Tag Archives: Alternate History

Review of “Future That Never Was”

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Book Reviews – “Future That Never Was” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Kin S. Law (https://voxvorago.wordpress.com). Mr. Law has published two novels.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Language. The story is set in the late 19th century, but in an entirely different time line. The primary character is Albion Clemens, currently the captain of a steampunk pirate sailing ship. This is one of many that sail through the skies instead of on the oceans of the world.

Clemens is trying to find his adoptive father Samuel Clemens. He gets involved with a beautiful British Scotland Yard agent on a secret mission from the Queen. Unknown forces are stealing prominent landmarks from across Europe. Samuel Clemens is somehow involved.

Albion Clemens, along with his crew, the Scotland Yard agent and an reporter trail across the skies of Europe trying to track down who is stealing the buildings. They find themselves in one tight spot after another as they close in.

I spent 9 hours with this Steam Punk Science Fiction Alternate History novel of 312 pages. I really liked the concept of the flying ships and the overall plot. The writing was difficult to read though and not just from the 19th century language. There were also gaps in the plot where as one chapter ended the crew were being pursued and the next chapter started with them having (somehow) escaped their pursuers. I liked the idea of the novel, but was not impressed with the execution. I was glad when I finally finished this novel. The cover art is appropriate for the story. I give this novel a 2.8 (rounded up to a 3) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “War of the Worlds: Retaliation”

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Book Reviews – “War of the Worlds: Retaliation” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Mark Gardner and John J. Rust (https://www.facebook.com/JohnJRustAuthor/). Mr. Gardner has published about 10 novels and Mr. Rust six.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Language. The story is set on Mars. This is a sequel to George Orwell’s War of the Worlds. The Martian attack took place in 1898.

It is now 1924 and Earth is ready to launch an attack. To Retaliate. Earth history, as we know it, was changed by the Martian attack. World War I never happened. Now the military forces of the world, including George Patton from the US, Erwin Rommel from Germany, Charles de Gaulle from France and Georgy Zhukov from Russia all lead troops in the invasion of Mars by Earth.

I enjoyed the 5 hours I spent reading this 302 page Alternate History Science Fiction novel. I liked how the characters we know from our World War II knew each other in this tale and worked together to conquer the Martians. Space fleets from Mars and Earth battle one another, then the surviving troops are landed and it becomes a land battle. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “An Airship Named Desire”

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Book Review – “An Airship Named Desire” eBook was published in 2015 and was written by Katherine McIntyre (https://katherine-mcintyre.com). Ms. McIntyre has published a dozen novels, this being the first in her “Take to the Skies” steampunk series.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in the near future of an Alternate History Earth. Machines are driven by steam and airships fly the skies, not airplanes. The primary character is young Beatrice, the First Mate of the Airship Desire.

The Desire and her crew mostly deal in smuggling and other similar jobs. Bea and fellow crew mate, Jensen, sneak aboard a British merchant vessel to steal a specific piece of cargo. That soon has the British chasing after the Desire. The British want to get back their stolen merchandise, a small locked box. Before long, a traitor among the Desire’s crew makes off with the box. Bea and the crew of the Desire give chase, but find both the British and the Morlock pirates in their way.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 7.5 hours I spent reading this 294 page Steampunk Alternate History. The story is set in our world, but it has changed in several ways. California has slid into the Pacific, the British are in control of most of Europe, and most importantly steam power rules. The date is a little in our future, around 2040. There is a mix of technologies – super computers are mentioned and the balloon holding up the Desire is protected by a Plasma Shield. On the other hand, the Desire crew and their enemies carry various kids of swords and hand guns.

The story is never dull, with Bea and her crew getting into one perilous scrape after another. The cover art is a good idea of what the story will bring. The only thing I can say is missing is a little better explanation of why the story is set in a steam powered world. I give this novel a 4.7 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

“Man in the High Castle” Returning

I watched Season 1 and found this show dark, but interesting. Given the ending, I am curious where this season is headed. The story is set in 1962 America where the Axis powers won World War II and have occupied the US. Germany is in the east and Japan the west with the rockies a buffer area between them.

