Cheeseburger Gothic

Book recommendation.

Posted June 22, 2009 by John Birmingham
Every deadline I inevitably get distracted by one book I shouldn't read, but do anyway. This deadline it was The Destroyermen by Taylor Anderson. It's alt hist, WW2 based, sort of. Anderson takes a couple of clapped out WW1 era destroyers, pressed into service at the start of the Pacific War, and sends them through a time warp, wormhole, Transition Event, whatever, into a parallel earth where humans may or may nor have evolved, but where they certainly aren't the dominant species. There are two of those, a sexy, peace loving, half cat half monkey species. And a bunch of hungry orcs who eat them.

The destroyermen find themselves drawn into this conflict as the most technologically advanced posse on the planet, even in their clapped out old destroyers. It's interesting to watch how he deals with resource scarcity.

I enjoyed this piece of top shelf airport novelage immensely. Anderson uses the chaos of the war's early days on Earth 1.1 to cram a disparate bunch of characters onto his boats before sending them thru the event horizon. The action is very well handled, and I liked the character development even if, like WoC, there are probably too many speaking roles. The author did make another mistake that I recognise from own early work, shifting in and out of multiple POVs without adequately sign posting the change in the text. I was lucky enough to have Steve Saffel at Del Rey pull me up on that before we got into print. TA wasn't, but then he only does it a couple of times and it may well be that only other writers would notice.

Anyway, if you're in the way of needing some alt hist explodey goodness to tide you over until After America, do yourself a favour and check out The Destroyermen.

As for me, I got another five chapters to write, a Penthouse column overdue, and I lost most of today to a hell meeting.

On the upside, I took my belt in another notch today.

31 Responses to ‘Book recommendation.’

Brian mutters...

Posted June 22, 2009
Keep away from Parliament Play Time. You're whole day could get blown. Half the net is watching the Utegate play offs.

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Tarl mutters...

Posted June 22, 2009
The first two of the Destroyermen novels are pretty good. I lost interest halfway through the third, though.

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Chaz mutters...

Posted June 22, 2009
Interesting, similar to an idea i had a way back about a WW1 troop convoy getting sucked into an alt fantasy world.

good news about the belt, however you're going to have to breathe out eventually!!!

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Moko mutters...

Posted June 22, 2009
Your recommendation of The Winter of Frankie Machine was spot on. One of the best books I've read. It's fighting for a top five spot - for me - with Tales of The Otori: Across The Nightingale Floor, by Lian Hearn (who is a chick). I've read Frankie Machine two and half times now lol. I'll check this one out. Cheers.

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Paul Nicholas Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted June 22, 2009
Sounds good. Can't wait. Will find it.

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El Coqui would have you know...

Posted June 22, 2009
John

I like it too, third was not as good but still I want to get the 4th. Right now, I am reading in my kindle, One Second After by Forsham.

The premise is that the US is hit by a series of high altitude nukes and the EMP wave transforms the whole country from first to third world in a moment.Makes Katrina looks like a children tea party in comparision.

However, like John, at the moment I am also writing. I just posted another 17th century NCIS story draft in 1632 slush, check it out. My story The Duchess is a Leatherneck was posted on issue 24 of the online magazine Grantville Gazette.

Plus I am hearing a CD from an Australian rising start Hayley Legg, check her out because she possess the whole package, looks, voice and talent. Her CD is on ITunes and she had posted music videos at YouTube.

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John Birmingham reckons...

Posted June 22, 2009
Moko, The Winter of Frankie M is perilously close to literature, which Destroyermen ain't. It is, however, great fun.

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NBlob asserts...

Posted June 22, 2009
When you get the architect in to re-model this place, can we have a dedicated wing for "I read & really enjoyed..."

Recomendations from other readers are so much more valuable than the publicity mavens spins & spells.

Particularly when a book purchase is a saved for event, not a consumable item like for some around here. (I'm lookin your way Orin)

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lostatlunch reckons...

Posted June 22, 2009
Someone is going to get beaten by his fanbase if he does not get back to work.

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Flinthart has opinions thus...

Posted June 22, 2009
Yay for the beltnotch. You're still doing a Penthouse column?

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Tarl would have you know...

Posted June 22, 2009
Something you just reminded me of - I have to subscribe to Penthouse. I'm too embarrassed to admit I'm doing so for your articles, I'll just pretend that I'm buying it for the porn.

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Therbs mutters...

Posted June 22, 2009
Tagged the tome, will check it out. Sounds like fun.

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savo asserts...

Posted June 22, 2009
"...a Penthouse column overdue..."

I knew I got it for the articles!

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Orin would have you know...

Posted June 22, 2009
Just reminding Havock that he has to go read Enders Game. As always I recommend River of Gods by Ian McDonald. I haven't put up any reviews recently because I've been doing more writing than reading ... but I will be getting back to the polity series now.

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yankeedog mutters...

Posted June 22, 2009
I've not read any of 'The Destroyermen' because it seemed too much of a ripoff of the AoT basic idea.

Maybe I'll write a book about a Navy ship that gets sucked into a time/space vortex and travels to a parallel universe where intelligent snails rule, or Lichtenstein is the major power in the world, or Keith Urban is a real talented singer. Everyone else is doing it, after all...

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sibeen mumbles...

Posted June 22, 2009
Just reminding Havock that he has to go read Enders Game.

A nice read.

Until I saw this in the last few days.

http://home.austarnet.com.au/petersykes/topscifi/lists_books_rank1.html

This list has Ender's Game as the best S.F book of all time.

