Cheeseburger Gothic

Stalin's Hammer Complete. Audio and eBook

Posted January 25 into Books by John Birmingham

The audiobook of the Stalin's Hammer sequence is out! As a big consumer of audiobooks this makes me very happy, and not just for the royalties coming my way. I had a quick listen to the sample, and it seems pretty fucking schmick.

I've also released the complete series in one volume which I've made free for a couple of days so anyone who bought the individual titles can grab a copy without feeling they've been double-charged.

The ebook is everywhere.

The audiobook is exclusive to Audible.

I've also just pulled the lever for a print on demand copy, so that should be available in a couple of weeks. A Girl in Time has done better than I expected in print, especially given the price, so that's an experiment that seems to be working.

If you're not an Audible customer, you can sneakily get the book for free by trying the service via this link.

I'm mostly working on AlienSideBoob and The Cruel Stars at the moment, but a good result for the Stalin's Hammer collection will set up WW 3.1 nicley.

And you know what garauntees a good result?

Reviews.

You know what you must do.

24 Responses to ‘Stalin's Hammer Complete. Audio and eBook’

Brother PorkChop swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 25
OK, I think I've reviewed the shit out of it all now. And signed up for the booby project thingy.
But a question about the audiobook business. By the sound of it, you have no input into the voice of your books nor anything else? Just sign on the line and watch the bucks roll in?

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted January 25
That's exactly how it works.

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jl mutters...

Posted January 25
Ha. I've been waiting for this moment.

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Surtac asserts...

Posted January 25
Yeth, marthter. We knowth what to do.

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SAS mutters...

Posted January 26
5 star review left on UK site, as usual.

Will pick up the audio version next month, will this mean that the rest of AOT will be available on Audible UK soon?

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted January 26
IN fact, yes! My agent has been pushing this forward since late last year. I don't know why the rights were never done in the UK/ANZ region, but it's being taken care of now.

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DaveC ducks in to say...

Posted January 26
Doneburger

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted January 26
Grazie

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Dirk mumbles...

Posted January 26
The total Hammer is as of yet not available here, but I gave the Girl a five star thumbs up here: https://www.bol.com/nl/p/a-girl-in-time/9200000072733978/

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon reckons...

Posted January 27
I did the audible thing. I hadn't got around to getting the hammer collection yet (yes yes i know, bad boy). So the audio book is perfect timing. Although i'm not sure how i'm going to go switching from 70 plus hours of listening to sword and sorcery with Steven Pacey pronouncing grimACED to a guns and fists with a US accent. Any tips out there on audiobook change over? Go cold turkey and jump straight in or ease into with something else?

insomniac has opinions thus...

Posted January 27
I think if you're going from one poorly pronounced subject to an unknown reader and a different subject you should be ok. Your biggest problem would be a similar reading style and/or accent, but then my only experience is going from Crime and Punishment to Cryptonomicon via an hour of some piece of crap chosen by ms insomniac.

FormerlyKnownAsSimon ducks in to say...

Posted January 27
I worked today like chump in an empty office. Subsequent bus trip requires reading Bill Gammage's The Greatest Estate on Earth or doing the audiobook. I may have to drown out fellow passengers with earphones :)

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Don Bagert ducks in to say...

Posted January 29
It's Saturday and I'm surprised that I actually haven't been on Cheeseburger Gothic since Wednesday, thus missing the freebie days. Oh well...

Just curious JB: Did you change "Harry Windsor" to "Harry Wales" in Stalin's Hammer: Rome to line it up with the other parts (as well as events that occurred in OTL between Parts 1 and 2)?

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DarrenBloomfield is gonna tell you...

Posted January 30
reviewed.

I staretd listeing to the audiobook on Saturday on my run. Even better when read to you by someone else!

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NBlob reckons...

Posted January 30
I still can't leave reviews, because I haven't spent $X.
I call this out as rank discrimination against tightarses.

NBlob puts forth...

Posted January 30
I pimped the hell out of it & ASB on the Farcebook tho.

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted January 30
This is why you're my cheapest favourite.

Brother PorkChop has opinions thus...

Posted January 31
NBlob's alive?

NBlob mutters...

Posted January 31
Barely comrade, barely.
The reign of Xmas Derp has been punishing.
Had a big boatyboat ride out of Gladstone over New Years. Bad new for scallop fans.

Brother PorkChop is gonna tell you...

Posted February 1
I hear potato scallops are in trouble as well. White Spot?
Out of Gladstone where the harbour fish are somewhat extreme?

NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted February 4
No white spot [to date] has only been detected in Logan River. If one doesn't look, one will never find.
Scallops are down to ~%6 biomass. The shell that is being caught shows sign of having been through sizing tumblers at least once. [Think a tube of security screen expanded aluminium mesh, used to sort size, like a sieve.

NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted February 4
*no, white spot...*

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Legless asserts...

Posted February 1
I'm fascinated by your attempts to grope your way forward in the new publishing paradigm. You're doing so much better t

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Blake is gonna tell you...

Posted February 4
Picked up the audiobook. My written word consumption has been terrible this year, but i'm burning through the audiobooks and podcasts like noones business. I've got a backlog of JB which goes back to the second Dave and includes the entire Stalins Hammer Series - and yet I've listened to the Nick Earls collection. (It was good, but generally not where my allegiances lie)

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Stalin's Hammer. New Cover

Posted December 14 into Books by John Birmingham

We never rest here at the book factory.