There is a resistance and a few films showing the ‘real’ outcome of World War II have been secretly released by ‘The Man in the High Castle’. Both Japanese and German forces are after the resistance and the source of the films.

The ‘mystery’ will begin to unfold when the first episode of season 2 airs on Dec 16. This Science Fiction / Alternate History series is based on the 1963 novel of the same name written by by Philip K. Dick.

Review of “Tour: Wayfarer Returns”

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Book Review – “Toru: Wayfarer Returns” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Stephanie R. Sorensen. This is Ms. Sorensen’s first publication.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in 1852 Japan. The primary character is the young man Toru.

At first the story is that Toru was shipwrecked and saved by an American ship. Taken to America, he spends two years learning much about the technology, society and military. He returns to Japan with a wealth of information and books.

You soon find that his ‘shipwreck’ was planned as was his stay in America to learn about the country. Japan is facing a forced opening of its ports from America led by Admiral Perry. Toru is able to convince some of his countrymen that Japan is at risk from America. They begin to build airships, rifles, telegraphs, etc. – all technology that Toru has brought back from America – to defend Japan.

The Shogun is not in favor of this and Toru and his friends face forceful opposition. After several months of preparation, Admiral Perry and his fleet arrive. A confrontation ensues to keep Japan independent.

I enjoyed the 7.5 hours I spent with this 274 page Alternate History novel. Because of the main character’s experiences in America and the information he returns with, Japan is able to build a SteamPunk inspired force to meet Perry. I liked the cover art as it merges the feudal Japan with the SteamPunk inventions of the story. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “Fallout”

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Book Reviews – “Fallout” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Harry Turtledove (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Turtledove). Mr. Turtledove has published over 100 books. This is the second of his ‘Hot War’ alternative history series where the Korean War spins out of control.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Language. The story is set at various locations around the world. As in the first volume of the series, there is not a principal character, but several characters are followed.

This Alternate History is based upon US President Truman authorizing General MacArthur to use nuclear weapons to stem the flow of Chinese troops into Korea. The US bombs a few strategic Chinese cites to cut the supply lines. Russia responds by bombing US allies in Europe. Every time one drops bombs, the other responds in kind. Soon a second ground war is raging across Europe. After dropping “nukes” on Russian forces in Germany, the US is pushing the Russians back. This volume picks up at the end of the prior volume, “Bombs Away“. The US and Russia continue to retaliate ‘in-kind’ every time the other drops a nuclear bomb.

Individuals are followed in various locations: a US Army officer in Korea; US President Truman; a female pub owner in the UK; a US AF bomber co-pilot in Korea and his wife left back in Seattle; a Russian bomber pilot; a Russian tank commander, a German militia volunteer, and a Hungarian infantry man among others.

The story not only deals with the military conflict, but it also touches on the emotional extremes that they are going through. Mr. Turtledove does not pick a ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ side in the war, but attempt to show what this war would have cost the world. I have read several of Mr. Turtledove’s books and this ranks up with the best of them. The story is fairly fast paced, though it if far from continuous military action. The cover looks kind of old fashioned, but it certainly gets the point across with areas of radiation spreading across Europe, China and the US. I give this novel a 5 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

 

Review of “Bombs Away: The Hot War”

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Book Review – “Bombs Away: The Hot War” eBook was published in 2015 and was written by Harry Turtledove (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Turtledove). Mr. Turtledove has published over 100 books. This is the first of his ‘Hot War’ alternative history series where the Korean War spins out of control.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Language. The story is set at various locations around the world. Likewise, there is not a principal character, but several characters are followed.

This Alternate History is based upon US President Truman authorizing General MacArthur to use nuclear weapons to stem the flow of Chinese troops into Korea. The US bombs a few strategic Chinese cites to cut the supply lines. Russia responds by bombing US allies in Europe. Every time one drops bombs, the other responds in kind. Soon a second ground war is raging across Europe.

Individuals are followed in various locations: a US Army officer in Korea; US President Truman; a female pub owner in the UK; a US AF bomber co-pilot in Korea and his wife left back in Seattle; a Russian bomber pilot; a Russian tank commander, a German militia volunteer, and a Hungarian infantry man among others.

