Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Weapons of Choice, by John Birmingham

Weapons of Choice, by John Birmingham

Yeah, another alternate history novel. The plot of this one reminded me a lot of the movie The Final Countdown: a near-future naval task force is mysteriously sent back in time to WWII, right before the Battle of Midway. This book isn’t as angsty as the movie was, no “We can’t change history!” concerns. The characterization is pretty good, but the plot isn’t fantastic. The actual storyline is fairly predictable: both the US and Japan end up with modern technology and the balance of power in the Pacific changes. The interesting bits are where the author looks at race relations between the 1940-era Americans and the 2020-era ones. The military in 2020 is not only racially integrated but sexually-integrated as well. The military in 1942 is only beginning to accept non-whites and is completely prejudiced against women. Makes for some interesting fireworks between the generations.

I picked this book up not only because I like the genre, but because the author has a blog. He sometimes discusses the novels he is writing and asks advice from his readers. A lot of rambling in there too (it is a blog after all!) but still an interesting insight into the process at times. I’m definitely going to stay with the blog for a while, not sure about reading the other books.

First Sentence:
The Caliphate spy, a Javanese carpenter known simply as Adil, resettled himself against a comfortable groove in the sandalwood tree.

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