This bad boy will drop in January.

18 Responses to ‘Stalin's Hammer. New Cover’

Rhino swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted December 14
Fuck yeah.

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Peter in the bleachers has opinions thus...

Posted December 14
What Rhino said.

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DaveC ducks in to say...

Posted December 14
Attach exclamation mark to previous comments.

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Don Bagert would have you know...

Posted December 14
Looks like it's Britain vs. USSR - you must have ditched a lot of material to eliminate the U.S. role ;-)

Julia Duffy as a Bond girl? It's a stretch...

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted December 14
There's an American version too.

Oldy would have you know...

Posted December 14
Collect the set!

Don Bagert swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted December 15
Ohhhhhhhhhhh...how silly of me, sorry!

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Therbs ducks in to say...

Posted December 14
Duffy looks like she's doing an Emma Peel pose.

Nocturnalist puts forth...

Posted December 14
The whole thing makes me think of the opening credits to "The Money or the Gun". I wonder if there's a way to shop a giant '90s Andrew Denton mullet onto the male figure.

Halwes mutters...

Posted December 18
Hmmmm Emma Peel !

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Nocturnalist would have you know...

Posted December 14
I notice the strapline says it "includes" the Cairo/Rome/Paris books. Does that mean there's extra material in this one?

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Sparty2 would have you know...

Posted December 14
Harry wearing lifts - is that cause Duffy is tall ;-)
Its a good time to be a Birmo fan! (the only good thing to come out of 2016) - otehr than possibly Rogue One- we'll know tomorrow

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WA n'ker ducks in to say...

Posted December 14
Cool Birmo,
I reckon I'll buy a hard copy, but where from?
How about putting up a bit of a bibliography on here with links to your recommended merchants?
Don't get me wrong, I love your little emails telling me get this here and that there, but I'm really too fucking busy and shattered working in the apprentice factory all day to be downloading this app and that fucking whiz doovy.
I would love a simple CC pay and get a hard copy in mail.
I await your response kind scribe.

Pete mutters...

Posted December 18
I'm with WA n'ker on this one. Call me old fashioned but I like the whole ink - paper - turn the page thingo. Where can I get one?

NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted December 18

I've just read my 2nd ever ebook. Both from His Birmoness. It was _ different, like mud crab is to sand or(blue swimmer /Dungeness crab . Different. Not bad as such, just uh different.

Halwes reckons...

Posted December 19
conformist !

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jl mumbles...

Posted December 15
Paper novel- sweet. Will purchase and put it in the collection.

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NBlob mutters...

Posted December 16
With. Bells. On.

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Meanwhile, back in alternate 1956

Posted December 6 into Books by John Birmingham

I like this Northrop Grumman drone for WW 3.1. It sounds a lot like the original Big Eye series from Weapons of Choice.

The flying-wing design incorporates twin counter-rotating propellers mounted on Tern's nose. The propellers would lift the aircraft, move it into position for horizontal flight, and then operate again vertically upon landing.

The shift to drone technology for ISR mission reflects the Navy's strategy of allowing surface ships to conduct surveillance and targeting missions without the aid of land- or carrier-based patrol aircraft. Tern also is intended to support Marine expeditionary missions using long-range, high-endurance unmanned aircraft.

The Navy envisions deploying Tern on Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, which have several helicopter pads but no runways. Researchers also are hoping that the program can save money by allowing ships to host the aircraft without any significant modifications.

9 Responses to ‘Meanwhile, back in alternate 1956’

Oldy is gonna tell you...

Posted December 6
Oh man, I'm so busting for this. Axis of Time (and those brilliant silhouette covers) was my gateway drug to life as a JB junkie. I've never seen Prince Harry the same way again

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted December 6
I can't wait to unveil the new cover for the Hammer anthology. It's gonna rock.

Don Bagert swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted December 8
Which color this time? :)

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Vovchara is gonna tell you...

Posted December 7
well, you have had done something right, after abysmal failure to predict Clinton's presidency :P

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Murphy_of_Missouri puts forth...

Posted December 7
Too bad we can't get some model builders to sit down with some models of original ships circa the 1950s and do some kitbashing with 1990 and later ship models.


And I'd love to see how the Hawaii Class semi-stealth carrier turned out over the ten years since Final Impact.

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ronS has opinions thus...

Posted December 8
Life imitating art - again

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Jeats mumbles...

Posted December 9
http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/6299/darpas-revolutionary-fixed-wing-vtol-naval-drone-gets-the-video-treatment

Some videos of it.

This on the other hand reminds e more of a bug eye shape

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avro_Canada_VZ-9_Avrocar

This was built in 1974 for the USAF.

Jeats would have you know...

Posted December 9
Sorry make that 1958-59 for the USAF

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Don Bagert mutters...

Posted December 11
So Rome was set in April and May of 1955 - does this mean a bit of time jump to get into the thick of WW3 in 1956? :)

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Harry is off to Audible

Posted November 22 into Books by John Birmingham

Just signed a deal to give Audible the rights to do the entire Stalin's Hammer series as an audio book next year.

I'm not sure how long it will take them to produce, but I'm very much looking forward to hearing the finished product.

I've been researching print-on-demand options for the collected series. It looks like I'll go with Amazon's CreateSpace in the US, but with IngramSpark everywhere else.