What utter, utter crock.

It also has 'Speaker for the Dead' on the list. The fucking thing was unreadable. I suspect a shit load of Mormons voted...that's my only explanation.

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Murphy mutters...

Posted June 22, 2009
You know, I can't remember the last SF novel I picked up that really got me excited. I keep roaming the shelves, picking up titles, shaking my head and putting them back. I think the last thing which tripped my trigger was Titanicus by Dan Abnett. Unfortunately it happened at the local library when I was sans library card (I had my NYC card, which wouldn't work there) and some greasy teen probably got it.

Right now I'm reading Pacific Fury by Peter Thompson and I have to admit, it is one of the better history books I have read in the last three years. I'm looking forward to reading some Peter Hamm next.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Murphy asserts...

Posted June 22, 2009
I should qualify my above statement by saying that I enjoyed Without Warning but that goes without saying. :)

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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mckinneytexas would have you know...

Posted June 22, 2009
Steve Stirling and his group are touting a book called The Foresight War in which two historians, one British and one German, go back in time to the mid-30's when each gains the confidence of highly placed persons and from there, both sides mend the errors of their strategic and logistical ways. Bad for France and the low countries, the Ruskies and no Dunkirk--I am unclear as to whether the Holocaust goes forward--is what I take from the reviews. I've ordered and will post if it's worth the $$$. Will give Destroyermen a try. Glad John is losing weight, though I suspect it's mostly his serial illnesses.

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HAVOCK on lappy would have you know...

Posted June 23, 2009
well, I be here in WET, its pisin down Camperdown Vic and on BLOODY EFFIN DIAL UP NO LESS! Sheez, get onto that fuckwad sol boy or his god dam next of kin will ya and get that roll out completed. Even the cows are faster than the net down here. Sounds like a good book , however, I have been informed by ORIN that..End of Days,ooops, Enders game is me next purchase. This might well mean that post the consumption of this I can say, I offer a balanced and unbiased view on all things, being well read and all.

PS, just a short note: After todys , almost wasted exercise of draggin me carcass down here, that bloody blunty tomorrow had better be a cracker or I just might hav to AMP up the GOIN ORF bit. Now given its eight god dam below, I have dragged me arse all over Vic and its raining effin cats and dog at the mo I figure we might toddle off to bed. At least I mnaged to shave 30 minutes of the old man best transit time down here though, mind you it cost me an exra half a tank of fuel..lol, but thems the brek for speedieness...

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Matthew K would have you know...

Posted June 23, 2009
Foresight War eh? I'll check that out.

I am also feeling vaguely ill and have been losing weight, I am turning (back) into a pencil neck geek.

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Robert mutters...

Posted June 23, 2009
Destroyermen recommended as a light summer read, by John Birmingham. Cool Karma, for it was a recommendation for light summer reading in Time magazine that I sought out and read Weapons of Choice.

I do believe Birmo has just "paid it forward."

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Patricia mumbles...

Posted June 23, 2009
Houston we have a problem in Blunty. The number codes are not refreshing. You may have a problem updating new comments, JB

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Quokka ducks in to say...

Posted June 23, 2009
Hey JB

Thanks for the tip. We are out bayside being renovation refugees, and The Bloke has been reading on the train. He came home very confused while he was reading WW and said that he lost touch with reality several times and kept forgetting where he was. His mind wandered several times during meetings and he nearly muttered 'But America is GONE' during one particularly dull gathering of the white shoe brigade.

The bloke won't normally won't read anything longer than the newspaper, I have been trying to get him to read books for years, without success...so I'm still just shaking my head at the turnaround.

I'm speechless. Thanks for keeping him entertained, you have no idea how much I was dreading 2 months of living with cranky commuter man.

Cheers, Q

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John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted June 23, 2009
Ah thank you Quokka. It's stories like that which keep me at the keyboard... well, actually it's the royalty cheques and Playboy Bunnies. But I do enjoy stories like that.

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damian mumbles...

Posted June 23, 2009
"On the upside, I took my belt in another notch today."

Go you! I let mine out one today :(

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El Coqui would have you know...

Posted June 23, 2009
Guys:

Clear your 2010 TV watching schedules.

Tom Hanks and Stephen Spilberg "Pacific" is coming,as seem by the first teaser, it looks like a worthy successor to their acclaimed "Band of Brothers". I am sure that their AO would be a matter of particular interest to our OZ comrades.

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andyf asserts...

Posted June 24, 2009
ive read the foresight war,, pretty good

just read an online book, fan fic thing, cracking

http://www.strategypage.com/militaryforums/390-2990.aspx

heaven and hell declare war on earth..

we dislike this..

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Matthew K swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 24, 2009
McKinney, here's a taster of The foresight War.

http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk/TFW%20Extract.htm

Not bad, historically accurate and credible, description and characterisation a bit thin, a lot of professional weapons porn (Brits go with a Bullpup semi-auto Bren).

Yes I will buy it. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Cheers!

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Mark Orth is gonna tell you...

Posted June 25, 2009
I just finished "Without Warning" last night, very good book. You have quite an imagination. It is the first book of yours that I have read. You style is kind of a cross between Tom Clancy and Robert A. Heinlein, Looking forward to the next book in the series. When is it due?

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Friendless mumbles...

Posted June 26, 2009
Hey Birmo, which bookshop(s) do you recommend for buying your books? I'd like to support someone who supports you.

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