncharted territory and create a narrative following the exploits of the real life figures who lived in that time. A lot of work goes into these what-if imaginings and it shows in the books. I find spotting references to real life battles and historical figures fun and engaging. Later books in this series make a lot of use of the Battle of the Somme and WW I era infantry fighting. What these novels and all of the stuff Flint, Drake, Weber et. al put out lack is character development. Filled with fake bonhomie the characters are incapable of going beyond their gender and ethnic stereotype. The dialogue suffers dearly because the authors are so rigidly following a timeline Everyone is a good old boy except the hero and he/she is a good old boy because that's how they get followers. Some of the plot machinations are jarring and unbelievable. Male and female characters are described as machines with emotional buttons that are pushed by major movers to reach plot points. A lot of the humor is juvenile and demeaning to the reader. Best to read these as fluff, between dentist appointments and train transfers. It's about the cool battles, the idea of someone creating gunpowder weapons in the 6th century and imagining far off locales. While I enjoyed reading all 5 of the novels, there were many times I grit my teeth through the horrible dialogue. ...more
lacks any grit. A young teen desperate to escape the meaningless life his parents lead but afraid to leave the blanket of wealthy security they offer.lacks any grit. A young teen desperate to escape the meaningless life his parents lead but afraid to leave the blanket of wealthy security they offer. For all the irony Cameron imbues James Sveck, he allows none for the completely tepid and shallow problems that paralyze the protagonist... At any point James could have left, if he was willing to leave behind the job that didn't require him to do anything, the school he didn't have to pay for or the life he never had to earn. Self-absorbed, and ultimately boring, James makes the choice we expect of him ;). Two stars for the clever writing. ...more
Another Wouk marathon. The world he draws turns out to be so engaging and well written, the thought of leaving before the characters have finished seeAnother Wouk marathon. The world he draws turns out to be so engaging and well written, the thought of leaving before the characters have finished seems impossible. Sort of like Neverending Story in a way. This one ended up being about 10 hours of solid reading over the course of two/three days. While the novel is not an engrossing powerful statement of achievement like Youngblood Hawke, it does provide a lovely tracery of a different kind of peace, the one many of our parents perhaps chose in order to give us life. We come across those friends that seem to have fallen out of our crazy circle and taken up with crocheting, dinners at 7 and strollers, and think, how could they have turned so deeply away from all the things we talked about at 2 am? Mr. Wouk explains, sometimes it's fate and sometimes it's the choices we make, but it could happen to anyone. In all of us exists the possibility of Shirley/Sidney and Noel....more
a lovely moving story about an autistic boy searching for honesty. in its own way an interesting allegory for Christ's travels before he met the discia lovely moving story about an autistic boy searching for honesty. in its own way an interesting allegory for Christ's travels before he met the disciples. ...more
indispensable reading for someone interested in the cross beams of communism. Illuminating, unshakeable prose. This little book cemented my interest iindispensable reading for someone interested in the cross beams of communism. Illuminating, unshakeable prose. This little book cemented my interest in Marxist theory. Read the Manifesto first, then read the Economic manuscripts. ...more