Doing print-on-demand is hella complicated compared to ebooks. And expensive. These things will retail at the same price as any trade published title. And I'll make less on them than I would on a much cheaper ebook. As soon as you start moving atoms around, the costs pile up.

But there are people who prefer print. I guess we'll see whether they're willing to pay for the preference. My guess is mostly not, but it's worth a look.

At the moment I anticipate an early to mid-December launch for A Girl in Time, and if I can ever get my head around the vagaries of IngramSpark, the hard copy should be available for Xmas too.

I'll release this title everywhere. I experimented with Amazon exclusivity this year, and although it does confer some advantages, I don't think they compensate for the lost readers who just won't come at the Beast of Bezos. I seem to have more of them than usual. (Interesting and possibly related data point - over 60% of subscribers to my bookclub are on iOS).

Anyway, I'll let you know when I hear anything about a release date for the audiobooks.

11 Responses to ‘Harry is off to Audible’

DarrenBloomfield puts forth...

Posted November 22
I'm IoS and my preferred platform is ibooks. But I also procure via Amazon for my Kindle app and even Kobo on rare occasions. I'm slutty that way.

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WarDog is gonna tell you...

Posted November 22
"over 60% of subscribers to my bookclub are on iOS"

The zombie hordes are zeroing in on you John.
Oh, wait you're already one of them :-)

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Rob is gonna tell you...

Posted November 22
After moving house I like my kindle even more then I did before. So many books to pack, store and cull.

insomniac has opinions thus...

Posted November 22
I have to move shortly and I have a stack of books to pack, probably to add to the collection of boxes of books unseen for 5 years. I can never bring myself to cull any books, except in extraordinary circumstances such as when I found out the author of a book I had bought had been sending dick pics to women who had registered their email address on his website.

Rob ducks in to say...

Posted November 22
I didn't realise how prolific I had been with the painting until I stacked and packed the bigger works. They are now stacked in my new studio, I did have a chuck out of some of those too. Weird watching paintings hit the crusher at the tip.

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Therbs mumbles...

Posted November 22
Kindle or iBooks works for me. Prolly use the Kindle more these days.
I was given a David Sedaris book a few months back and only yesterday finished my e-Book backlog so I could start on this thing made of paper and ink. It doesn't backlight nor does it have adjustable font and you need to physically mark where you've just finished reading.
Unbelievably primitive.

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KreepyKrawly mutters...

Posted November 22
Thakyou, Thakyou, Thakyou, Thakyou, Thakyou, Thakyou, so-on and so-forth... Do not like Bezos, prefer kobo... would have liked microsux to have kept the .lit format, but what do you expect from those numnuts.

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Sparty2 mumbles...

Posted November 22
Well this is timely-

"Harry- get your arse to Tokyo" for
Hirohito's Hammer: Tokyo
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-37928806

WarDog swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 23
Oh dear, the cataclysm from Day of the Triffids has shown up as a toy.

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Peter in the bleachers asserts...

Posted November 22
Kindle app on iOS works every time. iBooks is ok but has less options. Can't wait for A Girl in Time.

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David Kennedy mutters...

Posted January 10
As a trucker Audible is my friend. So thank God Stalin's Hammer is on the way. Print - in any form - is OK at home but I can load up the iphone with a 100GB of audio and I'm set for the week.

It would be nice to get the next instalment of Dave on audio and, while we're on the subject of wish lists, Here be Monsters shows a lot of promise; more please.

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Where has that dead man been?

Posted October 18 into Books by John Birmingham

I won't say his name, in the unlikely event that somebody here hasn't finished reading Paris yet. But everybody else will be aware that somebody is back.

This is something that I've been planning for a while. I killed him off when I was still finding my way through the trenches of novel writing, bombs bursting overhead, no idea where I was meant to be.

There have been other characters, killed in other books, whose loss might've seemed just as cruel and arbitrary, but I would disagree. With those deaths, I knew what I was doing, As much as it hurt, and as much as I missed the characters in later chapters and volumes.

Poor Fifi.

The apparent return of everybody's favourite palooka at the end of Paris, however, raises the question of what he's been up to for the last 10 or 12 years.

I know. Of course I know.

But I am curious to hear everybody else's guesswork.

Spoilers ahoy.

32 Responses to ‘Where has that dead man been?’

Sparty ducks in to say...

Posted October 18
Its not original series XXX. he's come though from a parallel universe where Kolhammer guys have had more success at transition technology. Either way he and the the secret agent formally known as the Prince have to go on a secret mission TOGETHER!

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted October 18
To fight crime.

WarDog has opinions thus...

Posted October 19
In capes

Thalesian mutters...

Posted October 19
With much onomatopoeia

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insomniac asserts...

Posted October 18
I'd guess super deep black ops. Not there but always there. Enough to know that Jules and Harry were in deep doodoo, and in most instances in and out to save the day without the other participants even knowing they were there, except in this case because, well, you know.

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jl is gonna tell you...

Posted October 19
My bet is that Dan received a set of oral orders directing him to report to an undisclosed location. As we know, the plane he was supposed to be on crashed. Horrible fire, no identifiable remains.

Donovan takes him under his wing, Dan spends a while in training and hangs out with Ivanov tidying up some of the mess left behind by WW2. The now nameless and stateless Dan specializes in work that is deniable and kinetic, he takes care of the stuff that the alphabet-soup agencies won't touch.