The story not only deals with the military conflict, but it also touches on the emotional extremes that they are going through. Mr. Turtledove does not pick a ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ side in the war, but attempt to show what this war would have cost the world. I have read several of Mr. Turtledove’s books and this ranks up with the best of them. The story is fairly fast paced, though it if far from continuous military action. The cover looks kind of old fashioned, but it certainly gets the point across. I give this novel a 5 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “Assault of the Super Carrier”

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Book Review – “Assault of the Super Carrier” eBook was published in 2016 (original paper version published in 1996) and was written by Peter Albano (http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/albano_peter). Mr Albano published 11 novels, most in his “Seventh Carrier” series. This is the 11th and last book in that series.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence, Mature Language and Mature Situations. The story is an Alternate History set aboard the Japanese aircraft carrier Yonaga and in Israel in the late 1980s.

Islamic terrorists have taken control of much of the western Pacific. Japan and Israel stand alone against them. Russia and the US are in a stalemate, but holding weapons technology to the level seen towards the end of World War II. Orbiting Chinese weapons platforms have failed in a way that causes all modern jets and rockets to be shot down.

The primary character is US Navy Commander Brent Ross. Ross is a Naval Intelligence officer assigned to the World War II era aircraft carrier Yonaga (the Yonaga was held frozen literally for 40 years and only freed themselves in the mid 80s). Primarily it is crewed by Japanese, but American, British, Israeli, and other personnel are also aboard to fight the Arabs.

In this book of the series the aircraft carrier Yonaga and her crew are part of a fleet that is headed to the islands of Saipan and Tinian. They plan to invade and drive the Arabs from their bases in the Marianas islands. This is seen as the first step in ending the terrorist reign of kaddafi.

Ross is faced with one battle after another with the Arabs. He also encounters more than one civilian that fires up his famous temper. He also meets two women that are potential love interests.

I did enjoy the 10.5 hours I spent reading this 448 page novel. I have read a few of the prior books in the series, but not all. This novel read well enough on it’s own, but it would have been better to have read all of the prior books in the series. I do like this Alternate History Thriller, as it sets up a substantially different world from the one we live in. The cover is naval, but looks more like a oil tanker being targeted than an air craft carrier. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “Prince of Outcasts”

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“Prince of Outcasts” eBook was published in 2016 (September) and was written by S. M. Sterling (http://smstirling.com). Mr. Stirling has published more than 40 novels, novellas and short stories. This is the latest (#13) in his “Emberverse” series.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is split between the Pacific Northwest after the ‘Change’ and the Pacific islands.

This story is part of the Alternative Future that Stirling has created. In this world the ‘Change’ occured March 17, 1998. Our laws of physics were suddenly changed – electricity, gunpowder, explosives, internal combustion engines and even steam power will no longer work. Millions die and humanity around the world is reborn into a modern feudal society.

This story is about some of the descendants of key figures in the earlier volumes – John Arminger Mackenzie, a prince of the empire that evolved out of the former states of Washington and Oregon, and his sister Crown Princess Orlaith.

An encounter with Koreans on the California coast splits the two with Mackenzie sailing westward with Koreans in pursuit. The voyage brings encounters with monstrous sea creatures, pirates and dark forces. Along the way he finds new allies and a new love interest.

Meanwhile, his sister is establishing a strong bond with Reiko, the new leader of the Japanese empire. Both young women are accomplished warriors. They are preparing to lead an army against the Koreans who killed both of their fathers (in the previous book). They must also defend themselves against assassination attempts.

I have read most of this series from the first volumes released in 1998. I found this to be a good read of 17.5 hours for this 462 page novel. I have missed the past few novels in the series, so I was not familiar with all of the names and events referred to in this book. While it can be read stand-alone, I would strongly suggest reading the other volumes in the series first. I am not a fan of the many ‘songs’ included in the story. With all of the battles and action scenes the pace is fast in most places. I do think that the chosen cover is a good depiction of what to expect. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).