Baathist revolt in Iraq? Dan sneaks into a room with a garrote. No man, no problem. Issues in Cuba? Dan stands ready with a bag of non-sequential hundreds and a silenced pistol. An ex-Nazi wants to regain some of his turf in a rebuilding Germany? Dan passes a portfolio of choice photos to a war-crimes tribunal. Nazi goes away.

Dan is a troubleshooter and an expediter, a hidden tool of the Western interest. He is accountable to few and traceable by none. Dan has gone so long without a name that he forgets who he really is at times. He sits at a souk in the Horn of Africa and contemplates the busy street scene- he is jealous of the busy, innocent crowd. He ponders their normal lives. They are oblivious to the shark in their midst.

Dan is nowhere and everywhere.

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Turlogh Dubh O'Brien reckons...

Posted October 19
Plain and simple : he works for a top secret organization by the name of Echelon.

jl has opinions thus...

Posted October 19
I feel the itch to revisit the Disappearance novels.

Turlogh Dubh O'Brien mutters...

Posted October 21
Further proving my theory of a connection between the Disappearance and the Transition, Charlotte-Grace was adopted by Dr. Francois. Becomes a highly trained operative. Caitlyn Monroe, if I recall right, was also adopted. Draw your own conclusions.

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DaveC puts forth...

Posted October 19
Not entirely sure where we're at on the technology continuum, but he definitely wasn't an Uber driver was he?

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Mario Gómez puts forth...

Posted October 19
I imagine Dan as beeing the only contemporary operative in the quiet room, his death was staged to remove any accountability to the U.S. goverment for his actions. He has both, the mind set of a contemporary american and the backing of the economic, political and technological powerhouse that is the quiet room as his tools, and is presumably their go-to guy in the Middle East because of his minning backgroud and Civil Engineering degree (pre-transition, so basically worthless).

Surtac reckons...

Posted October 19
Yes, I tend to agree with this.

I also see him as a sort of mining canary for Kolhammer in dealing with 'temp society - "How far can I go? how quickly can I make cultural changes in pursuing my overall agenda? how much change would be going too far in this new world? What will the 'temp USA tolerate? How much can I get away with?"

Really looking forward to see how it plays out overall.

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Therbs mumbles...

Posted October 19
He didn't die in the plane crash. He was secretly whisked away to an experimental facility where, in a series of ground breaking surgical operations crossing the barrier between organic life and advanced technology he was given two bionic legs, a bionic arm and a bionic eye.

Bondiboy66 mumbles...

Posted October 19
I thought similar, but with an adamantium skeleton complete with spikes that pop out of his knuckles, a six pack and ludicrous side levers

insomniac mutters...

Posted October 19
and a Lasso of Truth, indestructible bracelets and a projectile tiara.

Lulu ducks in to say...

Posted October 19
Or two bionic arms & one bionic leg. He has been running around in circles ever since.

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w from brisbane asserts...

Posted October 19
He's been running a bar/brothel in Tijuana.

Thalesian has opinions thus...

Posted October 19
Which is housed in the ruins of an old Mayan temple

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Aaron mumbles...

Posted October 19
Tempting to make him a Bourne type but I see him more as a quiet room spook handler. A deep cover liaison type coordinating operations due to his ability to adjust to the transition. I think you could dol some cool stuff with him getting lost in the complex world of espionage (kind of like capt Americas struggle ) cause Dan was in the army but not a born killer.

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Murphy_of_Missouri ducks in to say...

Posted October 19
I'd like to imagine that he is simply an extremely competent espionage agent. He doesn't have super strength, nor nutty insane ninja skills. He isn't augmented Captain America style, nor is he running around with an insane duffel full of Bond gadgets.


Perhaps he is akin to the professional assassin in The Day of the Jackal, or even better, the workman style investigator Claude Lebel.


Much as I like explodey and gadgets, it'd be neat for once to see just a normal human being of slightly above average intelligence who knows their job very well.

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Murphy_of_Missouri asserts...

Posted October 19
Even better would be if he kept a safehouse at The Elms Hotel in Excelsior Springs, Missouri. It is his one untraceable way to keep the memory of his love for Julia alive without having any actual physical evidence on him.

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted October 19
I can confirm that Dan has no nutty insane ninja skills. He's just good at his job. But what that job is...?

Oldy asserts...

Posted October 20
He's the original Blunt Instrument

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Joe reckons...

Posted October 19
Any takers for a counter quiet room group? Set up by FDR to make sure those those uptimers don't get..... uppity?

DaveC is gonna tell you...

Posted October 19
There be much scope for conflict in that thare scenario...

Oldy is gonna tell you...

Posted October 20
Yeah, s much as I love the other suggestions, this is the most interesting. FDR knows Dan's all inside-out with the uptimers, but he's 'one of us'. So he builds his own little Quiet Room.
Also steals a march on those arrogant uptimers who think they're so smart, with their fancy toys that other people built for them.

Turlogh Dubh O'Brien mutters...

Posted October 21
Or Eisenhower - he was no fan of the military-industrial complex as stated before.


Or taking it a step further, what if it's someone within the Soviet regime who wants to remove Stalin but needs some help?

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Dirk reckons...

Posted October 19
I think it's kinda simple. Hammer would have been needing a trusted person to run a series of ultraviolet (even more secret then black) research programs. Black would have been know and trusted by all the relevant players from his role as a liason. So he would have been shacked up in a secret facility somewhere deep of grid. Dreamland maybe near Tonopah, somewhere near Monument Valley or Zion national park or perhaps somewhere in the Oz or Canadian outback. Think something with hills or mountains where you can bury/tunnel something to hide from satellites etc.

Peter in the bleachers is gonna tell you...

Posted October 20
I'm with Dirk. And on top of that he would be running the odd ultraviolet operations to ensure the relative safety of Hammer etc. the odd assassination or 'moving' a child to a safe location.

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Don Bagert ducks in to say...

Posted October 20
The fact that Dan and Julia were divorced at the time of his supposed death made it much easier for Dan to go along with whatever plans the Quiet Room had for him.

Has Dan - like Julia - found a serious relationship with someone else? I'm leaning towards no, since a Dan-Julia-Harry triangle is enticing enough.

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Rhino mumbles...

Posted October 21
Obviously he has been training...

Rhino, "Yo, Danny, Burger peeps are wondering where you've been and what you been doin."

Dan, "I told Birmo not to drop that I'm back yet. Fucking guy, always looking to get the rabble excited."

Rhino, "I don't care what he says. You ain't done here till I say you're done. Now get your ass back on those weights. What do we say?"

Dan, "Yeah, yeah, yeah ... You don't get these pettin' kitty cats, you fat fuck."

Rhino, "Language! Oh, and K called. Some shit about needing you in Siberia tomorrow."

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Don Bagert asserts...

Posted October 21
So besides those parallel worlds i listed above, Einstein has suggested that the AoT uptimers' original timeline (last seen on January 15, 2021) still exists. Maybe in this one Manning Pope's experiment fizzled and had no effect.

Of course, originally that was supposed to be our timeline, but events that have occurred since 2004 have proven that wrong...

(BTW, I've been looking forward to the 1/15/21 "Transition Day" for sometime now. Hopefully you'll do something for the occasion :)

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Stalin's Hammer: Paris. The Spoiler thread.

Posted October 12 into Books by John Birmingham

I'm guessing that most people will have their copy by now, and that most of you will have read it. It should be safe to open the sluice gates on the spoilers. We can start with a general discussion below, but I'll add specific topics as people suggest them, or they occur to me.

Before we start, I'd like to thank the Beta readers again. They are a large part of the reason you get such a polished product for an independently published book. The do get early access to the story, but what they read is raw copy, not the highly polished article everyone else receives.

Thanks as well to everybody who has taken the time to drop a review. Early reviews are more important than early sales. They make a huge difference to the visibility of the title in the online stores, especially Amazon.

Paris was a fun book to write. So much fun that it restored my interest in the whole series. As soon I've finished the manuscript I'm currently working on (A Girl in Time) I'll be swinging right into World War 3.1, using all of the material generated in the two discussion threads we've had so far. I'm really looking forward to engaging with the story in a proper longform novel again.

I think one of the reasons I enjoyed Paris so much, and why a few readers have commented that it is the strongest title in the series, is because of the care I took in the planning stage. I spent a couple of weeks plotting this book out, and a couple of months before that doing some heavy research into story structure. It would all be a bit Inside Sports Ball to get into here, but I may take some time in the future to explain that process.

It was good to get back with old friends like Halabi and Kolhammer. And of course the only guilty pleasure more pleasurable and guilty than writing as The Dave, is writing in the sexy, sexy POV of Slim Jim Davidson.

We'll be seeing a lot more of them all.

For now, however, beware.

Spoilers follow.

55 Responses to ‘Stalin's Hammer: Paris. The Spoiler thread. ’

Don Bagert swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted October 12
Oh man, I'm first! I totally called Dan Brown returning from the (supposedly) dead! So what if I got several other things wrong? LOL
Thanks for bringing AoT back, JB. I can't wait for WW3.1!!!!!!

insomniac puts forth...

Posted October 12
Yeah, Dan coming back was the biggest wow moment for me. JB took the criticism of killing him off page and snuck him back in. It looks like the extra time planning paid off.
I started reading Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee and she essentially does the same thing with Jem. He dies off page in that book which was written first, but is a character you're familiar with because of TKAM, written later, so it gave me the shits.

Murphy_of_Missouri ducks in to say...

Posted October 13
Is that any good? TKAM is one of my favorites.

insomniac puts forth...

Posted October 13
I read the first 100 pages. It didn't hold my attention. I never finished.

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insomniac would have you know...

Posted October 12
and Dan Brown can stay dead. It's Dan Black.

Turlogh Dubh O'Brien is gonna tell you...

Posted October 12
Not Dan Brown...I liked The DaVinci Code ;-)

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted October 13
I dunno. I'm pretty keen on killing off Dan Brown.

insomniac asserts...

Posted October 13
When are we now? Mid to late 1950s? You could imagine a set of circumstances in WW3.0 that meant a whole cohort of writers, say those born in the early 60s, might now never be born, and as such we will never be subjected to their rambling musings.

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Turlogh Dubh O'Brien has opinions thus...

Posted October 12
As shocking as it was to see Dan Black come back (it rhymes!), it was more shocking that Slim Jim was the means through which the Allies struck back. I want to know what the missed target was, and my guess is Stalin's bunker.

So good to have everyone back, Halabi, Kohlhammer, Davidson, but my heart as a reader goes to Pavel Ivanov. JB makes him into a hero of Dostoevskian proportions. The guy has to be the only uptime Russian left in the new universe. He has no one to relate to, not even the White Russian wife of his landlord. There is not much chance he will see his homeland free from Stalinist rule in his lifetime, probably some status quo. Yet he fights on, inch by inch, day by day. True, others have lost family in the uptime like Kohlhammer but this guy lost a country, a nation, a sense of belonging, reduced to an off the charts asset, plausible deniability.

Speaking of new universes, I like that Einstein said there is an infinite number of universes resulting from the Transition...which I am still convinced had something to do with the Disappearance :-)

So just two books in WW 3.1? I was hoping for a tetralogy.

JB, will you still do crowdfunding for them? I'd gladly cut into my retirement fund to get immortalized within the pages - or at least redshirted.

To steal a phrase, we'll always have Paris.

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted October 12
Two books next year. After that, I'll count my pile of gold doubloons and decide.

Natters asserts...

Posted October 18
I'm hoping the missed target six was the GoldenEye satellite, left intact so baby Pierce Brosnan could grow up (wrongly) thinking he might still be allowed to play Bond.

Natters puts forth...

Posted October 18
I'm hoping the missed target six was the GoldenEye satellite, left intact so baby Pierce Brosnan could grow up (wrongly) thinking he might still be allowed to play Bond.

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Therbs ducks in to say...

Posted October 12
Mebbe Dan didn't come back. Mebbe it was an hallucination.
As for Slim Jim becoming a means of striking back you can thank Kolhammer for that. He didn't have his Roomy, O'Brien running Jim's investments for nothing. Be interesting to see how many supposedly partially built death stars he has which are really fully functional (and without annoying exhaust ports for nasty Skywalkers to exploit). For a character with SJ's street smarts, he's been well played by The Hammer.
I enjoyed the character development of Charlotte-Gracie. How she developed her sneaking skills and added others to them. I'm just wondering about how a new generation of characters will arise in the new book. The key ones will need similar backgrounding. I'm also wondering what happened to Ian Fleming. I can imagine a throw away line about the Sovs topping him.

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted October 13
The next ten thing is an interesting question. I really like the way Steve Stirling hands off from one generation of characters to the next in his Change series. But I got a way to go before I catch up with that.

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WarDog has opinions thus...

Posted October 12
It's a shame that the timeline didn't allow Slim Jim to play double or nothing with a loud mouthed Australian newspaper tycoon instead of the Texas oil man. That would have been the cherry.

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted October 13
Yes. Yes it is.

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Don Bagert mutters...

Posted October 12
I'm so embarrassed about saying "Dan Brown" instead of "Dan Black"!!!! I don't think it was a hallucination because she's seeing him aged about 15 years - not too far off of the actual time.

BTW, I liked that the Yankees and Red Sox are still apparently a big rivalry in the AoT world. (Hopefully they have more African-Americans by 1955 this time around though - in OTL they had one between them at this point.)

I'm surprised about the Ike-Hammer ticket winning - I can't remember anytime in the U.S. where both the President and VP were top military leaders.

Turlogh Dubh O'Brien asserts...

Posted October 13
I found it more than slightly ironic that Slim Jim's dual-use satellites strike back during the presidency of the man who warned the country about the dangers of the military-industrial complex...

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted October 13
It's those little period details like the Yankees/RedSox thing that make these sorts of books a joy to write. World building, in the end, is just piling up mountains out of pebbles.

Don Bagert is gonna tell you...

Posted October 14
I hope in the AoT Mickey Mantle avoided the drinking problems he had in our timeline. The Mick thought he would die at around 40 because that is when his father and grandfather did, and recklessly lived his life accordingly. However, those two died because of working in coal mines, which Mickey was spared of. Hopefully someone - like Slim Jim! - visited Mutt Mantle and the 10-year-old Mickey as he did Elvis, got Mutt out of the mines and made sure he got the medical treatment he needed in time, so he and his son both lived long and healthy lives. If Mickey had taken care of himself and not been so injury-prone because of it, he could have been the greatest baseball player ever.

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she_jedi swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted October 12
Oh man oh man oh man Dan is back! He better be back, otherwise this is cruel and unnecessary teasing of your audience. I might even be persuaded to forgive you for killing Zach in The Dave if you bring Dan back, the original favourite, taken before his time.


I loved Paris, I think it's my favourite of the trilogy, mainly for that beautiful and disturbing prologue. Gracie-Charlotte is definitely a new favourite. She urgently needs a spin off series (I know I've said this before but it bears repeating).


Poor Harry looks like he's going to have competition in the Duffy stakes, and there's no worse competition than a ghost. It'll be fascinating to see that whole situation play out in the books to come. I loved Habibi and Kolhammer's return, and good 'ol Slim Jim was as ferociously despicable as ever. I have to applaud him owning half the world though.


The main thing this trilogy has done has set up a huge craving for a full length novel in the universe, and has even taken over my hankering for another novel in The Dave universe. You should totally use Einstein's theory of multiverses to link the Axis, Disappearance and Dave trilogies together. It would be epic.


I don't have a lot to contribute to spoilers beyond a semi coherent babble of joy about how much I enjoyed this mini trilogy and how much I'm looking forwarding to the new books. Stupid Amazon didn't post my first review of Paris so I had to do it again. And I had to write a whole new review because I couldn't remember what I wrote in the first one! Thank you for Paris JB, it was awesome :)

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted October 13
Yeah, I would very much like to do a Charlotte Grace stand alone novel. Maybe tell the story of how she got from Camp 5 to Port Said.
Dunno how well it would sell though, or even how I'd structure it.

Jevon is gonna tell you...

Posted October 14
The only way I see it would be a as part of a greater narrative about how the 21sters try to manipulate the 20th's culture, and how unicorns like Charlotte would also be social agents as well as covert ones. It would be awkward though, with the action aspects clashing with the social ones. Perhaps a straight up biography like piece where Charlotte contemplates how the 'ghosts' changed her, and she shows her awareness of how she is different as we take her through 'spy school'. I can imagine some gems of scenes where she does not fit in with 20th century school settings.

Don Bagert ducks in to say...

Posted October 18
There are more universes connected - remember Pete Holder, Lady Julianne, Fifi and the rest of their crew of pirates appeared in a short story set in S.M. Stirling's Emberverse (which itself is directly connected with Stirling's Nantucketverse). Hey! This is how you could get Rhino Ross from one universe meeting Pete and Fifi (who both died before the pirates took on Rhino in the Disappearance Universe) in the other.

insomniac asserts...

Posted October 18
Would not the whole multiverse explode due to the Rhino^[(awesomeness)^2] factor?

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jl reckons...

Posted October 13
Personally, it was an honor to beta read Paris, what a fun experience. I have to agree with others here that Paris was the best of the three, although that is fitting with the end of a trilogy that does a remarkable job in setting up readers for a follow-on full length novel.

I had a lot of favorite scenes in this book. The beginning created an immediate emotional hold on the reader. "Everyone loves chocolate". Great stuff. Then there was the creepy menace of Skarov, Slim Jim's smiling bluff-calling, Halabi's polished grace, Kolhammer's blunt realism and Ivanov's fatalism.

I had many favorite scenes, but I think the best was when Kolhammer got frog-marched out of the hotel by the Secret Service. The tension was palpable, relentless, realistic. I felt I was there rushing out of the room and down the stairs, juggling with the agents and my cell phone. Solid writing, very, very good.

And then there was the twist with Dan Black. Need I say more? Holy crap, WW3.1 is going to be amazing.

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted October 13
I think my favourite line belongs to Julia.

"I fucking hate children."

jl ducks in to say...

Posted October 13
I liked the counterpoint as well, it resonated. "Two children who'd had everything taken from them".

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jl ducks in to say...

Posted October 13
I could be wrong, but did I hear somewhere that JB was going to bundle all the "Hammer" series and release them as a print-on-demand? That would be good. Love ebooks, but I have a special shelf at home for printed copies of my favorites. The "Hammer" trilogy can go on the shelf with books such as "The Forever War", "Dies the Fire" and "Old Man's War".

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Josh C. reckons...

Posted October 13
I'm gonna put the brakes on for a minute about Dan Black, because I'm still not sure he's not a figment of Julia's near-death experience. If he *is* alive and leading his own team that materialized on the ship in Egypt... it'd almost have to be an all-'temp squad, no? Pretty much impossible for Julia to not know he survived if he's still plugged into uptimer circles.

I really liked the exploration of the feelings of loss and dislocation in this one, and I hope that continues into WW3.1. Charlotte's going to be an incredible character if we get to hang out with her in any context other than Angel Of Death, because she's damn near a unicorn, as Julia grokked pretty quickly -- too young to be an actual uptimer but thoroughly acculturated, yet ten-plus years older than the post-Transition generation (I don't know if they're the Baby Boom here).

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Stevo6069 has opinions thus...

Posted October 13
Dan Black back like the second coming. Only way this gets topped is if somehow Solo is ejected from the first stellar furnace that became of Star killer base. Hopefully played by Chris Pratt.

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Sparty2 ducks in to say...

Posted October 13
Solo died? How about a spoiler alert!!
Paris was a great read- can't wait for more,
Hopefully with a young IVA Richards deciding not to
Follow his destiny but instead his name sake into
The SAS....everyone fitted into their book roles so
Naturally- but really want to see Halabi back in the CiC

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Murphy_of_Missouri asserts...

Posted October 13
It is true, Sparty. Napoleon Solo did indeed die in The Man From Uncle.

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted October 13
Murph...

Murphy_of_Missouri reckons...

Posted October 13
Oh yeah.


Spoiler alert.

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Surtac reckons...

Posted October 13
So many good things to say about this book and what it does to my mind in terms of speculation of possibilities or connections for the next books. I have to re-read it before I'll get my brain to settle down and start to organise my thoughts in any sort of coherent manner.


In the meanwhile, a question that has been nagging me since SH: Rome:

Is the hammer itself based on the Project Thor / 'rods from God' stuff that Jerry Pournelle was involved in at Boeing in the late 1950s? I've always assumed it was, and have been looking for a sneaky mention of it somewhere.

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted October 13
Yes, and I seem to recall it was Prof Boylan who put me onto it.

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Thalesian reckons...

Posted October 13
I had thought the name Stalin's Hammer came from the nickname given to some of the Russian late-WW2 tanks - like the SU122 Tank Destroyer, etc... but that may be because I play WOT Blitz a bit too much.

I did like the Kinetic Energy Weapon as a choice of weapon for the Russians to build... Relatively cheap, and if your opponents have no real counter-strike, you would own the orbitals (and the planet).

Plus, I salute your choice to call it Stalin's Hammer, rather than Stalin's Rod

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted October 13
Dann. Wish I'd gone with Stalin's Rod now.

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Oldy has opinions thus...

Posted October 13
I loved the Stalin's Hammer novellas. Returning to this series again was like visiting old friends. I remember happening upon Dave and the Monsters in Dymocks last year and discovering that the first two Stalin's Hammer episodes were out. Man, busting with excitement.

Happened again earlier this week when I discovered Paris was out. I can't wait for 3.1.

One thing that's bugged me since I first picked up Weapons of Choice: you predicted Hillary Clinton's Presidency about twelve years beforehand. How, and can I get tonight's Powerball numbers?

Oldy puts forth...

Posted November 10
Yeah... don't worry about those lotto numbers mate, as it turns out...

Oldy puts forth...

Posted November 10
Yeah... don't worry about those lotto numbers mate, as it turns out...

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DaveC asserts...

Posted October 16
Best bit for me - and admittedly - I am pretty slow, was that I never saw 3.1 coming until the final fifth of the book. And then it was like.... Damn! Why didn't I see that coming?
And somewhere down the line JB, do go Inside Sports Ball into story structure. Because the way these novellas fitted together, and escalated was bad-arse.

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ronS reckons...

Posted October 16
Loved it. I see the link with Disappearance a real possibility and who knows - if Dave needs explanation ever you can certainly blame the uptimers, But I also see an homage to Red Storm Rising if you want to nod to Tom C

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Rhino has opinions thus...

Posted October 16
For everyone that is expecting a Red Tide Rising redux ... Fuck that.

It isn't the 80's in our world.

What we are going to have is a 1950's world with whatever uptime shit that the powers that be determine can be weaponized in the their now ... per JB's imagination.

Did some nerd boy at the pentagon with access to future literature get all exciited about the mtorcycles killing tanks like I did when readindint RTR? Don't know. But I hope so.

What I do expect is that it is going to be uglier than anyone could think. I expect there will be chemicals, biological, and, yes, nukes. Plus, there will be orbital, kinetic strikes from orbit. It will be horrific.war as we haven't known.

I know JB wants to wrap it up in 2 books ... but I expect that it will expand beyond that. It will take on a life of its own. Fuck, the chapters with Rhino's Banshees with Havok doing the atrocities will take most of the second book. Just the descriptions of Havok carving the Southern Cross into the skins of ambushed Soviet scouts will take pages upon pages. Can you imagine? The combined tactical genius of Rhino combined with the ferocity of Havock? The mind boggles.

Besides that, you have the minor characters that Birmo has brought along. Halabi, Kolhammer, the return of Dan. Whatever. Sure, I wanna see them. OK. I'm dying for that but I'm not going to admit it.


insomniac reckons...

Posted October 17
Don't forget about the 4th book detailing the War Crimes Tribunal.

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ronS would have you know...

Posted October 17
RTR is a band or algal bloom

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MuddyRunner mumbles...

Posted October 17
Slim Jim remains my favourite reprobate, albeit a gold-plated one.

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Guy asserts...

Posted October 18
Thoroughly enjoyed Paris and the two predecessors. However, I think think the short formats prevent JB from exploring the temporal conflict between the 1950s and the 2020s as well as was possible in the previous full length novels.

Really looking for ward to the new novels which will give him the space to go to town. The beauty of the original AoT trilogy was in the detail. The mutual incomprehension of the time travellers and the 'temps' was hugely entertaining and there's room for so much more. That's a hint BTW - I hope we get more than a mere two new books. This is a fascinating universe and I want to see much more of it.

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted October 18
You're right about the short format. So right that Paris will be the last time I do it, other than for giveaway volumes.

Therbs reckons...

Posted October 18
Short format would be good for linking narrative arcs outside the main blocked out books or playing around with sideshows, e.g. Stalin's daughter getting caught up in some sort of shenanigans.

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Marzuk puts forth...

Posted October 19
Loved it, while the whole short story format is a draw back as it feels the good chewy stuff from a story is missing. Glad to hear its back to big books after this. These 3 hammers have got me some pumped for ww3

Something tells me old crazy uncle stalin is still not happy that the glorious USSR didnt survive in the Uptime Timeline. Reckon ww3 is just going to be a scorched earth conflict to cover his true intent. Redoing the wormhole experiment to send soviets back with plans and data to ensure soviets power is absolute.

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MarkatVAVS would have you know...

Posted October 24
I [pit off reading Stalins Hammer : Cairo and Stalins Hammer; Paris until I reread the Axis of Time trilogy and Stalins Hammer:Rome again.

Best idea ever, and man I loved the whole thing. Cairo built on Rome, and then Paris built on that, and all I can say is WOW!!!!!!!!.

Looking fowrad to the next book.........

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted October 24
Cheers, guv.

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Brad has opinions thus...

Posted November 5
Some questions I'd love to see answered with the new books—

So Alan Turing is in California based on previous threads. Grace Hopper is tenure-track at Vassar but hadn't applied for a commission before the Transition; what's she doing in 1955? How do the institutions in Massachusetts stay relevant when California seems to be getting a big leg up with the Zone?

On the Russian side, who is Leon Theremin working for now? (Or did Stalin decide to forget about the rehabilitation?)

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